The Dell Xps 15 9550 Review: Infinity Edge Lineup Expands

The XPS range is where you'll find Dell's most desirable laptops. These aren't practical workstations or budget models. XPS is where Dell's fanciest designs team up with higher-end components. Here's our Dell XPS 15 9550 review

Our Verdict

The Dell XPS 15 is a great all-rounder laptop. Come khổng lồ it expecting superlatives, especially the version tested, and you may come away disappointed. However, it is very versatile indeed.It offers a powerful CPU, a competent discrete graphics card, a screen happy with the outdoors và a frame that’s light & slim given the rest of the spec. It can vày everything pretty well, without the power compromises of an ultra-skinny laptop, or the portability ones of a workstation.Some will be disappointed with the stamina, but it’s actually rather respectable given the processor. It’s a máy tính xách tay that’s good at just about everything, bar lasting absolutely ages between charges.

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The XPS range is where you’ll find Dell’s most desirable laptops. These aren’t all-practical workstations, or budget models. XPS is where Dell’s fanciest designs team-up with higher-end components. The idea is these are laptops you’ll be proud to use.

Also see: Best black Friday máy tính Deals

This is the larger of the two Dell XPS models, the XPS 15. Much more than just a larger version of the XPS 13, reviewed, this one trades away stamina in order to lớn pack in a high-power CPU và a graphics chipset that’ll let you play recent games without making the visuals look lượt thích those of an original Xbox title.

The Dell XPS 15 does this by retaining portability too. This is still not a laptop for those after something lớn use for a day’s work as they sit in Starbucks. But as a mostly home-bound machine that can tackle tasks that’d make a apple macbook 12in wince, it’s a winner.

Dell XPS 15 9550 review: Price

These abilities don’t come cheap, though. We’re looking at the very lowest-end Dell XPS 15 spec, which costs £1029 from Dell và makes some fairly significant spec sacrifices lớn even get down lớn that price.

Namely, it has a 1080p display rather than a 4K one, và a hybrid drive rather than full SSD storage. If you’re drawn lớn the XPS 15 because you’ve heard about its flashy Infinity Edge 4K screen, you’ll need to pay at least £1319 for that.

To see the Dell XPS 15 at the height of its powers you’ll want lớn buy the £1489 model too, which has a 512GB SSD rather than a hybrid drive. Our đánh giá is based on the base model, so bear that in mind.

Dell XPS 15 9550 review: Design and Build

No matter which spec you’re after, the Dell XPS 15 gets you the same design & chassis, though. For the most part, its style is similar khổng lồ previous XPS models.

It looks và feels nice, but is not as flashy as some. The look is sober and accessible: there’s nothing wrong with that if you don’t want an Alienware model.


What brings the kiến thiết into the 2015/2016 era is a very slim-surround display. There’s only about 5mm of plastic between the over of the display and, well, the kết thúc of the laptop. This helps the Dell XPS keep very petite for a 15.6in machine – it’s around the size of most 14in laptops

While there are better options out there if you’re a road warrior, I had no problem carting in the Dell XPS 15 around in a rucksack & using it in a coffee siêu thị for a few hours. It’s 23mm mm thick, after all, và our đánh giá sample weighed slightly less than the stated 2kg at 1.945kg. Dell says the SSD version is even lighter at 1.78kg.

For a máy tính xách tay with a fairly powerful discrete graphics card, that’s impressively light. It’s only around 400g heavier than the much smaller-screened Microsoft Surface Book.

The Dell XPS 15’s connectivity isn’t much better than you average, fairly well-equipped 13-inch máy vi tính though. You get just two USB 3.0 ports, a Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port, full-size SD card slot và a full-size HDMI. It’ll vị the job for most, but if you want khổng lồ use this as a main home PC you may well need to get a USB hub involved to avoid having lớn swap over USB cables all the time. There’s no Ethernet port, & no included USB adaptor – it’s optional.

It’s also worth noting there are no ‘special’ kiến thiết moves here. This isn’t a hybrid, the screen hinge doesn’t flip around 360 degrees (just 120-ish) & unlike some previous XPS laptops, you don’t even get a touchscreen. Not in the version reviewed, anyway. The 4K models all have touchscreens.

The aim here is lớn pack traditional máy vi tính power into a much more friendly và convenient shell. No gimmicks involved.

Dell XPS 15 9550 review: Performance

Given that the Dell XPS 15 is fairly slim & light for a 15-inch laptop, it’s a little surprising that it uses an ‘HQ’ series processor rather than the ‘U’ kind we normally see on portable-friendly models. The base mã sản phẩm has an Intel core i5-6300HQ. While not the top-end brain you’ll see in the more expensive XPS 15 models, it’s still designed khổng lồ eat up more power and run hotter than the U-series chipsets you’ll see.

U-series chipsets are designed to lớn use just 15W, but this one’s thermal load is 45W. Being happy to suck up more nguồn lets these HQ chipsets push much harder, but it naturally means they’re less power-efficient and need a more serious cooling system.

As with pretty much any HQ-equipped laptop, the Dell XPS 15’s CPU tín đồ runs all the time. It’s a very light whirr, but if you dream of a totally silent laptop, this is not it. If that’s a đứng đầu priority, be sure to kiểm tra out an Intel chip core M máy tính xách tay like the hãng asus UX305, reviewed. It doesn’t use a fan hâm mộ at all.

Using a hybrid hard drive rather than a pricier SSD, our particular review model also emits the light clicks when writing data, common to all hard drives. Và it occasionally makes mysterious louder ones too: we’re not entirely sure why.

There’s nothing magical going on in a hybrid hard drive, though. It gets you 1TB storage, but has an extra 32GB SSD attached, used as a cache to lớn increase performance beyond that of a regular mechanical hard drive.

It works, but still doesn’t quite seem khổng lồ get you the instant zippiness of a pure SSD system. Powering-up và coming back from standby is quick, but not near-instantaneous. The CrystalDiskMark benchmark results show that it’s no replacement for an SSD too. While read speeds reach up lớn an SSD-alike 475MB/s, write speeds are around 70-80MB/s. That’s the performance of a bog-standard 5400rpm hard drive, not an SSD.

This base spec isn’t really designed for the most demanding of buyers, though. While it uses an intel HQ series CPU, it’s still a chip core i5 rather than an i7, a quad-core i5-6300HQ 2.3GHz. Of course, when paired-up with 8GB RAM you still have enough power nguồn on tap to do virtually anything.

Fairly serious đoạn clip editing, involved Photoshop work & audio sequencing are not beyond its abilities – & you’d expect this north of a grand. The mid-grade spec leaves it with very solid middle-ranking benchmark results. For example, in Geekbench 3 it scores 9808 (3165 single core) points. The Intel bộ vi xử lý core i7 versions will, naturally, score much higher, but it’s still much better than what you get from the dual-core ‘U’ alternative. That CPU scores 5500-6000 in the XPS 13, a pretty dramatic difference.

It is what’s common to all versions of the Dell XPS 15 we really need to lớn take into account, though: the discrete Nvidia GeForce GT 960M graphics card.

This is a fairly good card, and one that doesn’t demand the ultra-loud fans & heat vents that gamer-specific GeForce GT980M systems tend khổng lồ have. For those with a bit of knowledge about graphics thẻ families, you vị need lớn consider the ‘laptop tax’ when it comes to thiết bị di động GPUs, though.

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This spec is good enough to play recent games, including top-tier games like The Witcher 3 và Fallout 4. However, khổng lồ play at the native 1080p resolution you’ll need to watch settings carefully. For example, in The Witcher 3 we needed lớn drop down to lớn ‘medium’ settings and switch off performance-sapping effects lượt thích Nvidia Hairworks khổng lồ reach a reasonable frame rate.

Compared khổng lồ ‘full-fat’ desktop CPUs, the GT 980M is really closer lớn the Nvidia GTX 750 than this card’s desktop namesake, the higher-end GTX 960. As with the CPU, it’s all about the sort of hardware you can fit into a laptop shell without generating loads of heat.

The Dell XPS 15 is a máy tính for people who want to play games, but not one for hardcore gamers. If that’s your priority you can bởi vì better for £1000. See our roundup of best gaming laptops, for example.

That said, we were fairly impressed with how the performance scales away from the charger. The GT 960M GPU isn’t simply ‘switched off’ as soon as you unplug. You can happily trò chơi on the train with the XPS 15, & you can naturally fiddle with the performance settings lớn favour stamina or performance.

It’s also very good at managing heat. While the fans run constantly, they don’t become annoyingly loud even when the system is working flat-out. We also experienced none of the odd fan hâm mộ revving we heard when reviewing the XPS 13. It’s not engineered for silence, but it is well-engineered.

Dell XPS 15 9550 review: Keyboard & trackpad

The keyboard and trackpad are other pivotal parts of any máy vi tính experience, & both are good in the Dell XPS 15. The keyboard is crisp, with decent resistance against your fingers that provides well-defined feedback for each keypress. It’s a bit softer than a apple macbook keyboard, but not dramatically so.

As you’d hope at the price, the keyboard is also backlit, using a phối of white LEDs. You control the level using a one of the function keys, although it’s limited khổng lồ high-low-off. You don’t get fine control.


The Dell XPS’s trackpad is clearly indebted to that of the laptop macbook Pro. It’s a similar size, a similar shape, and has a textured glass finish for that smooth, high-end feel. Among Windows PCs it’s a great pad, with an easy but thoroughly clicky button action. This is one area where no Windows máy vi tính can really cảm biến Apple’s designs, though, even those from the pre-Force cảm ứng era (the pressure sensitivity now built into the latest macbook trackpads). It’s not miles off, mind.

Dell XPS 15 9550 review: Display

There’s a good chance you don’t want lớn hear about the display of the Dell XPS 15 we’re reviewing. One of the series’s key appeals is its 3840 x 2160-pixel screen, but we’re looking at the baseline 1920 x 1080 version.

There are some very important things to lưu ý here, though. First, there’s the thin-bezel kiến thiết we mentioned earlier. Aside from the thick bit at the bottom, the đứng đầu half of the Dell XPS 15 appears almost all-screen. If you’re upgrading from laptop a few years old, the different is quite alarming.

This is also a matt display, pretty unusual among ‘premium’ laptops. This reflection-busting screen finish is great if you want to lớn use the Dell XPS 15 outdoors, and is also a good surface for gaming. You might not notice reflections of a lounge lamp while you’re looking at a website page, but a dark Skyrim dungeon is much more likely lớn show it off.

The downsides of matt screens include more muted colours ‘pop’ a bit less và tend lớn make a raised black level a bit more obvious. Colour & contrast are still very good though. The display appears well-saturated, và while blacks aren’t perfect, it is strong.

The one slight disappointment is the obvious one: resolution. Having used many smaller, higher-resolution laptops over the last couple of years, the slight blockiness of 1080p stretched over 15 inches is obvious. Of course, the glossy 4K versions of the Dell XPS 15 look immaculate in this respect. You’ll just have lớn live with their highly reflective nature.

Contrary to what you might assume, it’s not gaming or films that show up the limited resolution. The XPS 15 doesn’t have the power nguồn for 4K gaming anyway, & 1080p films look fantastic on this display. It’s text that makes you wish for a slightly higher ppi count. Characters just aren’t that smooth.

Dell XPS 15 9550 review: Battery Life

On the battery life front, you’ll be glad of the lower-resolution screen. Due lớn the higher-power processor, the Dell XPS was never going to lớn be a real battery stamina winner even with a 1080p screen.

Still, it could be a lot worse. Using the máy tính for an hour as a simple word processor (with a bit of browsing thrown in) in indoors lighting requiring about 30 percent screen brightness, an hour took 17 percent off the battery life. With light use you’ll get just under six hours between charges.

While plenty of HQ-series-CPU laptops bởi vì worse, it’s pretty poor among XPS lim và light-ish laptops. If you need your laptop to last a full work day, look for one with a more efficient, lower-power CPU.

When playing back a high-quality MP4 đoạn clip at 120cd/m2 brightness, the Dell 15 lasts five hours and 55 minutes. It’s pretty much the same result we saw when using the Dell XPS 15 for ‘normal’ work, which is no great surprise. When laptops of this power cấp độ often last for four hours, or even less, it’s not bad stamina as such. But we can’t get around that some of you will be much better-served by a longer-lasting máy tính xách tay like a Toshiba Portege Z20t or Lenovo ThinkPad X1.

Anything else to consider? A few things. First, the ultra-slim screen bezel has forced Dell khổng lồ move the webcam below the screen. It’s angled so you don’t need khổng lồ push the screen back too far lớn get in view, but it’s not the most convenient or flattering camera placement. It’s a real double-chin emphasiser.

The XPS 15 uses a basic 720p camera too, turning indoor shots into undersaturated watercolour-like images thanks to lớn limited sensor quality/size and hardcore noise reduction processing.

The Dell XPS 15’s speakers are a little disappointing too. They’re loud, but sound quite boxy & are prone lớn mid-range distortion when driven at maximum volume. A bit more finesse would be nice.

15.6in (1920×1080) IPS 16:9 screenIntel chip core i5-6300HQ 6th-gen ‘Skylake’ chip8GB 2133MHz DDR4 RAM (4GB x2)1TB 5400rpm HDD + 32GB SSD (SATA)2x USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 3 (also supports USB-C 3.1 ren 2)DW18303 3×3 802.11ac 2.4/5GHz + Bluetooth4.1Mini-DisplayPortheadset jackSDXC readerNoble lock slot720p webcam357x235x11-17mm thick, 2kg56Wh lithium-polymer battery, non-removable, 1 year warranty