Original article: Ever since the XPS 13 with its “Infinity Edge” nearly bezelless display came out (and added the word bezelless to the lexicon), it has been topping most websites’ “ best ultrabook” lists. Despite a rocky launch owing to quite a few BIOS, drivers, and hardware issues, the XPS 13 seems to have finally been sorted out by Dell and is now enjoying its reigning position as the Windows ultrabook to get for professionals who prize portability.
Dell’s XPS 15 series is a newer, bigger and badder version of the XPS 13, with a 15.6-inch display. The XPS 15 9550 (the most current model at the time of this post) takes advantage of its larger size with Skylake quad-core CPUs and a dedicated 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M graphics and just as Dell touted cramming a 13.3-inch display into a 12-inch chassis, the XPS 15 boasts the footprint of most 14-inch notebooks, while packing a larger display.
Unfortunately, the XPS 15 also mimicked—and outdid—its little brother in terms of a buggy and rocky release:
Notebookcheck.net had to dedicate extra reviews and tests just for various BIOS updates to see if they fixed the crippling problems they found in their earlier models. At the time of writing (March 2016), NotebookReview also has a 62-page thread dedicated to establishing common problems (and possible solutions) endemic to the XPS 15.
With those in mind, this review will serve as up-to-date look at the current state of the newest iteration of the XPS 15, the 9550 and those of you looking to buy one of these computers past these dates will surely find it helpful. While most major bugs have been worked out as of the latest BIOS update and drivers, there are still quite a few software/driver/firmware wrinkles remaining which prevent this excellent laptop from getting the highest honors and my unqualified recommendation, and you’ll find all about it from this post.
Update 1: As of March 23rd, 2016, Dell has released an update for the WiFi driver here. This update seems to fix many of the WiFi-related problems that plagued my experience with the laptop earlier. In its current state, I have few remaining issues with the XPS 15 and would increase the rating to 4/5.
Update 2: The new BIOS update (1.2.0) has introduced bugs with TB3 docks with USB/Ethernet ports on them, causing them to disconnect during use and after waking from sleep.
Update 3: A follow-up of this laptop is available, with Kaby Lake processors, Nvidia 10 series graphics, a larger battery and a few other improvements. You can read all about it in this detailed review of the XPS 9560 model.
Update: Our detailed review of the more recent Dell XPS 15 9510 is available here.
Specs as reviewed
Screen 15.6-inch 3840 x 2160 (UHD) touch screen, IGZO IPS
Processor Intel Core i5-6300HQ 2.3-3.2GHz
Graphics Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M (2GB GDDR5)
[email protected] 2133MHz
Storage Samsung PM951 NVMe m.2 512 GB SSD
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11ac (DW1830, Broadcom 3×3, max speed 1.3Gbps), Bluetooth 4.1
Ports 1x Thunderbolt 3/USB-C 3.1, 2x USB 3.0, HDMI, 3.5 mm audio, SD card reader
Battery 6-cell (85Wh)
Operating system Windows 10
Size (H) 357 x (W) 235 x (D) 17-11mm
Weight as configured 2 kg
Standouts from the specs sheet include the
Thunderbolt 3 (via USB C) interface, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M graphics, the NVMe storage and the quad-core CPUs (i5/i7), which make this system a prime candidate for an eGPU system such as the Razer Core once they are available.
Design and exterior
Made from aluminum and carbon fiber and measuring 17mm at its thickest point at the rear (aren’t we all?) to a 11mm taper at the front, the XPS 15 is durable and relatively lightweight for its class.
The silver anodized aluminum shell is precisely machined and it blends seamlessly into the dark-grey carbon fiber which it sandwiches. The carbon fiber is covered in Dell’s soft-touch coating, which feels very comfortable to the touch and is also nice respite for your palms while typing compared to the sharp aluminum or plastic palm-rests of other notebooks.
The only downside of this coating is that it smudges easily from the oils on your hands, and you’ll need a microfiber cloth to keep it clean.
There is no flex of the base when subject to torsion, and the screen is also extremely stiff. The hinge, which opens to 135°, is solidly built and doesn’t wobble or give when you touch the screen. If anything, it is too tight: it requires the use of two hands to open the machine. Once you’ve come from a laptop that opens with one hand, going back to needing two is just annoying, so hopefully it will loosen over time.
Overall, the build of the XPS 15 is excellent, with only the force needed to open it bringing it down. Contenders for build quality of the XPS 15 would include the
Razer Blade and Apple Macbook Pro. It looks and feels like a professional, solid, and high-quality device.
Issues: Some users on the forums have reported of issues with the quality of the bezel of the FHD (non-touchscreen) models, where the bezel was imprecisely constructed/warped. These faulty FHD models seem to have been weeded out at this point, however. It also seems that a recent batch of XPS 15 produced for Europe have major construction defects, such as ports misaligned with the chassis.
Perhaps the greatest draw of the XPS 15 is its 15.6-inch UHD (4k) IGZO panel with “Infinity Display” bezels: the screen is impressive in its own right, and becomes even more so paired with the 5.6 mm bezel.
The effect of the tiny bezel on a 15.6-inch display is even more impactful than on the XPS 13 due to the screen size/bezel ratio. Dell advertises 100% Adobe RGB coverage with this display, while the FHD non-touch screen is only about 72%.
The UHD model utilizes a Sharp LQ156D1JX01 display with a 1000:1 contrast ratio and brightness up to 330 nits. I don’t have a Spyder for calibration nor do I work in a field where color-accuracy is crucial, but I can say that the 4k UHD IGZO display wows me every single time I open up the computer to use it. The colors are vibrant and very lifelike, but the white point is high for my taste. As a result, I tend to keep it below 50% brightness unless outside. Even at higher brightness levels, there is no noticeable backlight bleeding on the 4k display, though there has been some reported for the FHD variant.
Like the majority of touchscreens today, this one is glossy and rather reflective. The Corning Gorilla Glass NBT that protects the screen on the 4k model is not as reflective as some, such as the mirror-like screen on
my Razer Blade 2015 QHD+, but it still makes it difficult to use outside unless on higher (above 60%) brightness. For this reason, I have installed a matte screen protector on mine. If you will be working outside, in taxis, or otherwise in direct sunlight, you will want to consider doing this.
Issues: FHD backlight bleed. Red-cast when viewed from extreme angles. Reports of bad ghosting on both displays, but especially on FHD. These are not a result of the panels response times or the IGZO technology (which should, in theory, be faster than regular IPS panels) but seem to be the result of a manufacturing defect. If you notice ghosting on your display, the display is NOT working as it should and you should RMA it. I have compared my screen side by side with the IGZO IPS display of the Razer Blade, as well as an IPS monitor with a 5ms advertised response time. There was no visible difference between the three displays.
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard is a small letdown on the XPS 15—but only because of how high the expectations were set due to the other technical aspects of the machine.
As far as I can tell it is exactly the same keyboard found in the smaller, thinner XPS 13. It lacks a number pad as well, though that isn’t surprising given the XPS 15’s compact chassis. You would hope that with a bigger laptop you would get a slightly improved keyboard, but the travel is the same paltry 1.3mm found on the 13. The keys do bottom out satisfyingly and there is no give in the keyboard area—it is a typing experience best defined as “crisp”.
If you write for a living and need a cushy, deep and relaxing typing experience, you may find the shallow travel a deal breaker. For me, I got used to it, hitting 106 WPM on the
10fastfingers typing test with only 1 error—above my usual 98 WPM. The keyboard is backlit with 2 levels of brightness.
The TrackPad is great. The generous trackpad is an improvement from the XPS 13, utilizing the extra space the chassis provides. It is spacious, but not too much so that it gets in the way of typing (as on the Spectre 360). I have never once experienced phantom-touches on the pad while typing, which is a refreshing change from previous laptops.
It is a glass Microsoft Precision Touchpad coated with a soft-touch material, using Synaptics technology but the Microsoft drivers. Thus, customization is extremely limited as you only get the basics Precision Touchpad settings offered by Windows. As it is a clickpad, without buttons, the ability to configure no-touch/tap zones would have been welcome. It is possible to install the Synaptics drivers through a hack, but it never gets quite the same level of functionality as a regular Synaptics device.
Overall, it is an excellent trackpad. Windows PCs have had horrible trackpads as standard for years, so it is nice to see that this key detail for productivity is not being overlooked by major vendors.
Issues: Some users have reported a tilted/unevenly seated spacebar. This seems to settle with use.
Hardware, upgrades and daily experience
With a quad-core Core i5/i7 CPU, Nvidia GeForce GTX 960m graphics, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB Samsung NVME SSD, the laptop is an all-around powerhouse for even the most demanding users.
I opted for the Core i5-6300HQ CPU rather than the Core i7-6700HQ because for non-hyperthreaded applications, the performance is nearly equal and I wanted lower temperatures and longer battery life. If you’re using hyperthreaded apps daily, then spring for the i7, but otherwise, don’t sleep on the i5 if you can get a good price.
It tears through everyday tasks and even has the GPU chops for games. Some users may be disappointed with Dell’s choice of the 2GB 960M rather than the 4GB—but for a chip like the 960 it is basically a waste, as trying to game above 1080p on it would be pointless. You can expect current-gen games to run at 60 FPS with medium/high settings at 1080p.
For the fans of 3D benchmarks, this XPS as configured gets a combined score of 5814 points in 3DMark 2011 and 3950 points in 3DMark 2013 Fire Strike. With a modest GPU overclock,
if that’s your kind of thing, you can get above 4250 points easily.
This laptop is a performer and can churn through pretty much anything you might throw at it
In terms of communication hardware, there are a couple of issues. First is the 720p camera, which is directed up your nose. This is a point of design, not a defect, and it probably isn’t a huge problem unless you’re always on Skype or Hangouts and don’t want another camera.
However, the absolutely atrocious performance of the Broadcom 3×3 card that comes with the computer is a serious problem. I don’t know if it’s fair to blame the card hardware or the drivers, but in either event the card doesn’t perform well. Its 3-antennae design lets it perform well when it works, but it constantly drops signals where other devices get full connections. It only gets 4 bars when 4m away from my router while on a 5GHz network, and Bluetooth is buggy if not broken for wireless mice until you turn off “Bluetooth Collaboration” in the advanced options.
Besides this, I couldn’t get my Bluetooth speakers to work at all until I removed the terrible Dell/Broadcom software, which looks like it was last updated in 2003. The fact is that the current state of the wireless performance of the XPS 15 is substandard, if not terrible. I’d recommended that you swap this for an Intel 8260 WLAN chip if you do plan to buy the XPS 15—so it’s lucky that the XPS is so serviceable.
Indeed, of the nice things about the XPS 15 is that the SSD, RAM, and WLAN are all user-upgradable. After removing the 10 Torx (T5) around the edge and the 2 Phillips screws under the XPS label hatch, you will have full access to the RAM, SSD, and WLAN card (as well as fans/heatpipes for repasting). Because none of these are soldered on, you can upgrade them yourself after buying. This is especially good for RAM, because you can replace both DIMMs with 16GB sticks for a total of 32GB system memory. Overkill, but nice to be able to do.
Issues: The state of the Broadcom 3×3 WLAN chip is garbage. This might be fixed with future updates, but at the moment it still has major issues with dropping WiFi signals, Bluetooth pairing, and disappearing completely after sleep. Replace it with an Intel WLAN chip such as the 8260. As of 3/23/2016, Dell’s update to the WiFi drivers seem to fix all these issues.
Emissions (noise, heat, speakers)
Although powerful, the XPS does quite good for emissions.
Using Sound Meter (calibrated for -20 dB of background noise), the fans averaged around 31 dB under light usage. Under heavy load such as Prime95 + FurMark, they’ll hit 45 dB. They rarely switch off unless the laptop is completely idle, but the tradeoff is that the chassis remains cool under nearly all usage scenarios. 46 dB is quite loud, but it’s still lower than the piercing 55 dB my Razer sometimes hits.
The cooling solution might seem minimal, but it’s actually effective
The XPS 15 has two fans on the bottom which suck in cool air while expelling it from vents that are hidden behind the hinge. It’s a clever (though certainly not original) design to minimize vents and size, and seems to work quite effectively here: even under load, the keyboard deck and even the aluminum bottom never get too hot. At idle, the CPU temperature is ~32C°. During typical usage, the CPU averages a temperature of ~40C°. While playing taxing games, it will peak around 71C° while the GPU averages 76C°. Pleasingly, there is no thermal throttling in any scenario I have tested. The advantage of the Skylake processors’ smaller die size is apparent in the thermal efficiency they exhibit in a laptop this thin.
The speakers are decent, not great. They get loud enough, but lack natural base and begin to distort at high settings.. Unlike the XPS 13, whose speakers are on the side of the chassis, the XPS 15’s are downward-facing. I’m not sure why Dell chose to make the speakers muffled by pointing into the ground. The larger chassis of the XPS 15 begs for upward-facing speakers next to the keyboard—this would have been a much better choice for both design and performance, in my opinion. The Dell MaxxAudio software includes some equalizer presets that help improve the sound somewhat, but it can’t overcome the limitations of the speakers themselves to make them anything special.
Issues: Fans don’t ramp-down after gaming until machine is put to sleep. Some users complain of issues with headphones after reconnecting them: audio is lost and apparently the computer has to be restarted to restore it. Some users report speaker crackling as well.
Dell advertises up to 17 hours for the FHD model and 10 for the UHD. I also have a bridge to sell you. Initially, on my UHD with a 6-cell battery, I was only getting 4-5 hours of light usage. After a few days and once
tweaked, I’ve been able to consistently get about 6-7 hours of light productivity work (browsing, typing).
Idle at 40% brightness yields about 10W drain. Light work averages between 12 and 14W drain. Heavy tasks, such as CPU benchmarks, will push consumption to 30W. Generally speaking, it is enough for an average workday—as long as you are doing word processing and browsing, not editing video.
Issues: None, other than that Dell (and most laptop manufacturers) are lying liars who lie about battery life.
Price and availability
While the XPS 15 advertises a starting price of just $999 USD, that’s for a Core i3 version without the dedicated GPU.
The most expensive version goes up to $2900 USD due to its 1TB SSD and 32GB of memory, but you’ll probably want one somewhere in the middle.
If you need the battery life, don’t like touch screens or will be using it outside, then an i5/i7 model with the FHD screen with the 6-cell battery would do you well.
Follow this link for up-to-date configurations and prices.
I think the $1500 (
at Microsoft store) i5/UHD/8/256 is a good configuration for most, since you can upgrade the SSD and RAM yourselves for cheaper—especially if you wait for prices to go down. Unless you need hyperthreading, the i5 will use less power than the i7, but provide the same performance.
The XPS 15 is available in most countries through Dell retailers or the Microsoft Store, though not all configurations are available worldwide.
The XPS 15 ranges between $999 and $2899, with a solid mid-range configuration available for around $1500
Bugs are the weak point of the XPS 15 and probably why more people haven’t picked one up—or have picked one up only to return it.
It took me almost a couple of weeks of tinkering to get my XPS 15 into a reliable working state. There are so many updates released for the system that just downloading them and updating is a day’s task on its own, and that’s IF you do it correctly in the right order. Here are a list of issues I’ve experienced:
Even once updated, I suffered frequent BSODs, especially when waking up from sleep. Reinstalling some of the Intel SSD drivers seemed to help and it hasn’t been happening since.
Update: the Intel graphics driver seems to be the culprit for this. Try installing the beta HD graphics drivers from Intel’s website.
Sometimes when using HDMI through the Dell TB3 Dock, clicking the settings tray will crash the connection.
I wake the laptop from sleep only to be greeted with a black screen and have to hard restart (keyboard lights up, though). The Broadcom WLAN on its own is responsible for a bunch of issues
The card sometimes fails to be detected upon resume from a low-power state. The computer will simply not see the device.
Bluetooth pairing issues causing crashes or simply performing poorly. Poor signal close by wireless networks
resulting in dropped packets on 5GHz. Update: (signal is still not great, but no longer dropping packets) Connections to 2.5GHz networks impede Bluetooth signal.
Apps randomly crashing when the screen resolution changes or the laptop switches from AC/DC or vice versa. Tray apps will quit without notice and the desktop background will be set black (still an issue)
Running in AHCI mode introduces random “BAD_POOL_HEADER” BSODs. Update: Fixed by using Samsung’s NVME drivers
CPU does not downclock properly occasionally after switching to battery power.
Occasional screen flashes/artifacts on desktop from Intel iGPU drivers.
The Dell USB-C Trinity Dock (yours for a mere $70 USD) frequently drops connected USB devices and they have to be reseated. Not sure if this is a Thunderbolt 3 or dock issue.
Laptop waking itself from sleep in my bag and running for hours without shutting off. Event log lists wake source as “unknown” and there are no wake-armed devices. May have been caused by Dell Foundation Services. Update: Has not reoccurred since tinkering with device wake settings. In the network adapter properties disable “wake on magic packet” and “wake on pattern match”. Also ensure that in BIOS settings the SATA 1 and 2 drives are both ENABLED.
Looking at this list, it’s more understandable why some people haven’t decided to go with the XPS 15. If you depended on your computer for your job, how could you keep something with so many issues?
The XPS 15 is a beautiful, powerful laptop that can handle nearly any task. It is sleek and relatively lightweight for its size, which is also another accomplishment given its brilliant 15.6-inch display: it is the most gorgeous display I have ever seen on a laptop, and that alone nearly is worth the price of admission.
Unfortunately, while it has less issues now than at launch, they are still numerous and they should be a major consideration if you’re ordering online or overseas and you’ll have to pay to return or exchange it.
The XPS 15 is beautiful, fast and packs a great display, but the multitude of bugs and issues make it a far from ideal pick, at least for the time being
With time, I hope the drivers, firmware, and BIOS matures and these problems will be cleared up. If/once that happens and the XPS 15 becomes rock-solid, it would be a near perfect laptop deserving a very high rating. In its current state though, it’s still only deserving a qualified recommendation: I love my XPS 15 and I’m going to replace my Razer Blade with it as a my daily driver due to its power, portability, screen, and the future-proofing offered by the TB3. However, it’s still buggy, and if your computer BSODing or dropping a call can cost you your job or business deal, this is not the laptop to count on—at least not yet.
Update: Our detailed review of the more recent Dell XPS 15 9510 is available here.
That’s about it for now. Let me know what you think about the XPS 15 or if you have any questions that I might be able to help you with in the comments section below.
Douglas Black Douglas Black - Editor
. I'm an IT consultant, educator, DJ, and music producer based in Florida, USA.
March 9, 2016 at 8:13 pm
Please keep in mind that I bought this laptop (XPS 15 9550) with the intentions of finding a lot of problems with it and then returning it. I just wanted to scratch my itch for desiring a 15″ 4K display. As a Best Buy Elite Plus member, I had 45-days to return this unit for a full refund (no restocking fee). They would even send UPS to pick it up from me with no shipping charges if I had a problem with the hardware (if there were no problems with the hardware then I could either pay to ship it back or take it to a local Best Buy store for a full refund). My point is that 3 months later, I still have the laptop even though I used it daily for 45 days and could have returned it and just kept using the Samsung Spin, which I happen to really like as well.
I’ve had my XPS 15 9550 since mid-December and along with my Samsung Spin, I’ve been using it for 2 to 9 hours per day, 5 to 7 days per week. I’m basically hopeless because I still have not been able to decide on which laptop I want to keep. I like them both VERY much.
I read a lot of this review but because of time, I did skip some parts for now:
BSOD: I got my unit and ran it for a few weeks and had no BSOD. Then one day I tried to open Zoner Photo Studio (photo editor and manager). Then came my first BSOD. Opened the app several times and each time resulted in BSOD. I googled and found that most cases of BSOD on the 9550, were happening after opening video or photo editing apps. From a forum (don’t recall which one), I read about a link to download a specific Nvidia driver that fixes the problem. I downloaded and installed the driver and since then I have NEVER seen another BSOD.
I had Wi-Fi issues with the HP Spectre x360 (both Broadwell and Skylake models). I went thru over a dozen of them. Finally, it turned out to be that an older driver was the solution to the problem. But then again, I’ve now found it to be very clear that Windows 10, IS the cause of most wi-fi issues on many ultrabooks. However, on the XPS 15, I have had NO first connection problems with wi-fi. What I mean by first is that if I turn on the XPS, it will connect to my network (and others when away from home), with NO problem. Now if I disconnect from said network and then try to scan for other networks or try to reconnect to the same network; it will just keep searching or attempting to connect. I then have to restart the system or thru device manager, disable and then re-enable the wireless card. I’ve found this exact same issue in the Spectre x360, Yoga 900 and even my beloved Samsung Spin at times. This is a Windows 10 problem but it is not a big deal because on the XPS and Spin, I never get dropped connections nor connecting problems after resuming from sleep.
Drivers and updates: YES!!!! I hate Dell for making it too much work to do updates. The Dell update app is very limited. It will check for updates and then tell me I’m up to date. Then I’ll go to the Dell site, enter my Service Tag and it will bring up a whole list of drivers and app updates that are available to me. And if that were not enough, it even states that you should download and install updates in specific order and some power users have suggested first changing some things such as BIOS settings, back to default before doing updates. All of the above and a few other details I’m forgetting at the moment, really piss me off. Going to the Dell site and looking for updates, reminds me of 2001!!!!!! This is why I still use an iPhone and am not sure about jumping ship for the Galaxy S7 Edge. Updates should be smooth and effortless! The days of having to do 1/2 dozen steps before an update, should be long gone! Now having said all of that, I’m really just being a bit anal. You see, almost all is working right with my XPS. I’m just one of those people who sees a new version of software and jumps at it even if there is nothing wrong with the current installed version (hey, everyone has issues).
The Problems I do have with the XPS is that it is slow (compared to the Samsung Spin, Yoga 900 and Spectre x360) to go to sleep, resume from sleep, restart and power on from shut off. When you also use daily, an ultrabook that is much faster, it annoys you even more how the XPS is slow to do those above things.
Another problem would be YES to Bluetooth issues. I only use bluetooth for my Logitech MX mouse. Each time the XPS starts up, even though my mouse is connected and working, there is a stupid (dated looking, like mentioned in this review) message, stating that Bluetooth is starting or something like that. Then at least once every few days, my mouse will just pause (for 30 seconds to 1 minute) from working and that annoys me while busy trying to get work done (maybe it’s the XPS or maybe it’s my old mouse that I love so much). I don’t know why it happens but it happens every week. I’ve read about the Bluetooth drivers and how people have disabled some things but I’ve not got around to trying any of that advice yet. Also my mouse has stopped working about 3 times in the past 3 months so that I have to delete and pair it up again. Though I did have some of the same problems on the Yoga 900 and x360 with this same Logitech mouse.
Battery life for me as well, is at 6 to 7 hours now. I also do not need to have the brightness up too high to see well. In-fact, on the XPS 4K display, unless watching a movie, I always have it below 40%. I can honestly see this display well even when brightness is set to 0% (indoors of course). I don’t undertsand that and it makes me think that perhaps something is not correct because when Windows says it’s at 0% I can still see the screen very well, much more so than the Spin at 0% or any of the other ultrabooks I tried last year at 0%. In say, a starbucks, I’ll have it set to 10% and have no problem seeing the screen very well (and I do wear glasses). Right now plugged-in, sitting at my desk, I have it set at 20% and it all looks perfect for my eyes.
About the touchpad: At first, I thought the touchpad was almost as good as the one on the Samsung Spin. Now I am stating the same or perhaps even a bit closer to being just as good as the one on the Spin, which I believe is the best touchpad on a Windows laptop to date. If you check the box for Enhance Pointer Precision and move the slider to fastest speed; then the touchpad (for me at least) is just amazing! The only problem is that there are no options to do the dozens of gestures you can do on a Mac. But 2-finger scrolling in Chrome and all else it can do, all work VERY well for me. I am a wireless mouse user since the early 2000s. I’ve always hated touchpads. I now am willing to use the touchpad because of the Spin and XPS are that good for me (ONLY with those setting changes).
For me, the XPS 15 9550, does not get too loud with the fans during most of my usage. I can have Chrome open with a dozen tabs and youtube video going (along with a Outlook and a few other apps running) and the fans will start up but at a low sound that doesn’t bother me listening to the Youtube video. When I tried playing Crysis, the fans got insanely loud!!!! I’ve never heard any laptop fans get that loud before. But I don’t game these days and so I have no complaints about the fans during the normal course of my daily work.
I know I’m forgetting a lot right now so I’m sure I’ll be back to add more to this thread, later. But I must say that had I read this post before I ordered the XPS 15, I would probably not have gone thru and ordered it.
March 10, 2016 at 12:28 am
Thanks for thorough comment!
I think there are a lot of issues focused around 3 components:
The Broadcom WLAN card
If they can get AHCI to work/fix the RAID speeds of the NVME, clear up some of the TB3 port bugs, and get their act together with their 3×3 card drivers, then I suspect that the XPS 15 would have much fewer issues.
March 10, 2016 at 4:28 am
In reading the reviews on Bestbuy.com and other places, I figured out that some people got bad units. I’ve read about “no hard drive detected” issues but that is again, something I have never experienced. SSD failure is something I feared because of all of the posts talking about it, so I started doing daily backups when I first got the XPS. As always, I believe that happy customers like myself, are mostly not posting on forums such as this. I think most happy customers are enjoying their devices and have moved on.
December 10, 2016 at 5:34 pm
My first XPS 9550 (late November 2015) was return for repairs regarding the headphone jack so they didn't have any sound card or the daughterboard in stock so because of my Country's law they sent me a brand new one instead of a refurbished one. My first unit was plague with issues Bluetooth issues, BSOD and sound issues. I notice the Network adapter was switched from a Dell801 to a Killer1535 Wireless Adapter. I haven't had a BSOD yet nor have I had sound and BTooth problem with any of my devices. The only thing I'm still getting from this unit that I had with the other is the fact that there are still 3 Drivers that keep popping up to be updated when they have already been downloaded and installed. They keep asking to install in my dell account and Dell Assist. These drivers are the new BIOS 1.2.16 A13, also the Chipset/ Intel Management Engine Components Installer and third the Docks/Stands/ ASMedia USB 3.0 Extended Host Controller Driver. So I don't know what to make of this at the moment but I'm just waiting for a fix. I haven't got reply from Dell regarding this. It's only been two weeks since I got my new unit( November 28/16)
December 10, 2016 at 7:05 pm
interesting they went with killer- make sure you remove the killer software, it's hot garbage. Also just delete Dell update. Update with the online website, it's got less problems
March 23, 2016 at 3:09 pm
Can you please do a proper comparison with the Precision 5510?
They’re not even reviewed by the same people, so very hard to compare.
E.g. heat/noise of the XPS vs the Precision?
And gaming performance?
Oddly the precision has game FPS rates, and the XPS doesn’t.
March 23, 2016 at 3:17 pm
I can do 3dmark11/13 scores and temps. I’ll ask Andrei
March 23, 2016 at 8:19 pm
I don’t know FPS but what I do know is that playing Crysis 2 with custom gaming power profile, left the unit (XPS 9550), not too hot and the fans were loud but not as bad as I had heard them when I first got the unit and before a few updates (BIOS, drivers, etc.). I’m not much of a gamer these days so I’ve only tried a few titles. With Crysis 2, I couldn’t get it to run at 1080p. When I’d try 1080, it would freeze me in the res settings of the game. Tried it several times with no luck. Perhaps there was something I was supposed to do that I have no clue of. Playing the game was smooth as it should be for an older game. Someday I’ll get back into PC gaming and I think I’ll just do so on a desktop. I’ve read a few stories about how Dell XPS laptops for some owners, didn’t endure very well with a lot of gaming heat over time. Saw a pic of one guys XPS which he claims the GPU melted itself off the board after 8 months of hard gaming.
December 26, 2016 at 9:55 pm
I have had the Dell XPS for 10 month. It's been great. But, there is a sleep mode and hibernation issue with the power button and Windows 10. Once you finally get it to respond. It will come back it make take several hours. Change your setting to no sleep or hibernation. And, always remember to turn off this laptop so it can restart. My lesson was learned …always back up your laptop. I thought it would not come back. But, it did. My laptop is with me everyday. Dell XPS is a very good laptop for business and traveling. There just some weird sleep mode issue that just started with the power issues.
March 10, 2016 at 3:18 am
Have you figured out how to stop it from waking for no reason? My 9350 turns on while I’m out, drains it’s battery, and then hibernates. This is a problem if I ever need a computer with a battery.
March 10, 2016 at 3:22 am
Please start with this guide: howtogeek.com/122954/how-to-prevent-your-computer-from-waking-up-accidentally/
Beyond that, you could try a tech support forum for someone to walk you through the event log.
March 10, 2016 at 9:28 pm
My XPS 15 4k had ghosting that was noticeable while scrolling on certain websites, and especially on this test: prad.de/new/monitore/testsoftware/schlieren2.html
On my U2415 (which is very fast for an IPS), I couldn’t see any ghosting on that test.
I think the ghosting is most noticeable when the background is grey, it was pretty bad while moving windows in Ubuntu (the title bar is grey, and the mouse cursor was ghosting badly above it).
I didn’t notice the ghosting in games or movies though.
March 11, 2016 at 3:02 am
N, I just tried the test in your link. I don’t have any ghosting nor was I ever able to see the red colors from some angles as I’ve read people mention. My 9550 screen IS the reason I still have this laptop. It’s the best laptop display I’ve ever used/seen. Now there is one thing that I’ve noticed about the display but it’s a build issue. When I press in on either the left or right bottom corners of the glass (the black strip area) the glass actually moves inward. At first I was ready to exchange the whole unit but then I read online that this appears to be on all XPS 15s.
March 11, 2016 at 7:15 am
I was convinced people just didn’t notice the ghosting (I didn’t for the first couple days), but that test should make it pretty noticeable. Could you make a slow-mo or 60 fps video of the prad test please?
I’ve returned mine, because it also had a black mark under the glass (not a dead pixel, it was above the pixels). It also had some redshift at extreme angles, but that didn’t bother me. It was also wobbly (reddit.com/r/Dell/comments/47ath1/dell_xps_15_9550_base_wobble). So yeah, looks like I got a really bad unit, but at least the space bar was ok.
I’d like to get one that doesn’t have these issues, but it sucks having to play roulette with a machine this expensive.
March 11, 2016 at 8:37 am
Sure! How would you like me to go about this? I can hold up my iPhone to the screen or is there an app I should use to record the screen? Then upload to YouTube?
It’s 12:30am here in California, so I’ll probably have to get to this tomorrow. Just let me know how you’d like me to record. I played Crysis 2, about a week ago for about an hour and had no issues. Watching video, I also have no issues. I’ve sought out 4K video just to watch on this screen and loved it!!!!
March 11, 2016 at 10:16 am
I did some experimenting with my Galaxy S6, it looks a bit worse than in reality even using 60fps or slow motion (120fps), but still nowhere near as bad as the xps 15 was in reality.
Here’s the u2415: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYKKboixC2U
And a cheap samsung tft (comparable response time): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u93RsppPTgk
Your iphone can record 60fps video, right? Just hold it up to the screen and record it. Please make sure it ends up as a 60fps video on Youtube.
Take your time, and thanks a lot.
March 11, 2016 at 11:00 pm
Yes, I’m using an iPhone 6s Plus. I went into the settings and changed from 4K @ 32 fps to 1080P @ 60 fps and made a video of the test link you provided. I just uploaded it to YouTube and it says it’s processing so it might take a while to show but the link is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R85MVwhxNY8
Looking closely this time around, I guess I’m seeing what you all are calling ghosting. Not really sure if I’m correct about the definition. Regardless, I have no complaints with the XPS 4K screen. As I stated above, I have watched 4K video, also 1080p movies, and played Crysis and Crysis 2 and noticed nothing that bothered me. I have also done all of the above on my Samsung Spin and had the same results though the 4K content looks better on the XPS since the Spin is not 4K.
March 12, 2016 at 6:06 am
Yep, that’s exactly what I was seeing. Like I said, I did not notice it during games and movies, so I guess it’s not that bad. Still, I wish they’d used a faster panel.
Thanks for your time.
March 12, 2016 at 8:31 am
After 3 months with the XPS and hunting for the perfect laptop for my personal and business use, since last August; I’ve tonight finally decided to keep the XPS and sell my Samsung Spin (at a loss). For the past few hours I’ve been working on both at the same time and while the XPS was doing a lot more work, for some reason it remained silent while the Spin kept the fan running. At that point, I just decided to stick with the XPS. I’ve given it a lot of thought (way too much) and even though I love the Spin, the XPS has been very good to me and the screen is just too much of a good thing to let go of. I now use a 24″ Dell 4K monitor with my XPS but when I unplug and go sit on the sofa or anywhere else; I don’t feel like my world has shrunk all of a sudden because the 15″ screen is plenty big enough, whereas the Spin screen feels way too small after I’ve spent hours using the 24″ monitor.
BTW’ I can’t remember where but I think someone was asking here about a way to change how long the XPS 9550 backlighting stays on. Yes, there is a Dell command app that does exactly that and has other options. I got it from another forum but I haven’t installed it yet as it is somewhere buried in my Download folder. If anyone wants the link, let me know and I’ll try to track it down.
Now I’m going to order the DBrand white Dell logo for the lid and white cover for the trackpad. That will just leave me with keys that get dirty way too quickly but at least not the touchpad anymore.
Given my history, I’m proud of myself for not trying the Spectre x360 15. I’ll stick with the Dell and I’ll also go ahead and order the better Intel Wireless card in hopes of ridding myself of that minor Bluetooth issue I have from time to time.
I knew I had to hold onto this XPS because had I only kept the Spin or gone with the Surface Book or the Spectre x360 15 and then came back to the XPS; I would have had to order a new one that might have not been as solid as this one is. I’m glad I held onto this one because I would be worn out if I had to go through the exchange it game, all over again like I did with the Spectre x360 13.
March 11, 2016 at 6:37 am
Great review! I just bought this laptop recently and totally agree with you on the wifi issues. The issues I’m having with the wifi are pretty severe and I’m using this for school so I’m kind of panicking at the moment. I’m going to buy the Intel AC 8260 2X2 card, but was wondering if there was anything I should keep in mind when replacing the broadcom card. Will the Intel card fit fine and do I have to be aware of a special way to plug it in? Is there a walkthrough video on YouTube that would be helpful? I couldn’t find one myself. This would be my first time dealing with replacing a component for a laptop, so any help/advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
March 11, 2016 at 6:47 am
I replaced the Broadcom card with the Intel 8260 wifi/bluetooth combo card and it fixed all the wifi/bluetooth issues. The broadcom card is 3×3 meaning it has 3 cables: black, white, and grey. The grey one is the optional antenna that allows a 3×3 card to have such high bandwidth. When you install the intel 2×2 card, you’ll connect the black and white antennae but the grey will remain unplugged. Just make sure you download the intel 8260 drivers from dell before you swap the card!
This guide should give you a pretty good idea of the steps: cnet.com/how-to/how-to-upgrade-your-laptops-wi-fi-card/
1. unscrew the single screw holding the card in
2. gently disconnect the antenna leads
3. unseat the card
4. connect leads to new card
5. seat it
6. replace screw
I would also recommend attaching the antennae before you seat the card, because they’re very tiny connectors.
March 11, 2016 at 6:55 am
Wow, thank you very much for your quick response! This is so helpful and I’m much more confident in doing this now, so I really appreciate it.
March 11, 2016 at 6:58 am
You’re welcome, Max!
March 11, 2016 at 12:52 pm
The fan on this laptop is the worst thing ever. If you are playing a game for a while and the fans spin up, they won’t go back down to idle after you close the game and will hover around 2500rpm no matter how long I leave the computer on. CPU temperature is around 40C.
Can you confirm this behavior on your unit Douglas?
I used League of Legends as a test at max settings 1080p, after 30 minutes game and I close the program the fans will decrease from 6000rpm but won’t go to the 1800rpm it usually idles at. Does not matter how long you let it sit there.
March 11, 2016 at 12:56 pm
I can confirm that they keep running for quite a few minutes. Despite 37c core temps, the fan will keep running at high rpms after playing games. However, eventually they seem to ramp down-or I just don’t notice because I just dock the laptop to my monitor setup and it isn’t next to me. Another BIOS issue to fix.
March 11, 2016 at 1:01 pm
Wow! Thanks for the fast response!
To be specific, my fans after gaming seems to be stuck at 50% fan speed after waiting 10 minutes for it to slow back to idle. But it won’t. Putting the computer to sleep and waking it again is the only way to get the fans to idle. Do you think this is an issue for my unit? Thanks!
For comparison, on my MacBook Pro 15″ late 2013, after gaming in boot camp the fans are silent within 1 minute of the game being closed.
March 11, 2016 at 1:03 pm
I will try this later this evening and try to confirm if it’s a problem with your unit or all XPS 15s. If confirmed, I’ll add it to the issues listed.
March 11, 2016 at 3:00 pm
Yeah, it doesn’t seem to ramp down the fans. Even at 36C core temp.
March 12, 2016 at 5:34 am
Thanks for the reply and verification Douglas.
It seems clear to me this laptop has an engineering flaw. I’ll be returning my unit before the 30 days are up. Shame that a high end laptop that costs $2000+ (i7/16GB/256SSD/UHD model) in 2016 cannot get the basics right.
No more Dell laptops for me. Although their monitors are fantastic.
March 14, 2016 at 1:50 pm
Hmm I stand corrected. My unit doesn’t seem to have problems with the fans going down.
March 16, 2016 at 2:57 am
So does that mean after an extended gaming load your fans do return to idle? I gave my XPS 20 minutes and the fan stayed at 50% even though the machine just idled. Fans didn’t idle despite 40C temperature on the CPU.
March 16, 2016 at 3:07 am
Yup, they go down to their lowest speed.
March 11, 2016 at 11:13 pm
I’m not much of a gamer these days but I did try Crysis and Crysis 2 on the XPS. When I first tried Crysis, the fans kicked in high-speed and were the loudest I’d ever heard on any laptop. A month later I followed the suggestions in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zj6QfkTi1AY and then created a gaming profile. I used that gaming profile to play Crysis 2 for about an hour or more and this time the fans were loud but not as loud as they were back the first time I tried gaming. Much to my surprise, the bottom did not get too hot. After I finished playing, I do not recall how long the fans stayed in high-speed mode but I know if it had been long, I would remember. After playing, I went about doing work with Chrome browsing and all was fine and cooled down. The Deck also never got too hot for my hands, which is always a big deal for me with laptops.
Sometimes when I read some of the comments folks make, I have to wonder if I have a different machine because a lot of what’s being written here, are things I have not seen, yet I use this laptop daily and for many hours. I had such horrible wi-fi issues last summer with the HP Spectre x360. It drove me crazy. Now with the XPS 9550, I have no such issues and I’m connecting to the same AT&T Uverse router on a 5GHz connection. Never does my XPs fail to connect from startup or resume. As I mentioned above, I do have a Bluetooth issue that bugs me from time to time but I only use Bluetooth for my Wireless mouse (I do not want to use a USB stub). If the Bluetooth dropped connection problem keeps coming up, I might just do as posted here and order the Intel card, which is only about $25.00.
March 12, 2016 at 7:31 pm
I’m thoroughly satisfied with my unit after some heavy tinkering (i5 FHD model, put m2 SATA SSD with AHCI setup. Flashed new BIOS, Did a fresh windows install and updated all the drivers).
WiFi throughput is excellent, on par with my main Clevo laptop with Killer Wifi card. Keyboard travel is a bit shallow for 15″ers, but I can live with that. Thermal is surprisingly excellent. CPU keeps full turbo speed with 100% cpu on 4 cores, and CPU temp was only around 50 deg. Battery lasts ~5 hours with 56Wh battery (thanks to 1080p display). Should last 7-8hours if I swap in 84Wh battery later.
I think XPS 15 is the single best mainstream laptop for now, and I have used dozens of laptops. Of course one should understand that new hardware is always prone to unknown issues.
March 25, 2016 at 12:57 am
thank you so much for the excellent review. You mentioned “If you’re using hyperthreaded apps daily, then spring for the i7, but otherwise, don’t sleep on the i5 if you can get a good price.” Forgive the ignorance, but I don’t know what this is, or what type of apps would use this. Suspect that means the i5 will be fine for me – but thought I’d check…
March 25, 2016 at 1:13 am
Hyperthreading means the i7 can sometimes use it’s 2-threads per core to act like 8 cores total, as opposed to the i5 with 4 cores and 1 thread per core. However, the application must be specifically written to take advantage of this- most aren’t.
March 25, 2016 at 11:43 am
thank you so much for this helpful reply
March 25, 2016 at 1:16 am
I think buggy says it all. I returned my XPS15 9550 today after fighting it for 2 weeks. I expected a $1700 laptop to perform essentially flawlessly out of the box. The XPS 15 was the worst PC I have purchased and I have been purchasing PCs since 1983! It is a great concept but simply poorly executed. I don’t have time to spend weeks updating every driver just to make the thing work. Perhaps in another 6 months they will have the bugs worked out. I would wait a while and keep checking the internet before purchasing one.
March 25, 2016 at 1:30 am
Hey Douglas, would you happen to know anything about the differences in the types of 4K display panel that is in the 9550 vs the one in the HP Spectre x360 15 4K? I went into a Best Buy today, with my 9550 to compare it to the x360 15. I was blown away by how much nicer the x360 4K screen was compared to my 9550.
March 25, 2016 at 1:37 am
I list the part-number in the article for the 4k display in the XPS 15, but I can’t say I know the part for the Spectre x360 15″. When notebookcheck does it, they tend to find out those part numbers.
March 25, 2016 at 2:30 am
Thanks! Another question: If you were going to sell your 9550, would you do so on ebay or somewhere else?
It’s strange. I’ve had it with the XPS but not for any of the reasons you and others have stated. For me, from cars to tech gadgets and just about everything money can buy; I like beautiful designs. I love the XPS screen but I’ve never warmed up to the deck (that carbon fiber feels good on the hands but it really does not look all that good to me). To me, the XPS is like a woman with a very pretty face, lots of brains but not so much of a body. Unibody equals beauty. The Dell sandwich look, not so much. Why oh why can we not have it all?!?! A 15″ thin like the Spectre x360 15 but with the bezels and horsepower of the XPS and the smooth subtle yet beautiful design of the Samsung Spin. Something tells me that the next Macbooks, are going to be all or most of that dream wish list.
March 25, 2016 at 11:17 am
I confirm the bottom line of this article. My XPS15, my 6th Dell laptop since 1994, which I received a month ago has been my worst experience: LAN, USB, Bluetooth disconnects, sudden shutdowns and many memory dumps clogging the C:\windows directory, printer randomly seen or not, etc .. Of course all drivers are uptodate and all possible sanity checks have been performed.
The recently released WD15 and TB15 docking stations add to the beta testing as well. Avoid buying them for now.
I you need a machine for work, one which works flawlessly, buy something else
And indeed the Dell update app is on par,
April 16, 2016 at 7:38 am
2 questions for everybody.
I am not expert at all with all these IT issues, but when I buy a laptop I would like that it just works without having to spend time to try to fix various issues.
1) We are now in Apr16, do you know if now this Dell XPS 15 (I would buy the full HD not QHD) is a laptop that works properly without spending weeks to try to fix issues? I did not read all comments but it looks like it has still various problems.
2) I have an HP laptop and I use my finger to login and to access all websites (yahoo, amazon, google, etc …) without having to type any password.
Is there anything similar on this Dell XPS 15?
Thank you very much and have a nice weekend.
April 16, 2016 at 9:52 am
There are few remaining issues, as long as you don’t get a lemon. Unfortunately the xps 15 doesn’t have a fingerprint reader or iris scanner so you’re stuck with passwords only
April 16, 2016 at 10:03 am
April 16, 2016 at 9:25 am
Ah I see now that you posted an update and there are sill a few issues … thanks.
It is quite incredibile that a firm like Dell sells a laptop and after some month there are still issues. They sell without proper checking before, that’s the sad reality.
April 20, 2016 at 9:20 am
Until the recent BIOS update which was released in April 2016, my XPS 9550 used to crash every 30-60-90 minutes – BSOD (I’m still not sure if the problem was resolved).
However – yesterday I ran 2 different benchmark tools to test the hardware and both failed or reported that due to overheating of the CPU the test was stopped. One of the tools is BurnIttest (there is a 30 days free trial period). In both cases the tests stopped (after 10 minutes or so) when the temperature of the CPU reached 91-92C. Dell’s diagnostic tool did not find any errors.
Is it normal with XPS 9550? Have you ever noticed any overheating issues?
Thanks a lot.
April 20, 2016 at 9:32 am
Those temperatures do seem high, but it wouldn’t be uncommon for a stock laptop with a hq cpu. Have you tried repasting and adding thermal pads? Repasting can drop temperatures by 20C on these laptops (undervolting helps a lot as well)
April 20, 2016 at 7:48 pm
Thanks for the prompt response!
I have not tried repasting or adding thermal pads, mainly because I prefer avoid opening the machine if I don’t have to. However, first of all I’m trying to understand if I got a defective unit or it is a common phenomenon and all the owners of XPS 9550 have the same problem with overheating..
btw – great review!
April 20, 2016 at 5:48 pm
Hello, Noob! I just read this message of yours, in my email notification for this thread.
I’m done with the XPS but I am curious as to what you’re working on when you get hit with BSOD? In 3 1/2 months of daily use of using my XPS 9550, I encountered a total of 2 or 3 BSOD, which happened only after I installed a photo editing app called Zoner Photo Studio. Each time I opened the app, BSOD seconds later. I then read on another forum that I needed to install a specific NVIDIA driver. Did so and never had another BSOD again.
I really am shocked at all of the problems that I read about here. My XPS has been nearly perfect. Never had a hard drive not detected issue or any of those other big problems I’ve read about. If you’ve seen my other posts, then you know that if I had any problem, I’d return/exchange that sucker in a heartbeat.
I still have the XPS but I wiped the drive and reset the system, planning on selling it ASAP. My problem is that I never got used to the bulky feel of the unit after getting so used to 13″ ultrabooks like the Samsung Spin. It also drove me crazy how the Dell keyboard keys always look dirty (I know an odd issue but it really annoyed me). As far as heat, my XPS has done the best out of any laptop I’ve used in the past year. The deck never got too hot and the bottom (something I don’t care about) never became too hot, even after Crysis 2 for an hour or so. Sure it can get loud with the fans but it stayed pretty cool for me.
I still have the Samsung Spin which continues to work like a champ. I also bought the HP Spectre x360 15″ and have fallen for it. I worried that it would have a hot deck like the 13″ version had for me but so far so good. HP had taken away the option to get the x360 15 with Iris graphics but it is now an option again on the HP site. So I’ll be sending back the x360 15 I have that has the HD 520 graphics and upgrading to Iris. After a long year of trying too many devices, it looks like the perfect machine for me, turned out to be an HP, much to my surprise. I love the Spin but wanted a bigger screen. The 15″ Samsung was not going to cut it for a few different reasons. The XPS is more power than I need and a bit too thick/heavy and no tablet mode and of course those keys that I can’t stand. The x360 15 has some of the good looks and sleekness of the Spin but a bigger screen, twice the RAM, 4K display, better graphics and USB-C. The bezels don’t bother me so I’m good to go, 1-year later. Hahaha
April 24, 2016 at 8:46 pm
Regarding the blue screens – It crashes regardless of the application I use (However, I noticed that it crashes more often when graphic or audio elements are involved).
In the beginning I thought that it was a “driver issue”, so in an attempt to resolve the problem, during the first two-three months with the machine I frequently updated all the relevant (and irrelevant) drivers dozens of times (including the BIOS) – first from Dell’s website and then from the manufacturers’ websites. Eventually I even reinstalled the OS twice – however, it did not solve my problem – the laptop kept crashing.
With tool named SupportAssist I discovered that half of the blue screens related to the graphic cards (Nvidia or Intel) (The info about rest of the crashes is unavailable).
By the way – the last BIOS update (from April) significantly improved the stability of my machine. But it still crashes at least 2-3 times a day…
I’m extremely disappointing with the XPS 9550. I hope that Dell will be able to resolve the issue.
April 27, 2016 at 9:37 pm
Hey Ace, have you sold the XPS yet? If not, let me know as I may be interested in purchasing it. Thanks!
April 28, 2016 at 8:40 am
I still have it. Wiped the drive and factory reset it about a month ago and it’s been sitting untouched in a safe place ever since. I’ve been checking the auction prices on ebay every week, trying to get an idea of what people are paying for them. For anyone who is looking for this model, I believe I have a better than new one because it is free of any hardware defects, inside out.
If you’re in the Southern Cali area, I would be willing to meet at a Starbucks, where you could spend an hour or longer, loading the unit up and testing everything before making a decision. I have not registered the unit so the 1-year warrenty is available and there are ZERO scracthes/marks of any kind anywhere on the unit. The screen is perfect (zero scratches and no dead/sleeping pixels).
This is the Best Buy link for the model I bought: bestbuy.com/site/dell-xps-15-6-4k-ultra-hd-touch-screen-laptop-intel-core-i7-16gb-memory-1tb-solid-state-drive-silver/4550500.p?id=1219765893169&skuId=4550500
You can email me at [email protected]
April 25, 2016 at 6:11 am
I’ve been looking at the XPS 15 for a while and feel it’s perfect for my needs which will include moderate gaming, 3D modelling of molecules (not too demanding I’m sure, but my Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus 2013 seems incapable of even that) as well as looking to get into doing CAD work. This laptop seems like a complete upgrade in every way to my current Samsung. I’m aware it’s able to game well but would the quad core i5 make it a competent laptop for lighter CAD work?
I live in Australia and am looking at buying the i5, FHD version from the US Dell website. This creates a few issues such as returning the laptop if it is a lemon which I’ve read is fairly likely to be the case, as getting a refund will probably be a nightmare. I guess what I’m asking is, is this laptop worth the risk of it being a faulty device?
April 25, 2016 at 6:23 am
Honestly those are both questions I can’t answer for you. I don’t have experience with CAD, though I do know it will utilize 8 threads.
I would actually recommend you buying an XPS 15 on eBay instead. Contact the seller first to ensure it has no physical defects and it passes the diagnostic. It will be much cheaper and you’ll still get the warranty.
April 25, 2016 at 12:05 pm
The i5 quad core is more than enough for heavy CAD work. For lighter CAD design, even a dual core Ultrabook i7 would be sufficient. It’s more the graphics card that makes the big impact though. While the 960M is designed for games and not CAD, it’ll still help to have a dGPU over the integrated one.
April 25, 2016 at 2:47 pm
to do pure math, stats (related to finance and with a lot of MonteCarlo simulations) work with MatLab, R, E-Views and python I would think the graphics card is not really important and the most important thing is the processor (quad core vs. dual core, Xeon or i7 vs. i5)? Am I correct?
April 25, 2016 at 4:01 pm
Yes, for those types of programs, the CPU is important.
May 2, 2016 at 3:49 am
Thanks a lot for the wonderful review of the XPS15. I have had mine for a couple of weeks now, and have experienced both problem numbers 3 (not waking up from sleep) and 10 (laptop waking itself up in sleep mode, getting hot, and draining the battery) in your Bugs list. You have said that problem 10 went away after tinkering with the wake settings. Do you remember what exactly made this problem go away? If yes, could you please share this here?
Also, have you found a solution for problem number 3?
BTW, so far Dell Pro Support has not been able to help me help me with these issues.
May 2, 2016 at 3:55 am
For the waking up from sleep- I tried 2 things which seem to have fixed it (knock on wood).
1. Go to the device manager -> network adapter settings. For the wireless card, go to the advanced tab and go to both “wake on pattern match” and “wake on magic packet” and set both to “disable”.
2. Go to BIOS, drives, and ensure that SATA 1 and 2 ports are ENABLE (boxes ticked) for startup.
It’s been ok so far.
For the sleep issue- I uninstalled the intel graphics driver and installed the latest Beta from intel’s website. You’ll have to do it manually through the device manager.
May 2, 2016 at 11:55 pm
Thanks a lot. I will try these, and post here how it turns out.
May 22, 2016 at 2:12 pm
Hi Douglas. Your review is spot-on. Sadly, my laptop did not work properly from day 1 and my BSOD issues increased over time (owned my laptop for 5 months) to the point that it would not stay working for more than 1/2 hour. It finally became a brick during an attempt to return to factory settings. I just shipped it back to Dell, which is saying they have to keep it for at least 10 days because of parts backlog. This is completely unacceptable, I depend on my laptop for my living. I have decided I must simply buy a new one and fight Dell for reimbursement. My original intent was to buy the best, lightest, largest, SSD computer I could find, even though I don’t game. (I usually have open a dozen PDFs, excel, word, and a couple browsers, in Windows; that’s it). SO, my question for you is – what should I buy instead? I need RELIABLE, light, & large screen.
May 22, 2016 at 2:23 pm
Hi David, thanks for the comment.
Your question is a difficult one, because the XPS 15 is, for all intents and purposes, the best, lightest, largest, most powerful notebook around. Reliable, light & large screen- I would take a look at the LG Gram 15 (not a quad core), Samsung ATIV Book 9, or the spectre x350 15″ (also not a quad core). For 14″, the one to beat would be the lenovo x1 carbon which is really thin and light with good build quality, but again not a quad core. Beyond that… wait until computex at the end of this month. There will be a lot of slick hardware announced- but you will probably have to wait a few more months to actually get your hands on it.
May 31, 2016 at 7:16 pm
Dell replaced the motherboard on my 1-month old machine. Now it has the following issues:
1. With the new motherboard, the machine never goes to sleep on its own according to the power management plan. It will just sit there until I put it to sleep.
2. Starting yesterday, it gets into a mode where it will not sleep or shut down properly. I have to do a hard shut-down to get it out of this mode.
I have tried your suggestion number 1 above, and it still does it. When trying number 2, found out my machine has a SATA 0 & 1, and they are both enabled.
May 31, 2016 at 11:43 pm
Does it have the same issues on a fresh install?
Use an elevated command prompt and try “powercfg /requests” and it will show things that are keeping the laptop from sleep
June 5, 2016 at 3:34 am
With the new motherboard, and all the suggestions so far, the sleep operation on my xps15 is still erratic. Just today when I tried to wake it from sleep, I found the battery was at 6%.
I will try the “powercfg /requests” command the next time it does not go to sleep.
May 15, 2016 at 8:24 pm
Mine was an out and out lemon. Video driver crashes from day one, AC Adapter replaced twice due to issues, now on the second motherboard and it won’t even power on. This has been hands down the most expensive and worst laptop I have ever owned. I must admit, Dell support has been very good, yes India, but they have made an effort to make it right. At this point I have requested a replacement, as is my right under the Magnusson – Moss warranty act. Honestly, I will likely sell the replacement unopened. This Laptop has left me with a bad taste for any Dell product.
May 23, 2016 at 11:31 am
This is ridiculous.
Dell have been debugging and fixing my machine since January and it still has many problems.
I’ve decided I’ve had enough but they won’t take it back for a refund.
Basically they reached into my pocket and stole $2700. Annoying.
May 23, 2016 at 11:41 am
I have the problem – they took my laptop a month(!) ago, but they unable to fix it – they say it is still crashing.
May 23, 2016 at 11:43 am
Demand a new replacement or you will dispute the charges with your credit card company.
June 1, 2016 at 7:21 am
I’m still waiting for Dell’s response…
However, truth to be told – I suspect that something is wrong with the XPS 9550 series. There are too many posts about BSOD even with new replacements. Very strange.
May 31, 2016 at 2:14 am
It is currently May 30, 2016. I have just read your review of the Dell XPS 1595 50. I have been comparing laptops and almost decided to buy this Dell. I am looking at the model without the touchscreen. I wondered if you could let me know if these major bugs and issues have been worked out as of this date before I make the purchase. I am not a computer person and don’t want to spend my time trying to fix issues. I just need a really good laptop for my business. Thank you
May 31, 2016 at 2:18 am
As far as I know, the main issue with the FHD is a rather slow screen response time- which is only an issue if you’re gaming I think.
You’ll want to turn off “wake on magic packet” in the device manager with the network card as well- this seems to make it wake during sleep. Hopefully you will get a good unit.
June 3, 2016 at 4:13 pm
Hi Doug. You will recall I left a comment on 5/22, asking about what computer I should buy instead of the XPS-15. I ended up returning the computer to Dell, which replaced the RAM, SSD, and LCD Panel, and I think NVidia card. I just got it back, and am about to turn it on. My question – do you believe there is there some preferred order I should use when I load any updates? Any suggestions going forward as I “try again” with a “new” computer?
June 3, 2016 at 11:51 pm
I would do firmware first and software last. But honestly, it shouldn’t matter. If something is a precursor to another, like the asmedia drivers to thunderbolt or intel drivers before nvidia then you’ll need to install it first.
June 4, 2016 at 12:54 am
I got 3 BSODs in the first half hour, all I was running was chrome and firefox. So much for a “fix.” This computer has been a lemon from day 1. Unfortunately I bought using Dell finance plan instead of credit card. If Dell does not give me a new computer I will have to sue. To all who are reading:
DO NOT BUY A DELL XPS-15.
October 23, 2016 at 3:00 am
Strange that you guys have had all these problems. I have not had a single problem with my XPS 15 9550. With temperatures, all thin ultabrook laptops will see tempretures in the 90s with gaming especially when GPU is being utilized at the same time. Had my XPS for 9 months and haven't had a real issue with it
July 8, 2016 at 6:16 pm
Hi Doug. In followup to my comments on 6/3 and 6/4 – and to tell a very long story made very short – Dell replaced my XPS-15 about 10 days ago. I experienced a BSOD the first day, but none since. I have experienced several instances of screen-goes-black, followed by a recovery with a message about drivers (can’t remember exactly what it says).
I have been reluctant to update any drivers because that seemed to lead me down a bad road last time, but I know I am being gun-shy. That said, do you nave any suggestions as to what to update and what not to? Your list of bugs includes many things crossed out, so I am not sure what that means – did driver updates fix them? Also, you stated earlier I should update firmware first and software second, but I am not entirely sure I know what that means, and further am not sure which firmware I should update and which I should leave alone. What I would like to do is update ONLY the things that might fix my graphic/screen issue, and ONLY with stable drivers. So if you can provide very specific suggestions, I would really appreciate it. Having had to suffer my first XPS-15 turning into a brick, and my second one starting to have a few of the same symptoms, I am a bit anxious. THANKS!
July 9, 2016 at 2:02 am
I would recommend updating the BIOS to 1.19 (not the latest one)
Update the intel drivers to the latest Dell ones
update the thunderbolt 3 drivers to dell’s latest
update wireless drivers to the latest on dell’s website
update the nvidia drivers from nvidia’s website
If you’re running RAID mode, update to the latest intel RST drivers
If you’re running NVME, update to the samsung 950 PRO drivers to avoid BSODs.
those are the major ones
August 1, 2016 at 6:07 pm
I updated the BIOS from factory default to the 1.19 as you have mentioned,but right after the update and log in to windows my screen would turn black and won’t come back. Could you help?
August 2, 2016 at 12:05 am
Every time you try to log in? Go to your BIOS and reset to defaults and try again. There are some ways to reset the BIOS version if it’s not working, but it’s not easy.
August 2, 2016 at 6:31 am
Yes, everytime I log in, I was usually getting from 30sec to 2mins after log in before the screen went black.
The problem seemed to be accoring after BIOS 1.19 AND updating the “Intel 100 Series Chipset Driver” to the latest ver. (10.1.1.13 ,A02). Initually I tought the problem was something wrong with the Intel onboard graphic and tried disabling/uninstalling the intel graphic card multiple times, with no luck (I had no idea why the graphic card would re-enable itself in the device manager and after uninstalling the driver and re-boot, it was still there!).
I updated all the rest drivers on the dell website to the latest version, the problem was still there, this took me a while as my XPS keeps giving me black screen on random and forcing me to hard shut-off multiple times during the process.
Finally I gave up, patched the BIOS to the latest 1.20 and the it seems its working fine now. I guess there must have been some issues between the 1.19 BIOS and the rest latest drivers on the dell website.
However I read here & somewhere else that BIOS 1.19 is preferred over 1.20 especially if I’m planning to use an thunderbolt eGPU like the razer core further down the road as the 1.19 gives a more stable connection. In this case what should I do now, should I downgrade the BIOS to 1.19 and find the approperiate history version of drivers and do a clean install or hope for a future update on the BIOS that hopefully support TB3 eGPUs?
August 2, 2016 at 6:56 am
Dell’s drivers are such a rabbit hole, I wouldn’t go down there. Just hope that Dell updates the BIOS again, or live with the flicker.
July 16, 2016 at 2:25 am
I picked up a slightly-used XPS 15 a few weeks ago. Launching Photoshop CC gave me the BSOD. Since then, I’ve updated the BIOS to the most current (the one to fix problems with the Thunderbolt dock), updated the nVidia drivers to the most current version, and installed whatever other updates were on found to be needed by Dell’s application. This is on July 15, 2016.
Before the BIOS update – which I did last – Photoshop CC would launch, but use of the nVidia GPU had to be turned off in Photoshop preferences. After the BIOS update, that no longer seems to be necessary.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the machine runs smoothly from here on out. I didn’t mess around with the drivers for the SSD (Samsung 951.)
July 16, 2016 at 2:28 am
If you get bsods then I’d recommend updating the Intel rst drivers (If in raid mode in bios) or installing Samsung’s 950 pro drivers if in achi. Current build of Windows insider requires the Samsung driver for me
July 17, 2016 at 3:35 pm
I ordered the FHD/i7/512gb when Dell was running their $400 off promo. I had read about the issues but with the price down to ~$1400, it was worth seeing if I would get one of the “good ones”. Anyways, out of the box everything worked except for the darn wifi, it kept losing connection to my router and would only reconnect after reboot or sleep. I fiddled with all of the power management settings, updated drivers, nothing would work.
After 48 hours of researching and fiddling I figured I would return it so I did a fresh reinstall/reset formatted everything. Decided to set the machine up one more time before returning and for whatever reason (with the exact same drivers it had before the reinstall) the wifi now works flawlessly.
All this to say, not sure if it helps others but maybe a fresh reinstall of windows may help.
Haven’t had a bsod yet, running protools and photoshop, no issues so far knock on wood.
Running BIOS 1.2.1 that came out on 6/30. I don’t have any docks, will order one soon to test.
July 18, 2016 at 6:34 pm
Scratch that. Wifi started acting up again after the weekend. Intel display driver keeps crashing now. Already called in to process a return and refund. Really a shame, the screen is great, the build is great and I was looking forward to its high performance but I just don’t trust that these issues will get resolved.
July 20, 2016 at 3:28 am
What a mess! This is the worst computer I have ever owned, by a long shot. It keeps crashing, and is slow and buggy. It goes to sleep randomly and then won’t wake up. The trackpad is awful. I spent a lot of money in this computer, and probably $600-$700 more to have my IT guy try everything under the sun to fix it. Dell is useless, as I have reinstalled the OS twice now, and spent days, days, hours, hours on support calls. It is still not working.
I honestly can’t belief the terrible experience I have had with this computer. It has cost me lots of money, and countless hours of lost productivity, as I bought it and used it primarily for work.
September 8, 2016 at 1:49 am
I have 24 hours to decide whether to pay $700 for a new in the box FHD/i7/512gb with 16GB Ram and 3 year Dell premium support plan. I am buying from a selling that kept it in the box and was afraid to deal with it. Dell says the warranty will transfer to me. Are the bugs fixed or am I about to embark on an epic journey in dealing with Computer room PHD’s in India and Central America working my way up the Dell bureaucratic ladder of tier 1 and 2 level support clones hopefully forcing dell over months to replace with a better product?
September 8, 2016 at 1:58 am
That sounds like a great deal. I would jump on it, with warranty.
September 8, 2016 at 2:29 am
An update – it was a VERY long process, but eventually I returned my XPS 9550 to Dell and received my money back. It is unbelievable that almost a year after the release date people still complain about the same issues I had a year ago with my laptop…
This time I will go with Lenovo/Apple.
September 9, 2016 at 6:48 am
Thanks for the color, Douglas. I agree with you. It’s worth the stretch. Tonight I pulled the trigger and bought a Dell XPS 15 9550 FHD/6th Gen/ i7/512GB/SSD with 16GB Ram and 3 year Dell premium support plan. The Thunderbolt docking system was pulled from the shelves by Dell temporarily to kill bugs. I will be using the WD15 180 Watt USB 3.0 Docking station until the Thunderbolt docking station is fixed to drive dual external 4K monitors in a daisy chain and lots of peripherals including 5.1 sound. Let the stress testing begin…Make no mistake about it, I will make sure Dell lives up to their promise of what this little wicked machine can do.
November 2, 2016 at 12:47 pm
Are there any updates on the XPS 15 ?
Do recently shipped laptops suffer from the same problem ?
Anybody tried to install ubuntu on it ?
November 2, 2016 at 7:43 pm
Current problems include flickering of the backlight on the 4k screen with recent bios updates. The Windows anniversary update is also causing problems for some with ssds in ahci
November 3, 2016 at 7:18 am
Ok thanks. So I guess it means the cnx5537 (Full HD only) on Ubuntu is likely to work correctly ?
I'm wondering if the lack of recent comments mean recent model work OK or that people stopped buying this model because it is so crappy…
Dell just refunded my old XPS 15 (previous model, 4K display without infinity edge) as the screen died 3 times (lines of dead pixels) in 18 months.
November 3, 2016 at 7:23 am
The XPS forums on notebook review are quite active :) there's a ton of knowledge that's been dropped there about this model. I'm still going to risk the bugs for whenever the kaby lake model is released.
November 29, 2016 at 12:03 pm
I've finally purchased a full HD XPS 15.
For the moment I'm extremely satisfied of it. The mate screen is awesome, the definition is perfect on my Ubuntu (no more tiny icons on desktop softwares I had with the 4k screen).
The laptop goes to sleep and wakes up without any problem, battery life is way better than on my previous one (I think I can work 5-7 hours on it unplugged).
Only problem on Ubuntu : the trackpad acts a bit weirdly, but I'm using an external mouse so that's ok.
I've purchased a 2 years on site maintenance, as I had so many problems with my previous XPS. "Chat échaudé craint l'eau froide" as we say in french.
November 16, 2016 at 12:12 am
I just got my XPS 15 yesterday, booted it up, charged it and was pleased with the machine. Tried going into BIOS to do a complete clean install for the machine. Had Windows 10 Enterprise bootable drive plugged in. Upon changing the boot cycles, the machine restarted as it should. But this time, it didn't boot up at all. Unplugged everything, tried pressing the power button, lights from keyboard and power button lights up, could hear the fan as well. But the screen remains completely dark with no backlight at all.
Eventually the machine will shut down by itself after 15 seconds or so. The whole cycle repeats every time I boot the machine up; it's like it's dead. I have made so many clean installations for so many machines and this is the first time something like this happened, on a $2k machine I bought and got it for only a few hours.
Called Dell, and today they will head over to repair it. What a load of bullshit for a premium machine.
November 16, 2016 at 12:48 am
that's unfortunate. Can't get into BIOS?
November 28, 2016 at 6:33 am
I was considering getting the Dell XPS 15 9550 before I read this review. All my previous notebooks have been Dell Latitudes. I was going for the XPS because 1) the high specs, especially i7, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 2) Available in local stores.
Now, I need to buy something of a similar specs especially the above. Is there a Dell model that you could recommend ? If other than Dell, it needs to have a friendly keyboard, robust build as I travel quite a bit.
November 28, 2016 at 6:43 am
Hmm which aspects of the xps 15 make is a deal breaker? I'd still recommend the xps 15 overall, despite bugs. I'd recommend downgrading the bios to 1.2.0 as it's the most stable.
The precision 7xxx is more robust but not as pretty or slim by a long shot. The Dell inspiron 7559 is basically the same internals with a no-frills design. It's pretty solid I hear.
November 29, 2016 at 9:03 am
Thanks for the reply, Douglas.
Whatever happened to the Latitude line? All my previous notebooks have been Latitudes and they have been very robust in my experience. Is there anything in the latitudes that is comparable to the XPS 15 ?
November 29, 2016 at 9:08 am
Well, there's the Latitude 7710 (true workstation, quite large) and the 5510. The 5510 is the same as the XPS 15 though, but with better CPU options and a Quatro GPU. The business support is better, though, so it might be worth picking up a Latitude 5510 over the XPS 15 for that reason if not the 6820HQ/XEON CPUs.
November 30, 2016 at 3:48 am
Thanks for the latitude recommendation, Douglas. However, the Dell page for 5510 says, "This product is currently unavailable. Please find our recommendation for a comparable system below."
The recommended ones on that page are all 13-inch or smaller screens.
Is it 5510 or was there a typo?
November 30, 2016 at 3:54 am
I'm sorry- you are correct. I was thinking of the precision workstations, not latitudes. My recommendations for the precisions still stands, though.
November 30, 2016 at 4:00 am
The precision models are heavier in comparison. I was hoping that there would be a comparable latitude. Seems like Dell is not using the latitudes at the same pace.
November 30, 2016 at 4:28 am
Hmm, other than the Precision 5510, have you looked at the Thinkpad P series? They're just under 5lbs.
November 30, 2016 at 7:32 am
How is the aesthetics of Thinkpad P Series compared to a Latitude? The Latitudes have very comfortable keyboards and touchpads. I am a developer and these things are important in my selection.
November 30, 2016 at 9:36 am
Well in my opinion the original is best: the trackpoints, clickers and especially keyboards are better with ThinkPads. I think those might be worth it for a developer
I HATE DELL
December 1, 2016 at 8:02 pm
I purchased and XPS 13. The reason I purchased a new computer is that my Venue 11 Pro is a piece of junk. In the two and one half years that I have had it it has been back to the depo at least 10 times. During one of those trips, the Venue was sent in, returned, it did not work on the return, resent the next day, returned, did not work, and sent again the next day and then returned and work for a short period of time. Almost every component has been replaced at least once. So recently, the junk would not turn on. I made the decision to purchase another computer even though this Venue still had more than 6 months left on the warranty. I was waiting for an on site repair that took over two weeks to get the part and have them come and fix the Venue. I made the dumbest mistake in my life as I purchased a XPS 13.
The XPS 13 arrived Wednesday before Thanksgiving. My computer person loaded all the necessary programs so I could get use to it over the holiday. Dell sure didn't care about my holiday as when I attempted to connect to the wifi at home it would not connect. My computer person came to the house on Thanksgiving and spent hours trying to get it to connect. He could not. Later that night I spent hours with the technicians through chat to get it to connect. They could not get it work either. Their solution was to wipe the hard drive. Why would you wipe a hard drive on a new computer just from the factory? Dell solution to everything I guess as they have done that more than fifteen time with my Venue. But anyway, the next day I went to my office to call and see if I could connect to the office wifi. I got to my office and turned on the XPS 13 and it did a self diagnostics. That self test said that the motherboard was defective. How do yo send a computer out with a defective motherboard? I don't know how but, Dell sure does.
So I cancelled the order through my credit card. Dell has not even bothered to pick up for a week after the cancellation and removal from my credit card. Guess it is going in the trash where it belongs on Monday if not picked up. DO NOT BUY DELL AS YOU WILL GROW TO HATE IT TOO.
January 8, 2017 at 6:46 pm
I bought the XPS 9550 December 2015. I wanted to love it but for a few different reasons I just don't feel like it was the right machine for me even though it had no hardware problems for me. Now a year later after mostly keeping it unused on a shelf in my home office, I'm now using it as my main/only machine. I've learned to love it. I had been using both a 13" Samsung Spin and an HP Spectre x360 15. I just sold the x360 and have listed the Spin for sale. The updates that Dell has released over the past year, have taken care of the issues that I first noticed. No more slow to sleep and wake. battery life has increased. A year later and I can't find any real issues with my 9550. I never had touchpad issues as some people have mentioned. The touchpad worked very well a year ago and still does for me today. I use Chrome and browsing was not an issue at all then nor now.
I've never been a big fan of the design of the XPS. I don't prefer the sandwich body design and the keyboard gets dirty too quickly. But typing on the XPS feels just fine to me. I am not willing to ever go back down lower than 15" for my main PC. As far as I'm concerned, the XPS 15 and the new Macbook Pro 15, are the two best overall 15" laptops on the market. I've ordered a Macbook Pro 15, highest spec and will compare it to the XPS. I will also try the XPS 9560 as soon as it is out. After looking around and trying different laptops, it comes down to the XPS that I have, the XPS 9560 or the MBP 15 for me in 2017.
BTW' your post loses all credibility for me with your last paragraph. Cost is of little concern to me these days but not even I would ever "trash" a laptop.
September 26, 2021 at 9:15 pm
My opinion for Dell is a bit mixed. The quality is very good, but some things are not so smart designed.
First, this is not a mac. this means that the win os makes the things harder for the customer. For example the 4k downscale of the menu of some programs is sill not fixed. Secondly, every time the mac will beat windows in terms of battery usage on sleep. But this is not problem of Dell.
I had M3800 Precision. Briliant display, good cpu, a decent videocard. But the trackpad was awful. The connection to usb hard drives was very unstable, maybe because of a software bug, which brings very little amperage to the HDD. Very annoying and still not fixed for a huge line of Dell products.
I bought a 7710, which is build like a tank. this is totally different beast. I love it. But the weight of this thing makes it a desktop replacement rather than a laptop. But… the M5000M video does EVERYTHING you want.
So, small laptops from Dell have their issues, the big models are a different story.
January 25, 2017 at 3:40 pm
Hi Douglas and anyone who could help advise me on this,
Thanks for your article. Im hoping to get some advice from you regarding the 9550 and 9560
I recently just received my XPS 15 9550 with 4k touch and i5-6300HQ which I purchased on a Boxing Day sale. After using it for a few days, I realized that I have absolutely no need for a touchscreen laptop, which I assume also drains my battery life. The FPS I'm getting while gaming is also much less than expected (60 on Dota2 with lowest settings), which I've read is caused by the 4k display?
Also, a little while after I placed my order on the 9550, the 9560 version was launched!! Guess thats why they had the sale for the 9550 model.
I'm considering returning this 9550 version (since there is a full refund option available), and purchasing the newer 9560 non-touch model with 7th generation i7 and a GTX 1050. It will cost me an extra 200CAD for the switch though. Is it a worthwhile switch?
January 25, 2017 at 7:42 pm
Well first, you aren't meant to game at 4k. Almost no laptop can. Stick to 1080p. Dota 2 will run fine on max settings. The 4k display does look incredible and (for myself) I find touch screens very useful for writing and reading because of scrolling and zoom. If you never used a touch screen maybe give it a go and see how you feel.
The 9560 is worth the upgrade at only 200 CAD more, but I'm assuming that's with FHD and a smaller battery, right?
January 25, 2017 at 9:00 pm
Yup, youre right, the 9560 would have a FHD monitor and 56 Whr battery compared to the 84Whr on my touchscreen model, but I've read that the non touch would still have longer battery life regardless of its smaller battery, do you know if this is true?
Honestly though, the touchscreen serves absolutely no purpose to me which is the main reason as to why I wanted to change it for a better processor and graphics card, but after tinkering around with 4k and 1080, I really noticed the difference between the resolutions :/
Even with the FHD screen and smaller battery, do you think I should make the switch if I have no need for the touchscreen?
January 25, 2017 at 9:02 pm
It will depend on your usage. If your CPU is idle then the FHD will use less energy. If you're doing CPU-heavy tasks, then the larger battery will be more important.
If you go for the new one (I'd probably do it), keep in mind that you should be able to later buy a 90Wh battery on eBay or Dell and swap out your smaller one.
January 25, 2017 at 9:39 pm
You're absolutely right! Haven't thought about changing the battery. Somehow the idea that everything in the XPS 15 cannot be manually changed myself was in my head. This leaves only the difference between the FHD and UHD model, and I am probably going to go ahead and change the laptop. Thanks again for your advice!
Also, any idea if you'd do a review on the 9560 model? I'd love to see what you think of the difference in performance due to the upgrade and if the GPU would cause a heating/battery problem.
January 25, 2017 at 10:04 pm
I would love to do a comparison, but I don't think I'll be buying a 9560 for some time (if I ever do buy it). Dealbreaker for me at the moment is the half-speed TB3 port, as I use an eGPU. Because performance, size/weight, TB3, and quality are all important for me, I am going to wait to buy my personal laptop. HP ZBook studio G4 and the Kaby Lake refresh of the MBP 15" (with a price cut) would be my future hopes.
January 27, 2017 at 9:54 am
Be careful with XPS 9560. I purchased the 9550 almost immediately after it was released (more than a year ago) and I experienced many hardware issues with the machine, including overheating (all resulted in BSODs). The most annoying thing was, that I was not the only one who experienced these hardware issues with the new model (in the beginning I thought that I just got a "lemon"), but I noticed that people all around the world reported about similar issues even with brand new replacements – what made me think that, probably, something was wrong with the XPS 9550 series, at least with the first units which were sold (eventually, since Dell were unable to repair my machine, and they had been trying for more than a month, I received a refund).
If I buy Dell again, it probably will be Dell Latitude or Dell Precision.
Mic De Marco
February 27, 2017 at 1:27 am
"Besides this, I couldn’t get my Bluetooth speakers to work at all until I removed the terrible Dell/Broadcom software, which looks like it was last updated in 2003"
You are a legend! speaker is finally working after removing the Bluetooth Broadcomm software. Thanks!
February 27, 2017 at 1:36 am
It's just an awful card. Eugh!
August 5, 2017 at 3:24 pm
Dell xps is such a great great laptop if following issues are fixed.
1. Extreme heat (which causes thermal and power throttling)
2. Proper heat exhaustion
3. No throttling of any kind
4. Improvement in battery for 4k
5. slow boot
If these problems are fixed I bet you no manufacturer in the world can beat dell xps.
August 6, 2017 at 12:05 am
That sad thing is even without those issues fixed, it's still unbeaten by any manufacturer :p
October 17, 2017 at 1:35 pm
Hi, I am just thinking to buy a second hand XPS 15 (9550). I would like to ask if by now all that bug have been fixed or if I may be still going to get troubles.
October 18, 2017 at 4:33 pm
The battery is swelling after a year. Dell issued a 'recall' but they aren't honoring it for those out of warranty. Recalls are issued when a defect is systemic, way beyond the boundaries of occasional 'manufacturers defects' since the broad nature of failure creates liability outside of warranty. I think the FAA needs to consider adding this product to its no-fly list, due to the risks involved with the battery since dell is not commenting on whether any danger exists with the product.
October 19, 2017 at 4:20 am
Do you have any reference for what you are saying, Eric?
October 19, 2017 at 4:33 am
Lots of people discussing this on r/Dell
October 19, 2017 at 9:56 am
Where do you mean for r/Dell? Do you have any link for me please?
In any case, I just bought it last night!
January 11, 2018 at 10:28 am
He's talking about the Dell subreddit, https://reddit.com/r/Dell