Near the end of 2015, Dell rolled out their new XPS styling cues, that were so successful on the XPS 13, to its larger sibling, the XPS 15. Thanks to the Infinity Edge display, Dell’s new XPS 15 packed a full 15.6-inch display into a notebook closer to the size of a 14-inch model. Perhaps the size reduction is not quite as dramatic as the XPS 13 when it first launched with the thin-bezel design, but Dell also kept the performance heart of the XPS 15 intact with the change, keeping a quad-core 45-Watt CPU, and NVIDIA GTX 960M graphics.

Dell has since done a revision from that XPS 15 9550 model to the latest 9560 version. The small model number change might signify that this is a small revision. On the exterior that is certainly the case, with the overall XPS 15 design remaining relatively unchanged, but under the hood there are some more impressive changes awaiting.

The first is a move to Intel’s 7th generation Core processors. Although performance per clock did not change from 6th to 7th generation, a new, improved, 14nm process does allow higher frequencies without blowing through the thermal design power restraints. This allows a small boost in performance over the same designation CPU from the previous design.

More importantly, NVIDIA announced newer graphics to replace the outgoing Maxwell based GTX 960M. The Pascal based GTX 1050 is a significant upgrade, dropping the M branding. Pascal offers much more compute, thanks to the new architecture based on 14nm FinFET, and the GDDR5 capacity doubles from the 2 GB on the GTX 960M to 4 GB on the GTX 1050. The XPS 15 was never a gaming laptop, but a much more capable graphics card certainly helps propel it closer to those dedicated machines, and also can play a big role in compute tasks that can leverage the GPU.

Dell XPS 15 9560 Configurations
  Core i3 Core i5 Core i7
(Model Tested)
GPU Intel HD 630 Intel HD 630 +
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 w/4GB GDDR5
CPU Intel Core i3-7100H (35w)
Dual-Core w/HyperThreading 3.0 GHz
Intel Core i5-7300HQ (45w)
Quad-Core 2.5-3.5 GHz
Intel Core i7-7700HQ (45w)
Quad-Core w/HyperThreading 2.8-3.8 GHz
Memory 8-32GB DDR4-2400 RAM
Two SODIMM slots, 32GB Max
Display 15.6" IPS 1920x1080 sRGB 15.6" IPS 1920x1080 sRGB
Optional 3840x2160 IGZO IPS w/Adobe RGB color space and touch
Storage 500GB 7200 RPM Hybrid w/32GB NAND 1TB 5400 RPM Hybrid w/32GB NAND 256/512/1024 GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Networking Killer 1535 Wireless-AC 2x2 + Bluetooth 4.1
Optional Intel 8265 Wireless-AC 2x2 + Bluetooth 4.1
I/O USB 3.0 x 2 w/Powershare
SD Card reader
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C w/Thunderbolt 3 (2 lanes PCIe)
Headset Jack
HDMI 1.4
Dimensions (mm) : 357 x 235 x 11-17
(inches) : 14.06 x 9.27 x 0.45-0.66
Weight With 56 Wh Battery
1.8 kg / 4.0 lbs
With 97 Wh Battery
2 kg / 4.5 lbs
Battery 56 Wh 56/97 Wh
Price $999+
As tested: (Core i7-7700HQ, 3840x2160, 512 GB, 16GB) $1850

Dell didn’t stop there. The previous model offered either a 56 Wh battery, or a stout 84 Wh version. With the latest 9560 version of the XPS 15, that larger battery is bigger again, boasting a 97 Wh capacity, which is right near the 99 Wh limit allowed in a notebook. Dell claims the 9560 is the class leader in battery life for a 15.6-inch notebook, at least when doing productivity tasks, with up to 19.5 hours of battery life.

The battery life will be impacted significantly by the choice of displays though, and just like the 9550 model, Dell is offering both a 1920x1080 (FHD) non-touch version, as well as a 3840x2160 (UHD) panel with touch. The higher resolution also targets 100% of the Adobe RGB color gamut. With both a higher resolution, and wider color gamut, the UHD version is not the one to get if you need the longest battery life, but may be the optimal version if Adobe RGB is important for your workflow.

Not all of the changes are for the best though. Dell has dropped the 3x3:3 Broadcom wireless option for the 9560, which is a shame since Dell was one of the few PC suppliers to offer a 3x3:3 solution. They’ve opted to go with the same Killer Wireless-AC 1535 as they use in the smaller XPS 13. This is a 2x2:2 solution, which is definitely going to impact transfer speeds.

There’s also lots of connectivity options, with Dell supporting HDMI 1.4, USB 3.0 with PowerShare, a SD card reader, and a USB-C port supporting Thunderbolt 3. The last port allows for a single cable docking solution, which can drive up to two UHD displays, as well as charge the laptop.

The inside has changed a lot, but the outside has stayed mostly the same. That’s not a bad thing either, since the XPS 15 was already one of the sleekest looking large display productivity notebooks around.

Design
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  • Jodiuh - Tuesday, August 01, 2017 - link

    It's 2017...can we PLEASE GET PWM BACKLIGHT RESULTS FOR DEVICES WITH DISPLAYS‽‽‽ Reply
  • Rc1138 - Tuesday, August 01, 2017 - link

    I really want to live my xps15 9550 but Dell's QC is pretty much nonexistent. Right after warranty expired my battery swelled and lifted touchpad above the body by 5-6mm. I bought and changed the battery but the situation seems to repeat itself again with touchpad buttons becoming hard to press. And that's not the end of my misery because laptop BSODs and reboots randomly without POSTing and the problem seems to be with hardware because reinstall of Windows 10 and downgrade to older drivers doesn't change anything. How can such a premium machine be so faulty Reply
  • Rc1138 - Tuesday, August 01, 2017 - link

    I meant like not live Reply
  • davidedney123 - Wednesday, August 02, 2017 - link

    I've got a Precision 5520 (which is basically the same laptop) with the 4K screen that has been flawless, my partner has a 9560 with the 1080p which is similarly without issue, and I have a 1080p Precision 5520 on it's way to.

    I remember reading about a lot of issues users were having with the previous XPS15 and Precision M3800, but I bought dozens of these in 2015/16 and not a single one had any issues on arrival and they have been reliable in use.

    TL:DR - don't let a few vocal users with poor experiences put you off, I've found these to be excellent and well built machines.
    Reply
  • Glock24 - Wednesday, August 02, 2017 - link

    I like that they don't cram a numeric pad in the keyboard. But the port selection is lacking. I would expect at least 3 USB type A ports or more than 1 USB type C in a laptop this size and weight. Also the lack of Ethernet is a big minus for me. Reply
  • TraderGary - Saturday, August 05, 2017 - link

    I've had my Dell XPS 15 9560 for 6 weeks and so far it's been flawless. 4K screen is incredible, 32 GB RAM, 1 Terabyte SSD, Fingerprint reader. I can edit 4K video in DaVinci Resolve Studio in real-time with no proxies. After driver update Killer NIC has been faultless. Windows 10 Pro is great. Reply
  • GoMoeJoe - Tuesday, August 08, 2017 - link

    Killer Networking has garbage software support.
    They post new 'Control Center' releases on their support page -
    and then pull them back down - reverting to older versions - all without saying a word.

    Plus their control center app messes with Windows 10 Creator something fierce - inducing blue screens and ipV6 issues out of nowhere.

    Bad decision for Dell (and MSI) to rely so heavily on Killer tech.
    They stink and are no longer a serious player.
    Reply
  • billobob - Saturday, August 12, 2017 - link

    If only they'd take a cue from microsoft and ditch the horrible 16:9. I love my ultrawide 34" LG, but hate 16:9 formats on notebooks--it's just not terribly practical to have the extra horizontal real estate on a laptop. Even the 16:10 apple uses would be a big improvement. If there were a laptop like this with a better aspect ratio I'd buy it in a heartbeat, even with the NoseCam (TM) Reply
  • nishashrivas93 - Saturday, August 12, 2017 - link

    nice features....m planning to buy it.....thank u for this reviews Reply
  • ttekg - Sunday, August 13, 2017 - link

    Small business - Out of 13 - Dell XPS 15" Laptops - 3 different models over the past 5 years.. only 4 of that group remain operative today. 7 of them dead mainboard - 2.5-3.5 years of usage. 2 of them were user accidents. I actually don't mind too much - they are good laptops and need to be replaced anyway every 3 years.. ;-) Reply

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