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  • Meaker10 - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Is the largest cache really an advantage though. I thought tests showed in everything but gaming on the igp it had no impact on performance. Reply
  • willis936 - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    That really isn't the case. Go back and check the compute numbers on crystalwell. It blows every other mobile SKU out of the water. Sure if you don't need compute don't spend $2k on it Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, March 13, 2014 - link

    The weight there in the first page, the Dell website says it starts at 4.4 pounds, but is that still the case going from the 6 to 9 cell battery? Reply
  • edzieba - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    "and perhaps give the user the option to enable/disable the scaling if it causes problems"
    It exists:
  • edzieba - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    I'll add that (not using chrome) I've had minimal issues with hiDPI scaling for applications. What's really annoying is when docking a laptop, you can set the internal and external displays to have different scaling factors (125% for the laptop display, 100% for the external monitor), but that these only take effect AFTER a logout/login. Until then, applications will be the correct scale, but using the old non-DPI-aware method (rendered at equivalent lower resolution and bitmap scaled) and will be slightly blurred. Upon the logout/login, everything will scale normally. Reply
  • Silma - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Can you make a video of it or a step by step, I never could find a way to get 200% on the laptop and 100% on the external monitor. Reply
  • jphughan - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    There isn't a way to set separate scaling percentages on each display. Windows 8.1 lets you specify a baseline size, and it will then do post-render zooming in/out on the non-primary displays to make things look the right physical size. Mac OS X does the same thing with the "Optimize for Retina" or "Optimize for external display" options. Actually having multiple DPI scaling values on multiple displays simultaneously would be a huge headache for Microsoft to support and then for developers to adopt for all sorts of reasons, and I'm betting it will never happen because as soon as HiDPI becomes the norm, the need for this setup will disappear. So instead you can either optimize your scaling for the HiDPI display and have everything essentially zoomed out on the external panel (which looks pretty good but not as great as native optimization for that panel), or you can optimize for your external panel and have everything zoomed in on the QHD+ display, which as you can probably imagine doesn't look great. Still, it's better than having to pick a single scaling value for both displays, since there's no single value that would perform acceptably in both cases. Reply
  • edzieba - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    I don't do it with simultaneous displays (lid closed when docked) which is why I have to do the logout/login fandango, but there is a Windows Blog post that explains the new features including independant scaling for each display: Reply
  • Penti - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    Which isn't independent if you read the article. Set your primary display to 125% and your secondary to 200%, then the secondary will be a rescaled (bitmap/DWM) version of the 125% DPI. IE solves the problem by not doing any scaling, but rather zooming at different levels on different screens. Basically just ignoring the DPI-settings and handle it (resizing) themselves by not supporting the native ways. Reply
  • jphughan - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    Correct. But supporting multiple DPI scale factors simultaneous would require a ton of work from Microsoft and then a ton of work from app developers to support it properly. Apps would have to dynamically rescale their elements (and possibly load different art assets if the scale factors are large enough) as they were dragged across displays -- not to mention what would happen for applications that users want to use spanned across two displays. It's certainly not impossible, but given that HiDPI will eventually become the norm, I'm betting that Microsoft isn't going to engineer true multi-DPI support because they know that by the time they figure it out AND third-party developers build in support, it will basically no longer be required. It's worth noting that Apple hasn't engineered multi-DPI either despite having a multi-year head start on HiDPI support and full control over both the software and hardware platform; instead they still use the same type of scaling that Windows 8.1 does in that situation. Reply
  • Penti - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    Of course Apple hasn't, but a high "virtual" res rescaled to lower looks better then wise versa. Spanned would be awful in Windows for that matter, right now that is. Reply
  • jphughan - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    True, and Windows 8.1 can do that too as long as you set the HiDPI panel as primary. Apple does have the advantage of allowing you to optimize for a non-primary display though, which is handy when presenting if you want the presentation display to be sharpest but want to keep your desktop icons and such on your built-in panel. Reply
  • peterfares - Saturday, March 08, 2014 - link

    Actually with 8.1 they added the ability for the program to actually switch which DPI it's rendering at on the fly. It's called Per-Monitor DPI-Awareness. There was even a demo video of moving an application between two monitors. The one where the majority of the application on is what scaling setting it uses to render and then scales for the other one. As soon as it is mostly on the other screen it switches to the other screen's DPI. I'm having trouble finding the video, but here is the MSDN documentation for it.

    Unfortunately it seems like Microsoft themselves hardly made use of it. Not even File Explorer supports it! I think IE does, but I can't remember.
  • peterfares - Saturday, March 08, 2014 - link

    Here is a demo application to try it out! Scroll to the bottom. Works perfectly on my computer.
  • Penti - Saturday, March 08, 2014 - link

    As said, ie doesn't really use it but it does use it to detect the setting per screen and then scale by zooming. Expect apps to work differently and mostly handle this themselves. Reply
  • AbbyYen - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    retarded shrinken arrow keys...
    Pls Stop copying the fruit's product!
    you're a pc, your strength is in Gaming and productivity?.... BABY DON'T PLAY GAMES! MATURE with big fingers do!
  • MySchizoBuddy - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    what an ignorant view of Apple products. Reply
  • Rdmkr - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Not to be a nitpicker but please distinguish properly between qHD and QHD:
    qHD: quarter HD, 1/4 the pixels of 1080p
    QHD: quad HD, 4 times the pixels of 720p (QHD+: 4x 900p)
    (and yes, obnoxiously enough they couldn't be consistent about what to call "HD" within this naming scheme)
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    I believe I referred to it correctly as qHD+ everywhere, which is 4 x HD+, or four times 1600x900. If I missed the plus signs anywhere, let me know and I'll go fix it. Reply
  • duynguyenle - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    You missed the point entirely, it's got nothing to do at all with the plus sign, it's about the upper/lowercase letter Q in front of the HD, specifically, qHD (with the lowercase q) refers to resolution of 960x540, usually a phone or mobile device resolution) whereas QHD (uppercase Q) is quad-HD, which is the resolution used in this particular laptop Reply
  • tarqsharq - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Like KB vs Kb... Reply
  • Omega215D - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    I'll chime in to back this statement as well. Display manufacturers in the mobile sector (probably in general though) state that qHD is quarter HD (960x540) while QHD is Quad HD (2560x1440) and then there's WQXGA, aka QHD+ (3200x1800).
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Thanks -- it was late, and I actually decided to change from calling it 3K to calling it QHD+, but then for some reason I had it in my foggy brain that the Q should be lowercase. LOL. Fixed now! Reply
  • GTVic - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    I failed a Calculus course once because I used a d without a tail in the final exam and got all zeros for otherwise correct answers. We hadn't taken partial derivatives yet and I had no idea that the no-tail d had a different meaning. Teacher wouldn't listen to reason so I had to repeat. Reply
  • Silma - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    I've had the Dell XPS 15 Platinum as main working machine since the end of November and I love it.

    The cons.
    - Battery life, while absolutely fine, should be even better. There should be a way to get the processor or whatever to consume even less.
    - No Ethernet port. This really sucks big time, I don't like to transport adaptators. Wi-Fi performance is superb though, although:
    - No Wifi AC. It's not a big deal per se as there are almost no AC points at this time, but this should be part of a high end laptop nevertheless.
    - qHD+ display. Absolutely nothing to do with the superb screen, but scaling isn't where it should be in Windows (most notably not possible to dpi scale differently per screen). Photoshop sucks big time on such high resolution.

    The pluses
    - It's beautiful and rock solid
    - 4 USB 3 ports
    - Full size HDMI plus mini Display Port. I've been using the XPS with an additional 2560x1440 external display and it works well.
    - Silent. This laptop is really silent in Office situations. Super silent.
    - QHD+ display. Outstanding when no scaling problem, super crisp, nice colors, amazing contrast.
    - Rock solid performance. 512 GB SSD + 16GB RAM + Windows 8.1 = faster than light.
    Especially start time.
    - Very good audio. For a laptop, audio is perfectly acceptable and quite louder than most laptops I've used. Skype, with the 2 mics for auto noise cancellation is great.
    - Acceptable gaming performances. This isn't a gamer's laptop. But in case you need, it's quite fine.
    - As a test I did a full World of Warcraft raid (>3 hours) at 3200x1800. Sure you will hear the laptop then. But it never throttled.

    All in all, I highly recommend the machine. To me the only alternative will be the new Thinkpad X1 Carbon with Haswell. the XPS 15 is not an ultrabook ( I think because of the 37W processor) but it has 95 % of ultrabook advantages with almost 0 % disadvantages: most of everything is user upgreadable such as battery, SSD, additional SSD, and so forth.
  • Silma - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Seems that I am mistaken and that the Wi Fi is AC compliant Reply
  • Accord99 - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Yes, with an Asus AC66 I can get transfer rates of 40-50 MB/s. Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    No GigE port?

    I'll fold, thanks.
  • peterfares - Saturday, March 08, 2014 - link

    Windows 8.1 DID add support for per-monitor DPI-awareness. Pretty much nothing takes advantage of it, but it is possible.
  • peterfares - Saturday, March 08, 2014 - link

    Here is a demo application to try it out! Scroll to the bottom. Works perfectly on my computer.
  • oleguy682 - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    I understand the desire for 16:10 in place of 16:9. But if both are 1800 lines, do you really notice the missing 200 pixels at the bottom? I realize that the AR will resize a displayed window slightly, but it would be interesting to see the actual difference between what is displayed on 16:10 vs. 16:9 on a similar document or webpage that is scaled appropriately for the AR. Unfortunately my 4:3 screen only will give me a 16:10 or 5:3 (16:9.6 or so) AR so I can't really make the comparisons myself. Reply
  • Fox5 - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    I had this laptop. I actually had a hell of a time with the intermittent throttling. Believe it or not, it happens fastest and most often with simpler games. Also, I had heavy display corruption with Steam Big Picture mode when using the nvidia gpu.
    Dell eventually fixed the throttling by replacing the heatsink and fan assembly. It's a tiny piece of hardware too. The corruption in Big Picture mode is still there though.
  • Silma - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    I haven't had any throttling issue since november but then again I'm not using it to play. Reply
  • unni - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    If you keep it on a level surface, there doesn't seem to be any throttling. Also, try nVidia inspector and set FPS to 30. That helps as well. Reply
  • Fox5 - Sunday, March 09, 2014 - link

    Lol, locking the fps to 30 shouldn't be required. Also, the level surface did nothing for it. I had a legitimately defective model, and replacing the heatsink fixed it. Reply
  • whyso - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Good that they fixed the throttling. I had a 2nd gen model that would idle at 60 degrees and reach over 100 degrees on games like skyrim.

    Interesting to see that the 750m performs very closely to the 765m in the razer blade.

    Also, would it be possible to do some sort of test to see if the PCI-E SSD in the mac lineup actually brings any advantages? Random performance isn't better than anything else out there. Copying files to anything other than a SSD won't be different. The Macbook air reviewed didn't boot up any faster than the 2012 model either. What exactly are the advantages and are they even apparent?
  • VisionX302 - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    I tested the performance of both of these. The Mac was around 1 Gb/s while the Dell was in the 500 Mb/s range. For most real-life activities you wouldn't notice a big difference, but I could a difference in copying files, booting, resuming from sleep, etc. Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    I wonder if it's the same issue, my Studio 15 after some days/hours use would always lock itself at the minimum clock multiplier, had to reset to fix it. I could also fix it through forcing multipliers through Throttlestop, which was also good for me since on Penryn processors they could be undervolted so much that the top clock could use the bottom clocks voltage. Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, March 13, 2014 - link

    And do the larger battery sizes change the size (do they jut out like older models) and how much do they change the weight? Reply
  • superflex - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Why make the comparison to the retina MBP in the intro if you dont provide a comparison to the MBP in the charts?
    Full retard, baby.
  • tipoo - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    If a Haswell 15" rMBP review is coming (I assume it is?) I'd like to see this laptop plopped in as a data point. Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    So running the panel at non-native res like 1080p doesn't cause any ugly interlacing blurring, like running 720p on my 1080p monitor would? Reply
  • A5 - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    It's happening, but it is probably harder to notice on a 3200x1800 panel. It's probably just easier to save the money and get a native 1080p panel, though... Reply
  • hfm - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    I would say if you plan on keeping the laptop for a couple-few years get the qHD+ panel if the scaling doesn't bother you. If application developers/Microsoft come up with better ways of handling the HiDPI issue you are ready for it with a HiDPI panel.

    Sort of like getting 16GB instead of 8GB of soldered on RAM in the case your memory requirement goes up in the future but you don't want to throw out the laptop.
  • skiboysteve - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Great review thank you! Any chance you could post the color calibration file for those of us that have an xps 15 but don't have the equipment? I realize it won't be the same for everyone but its better than nothing Reply
  • JJHayesIII - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Check out the XPS15 (9530) wiki for a display profile (and other great info):
  • Illes Judy - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Love my HP Reply
  • dragonhype - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    I found that when I scrolled using the two finger trackpad scrolling that the laptop would make a mechanical whizzing noise. Did you find that With any of the models you were using? Reply
  • jphughan - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Sounds like you're describing is the coil whine issue that's being widely reported and discussed. There's a Dell Community thread going where Dell has officially acknowledged the issue and is investigating ( and it's also being reported in two threads (one for the XPS 15 and the other for its sister the Precision M3800). Reply
  • jphughan - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Ok, looks like my link broke because the close parenthesis was included as part of the link, and there doesn't appear to be a way to edit posts. If you right-click the link, choose Copy Link Location, paste it into an address bar, and remove that parenthesis at the end, you'll be able to see the thread. Reply
  • dragonhype - Monday, March 10, 2014 - link

    Thank You! I will look into it! Otherwise I love the laptop! Reply
  • xaml - Monday, March 10, 2014 - link

    Regardless of what causes it, the electric noise issue also is present on the XPS 13 – both Sandy Bridge and Haswell.
  • jphughan - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    It sounds like the display performance impressions were taken before disabling Dell's questionably named "splendid mode", which grossly oversaturates colors. It's unfortunately enabled by default in the factory build and it's managed unintuitively in Windows Mobility Center -- but once it's disabled, multiple calibrators have found that the display delivers a DeltaE of less than 1 BEFORE calibration, and perfect coverage of sRGB. I have no idea why Dell shot themselves in the foot by setting up their system this way out of the box, but display perfection is just one buried option toggle away, no calibration required. Reply
  • skiboysteve - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    I could not find this setting in my windows mobility center. I see:
    Brightness, volume, battery status, screen orientation, external display, sync center, and presentation settings. The bottom right box is empty.

    I'm going to contact dell support about this.

    Also, I didn't get any throttling issues with mine.. so wonder if mine is different somehow
  • skiboysteve - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Found it, you have to install dell quickset to get these options. You get 4 more:
    Keyboard backlighting, fn key behavior (change between requiring fn press for f1-f12 or requiring fn press for media controls), touchpad on/off, and the SPLENDID color setting
  • jphughan - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    You need Dell Quickset installed and your built-in display needed to be enabled when your system booted (not just an external display). Reply
  • VisionX302 - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Great article. I picked one up a few months ago. This was my experience exactly. This thing should be a GREAT laptop, but it wasn't. I did some comparisons with the MacBook Pro using both OSX and Windows 8.1 under BootCamp and the new Lenovo X1 Carbon. The Dell was certainly a really good laptop, but the battery life was much better on the other two, resuming from sleep, even things like the keyboard and the touchpad in particular are much better on the other two. I was really hoping that the Dell would be my one size fits all solution for all my various needs, but it just left me wanting. If I hadn't compared it against the other laptops I wouldn't have noticed these little differences, but they really do add up. Things like the battery life are especially noticeable. With the Lenovo, I don't really even carry a charger anymore, I just top it off every couple of days. After a few hours, the Dell would have to be charged. The Mac very similar. I also had a problem with the touch screen that had to be replaced and ultimately returned the Dell due to a serious thermal issue / failure. I'm still waiting on the replacement. With those issues, I'm also left wondering whether the build quality is really there with the Dell or not. Reply
  • jphughan - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Dell has definitely had some QC issues on this system. Much of those issues pertain to the QHD+ display (dead pixels, dust under the glass, pressure point revealing a weird color distortion in a corner when gripping the lid a certain way) and there's also the widely reported coil whine issue that Dell is currently investigating after numerous reports. The unresponsive touchscreen issue was resolved with a firmware update though. Reply
  • hfm - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    If I recall the notebookreview threads the firmware update actually bricked some systems and they needed service. I wouldn't touch this thing until Dell gets a handle on the numerous build quality issues. It's really a shame as there are so many plusses with it.

    I'm personally waiting for the thin-and-lights sporting the 860M that are imminent. MSI GS60 looks like a 4.4lb monster.
  • jphughan - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Two people reported bricks that were fixed with replacement displays. I don't know if that was due to a bug in the firmware updater code or perhaps a bug in the existing firmware on the display itself, in which case those people would either have to stick permanently with buggy firmware or get a replacement display anyway that can actually be updated. In any case, my firmware updated fine for what it's worth.

    The QC issues are indeed disappointing. I ordered before they came to light but I've been fortunate to only have the coil whine issue. I don't even consider that much of an issue since I've had that issue on numerous other laptops that use high-wattage AC adapters. But if Dell does actually fix it, I'll consider using my warranty to get a replacement motherboard at that time. I've got 3 years, after all.
  • darwinosx - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    You could not play me to buy Dell anything. Cheap junk and forget about support after you buy. Reply
  • kgh00007 - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    How about the WiFi performance?
    The previous version had poor connection and throughput issues due to a design fault? Is this one any better?

    My XPS 15 L502x, which is two generations behind this one, has the exact same throttling issues. I would not buyba laptop with any sign of throttling issues from the start, it will only get worse over time. Look for a laptop with good thermals from the start.

    In order to game on my L502x with an i7-2360QM and GT525M, I have to set a "Game" profile with the CPU Max set to 99% to avoid turbo boost on the CPU so that it doesn't cook itself and the GPU. The heatsinks are connected just like they are in this newer model!
  • jphughan - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    WiFi had some issues early on in this system but they turned out to be driver-related. Intel released version 16.6 that seems to have fixed the vast majority of problems. Some people on NotebookReview are still having issues, but they haven't clarified what router or firmware they're running, so I consider those issues within the regular realm of WiFi performance/compatibility issues overall and not something specific to this particular system. Reply
  • dorekk - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    That's weird, I've never noticed any throttling with my L502X. Reply
  • Dug - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    I've read that people have been very happy with the business equivalent which is the Dell Precision M3800. No throttling and seems to run cooler. I'm assuming because it uses the Nvidia Quadro K1100M, w/ 2GB GDDR5. I personally would get the 1080p panel. The scaling with high resolution displays is fine, until you plug in external monitors. Yes you can have different scaling between the laptop and external monitors but it's never plug and play. As soon as you disconnect them, you have to log off and back in to get the correct scaling on the laptop. Reply
  • jphughan - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Or just take the acquisition of this laptop with a QHD+ panel as an excuse to buy a 4K panel! :D Of course that won't help if your apps don't handle scaling well at all as opposed to just having issues with regular DPI and HiDPI coexisting.

    I have the QHD+ version with a 24" 1200p external display and work around it by either not running the built-in panel at all when at my desk or running it at 1600x900. Yes switching to 3200x1800 and adjusting scaling requires a logoff and logon, which is somewhat irritating, but that's mostly because Microsoft only just delivered an API in Windows 8.1 that notifies applications when there's been a DPI scaling change, and thus those app developers haven't updated their apps to watch for and respond to that API notification. Remember back in Windows 95 when you had to restart your machine even when you changed your desktop resolution? That was true for the same reason, and it's been fixed because applications now watch for and respond to the resolution change notification. The same will happen with DPI scaling.
  • typicalGeek - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    After all the problems my kid has had with his XPS 15 (i5 - don't know exact model) in the 2.5 years he's had it, I would be pretty hard pressed to even consider one.

    The expensive "Crystal Clear HD" (or some such marketing BS) screen is useless unless viewed "head on" - only a few degrees off in either axis are unviewable, he's had problems with Dell's drivers (for the touchpad & DVD drive), and the 90W battery died without any warning. Still shows 100% charge on the status LEDs. Ha! Dell wanted $150 for a replacement battery, he ended up ordering one off Amazon for less than a third of that - and it included a 18 month warranty. Now his XPS keeps bugging him every start/boot that his battery is not genuine and that he should replace it. Does Dell <i><b>really</b></i> think they're going to convince someone to spend three times as much to get their battery by nagging them every day? All it really does is slow the boot process and tick off the customer. (Who probably isn't too keen that their battery didn't last much past the warranty in the first place.)
  • JBVertexx - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    My biggest beef with Dell now is their website and move to pre-configured models. It used to be so easy to go on the website and pick exactly what I wanted. I've tried numerous times in the last 4 months to go find something I would like, and it's just not there.

    There are too many models with too few options. The navigation is confusing, and there is no straightforward way to see ALL the models for a particular line you want.

    I have a 4 year old Dell Latitude E6410, which was maxed out with the specs when I bought it. I've been happy with Dell laptops as my primary work and do-everything PC since I started buying them 16 years ago.

    So instead of buying a new laptop, I just replaced my HDD with a 240GB SSD, then I bought one of the ODD bay adapters off ebay to fit a 750GB storage drive, and I'm all set for now. I'm starting to get in the hurt-locker with my NVS1100 graphics, and I'm starting to find cases where I could use more than 8GB RAM, but I guess I'll just have to suck it up for a while longer.

    Really disappointed in what the website and their product lineup have become.
  • JBVertexx - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Correction - that's NVS 3100M - still in the hurt-locker though. Reply
  • jphughan - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Unfortunately pre-configured SKUs is the new deal. I think it's because in this smartphone/tablet era people overall are less concerned with menial options and more concerned with the overall product. That's not true of everyone of course, but fixed SKUs while continuing to only build to order means savings from a lean inventory and additional savings from fewer manufacturing variances and thus fewer chances of errors and rework.

    Still, Dell does appear to be passing the savings down to the consumer (likely because consumers are demanding lower prices for what is being seen more and more as a commodity/luxury than a necessity in the smartphone/tablet era). I remember my maxed out Precision M6300 back in the day cost $5200 before discounts. The modern-day equivalent of that system is the Precision M90, and even maxed out it costs less than half that -- despite inflation over the last 7 years. And it's certainly not because the Precision line has gone down the tubes.
  • jphughan - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Argh, again with not being able to edit posts. My old $5200 system was a Precision M90, and the modern-day equivalent would be the Precision M6800. Reply
  • fokka - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    exactly my thoughts. dozens of different lines and models, but completely gimped customization options. and i have to cringe when thinking about their website. Reply
  • katinavcloutier - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    hi Reply
  • NWBarryG - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Well done article.

    I bought the same configuration in December. It's - by far - the best laptop I've ever owned (and I've owned well over 30 over the years). I use it as a business laptop - mostly using Office apps and occasionally Adobe Creative Suite and some very light CAD work. Admittedly, I don't use it for gaming or any massively taxing workloads. I ran into the issue of losing mouse clicks but a driver update fixed it.

    The screen is beautiful. I use my laptop for customer presentations so the screen was a major consideration for this purchase. I have never been a fan touch screens, but have to admit that when doing a customer presentation, the touch screen is pretty damn cool - especially when visualizing 3D models. The battery life is amazing. This is the first laptop that I've owned where I can travel around to meetings for an entire day and never even have to think about plugging it in. That peace of mind is amazing. It was not one of my original considerations, but now that I can get away with it, I would never give it up. Least of all, it looks cool, is incredibly light for being a 15" class notebook, and it feels good to carry around.

    My only complain is that I wish the keyboard had dedicated home, end, pgup and pgdwn keys. I am getting used to not having them and it's a minor complaint. Other than that, this thing is fantastic! For what I use it for, it is perfect and would gladly have spent more. Once can always find things to complain about with any product, but for my needs, there is nothing on the market that even comes close. I did tons of research on options and have not been disappointed. For someone looking for a Windows business notebook with a 15" screen (lots of options available for notebooks with smaller screens) I don't think there is a better product available.
  • bloc - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    "My only complain is that I wish the keyboard had dedicated home, end, pgup and pgdwn keys. I am getting used to not having them and it's a minor complaint. Other than that, this thing is fantastic! For what I use it for, it is perfect and would gladly have spent more. "

    Yes I have no idea why they're making up new keyboard layouts. Developers prefer to have independent home/end/pageup/pagedown keys.
  • GTVic - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    If you preferred the Apple, is there any reason not to purchase that and run Windows 8.1 on it? Or will that just be a bunch of headaches. Reply
  • jphughan - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    That has its share of headaches. Examples are driver updates, keyboard layout not being ideal for a Windows environment, Thunderbolt ports not supporting hot-plugging in Windows (i.e. if the device isn't connected when you boot, you can't use it until you reboot), and I believe you're forced to use the NVIDIA GPU full-time on Windows, never the Intel GPU, so your battery life is far worse. Those are just off the top of my head, and I remember reading a long post on a forum about other niggles like that. Bottom line is that buying a Mac to run Windows 8.1 full-time is probably not the best idea. Reply
  • rish95 - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    I don't have any problems running it on my 2012 Air. My only issue is that Apple's trackpad driver for Windows sucks. It doesn't support any Win8.1 gestures and scrolling/zooming are poorly done.

    Battery life is ok. I get about 5 hours in Windows and 6 in OSX.
  • DanD85 - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    I think your argument of paying the extra 400 for SSD is flawed because you forget that if you choose to do it yourself you still have the HDD and you can choose to flip it for some bucks back or keep it as external hard drive. A better choice in my opinion. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Larger batteries usually cost $100 (and you can't buy this one AFAICT), the SSD costs $350 for a Crucial or $450+ for the SM841, and the 500GB HDD is only worth $50 if you're lucky. For the ability to avoid cloning/reinstalling the OS, I'd just get things pre-configured with the 512GB SSD. It's not a great deal, but it's not raking you over the coals at least. Reply
  • Luscious - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    My big issue with this notebook (and other big box notebook manufacturers) is Dell's insistence on pushing Windows 8.1 rather than offering consumers a choice of Windows 7. I'd be happy if Dell offered just the OS drivers for this on their support website, since I can install the OS myself, but they don't. It's good that boutique builders like Eurocom continue to offer Windows 7 with their notebooks. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Meh. Windows 8.1 with Classic Start or similar bypasses 99% of the problems I have with Windows 8 (Modern). Plus, the boot times are really improved, and probably some other nice things as well. It's not perfect by any means, but I don't care enough to try going back to Win7 on a laptop that ships with Win8. If you're in a corporate environment, though, I can see this being a bigger issue. Reply
  • jphughan - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    Windows 7 drivers are available by looking under the essentially identical Precision M3800 page. The only exception is NFC, which doesn't exist on the M3800., but the 8.1 driver from the XPS page may work on 7. Reply
  • unni - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    I can confirm 100% that the throttling happens only if the laptop is at an angle. As long as it is on a level surface, eveything is fine. I have played Battlefield 4 for 30 mins at 30-fps when the laptop was on a table. As soon as I change the angle of the laptop, throttling kicks in within 1-2 minutes even when there is nothing blocking the vents. This is a strange behaviour and doesn't seem to have anything to do with temperature either. I had Dell replace the motherboard and apply new thermal paste. The issue was still there. As part of the trouble shooting, I had to completely restore it to how it came from factory. I didn't update any drivers except BIOS. Now, BF4 runs at 30fps without any throttling. Also, one user had recommended in Dell forum to use NVidia Inspector and limit the FPS to 30 (if you are on the latest drivers). Strangely, that works as well. Reply
  • unni - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    The line
    "I have played Battlefield 4 for 30 mins at 30-fps when the laptop was on a table."
    should be
    "I have played Battlefield 4 for 30 mins at 30-"50 fps when the laptop was on a table.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    I can confirm 100% that throttling happens even when the laptops are on a flat surface. Sorry, but I've tried lots of things when the throttling has occurred, and none of them fixed the problem (unless I rebooted, but that wasn't don enough to actually notice until yesterday). Reply
  • unni - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    I guess there are differences between our machines then. Mine is the full SSD one. I don't have to reboot either. All I need is to quit and relaunch the game. Throttling will be gone. Reply
  • xTRICKYxx - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    Once throttling occurs the first time, the chances of throttling happening again increases dramatically. Reply
  • xTRICKYxx - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    Disabling turbo boost or downloading throttle stop would probably fix this entirely. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    I've had much better luck with Dell notebooks than anything else, but I'm still picking an Alienware 17 or the like over this... Reply
  • prophet001 - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    This kinda makes me mad about all the crappy screens they've been putting in 15+" laptops for the last 7 years. Reply
  • jphughan - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    The QHD+ display is definitely not crappy; the problem is that the display was tested with Dell's questionably named "splendid mode" enabled, which grossly oversaturates colors. I wrote about it a few pages back in a reply. But I've notified Jared (the author of the article), who confirmed that he was unaware of that setting. He immediately saw its effect though and said he'll be rerunning the LCD tests. Reply
  • prophet001 - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    I wasn't talking about this screen. I was talking about the screens that laptops have been using in the recent past. Like 15.6" LCDs with 1366x768 resolution. Reply
  • CommanderK - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    I bought this machine in Germany, and I sent it back. Bought maxed out configuration for 2000 Euro (now 2100), but alread for this price I had the feeling it was not worth the money. Reasons were almost the same you had here:
    - Throttling in games
    - Touchscreen stopped working occassionally
    - CPU coil whining ... this was especially annoying with fans off in the bed, but also audible in normal desktop usage
    - Fan was first off, but already minimal level was annoying (and this one was almost always on when using external monitor with PSU)
    Dell wanted to repair, but I refused. When selling such a top level machine at such a high price, it MUST work as expected. Originally I didn't want to, but now I simply bought another retina Macbook Pro with similar specs. It is very quiet, doesn't have such an annoying fan and almost no coil whine. And of course no throttling.
    What is especially interesting is that this machine must sell like sliced bread. The price was raised and the waiting time increased. But with the even higher price, the decision for the macbook pro was even more easy (about 200 Euro difference). Dell service is good, but I don't want a machine that needs repair on arrival.
    Sit down Dell, learn, try to be better next time.
  • CommanderK - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    Small update: I received the machine with described flaws about three Months ago. I sent it back because I expected Dell couldn't repair the problems. Now seeing this review that my guess was right. Even worse for me from a publicity point of view, they are still selling the machines with THE SAME flaws as three months ago. This shouldn't happen. Reply
  • Flunk - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    I had similar problems with the last revision of the XPS 15. It looks great, but the performance really doesn't match up to the looks or price tag. Really disappointing that Dell would do the exact same thing again. Reply
  • jphughan - Sunday, March 09, 2014 - link

    The touchscreen was resolved with a firmware update, coil whine is still an issue (discussed above) that Dell is currently investigating due to widespread reports, and the increased wait times were because of a shortage on QHD+ panels. But I don't know how you encountered throttling on the XPS 15 and not the rMBP. Unless your XPS had a defective thermal assembly, the rMBP is known to throttle even more heavily than the XPS, partly because its 85W power adapter is totally undersized given that the combined TDP of just the CPU and GPU is I believe 95W -- and that's before counting the display, WiFi, BT, powered USB devices, etc. The rMBP under heavy load while plugged into the wall will actually DRAIN the battery as an auxiliary power source in order to make up for its AC adapter's inadequate power delivery. Anyway, sorry you had a bad experience with yours. Reply
  • praeses - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Be sure when doing benchmarks that you are not charging the battery at the same time. Sometimes either the power draw will be too much or more likely the increased heat from the charging circuitry can cause it to start throttling. Reply
  • Kenazo - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    I'd be all over this if it had a number pad. Hard to justify it as an accountant otherwise. :) Reply
  • bloc - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    Buy a separate number pad. The rest of us want to sit in front of the monitor and the touch pad in the middle under the scroll bar. You spend $1500+ on a computer and why do people endure sitting 20 degrees to the left of the screen. Apple and Samsung got it right with their high end laptops - NO numbpads. Reply
  • Andrew Lin - Thursday, March 06, 2014 - link

    can i ask how people fixed letterboxing in games? in certain directx11 games (bioshock infinite and anno 2070) i'm still being letterboxed when running at non-native resolution Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    I updated the Intel and NVIDIA drivers and I believe the Intel drivers then have an option to modify the scaling (it may have been present in the release drivers but it didn't work for me). Reply
  • Homeles - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    We've had nothing but trouble with these and other XPS models at work. We must have gotten a bad batch -- a lot of dead HDDs out of the box.

    Conceptually, these are great computers. I love the screens on these. They're not bad to work on (read: repair), although changing one of the SO-DIMM sockets is rather annoying since you have to tear the whole thing down to get to it. I do dislike the slot load drive.

    If it weren't for the myriad of hardware problems I've seen with these, they'd be a great product. Hope the Haswell version doesn't suffer the issues I've seen.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    The new version is much easier to work with IMO -- no slot load drive, about eight hex screws to get to the internals, and if you get the SSD model, no HDD to speak of. But for a business, I suspect you'd want no GPU as it wouldn't be much use, and that's sadly not an option. Reply
  • jameskatt - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    The Dell XPS 15 Haswell Edition is Dell's attempt to copy the MacBoo Pro 15-inch with Retina Display. Interestingly, it costs almost as much. But it fails in two major areas: 1) It doesn't have a PCIe SSD. Thus, its SSD storage is half as fast as Apple's. 2) It doesn't have Thunderbolt connectors. This means you cannot attach external PCI card cases nor get high speed storage as on the much more expandable MacBook Pros.

    Sad. But it is far better to run Windows on a MacBook Pro than to run Windows on a Dell attempt at a clone.

    Dell should stop trying to copy Apple - albeit Apple makes tons of profit on its MacBook Pros. Dell should instead create inexpensive battle-tank PC Laptops that cost under $1000. It simply makes no sense to purchase a PC Laptop that costs more than $1000 - unless you are one of the few gamers.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    There's nothing wrong with trying to copy one of the better designs out there, and Dell does enough different that it's not a major concern in my book. The PCIe SSD isn't a huge blemish, as random IO is pretty much bottlenecked by the NAND and sequential at 2X the speed only happens rarely other than for large file transfers. As for the Thunderbolt... well, it exists on Windows PCs, but it's rarely used right now. I'd say the vast majority of Windows users (including me) have never worried about the lack of a Thunderbolt port.

    Your remaining arguments are full of flaws. Look at a post above where one of the readers comments on running Windows full-time on a MacBook. GPU always on, limited driver updates/support, keyboard not designed around Windows, and a few other issues make that a non-solution for people that don't primarily run OS X. And if you think no one should buy anything more than a $1000 laptop, well, there's a huge market for sub-$1000 laptops it's true, but to get there the quality suffers immensely. I personally wouldn't even consider buying a laptop that didn't have a 512GB class SSD, which is $400 minimum right there. Give me a good display, enough RAM, a quad-core CPU, and then toss in a good battery with good keyboard and touchpad. That puts you at around $1300 bare minimum, and more likely $1800+. I'd expect to use such a system for a few years, where others might buy two $900 laptops and think, "I got a faster solution for less money", but the quality of all the parts ends up being far more important to me these days.

    If money is tight, by all means get an inexpensive option, but don't knock the people and companies aspiring for something more. Part of the reason so many laptops suck these days is because of the race to the bottom we had for the past decade, so please let's not encourage OEMs to start that up again.
  • jphughan - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    Nobody but Apple to my knowledge has bootable PCIe SSDs, because that's not a standard. PCIe is not designed to support storage directly, so Apple has had to bolt on some logic in order to make it work, but (as is typical with Apple), they've got a completely proprietary implementation. Have you ever wondered why you can't just buy a PCIe or miniPCIe SSD standalone, except for the ones that come from Apple laptops? That's why.

    And PCIe SSD storage being twice as fast is a benchmark fact, not a practical real-world one. I would bet that you couldn't reliably tell the two apart in a blind performance test.

    As for Thunderbolt, the only things I've ever seen anybody connect to a Thunderbolt connector are displays and Ethernet dongles. Sure I agree that as a connector it has potential, but frankly it hasn't reached market penetration. I think it will turn out to be the modern-day FireWire port personally.

    And Dell does make laptops under $1000. They just don't make ONLY laptops under $1000.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    I think he's referring to M.2 SSDs that use the PCIe interface for higher performance? I know the Sony VAIO Pro 13 has something like this at least -- maybe just M.2 in general is faster than mSATA. But since it's mostly a benefit for sequential IO and that much sequential IO isn't common in day-to-day use for most laptop users, it's not a deal breaker by any means. Reply
  • Penti - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    The current gen PCI-e SSD's do use AHCI and non Apple PC's do use the same SSDs (in M.2/NGFF form factor) so I don't know where he wants to go with that rant. Logic is in the SSD-controller which isn't custom for Apple by any means. Note here that the PCIe based Apple-Macs support Bootcamp/Windows just fine. At most a bootable PCIe solution requires a BIOS-rom and OS-drivers, but these solutions aren't PCIe to SATA bridges (controllers/adapters) any more, and firmware support is there regardless if it's Apples UEFI or say the Sony's. Shouldn't really be any different to run any other AHCI-drive. Form-factor differs here, but it's the same type of controller and hardware on the (Apple) SSD as with PCIe M.2 drives, which has come with at least controllers from Samsung, Marvell, and SF/LSI now.

    None AHCI-drives (NVMe) are a bit away because the software (OS) doesn't really support them yet, but neither is they offered.
  • Samus - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    Wow. $1500 starting price for a Dell?

    Bold, Michael, bold.
  • wazx - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    How's Linux support? Reply
  • jphughan - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    Apparently the hardest thing is getting Optimus running correctly, and battery life isn't nearly as good for some reason, but otherwise a few people on the NotebookReview threads have gotten it working just fine. I think there's even a Wiki now with instructions. Reply
  • hasseb64 - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    Your picture functionality in this article is below standard!
    "return to article"
    Returns me to page 1.
  • wazx - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    Does the CPU throttle a lot under CPU only loads? Reply
  • jphughan - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    No, in fact multiple people have observed that the CPU never even drops out of Turbo mode even under high-CPU load. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    Yeah, this is one of my complaints: if the GPU is at 100% load, throttling the CPU (and GPU as well if needed) would be the smart thing to do. Right now, the CPU never throttles, and most of the time is at max Turbo if it's being used (i.e. not mostly idle). Reply
  • yacoub35 - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    Bad thermals and a terribly high price for mediocre performance? No thanks. Good review though. Reply
  • editorsorgtfo - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    recently i lost my password for an old dell xps and could not get in.. tried searching this website, couldnt find anything . doesnt help that forums have a different login but anyway this software worked for me if anyone runs into the same password problem for reference Reply
  • msahni - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    Hi ..
    Just wished to find out if Samsung Magician with the RAPID mode would support the Samsung PM841 msata..... Would be a great enhancement if it did....

  • jphughan - Saturday, March 08, 2014 - link

    The machine in 512GB form comes with the SM841 (using MLC flash), not the PM841 (using TLC flash), although newer ones appear to be coming with the PM851 (also using TLC). From what I can tell, those units are based on the 840 Pro, 840, and 840 Evo, respectively.

    Regardless, neither RAPID nor firmware updates seem to be available because Samsung does my directly support drives sold to OEMs and never to retail. Firmware updates might be available from Dell later, but I doubt RAPID will be. Then again some reviews indicate that RAPID actually decreases performance sometimes, and this SSD is plenty fast in real-world usage anyway, so I'm not worried.
  • callmesissi - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    Great review. I'd like to ask you WHY do you keep comparing Windows products to MAC products. In real life you cannot do in a mac what a windows machine can, and dont get me started on "simulation software", if you do run windows on top of mac add the cost of windows license + simulation software and then benchmark the mac and lets see how fast it is by running that.

    Dont get me wrong, this is NOT a "i hate mac" post. But for a living i repair and give technical support to windows machines, and you CANT do everything that you can do in a windows pc on a mac. from hardware to software. for example my main client has quite a few stores + the central base and the radio software (win only) the printers (win only) the accounting software (win only) and so on...

    I do hope you review Mac as a Mac versus other mac and not versus a windows pc. Macs are pretty much good for any user that does not use it for work, or business that use some specialized software like pilots, navigation, design and that's pretty much it.

    I know it wont be long where we wont have that windows / macOS / android / ios / etc. problems, future is aiming for an open source, html based software that can run on any platform. but this is today and as of today you simply CANT use a Mac to replace a pc.

    And not to mention a pc gamer... how many games are on a Mac?...

    Please, just compare apples to apples (pun intended) or if you do, then add parallax + windows to the mac and then set benchmarks. Windows has support for like a 1,000,000 things more than a mac does.

    my two cents.
  • Ma Deuce - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    It's extremely easy to run windows on a mac... Saying that you can't replace a pc with a mac is just completely false.

    My line of work requires me to use several Windows only programs, and none of them have issues running on my macbook pro.

    About the only thing you can't do is make a good living providing repairs and technical support to mac owners, they just don't have as many issues lol
  • Penti - Saturday, March 08, 2014 - link

    Plenty of enterprises run Windows on Apple machines, support-people shouldn't be unaware of that, guess he's never heard of bootcamp or for that matter knows what parallels is. A mac is a qualified machine for volume licensing. Corporations can just stream their business apps from their TS/RDS/Citrix environment rather then let users who use OS X virtualize Windows. The only thing you really can't do is remote control everything like on vPro/iAMT-machines but the same goes for this Dell. For a end user, a Windows license is about 100 dollars. For business it's pretty much the same as including any other machine in your volume licensing program. If you need Parallels it's 70-80 dollars. A small business can run Windows only accounting software just fine, the virtualization software will make it launch from the dock just like any other program if you like to do that, some OS X users can use business and accounting software that run natively. It's really not an issue any more. It mixes really well with a Microsoft server environment, regardless which OS you choose to run albeit some extra software is required to administrate the OS X-machines with ease.

    For a end user who wishes to legally use Windows on their mac it's just the 100-200 dollars extra. Even with that extra cost a MBAir and so on usually does very well against semi-expensive Windows-powered Ultrabooks. If they do choices that makes it worse then it need to be at the price point it's worth taking note. Even if most mac users prefer to use OS X for 90% of work. There is also some software for OS X in a few professional fields that aren't available for Windows and has no alternative. You really can't treat them like say if they wore a ARM-based tablet, hardware-wise it's totally comparable and sites like this one do benchmark on Windows too. Prices and price ranges are easy to compare too.
  • robco - Thursday, March 13, 2014 - link

    Comparisons of high-end Windows laptops with MacBooks is inevitable. Apple's industrial design is considered to be the best in the business. The price difference between the model reviewed here and the comparable rMBP config is $170. The Mac has Thunderbolt (which gives you GigE with an adapter), plus Apple has their own OS. Dell's support is less expensive though.

    As for not being able to use it for work, I know many people who would disagree. Most web devs I know (who don't use .NET) use Macs. Same with most mobile app devs (required for iOS, much easier to set up Android SDK on OS X vs. Windows). Not to mention quite a number of A/V pros. As for most general business tasks, a Mac can do those just fine - just not necessarily with the exact same software. Most F/OSS is *nix based and OS X is UNIX. Unlike other *nix systems, OS X has a fair amount of commercial software as well.

    If you are buying a system primarily for gaming, then of course you want a Windows box. But even that is changing. Check out Steam or even the Mac App Store and you will see quite a few titles available. For everything else, there's BootCamp.

    Ultimately a computer is a tool. Use the best tool for your needs. But understand that the needs of others may be quite different from yours. For me and my needs, a Mac works better. However I understand that for many, the opposite is true. But quite a number of people (including the primary author of this site), find Macs to be quite useful for getting "real" work done...
  • blzd - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    Never buying another one of these after the 15z battery would die after 1 year almost exactly. Reply
  • tviceman - Friday, March 07, 2014 - link

    Maxwell is jumping and screaming to get put inside this chassis! Reply
  • augiem - Saturday, March 08, 2014 - link

    It would have been nice to see mbpr in some of the tests and benchmarks where applicable. After all, that's what this thing is trying to be. At the very least on the screen tests and battery life charts. Reply
  • JPDiueholm - Saturday, March 08, 2014 - link

    Did you encounter any problems like:

    Which has rendered the XPS 13 unusable!
  • petar_b - Saturday, March 08, 2014 - link

    It would be nice to compare the above mentioned DELL notebook with ASUS NV550 touch screen. They have almost identical hardware, both come with SSD, however AUSU kept optical drive (blu ray burner), and still has two fans (one for each PU). for the height of 8mm-18mm DELL sacrifices optical drive, while ASUS kept height of 27mm (and has lots of empty space below, I am sure asus could save 3-4 mm if the case was closer to components. Price of asus is aprox 1200eu while dell is 2000 eu. Not sure if dell is overpriced... Reply
  • Flying Goat - Saturday, March 08, 2014 - link

    Hmm...I can't find anything about an "NV550". Looks to me like the Asus N550 (No V) weighs 6 pounds, not 4.5, has a mechanical HDD, and a standard resolution screen, also does not have 802.11ac (Though it does have an ethernet port), so not at all comparable, except perhaps in terms of video card and CPU. If you don't care about the weight or the high res screen, then you shouldn't buy the Dell, but if that's what you want, the price seems competitive with comparable models.

    The ASUS model you should be comparing it to is the ASUS Zenbook UX51Vz-XH71, which costs $2400 (More than the Dell). It's also light, and has high res monitor. However, it has previous generation CPU/GPU (Ivy Bridge, 650GTX), no touch screen, only 8 GB RAM, no 802.11ac, and marginally lower resolution monitor. Only things it has going for it are an ethernet port and bing only 4 pounds instead of 4.44. Anyhow, given that price, I'd call the Dell's pretty competitive, if you want a light gaming laptop with a high res screen - there aren't a lot of models that fit that bill.

    If you want a gaming laptop, but don't care about the weight, and are happy with a lower resolution screen, the price premium may not be worth it.
  • Flying Goat - Sunday, March 09, 2014 - link

    Calling this a "gaming laptop" may be a bit optimistic... There are much better mobile GPUs, but the 750 is about as good as you're going to see in a thin and light machine. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, March 08, 2014 - link

    Good review, interesting laptop, but not for me (15" is just too large for my use case). I've been using a Samsung tablet with 11.6" 1080p display for the past ~ year and I've been running it at 125% with no problems and I'm no user of moder UI apps. All my note taking, browsing, the occasional gog or steam game have been very fine with that resolution and scaling. :-) Reply
  • Flying Goat - Sunday, March 09, 2014 - link

    Looks like a nice laptop. If it weren't for concerns over throttling and the lack of dedicated page up/down keys, I'd probably have bought one after reading the review. I've been waiting for a Haswell update of Asus's 15 inch Zenbook, or something comparable, and this pretty much fits the bill, modulo those two concerns. Reply
  • snuuggles - Sunday, March 09, 2014 - link

    I'm still not sure why you wouldn't just get the mbp and bootcamp it. The price difference is minor considering the mbp is simply a better machine, with better support, and gives you a choice between osx and windows.

    I am frankly stunned that nobody can beat Mac at making a windows machine--and they aren't even -trying-! Wtf is wrong with dell etc?
  • jphughan - Sunday, March 09, 2014 - link

    Did you read the comments earlier about this? Here are SOME issues with Boot Camping a Mac:

    - Some hardware requires proprietary Apple drivers which hardly ever get updated on the Windows side

    - Thunderbolt ports are not hot-pluggable (i.e. if you didn't have the device connected when you booted, it won't be usable until you reboot).

    - The discrete GPU runs all the time (because of Apple's proprietary implementation of switable graphics rather than using Optimus), resulting in much worse battery life

    - The keyboard layout isn't ideal for a PC (frankly lack of a TRUE "Delete" key in addition to the Backspace key that Apple calls Delete is a dealbreaker for me whether in Windows or Mac OS X, same for not having Home/End/PgUp/PgDn at all, even as functions of other keys)

    - Support from Apple for issues you encounter on the Windows side is probably going to be difficult
  • Teerav13 - Friday, March 21, 2014 - link

    From someone that runs bootcamped windows on a retina mbp all day every day. The worst part by far is the battery life. In visual studio and doing casual web browsing I can expect a 2.5-3hr runtime with reasonable screen brightness. No switchable GPU support in windows is a mega bummer.

    The keyboard layout is annoying (but not a dealbreaker).

    I recently ordered the dell because of these two factors. I really hope the coil whine that people are making a splash about is either resolved or a non-issue.

    As a side note though, I worry because every review or comparison I have really seen seems to favor the macbook. The only thing they don't really take into account in them is the users OS preference.

    Any idea when a refresh would happen on this line of laptops?
  • cptcolo - Sunday, March 09, 2014 - link

    I can't wait for the Lenovo equivalent. 0.7" thick, 4.4lbs, and a 91 wHr battery is impressive Reply
  • Hrel - Monday, March 10, 2014 - link

    Looks like the Gigabyte Laptops are still better. P35K and P25K I think are the model numbers? 15" and 14"? Still waiting on the full review of those btw. Reply
  • lucyfek - Monday, March 10, 2014 - link

    And this is just another thing that makes it suck - I'm "fighting" surface 2 pro connected to external monitor. You either get good picture on the tab and really crappy on 1920*1200 screen or your eyes will bleed when looking on the tab but external screen will look good. The best I got to was I lowered resolution on the surface (it's small so 720p actually look ok) and the external display goes with small text (and this is fine).
    Now if MS allowed to manage themes (not just wallpaper) and there was a way to limit the size of window borders (waste of space).
    I'm trying hard to stay within environment limitation (no classic shell yet, trying to keep it "corporate") but usability does suck. And for what? - I removed all metro apps anyway.
  • Jeffrey Bosboom - Monday, March 10, 2014 - link

    You can reduce the window border thickness with the BorderWidth and PaddedBorderWidth values in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics key in the registry. Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, March 13, 2014 - link

    Do the larger battery sizes change the size (do they jut out like older models) and how much do they change the weight? Reply
  • Zoolookuk - Monday, March 17, 2014 - link

    Mmm, nice power brick - and it gets its own box too! Nice touch! Reply
  • inperfectdarkness - Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - link

    It's thinner and lighter, but the cost, performance and features are less than that of MSI GT-60 20D-261. Dell would have done much better (in my opinion) if they'd gone with 16:10--which would have differentiated the XP15 from every other Windows laptop with > 1080p display. Reply
  • acme64 - Sunday, April 13, 2014 - link

    You had me at the specs and exterior, you lost me at the interior. Reply
  • Irma Gonzalez - Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - link

    To put it mildly, this is the laptop that nightmares are made of. I purchased a fully loaded custom built XPS15-9530 with 512 SSD and full high end everything for over $3000. When it arrived, it wouldn't even boot up! What a failure and I feel that I've been ripped off royally. All I get is 3 beeps, a pause, then 3 beeps and the cycle repeats itself. Stay away from this brick is my advice. See for yourself my experience as I unpacked and turned it on:
    Can you believe this?

    I cannot even give a review on anything else as it fails to boot up. Customer service transferred me to Tech support, which then asked "What do you want me to do?" Really, WHAT do I want? I working brand new unit. Instead after a 3 hour conversation being transferred to everyone under the sun (but on supervisor as I repeatedly asked for) I have no resolution.
  • mxruden - Sunday, April 27, 2014 - link

    Thank you very much for the great review, Jarred!
    I already purchased my XPS 15, expecting it next week. I'm planning to occasionally play games on it and was wondering, are there any changes to GPU throttling issue since the time of your review? Have Dell done anything to solve this problem during this time?
  • Zhongrui - Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - link

    Is there anyone who succeeded installing OS X mavericks on XPS 15 (9530)? Do the wireless and Audio work fine? Any information and comments are highly appreciated. Reply
  • eanazag - Monday, May 05, 2014 - link

    I was looking at this laptop, the Blade, and the Macbook Pro Retina. Each one had some pros and cons to me. This was before the refresh occured on the Blade (new high res screen and GPU). I ended up not having enough money for any of them. If I were looking again, I'd be setting my eyes on the Blade because they fixed the screen drawback. I was still hoping for a Maxwell based GPU in the Blade that was a performance model - not what Nvidia released thus far. Reply
  • rpagespollo - Thursday, May 22, 2014 - link

    Has someone checked the unit with a 1080p display? There is a lower configuration with a 1080p display instead of the HiDPI display. Reply
  • sethboyardee - Monday, December 15, 2014 - link

    When will the NEXT version of this type of system be coming out? I'm debating buying one now, but if a newer/better version is coming in the next few months, I will wait.
    Also - the battery is NOT (easily) removable, is that correct? That frightens me - I prefer to lug around an extra battery.
  • Dagger55555 - Sunday, January 11, 2015 - link

    Don't buy this product (or any product) from Dell if you care about service and quality. I purchased 2 XPS laptops with 3-Year Next Business Day + Complete Care for this product. It took 7 weeks to get a keyboard fixed! AT 6 weeks I was told my expectations were too high and I should be more concerned about their processes than results. At one point they sent me a replacement computer - it game with a busted keyboard! Emails to management went unanswered. Warning: If your computer won't boot then their policy is they wont come on-site (min 1 week down). Warning: everything is "available of parts" which they never seem to have for me. I'd like to say this was a 1 time issue, but my Venue 11 had to be serviced multiple times so far (< year old) with the last issue taking 3 weeks to get a new keyboard. My alienware 14R2 (with next day complete care) took a week for a hard disk (that wasn't in stock). I've been sold incompatible products and products with incorrect specifications. I've been more hours than I care talking to service, sales and customer service because no single person can seem to make a useful decision. I could go on for pages, but you probably get the idea. BTW I was denied all compensation for my troubles even though I feel they are in breech of contract. Reply
  • Zyuzya - Tuesday, March 17, 2015 - link

    I don't think there's a chance you'll answer me as this is an old article, but I'll try anyway:))
    Are you sure about the PPS for this monitor ? I want to buy Dell xps 6842 , and for a whole day couldn't find any info if it has pps or not. Finally I found this:
    but due to this your Qhd+ can't have PPS either . Any ideas?

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