Battery Life

Dell continues to offer two choices of battery capacity with the XPS 15 lineup. If you opt for a model with a spinning hard drive, that drive requires space that is replaced with battery capacity if you choose a straight SSD model. One big change from the XPS 15 9550 and the latest 9560 model is the size of the battery though, which has increased from an 84 Wh model to a 97 WH version, which is right up against the upper limits allowed in a laptop. This 15.5% larger battery should result in 15.5% longer battery life, all other factors being equal, however we’ve also switched from a Skylake Core i7-6700HQ and GTX 960M (with Optimus) in the previous version, to a Core i7-7700HQ and GTX 1050 (with Optimus) in the current 9560 model, so we’ll see how that plays out.

To test battery life, we have a couple of different tests that we perform on all machines. The first is our 2013 light web browsing test, which is far too light for today’s web, so it’s only here for a data point against older laptops. We’ve also got our new 2016 web browsing test, which is a higher workload. Finally, movie playback is done as well. All testing is done with the display at 200 nits.

2013 Light Browsing

Battery Life 2013 - Light

Our firs test is four web pages, loaded in a loop every minute. As processors and browsers have gotten more efficient, this has become a pretty light workload, but it’s still the test we have the most data points for. As you can see, the 15% more battery capacity gives a result that is 22% higher than the outgoing model, so Kaby Lake and the other changed components are a bit more efficient as well. This result is about nine hours of runtime, which isn’t too bad for a UHD resolution laptop with a quad-core CPU and discrete GPU, but a long way from the 19 hours claimed by Dell. It would make sense to see the FHD version of this laptop do a lot better in this test though, with a smaller gamut, and much less pixel density.

2016 Web Browsing

Battery Life 2016 - Web

Our more demanding web test knocks quite a bit of time off of the result, and we don’t have the old 9550 to compare it against here since this test wasn’t run on it, but it is a decent result for a large display notebook.

Normalized Results

Battery Life 2013 - Light Normalized

Battery Life 2016 - Web - Normalized

Removing the battery capacity from the equation allows us to check out the efficiency of the platform, and unsurprisingly, the XPS 15 is no where near as efficient as an Ultrabook with a U series dual-core CPU. It does make a slight gain on the previous generation though, and is much more efficient than a gaming notebook.

Movie Playback

Battery Life Movie Playback

Battery Life Tesseract

The first result is simply the number of minutes the laptop can loop a movie at 200 nits, and the Tesseract score is how many times you can play back a long movie, which in this case is The Avengers. The XPS 15 should work well for travel, with it able to play a couple of very long movies in a row before giving up the ghost.

Charge Time

The other half of the story with battery life is charge time. This is always non-linear, with much higher charging rates if the battery is very low, but all laptops end up with a trickle charge to get to 100%, to avoid damaging the battery. With a larger capacity battery than the outgoing model, but the same AC adapter, expectations are for a longer charge time.

Battery Charge Time

That is the case. The XPS 15 9560 takes a few minutes more to charge completely. Percentage wise, the 15% larger battery takes about 11% longer to charge, which is 16 minutes.

Display Analysis Wireless, Thermals, Noise, and Audio
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  • Vatharian - Monday, July 31, 2017 - link

    You know that this particular Killer is stock Atheros? Reply
  • Vatharian - Monday, July 31, 2017 - link

    Don't worry, the this Killer AC is stock Atheros Q6147A, it's actually pretty good and capable network card. They certainly do not have means to develop new AC chipset from scratch. I had my reservations, but after extensive tests I conducted at work, the chipset beat Intel AC in nearly every category, except power draw. Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - link

    Ladies - all this 'Killer hate' has to stop.

    I've been using them for years, and yes I had tons of issues. But you simply load the original Qualcomm driver, and they are just fine - if not wonderful.

    I even think the Qualcomm part has better receiver sensitivity too...
    Reply
  • Laxaa - Monday, July 31, 2017 - link

    Have you encountered any issues with your 9560. It seems like QC might be a bit over the place, as far as I've read. Reply
  • coolhardware - Monday, July 31, 2017 - link

    Would be interested to know this as well. Dell seems to be slipping the QC arena. Reply
  • Garrett S. - Monday, July 31, 2017 - link

    Laxaa,

    I just sent off laptop number 3 today. I haven't had one Dell XPS 15 9560 work as of yet. All were BRAND NEW, factory sealed from Dell. All had the same problem, where the screen would flicker on and off randomly like a strobe light in a dance club. Both brand new factory sealed units did this.

    So, I ordered a 3rd laptop that was Dell manufacturer refurbished. Again, after a couple of hours of usage, the laptop screen started flashing/blinking rapidly on/off, randomly, sporadically. Honestly, it was like a strobe light at a club.
    Reply
  • Garrett S. - Monday, July 31, 2017 - link

    Laxaa, check out my verified purchase on Amazon (look under customer videos/pictures). My Dell XPS 15 9560 laptop review with 4k screen is a verified purchase and not a random review... (Verified Purchase means amazon is acknowledging that a human ordered the actual product, and it's not a random review).

    I posted videos of the strobe like effect that all 3 laptop screens have displayed. Here goes laptop number 4, 5, 6, etc...

    How is everyone else ordering them? Brand new factory sealed are terrible from dell, and so are manufacturer dell refurbished. Is everyone ordering them from Vladimir in the alley, late at night, used?
    Reply
  • TraderGary - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - link

    Got mine a month ago at the Microsoft Store in Atlanta.
    4K screen, 32 GB RAM, 1 Terabyte SSD, Fingerprint reader.
    It was factory sealed.
    Microsoft has Dell manufacture a Microsoft Signature Edition.
    Only Windows 10 is installed with necessary drivers and Dell utilities.
    This means a clean installation with no bloatware!
    Added 4 years of Microsoft Complete warranty including accidental damage.
    Any needed replacements are done immediately from new in-store stock.
    Unboxed and set it up in the store immediately after purchase.
    Immediately did all the updates.
    No screen flicker.
    No bad screen pixels.
    No screen bleed.
    DaVinci Resolve Studio 4K H.264 real-time video editing is smooth with zero dropped frames.
    So far mine has been literally perfect and I'm more than pleased.
    Reply
  • nfriedly - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - link

    Garret S: That sounds like it must be an environmental problem - something going on with your power lines or some kind of wireless interference; something like that. Have you tried any of them in a different location (e.g. go work at a library or a starbucks or whatever for a few hours)?

    Just running on battery can eliminate any potential issues from the AC lines.
    Reply
  • quicksilver17 - Thursday, August 3, 2017 - link

    I had the same issue. The screen would start flickering like crazy after a couple of hours of usage. However, updating to the latest Intel display driver sorted it out for me. Its been a almost a month now and there has been no flickering Reply

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