Hands on Dell XPS 15 ultrabook review
In addition to the XPS 13 and XPS 14 Ultrabooks, there’s also this newly out from Dell – the XPS 15. It’s bigger but more powerful than the others and starts from £100 more than the base XPS 14.
For that, you get 8GB of RAM, an HD display, Nvidia graphics as standard and either an Intel Core i5-3210M or Core i7-3612QM.
The Dell XPS 15 price starts at £1,149 or $1,299. The Core i7 XPS 15 is £1,299.
Again, this model has much in common with the MacBook Pro - and the styling of the lid and base is very similar indeed – mostly due to the aluminium used. As you can see there’s an optical drive in addition to an SD slot (hidden behind the panel).
We have to say that if we had to choose between this and the MacBook Pro, we’d be hard-pressed. Both are excellent laptops – while the XPS 15 gives the extra graphics and storage grunt that the XPS 14 sacrifices for weight; the XPS 15 is heavy at 2.6kg. virtually maching the MacBook pound-for-pound.
As for the other ports, there’s Ethernet via a pull-down flap, plus HDMI, Display Port (both not featured in the MacBook Pro standard versions, you need ac adapters) plus three USB 3.0 ports.
As for the display, this has the usual Dell quality about it, and it’s truly very bright at 350 nits. The Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 display is powered by the 2GB variant of the Nvidia GT 640M. There’s edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass.
Dell Inspiron 1440 Laptop AC Adapter at wholesale price only AU $23.68
The XPS 15 uses the same smart-yet-comfortable ‘chiclet’ keyboard design as the XPS 13 and XPS 14 and has a smooth glass trackpad. In use, we found this to be a little sticky for our liking, though we’re sure we’d get used to it. There is some capacity for gestures, but expect these to work a lot better when you upgrade to Windows 8.
Dell has put a 9-cell Dell inspiron 1525 battery inside the XPS 14, though we’ll have to see how this performs when we test the laptop properly. The battery doesn’t seem to be user-replaceable, which is frustrating.
Here is the XPS 14 up against its sibling, the XPS 15. The XPS 15 is on the left.
And here it is in the middle – the XPS 13 is on the right here and the XPS 15 towards this end, with the XPS 14 in the middle.
The XPS 15 definitely steals a price march on the £1,499 MacBook Pro, even if Apple’s machine is slightly better fitted out with faster variants from Intel’s Core family. Still, Dell has put its flagpole in the ground; these are some of the best workhorse laptops we’ve yet seen at this price point.