Still Lovin’ the 1080p Upgrade

The XPS 15 L501x garnered our Gold Editors’ Choice award largely on the merits of the upgraded 1080p LCD. Without a beautiful display, it would probably rate as a Bronze award at best. Six months later, at least on the LCD side nothing noteworthy has changed. Dell is still using an AU Optronics B156HW1 panel, and performance is roughly the same as before. There’s a certain amount of variance among LCD panels, and the L501x actually comes out slightly ahead in the tests, but you’re not liable to see the difference with the naked eye.

Laptop LCD Quality - Contrast

Laptop LCD Quality - White

Laptop LCD Quality - Black

Laptop LCD Quality - Color Accuracy

Laptop LCD Quality - Color Gamut

Good contrast, reasonable brightness range, and a great color gamut continue to make this one of the top 15.6” LCDs. We’ve seen the same panel in a few other laptops (including the Compal NBLB2), but there’s still a range of backlight intensity and we’d like to see Dell allow up to 300nits if possible. Actually, what we’d really like to see is an option for a matte coating on the LCD similar to what we’ve seen on the Clevo P150HM. What’s interesting is that the P150HM we tested had a lower color gamut to go with the matte coating, but it also happens to be the same AUO B156HW01 panel. The P150HM was revision v1 and Dell doesn’t indicate which version they’re using, but it’s probably v4. Personally, I’d still be more than willing to give up color gamut for a matte surface.

Heat and Noise Levels

Under sustained loads, the L502x does seem to run hotter than the L501x, but that’s expected. The CPU core temperatures hit 85-91C after several hours of constant 100% load, while the GPU hit a maximum of 80C. Idle noise levels are the same 31dB we measured before, but load noise is also up relative to the L501x. Our SPL showed a noise output of 43.8dB from a distance of 18”, which is audibly louder than the 42dB we hit with the L501x.

Battery Life: Better than the L501x Dell XPS 15 L502x: Better, But So Is the Competition


View All Comments

  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - link

    Nope; no one has put USB3 into the chipset yet. AMD probably will with their next update I'm guessing, but Intel will likely be pushing Thunderbolt instead. Reply
  • jcannon1018 - Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - link

    Even ivy bridge? Reply
  • BioTurboNick - Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - link

    Ivy Bridge isn't out yet, so it doesn't count. But it will be getting USB3 Reply
  • Neoarun - Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - link

    Well i have got this laptop and i can see that it indeed has a USB 3.0 .... Reply
  • aneuwahl - Sunday, April 24, 2011 - link

    This was proven to have no effect at all on the issue we are talking about. In the forum I linked this was widely tested... Reply
  • aneuwahl - Thursday, April 21, 2011 - link

    It is not necessary to have a USB3 device attached to the ports for the problem to come out. It occours to me with a wireless mouse receiver, or a USB keyboard... Reply
  • FlyBri - Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - link

    ...because Dell just sucks as a company. I really don't care how good their computers are, because if you have a problem with something from them, don't be surprised if they don't really care at all about you. I've never seen so many comments that say "Dell doesn't care", and that even customer support has said that directly to customers as well.

    Dell doesn't care about doing right by its customers, they don't care about BBB complaints, they commit certain acts of fraud, and they don't care to follow consumer protection laws (this is from my own personal experience). In addition, I just heard from a person who worked at Dell for 11 years and said even for him as an employee it went from a great place to work to being unbearable.

    So just a warning to people out there -- some of their products may be decent and come at a good price, but if you EVER have any issues, watch out, because you could be in for a heap of trouble.
  • jabber - Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - link

    Service I've had from Dell has been superb over the past 18 months.

    Had a power issue with my laptop (turns out the laptop/battery just got 'confused' somehow and a boot without the battery fixed it) called it into Dell and two days later TWO new laptop power supplies turn up. Not needed in the end but really handy. So no complaints there.

    A month before the warranty ran out on my laptop I noticed a small piece of one of the key legends had worn off. I took a gamble and called it in at 1pm, no trouble I was told. 11am the next morning a nice chap turned up at my home and swapped out my keyboard. 10 minutes and he was gone. Perfect.

    That was just the standard thrown in cover too. Couldnt be happier.
  • TypeS - Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - link

    Ah rabid posters... you need relax a little bit there buddie. Dell cares about it's customers as much as any of the other top electronic manufacturers do; that you buy their stuff and continue to do so.

    Having worked at a computer store for the last 2 years, I've dealt with Dell, IBM/Lenovo, HP and ASUS, and they all provided acceptable service for in warranty products.

    Has Dell been dishonest about it's business practices? Well who hasn't? Intel recently settled with AMD and NVIDIA for it's strong arm tactics and memory and lcd manufacturers have been caught on in price fixing schemes.

    I can tell by your post that you probably had a horrible experience with Dell and I won't challenge you on it but one experience out of millions doesn't carry much merit.
  • SeanPT - Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - link

    Protip: Buy from Dell Business instead of home. I've been working exclusively with Dells since 2002 for all of my clients that have basic office needs. I've sold thousands of Dell laptops and PCs and I rarely have a problem. When I do I can do a quick chat and have someone out the next day. Reply

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