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Hands-on with Slickdeals: Dell XPS 15 Laptop Review (2017)

This stylish laptop is the mobile workstation that may make you forget about the MacBook Pro.
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In the past, shoppers looking for high-powered Windows PCs were mostly relegated to large desktop setups. But what if you wanted something more compact? Something that could easily take on the rigors of any task, but in a small and sleek platform?

Thankfully, Dell has packed a ton of power into its latest XPS 15 laptop, offering customers an alternative to those big, clunky desktops. With available features like a 4K touch display and a GTX 1050 graphics card, the XPS 15 is here to help you ditch "the box" and stay connected to the performance you need while on the go.

Special thanks to Dell for loaning us an XPS 15 and accessories for us to review! 

Dell XPS 15 Specs (Our Test Model Configuration)

  • Intel Core i7-7700HQ
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 with 4GB GDDR5 VRAM
  • 16GB DDR4-2400
  • 512GB-PCIe SSD
  • 15.6” 4K UHD (3840x2160) InfinityEdge touch display
  • 97WHr battery
  • Fingerprint reader

Price as spec'ed: $1,924.99 at time of publishing.

Design and Build Quality

Dell has long been known for their budget-friendly computers that offer utilitarian performance and simplistic design. Lucky for us, they've kept with the low-cost theme — the XPS 15 starts at $999 — but added superior performance and premium design elements.

On the design front, XPS 15's form-factor isn't overly complex, with a lightweight, machined aluminum exterior construction. It is, however, quite sleek and extremely compact, with a weight of around 4 pounds. Though the exterior doesn't stand out like the ostentatious Alienware 15 R3 laptop, it won't be mistaken as just another laptop — anyone who has the opportunity to feel the premium construction and materials (machined aluminum, carbon fiber, Corning Gorilla Glass) will agree.

Upon opening our XPS 15 test model, we're greeted by the available InfinityEdge 4K UHD touchscreen, which boasts 8 million pixels at 282 pixels per inch. This gorgeous display more than justifies the cost of upgrading from the standard 1080 HD resolution

Using a small 5.7mm bezel, Dell's talented engineers managed fit a large 15.6-inch screen into the same space typically used for 14-inch displays by most of the competition. In person, the display is absolutely stunning and really unleashes the potential of 4K video from popular streaming services like Amazon Prime Video or Netflix.

In addition to the premium display, the XPS 15 also offers a variety of connectivity essentials, including two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, an SD card reader, and a Thunderbolt 3 port. The Thunderbolt 3 connection is crucial for this package, as it offers transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps, can charge your XPS, and even allows for one-cable docking.

We were able to test out the new docking capability with Dell's latest Thunderbolt Dock, which allows you to connect three FHD displays, two 4K displays, or one 5K display at 60Hz. While the Thunderbolt Dock may cost $350, it makes it simple to instantly connect your XPS 15 to your monitors, mechanical keyboard, or computer speaker system.

Ready for Work

Powering the modern display of the XPS 15 is an equally impressive list of internal components. Our test model was equipped with 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and the 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-7700HQ Quad Core Processor featuring a 6M cache and up to 3.8 GHz processing speeds.

Startup speeds and navigation across the Windows 10 operating system are both lightning fast. The XPS 15 handled everyday tasks with ease as we shuffled through editing photos in the Adobe Creative Cloud and browsing various 4K videos online. The computer's response to inputs, both through the touchpad or the actual touch screen, is nearly instantaneous. Utilizing the Windows 10 touchpad gestures, the XPS 15 quickly dashed between applications while working in multiple programs.

When it comes to gaming, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 video card will get the job done in most cases. While Dell doesn't market the XPS 15 as a performance gaming machine, you'll have no issues running the latest games if you stumble upon a LAN party — though you may have to scale back the quality settings from your desktop gaming rig.

During testing, we did find that the fan noise can be rather loud with more intensive games, but the battery life was fantastic. The XPS 15's battery is rated as having the longest life of any 15-inch laptop, and we believe it. Even in our more stress-inducing tests, the XPS would last between 12 and 15 hours. For standard use, you can expect closer to 19 hours of time between charging.

Is the XPS 15 Right for You?

The growth of content creation and the era of "YouTube stars" has increased expectations for the modern PC. Running photo and video editing software can often bring a computer's memory and processing power to a grinding halt. This is where the Dell XPS 15 really shines.

Sure, at close to $2,000 for our test model's particular configuration, it soars above the price of the majority of Windows PCs, edging closer to the notoriously pricey Apple MacBook Pro, but the value is there for those who need the capability.

The performance of the XPS 15 is aligned with the newest MacBook Pro, and is certainly worth a look for anyone looking for a premium lifestyle laptop. This Macbook-fighter outshines most Apple alternatives and, with the help of the new Dell Thunderbolt Dock, adds the ability to transform into a complete workstation. Add Dell's Wireless 360 Speaker system into the mix, and you've got an all-in-one solution for work and play.

Dell's XPS 15 offers solid build quality, a stunning 4K display, and enough performance to keep you ahead of the curve for years to come. Configure your own XPS 15

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About the Author
Nolan Browning Contributor

Nolan is an avid automotive, electronic, and gadget enthusiast. If it has an engine or a processor, he can't keep his hands off it. He was introduced to Windows 3.1 in the early '90s and has been hooked ever since. Deal alerts include "mechanical keyboard," "smart watch," and "bulk candy."

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