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Dell XPS 15 review

Verdict

Not quite as classy as its predecessors, but the newly affordable XPS is a bona-fide entertainer

Review Date: 8 Dec 2010

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £582 (£684 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £785
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

The XPS' entertainment focus continues with its JBL-branded speakers. The speakers go loud without distorting, and they even sound rather good. They're helped no end by the presence of Waves' MaxxAudio 3 software. Waves is more commonly known for its studio-quality audio plugins, but here its technology helps make the speakers sound crisper and louder, with much deeper bass than you'd expect. It even managed to make some cheap headphones that we had lying about sound reasonably listenable.

But Dell, fortunately, doesn't neglect the basics: look around the XPS 15's chassis and there's all the connectivity you could ever ask for, including USB 3, mini-DisplayPort, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, eSATA, optical S/PDIF out, a memory card reader capable of accessing SD, Memory Stick and MMC cards, and Bluetooth 3. The only thing missing is dual-band 802.11n support.

Dell XPS 15

There are some mild disappointments, however. The first is the display, which has a modest 1,366 x 768 resolution, and only middling image quality. Vertical viewing angles are narrow, and while colours are neutral it does have the tendency to smudge the darkest greys into black. Due to temporary supply limitations UK customers can't upgrade it to a Full HD panel right now, either, although Dell tells us that situation should soon be rectified.

The keyboard could be improved too. There's no issue with layout, and we don't even mind the fact that the top row of Function keys default to their secondary actions, but there's noticeable flex in the keyboard's base, which leaves it feeling a rattly and insubstantial. You could live with it, but it isn't the best in its class.

Aside from these minor niggles, though, Dell's XPS 15 offers a finely judged balance of performance and features at a very reasonable price. In fact, there's only one major stumbling block: that oh-so-alluring price is one of Dell's time-limited offers. When it goes back to the original £680 ticket, it won't be quite such an amazing deal, but it will still be a good desktop replacement for sensible money, and that makes it one worth recommending.

Author: Sasha Muller

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User comments

Your Best Deals link is incorrect!

It points to a Panasonic Lumix camera on Amazon. Shame, I thought Christmas had come early....

By Throbinevans on 10 Dec 2010

motherboard failures

make sure you buy the very expensive warranty, you'll need it...now on my 4th motherboard in my XPS M1730 premium DELL laptop

By JamesBub on 10 Dec 2010

Nah.

I bought a Sony E-series, whilst the battery life maybe shorter, I got a Blu-Ray writer drive as a free upgrade & paid about £70 for a screen upgrade, the quality is better that the Dell & having had Dell PC's in the past & then being bombarded with unwanted emails, mailshots etc, I decided not to use Dell ever again.

By SKINHEAD1967 on 10 Dec 2010

You also can't get the same 'upgrades' as you can in the States, as usual with Dell.

By Ex_Sailor on 10 Dec 2010

Upgrades

My contact said that the Full-HD upgrade wouldn't be available straight away due to supply issues.

It may be that they're holding them back in readiness for the imminent upgrade to Sandy Bridge. Or they may simply be waiting for supply to increase.

I'll try to keep you posted!

Sasha Muller
Laptops Editor
PC Pro

By SashaMuller on 11 Dec 2010

Francois

I bought a Dell XPS 15 in December 2010. I find it extremely pleasurable to work with. Pros: good-looking, fast, excellent quality/price ratio. Cons: limited monitor viewing angles, monitor proportions (too wide, not high enough),weak battery. Overall an excellent desktop replacement.
PS: what is it with this fashion of very wide but not high enough monitors? I don't like it at all. Fortunately I use it mostly on my desk with another monitor attached.

By frapro on 17 Feb 2011

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