The Dell XPS 15 OLED makes it even better than it already is. That’s all you need to know about it. My experience with OLED screens goes back a decade and they never fail to amaze me. LCD screens, by their very nature, look bolder and better capture inky blacks than IPS displays. It’s a definite ultraportable powerhouse when combined with the newest Intel and NVIDIA technology.
For those of you who are familiar with the revised XPS 15 from last year, you may not be able to tell the two models apart. Although the aluminum unibody casing remains robust and thin, the 15.6-inch display is the real star of the show. With the tiniest bezels on the market, it appears as if the screen is floating in the sky. An OLED touchscreen model has been added this year, but there are also two LCD options: a 4K+ touchscreen and an HD 1080p display. In order to achieve a 16:10 aspect ratio, these resolutions just have a few additional vertical pixels.
Even though I’m a big fan of OLED, all of the displays should look excellent. Additionally, both LCD and LED variants have a brightness of 500 nits, making them capable of supporting Dolby Vision HDR. Although the OLED version can only reach 400 nits, the considerably improved contrast should compensate for this. As the only screen that supports 100% of DCI-P3 gamut, it is great for artists who need color accuracy.
I’ll confess it: I’m reviewing the XPS 15 mostly to admire its screen. I put on the Matrix Resurrections teaser in 4K HDR as soon as I plugged it in to check whether it looked better than my OLED TV. I was impressed with the XPS 15 despite the fact that the TV was clearly superior. Even in the darkest of nights, the glances we see are absolutely black, but the bright elements like explosions and sunlight were so vivid that they made me cry. That’s why OLED is better than LCD.
One of the rare films that can be viewed in 4K with HDR at 60 frames per second is Ang Lee’s Gemini Man. When Will Smith and his younger clone go head-to-head in a firefight, the OLED screen makes it feel like you’re at the cinema. You won’t really notice that it’s not in 4K, even if it isn’t a complete resolution. Additionally, the upward-firing speakers on Dell’s laptops did a respectable job for the most of the action.
The XPS 15’s OLED screen was a treat to look at even when it wasn’t playing video. Font-heavy websites have never been so enjoyable to browse, and even writing down thoughts in Evernote has become more enjoyable because of the ultra-clear text. It was exactly what you’d expect from a photo-sharing site. Using DCI-P3 instead of sRGB will allow photographs to show more depth because the color gamut is 25 percent broader.
There is just one way to make the XPS 15’s screen look better, and that is to offer a quicker refresh rate like gaming laptops. However, it will probably be several years before work-oriented notebooks take advantage of this technology, which improves the look of scrolling graphics and text.
|PCMark 10||3DMark Night Raid||ATTO disk speeds (top read/write)|
|Dell XPS 15 (Intel i7-11800H, NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti 45w)||5,966||22,264||2.8 GB/s / 2.6 GB/s|
|Dell XPS 15 (Intel i7-10875H, NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti)||3,962||18,500||3 GB/s / 2.4 GB/s|
|Surface Laptop 4 15″ (AMD Ryzen 7 4980U Surface Edition, Radeon)||4,620||15,517||1.9 GB/s / 985 MB/s|
|ASUS ZenBook Duo (Intel Core i7-1165G7, Xe graphics)||4,704||15,315||3.3 GB/s / 2.48 GB/s|
Intel’s i7-11800H processor, 16GB of RAM, and NVIDIA’s RTX 3050 Ti GPU powered our XPS 15 evaluation device. A gaming laptop with a similar GPU can run at up to 80 watts, but a desktop computer with this GPU is significantly less powerful than a gaming desktop. Still, this year’s GTX 1650 Ti is expected to be a massive upgrade. The XPS 15 scored about 6,000 more points in the GPU-focused Geekbench 5 Compute benchmark than last year’s model.
As far as I know, the XPS 15 won’t be judged on its gaming performance because specialized laptops have faster screens and perhaps better hardware for a lower price. At 2,560 by 1,600 (1,440p+), you’ll get 70 frames per second in Overwatch at the maximum graphics level, which is plenty for casual Overwatch players. As it stands, it’s more than capable of taking on most modern games. Playing them at 3.5K isn’t worth it.
The XPS 15 also scored roughly 50% higher in the PCMark 10 benchmark, which I’d credit to both the Intel CPU and the NVIDIA graphics. It will be able to handle the most demanding tasks with ease. One minute of 4K video was converted to 1080p using Handbrake and the NVIDIA encoder in 35 seconds.
This year’s XPS 15 retains its keyboard and trackpad from previous year. Even though I liked the keyboard’s wide layout and responsive keys, I wish Dell would look at ways to provide even more depth to the keyboard.. Some of the Alienware gaming laptops’ CherryMX technology could be incorporated into the XPS range. Furthermore, the trackpad is a joy to use. There’s nothing to complain about there.
Thunderbolt 4 should be supported on at least two out of the three USB-C ports. Plus, a full-sized SD card slot is always a plus for a laptop. Everyone who takes photos would appreciate this. In addition, I was surprised to see that the XPS’s battery life wasn’t as hampered by its OLED screen as I had expected it to be. 9:55 compared to 10:10 on previous year’s model with 4K+ LCD battery life in our battery benchmark test.
XPS 15’s sole drawback is Dell’s lack of OLED support. Remember that the XPS 15 has been promised an OLED display since CES 2019. Because of the epidemic, Dell didn’t include it in its XPS 15 makeover last year, which shocked me. There are a number of other PC manufacturers that made OLED laptops far earlier than Dell, such as ASUS.
The Core i5 processor, integrated graphics, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD come standard on the new XPS 15, which costs $1,300. For $2,000, you can have our review device with 512GB of SSD storage. Compared to the 16-inch MacBook Pro, which costs $2,400 and still uses a ninth-generation Intel processor, these are acceptable prices for 15-inch workhorse computers.
After last year’s XPS 15, I wasn’t expecting much from Dell with the XPS 15. It’s a big improvement, however, to include OLED. A laptop with this screen is one of the greatest you’ll find on the market today. This makes the XPS 15 nearly ideal in every way.