The Dell XPS 15 9550 Review: Infinity Edge Lineup Expandsby Brett Howse on March 4, 2016 8:00 AM EST
Battery Life and Charge Time
The XPS 15 is available with two battery sizes. If you opt for the base model, it comes with a 2.5” SATA drive and a 56 Wh battery. If you opt for a device with the M.2 SSD, the extra space taken up by the 2.5” drive is replaced with more battery cells, giving you 84 Wh of capacity. It also adds about 0.5 lbs of weight to the device, but if you are going to be working away from an outlet, the SSD model should give much better battery life.
But, with the high resolution display, and wider color gamut, battery life is going to take a hit compared to something with a more traditional display. Since Dell sent us the UHD model, that’s the one we have to test.
To test battery life we have two tests. The light test involves light web browsing, with the display set to 200 nits brightness. The heavy test increases the pages loaded by the browser, adds a 1 MB/s file download, and includes movie playback. All testing is done with Edge as the browser.
The XPS 15, with its quad-core CPU and high resolution display, can’t keep up with the best devices for battery life, even on light usage. At just under 7.5 hours, it is well under the XPS 13 and Surface Book results, despite the larger battery. It is also below the XPS 15 9530 results, and that device has a 91 Wh battery and 3200x1800 display.
With the extra CPU workload, as well as constant network use, the battery life falls to just 4:23. This is exactly the same as the XPS 15 9530 score, so there is certainly some more efficiency because the display is higher resolution and the battery is slightly smaller on the new 9550 model. It’s still not a great result though.
By removing the battery size from the equation, we can get an overall feel for platform efficiency. The XPS 15, despite the higher resolution display, does outperform the XPS 15 9530 on the heavy results, but the UHD display certainly hurts it compared to other devices. The Surface Book with discrete GPU is over double the efficiency, but with a dual-core processor. The Lenovo Y700 has the same processor and GPU, but a much lower resolution display, and it comes out quite a bit ahead of the XPS 15. For those that are normally plugged in, the UHD display is fantastic, but be warned, it’s a big hit on battery life.
The other side of battery life is how long it takes to charge. With an 84 Wh battery, this is a significant amount of capacity to top up. Luckily Dell ships the XPS 15 with a 130-Watt power adapter.
At 148 minutes, the XPS 15 charges very quickly. At least with the less than stellar battery life, once you do plug it in, it gets back on its feet pretty quickly.
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milli - Friday, March 4, 2016 - linkI'm having huge stability problems with this laptop. The problem is Optimus.
The only way I've gotten it to be stable, is to use the Dell provided drivers and disable Optimus.
I'm not the only one with this problem:
This laptop badly needs a BIOS update to fix this issue.
smilingcrow - Friday, March 4, 2016 - linkI give leeway for photos as I know it's not easy photographing electronics at home if you have no experience but these would look bad even on eBay. Don’t recall feeling that way about any other photo shoot on any IT web review so this is a stand out.
Is it too much to expect Anandtech to issue guidelines and tips for newbie photographers? I don’t think so. Amateur hour.
theduckofdeath - Saturday, March 5, 2016 - linkHehe, that was my thoughts, too. "Dell sticks to their proven design ideas from the XPS 13" (paraphrased). Too bad we'll never know what that is.
close - Monday, March 7, 2016 - linkWere you just piggy backing on a BIOS/performance related comment with a remark about photography just to get attention? I would say you give no leeway for photos which is why probably you've run out of people who's vacation photos you can criticize and ended up here :).
On a related note, I wonder if the battery performance is strictly related to the choice of LCD panel. And since we're on the battery topic, I'm really impressed with the WiFi speed. It's starting to look like we're closer to moving away from wired connections completely.
milkod2001 - Monday, March 7, 2016 - linkI presume guys who write articles here are paid by amount of words/articles written and not by hours spent with camera and Photoshop.
By looking at mostly poor quality of images it does not look like PURCH has given each writer a few grand for camera, lenses, accessories and guys probably just use their own crappy stuff.
Since Anand and others have left it looks like there is still big afford to write good quality articles. But other stuff coming with it goes down to hill and there is a very little improvements if any.
Just to name a few: the endless and never responded request for EDIT button for comments, some amateurish never fixed website 'features' like galleries -you click on some images, it will bring user to new tab(unnecessary) , click on some image, it will display large image and nothing else, no X or back button etc.
dsumanik - Sunday, March 6, 2016 - link5 years ago anandtech would have tested and caught a bios issue like that, now the readers are more informed lol
close - Monday, March 7, 2016 - linkYou have 3 available CPUs, 2 GPU configurations, 2 LCD panels, and different software configuration possibilities but you instantly assume that all laptops exhibit the exact same issues and they will be visible on a demo unit in the days or weeks it's available for testing.
The link to the discussion about this issue includes a handful of comments and if you had the common sense to read them you would have seen that plenty of them suggest that it was fixed by using the Nvidia driver provided by Dell. Since this is a review, not a troubleshooting article I suggest you should not confuse it with a manufacturer support page.
And people could tell the difference 5 years ago.
milli - Monday, March 7, 2016 - linkNo Close, all models exhibit BIOS problems. Optimus is just the latest. Before BIOS 19, there were a bunch of other issues.
After spending close to $3000 on a laptop, I'm very disappointed in Dell as they can't get even something like Optimus running stable.
close - Monday, March 7, 2016 - linkWhat I was saying was directed to the person claiming Anandtech should have reported this in the product review when clearly it doesn't affect every laptop and also I'm quite sure reviewers only have a narrow time slot to play with the device before it goes on to the next reviewer.
And I maintain my suggestion for him since he appears to think such issues should be reported in a product review: the manufacturer's support site is the place to go if you're wondering how a product behaves in the long run.
Anandtech is the place to read reviews about a product, standardized tests run on every piece of hardware and some numbers that you can't find on the leaflet.
A review isn't made to showcase beautiful photos like some people seem to think (that's the job of the product marketing team) nor to listing a long line of potential issues compiled from support sites and other forums.
So I understand *you* were just cautioning potential buyers reading this review, the comment from "dsumanik" (just above) is plain ignorant to put it delicately.
dsumanik - Monday, March 7, 2016 - linkI stand by my original statement, the readers around here are now more informed than the editorial/review staff. No amount of excuse making will change this. In the past Anand (the person) worked with manufacturers on a regular basis to identify and correct issues like the one pointed out with this machine. We will never hear of a resolution to this problem on this website, unless it is in the comment section. And yes, if you are in the business of reviewing products, it IS your responsibility to investigate the issue...a simple check on the forums and a warning paragraph would have sufficed, you'd think the reviewers would haver a checklist to follow by now lol.