Dell XPS 15 9500 (2020) review: Still the 15-inch laptop to beat Review

Dell has given its leading-tier XPS 15 notebook a makeover for 2020, with a redesigned chassis and current requirements. It can be a durable but effective 15.6-inch notebook that can accommodate up to 1TB of storage, and a 4K UHD+ (3840 x 2400) touch screen if you go past the foundation £1,419 (ex. VAT) product. But how much of an advance is it on its predecessor?

Previous year’s Dell XPS 15 packed a whole lot of punch into a tiny chassis, and even though we did have some difficulties, in general we identified it to be a effective and extremely capable — if fairly expensive — notebook. The 2020 variation of the XPS 15 (9500) has some design and style improvements and upgraded requirements.

The most obvious design and style alter is that the important bottom screen bezel on previous year’s product is long gone there are now narrow bezels all spherical, leaving just enough home for the webcam to sit previously mentioned the screen. This one alter makes a huge big difference when it comes to viewing movie and working with the redefined InfinityEdge show extra usually (see below).


Dell’s XPS 15 9500 has an nearly bezel-free of charge 15.6-inch screen with both FHD+ (1920 x 1200) or UHD+ (3840 x 2400) resolution and five hundred-nits highest brightness. It weighs one.8kg and is driven by tenth era Intel Core i5, i7 or i9 processors.

Pictures: Dell

Cramming a 15.6-inch screen into a chassis with a 344mm by 230mm footprint is pretty a feat. This year’s product comes in at 18mm thick (1mm extra than the 2019 XPS 15), and has a starting bodyweight of one.8Kg, which you may absolutely come to feel in a backpack. The trade-off is a extremely strong establish utilising carbon fibre to incorporate a true solidity to the chassis. There is no give in the slim lid segment, nor in the foundation, wrist relaxation or keyboard. A sleeve almost certainly is not vital to present in-bag protection, except if you want to preserve a scratch-free of charge complete to the outer chassis.

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There are two other notable design and style improvements as opposed to previous year’s product. One of these is the touchpad, which has enhanced appreciably in measurement. It now seems nearly comically huge, but in fact the measurement makes navigation close to the screen simpler: you can find no need to have to come to feel for one edge if you want to drag the cursor from one aspect of the screen to the other. Just after composing this critique, likely back again to my regular laptop’s smaller touchpad felt positively constraining. 

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Higher than the touchpad, the perfectly spaced, backlit keyboard is extremely responsive to use. Typing is extremely quiet, with just the faintest click on as keys are depressed. There is a lot of spring to the motion, and I experienced no difficulty typing at my standard touch-typing pace.


The backlit keyboard is flanked by grilles for the quad speaker system (2 woofers, 2 tweeters). Take note the extremely substantial touchpad.

Picture: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The closing design and style alter from the 2019 XPS 15 is that the formerly unused locations to the left and proper of the keyboard are now occupied by speaker grilles. That indicates seem from the quad speaker array is projected straight at you fairly than outputting from the sides or even the underside of the chassis. This is a fantastic shift: the XPS 15 is not a 350-diploma convertible, so this notebook will be utilized in standard clamshell method for providing presentations or right after-hrs movie looking at, for instance. Sound quality is spectacular at reduced to middling volumes, and the XPS 15 places out bigger quantity than I can recall listening to from a notebook for some time. Audio quality suffers at the leading end, but mid-level quantity is fantastic enough for quite a few predicaments.

The XPS 15 9500 definitely stands out for the quality of its 15.6-inch show. My critique unit experienced the leading-end 4K+ touch screen with 3,840 by 2,400 resolution (290ppi). Despite the fact that the OLED choice from previous year’s product is no longer readily available, the show is beautifully sharp, apparent and vibrant. The minimal-bezel InfinityEdge design and style makes it a true enjoyment to observe the odd movie, and you can find a lot of room to horizontally split two functioning windows even though owning a third doc development window open up to the whole top of the screen. If just about anything, the highest brightness of five hundred nits was a minor also much for me even though functioning, but it arrived into its possess in ‘TV viewing’ method. Photograph and movie editors will take pleasure in the screen’s color gamut support: a hundred% of Adobe RGB and ninety four%of DCI-P3.

There are 6 pre-developed configurations of this notebook on Dell’s Uk site at the time of composing, all working tenth era Intel processors (like two Core i9 selections), some with the touch screen and some with discrete graphics:

  • Intel Core i5-10300H, Home windows ten Professional, 15.6-inch one,920 x one,200 (FHD+) non-touch screen, Intel UHD Graphics, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD
    £1,419 (ex. VAT)
  • Intel Core i7-10750H, Home windows ten Professional, 15.6-inch one,920 x one,200 (FHD+) non-touch screen, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £1,739 (ex. VAT)
  • Intel Core i7-10750H, Home windows ten Professional, 15.6-inch 3,840 x 2,400 (UHD+) touch screen, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £2,029 (ex. VAT)
  • Intel Core i9-10885H, Home windows ten Professional, 15.6-inch one,920 x one,200 (FHD+) non-touch screen, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £2,127.33 (ex. VAT)
  • Intel Core i7-10750H, Home windows ten Professional, 15.6-inch 3,840 x 2,400 (UHD+) touch screen, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £2,149 (ex. VAT)
  • Intel Core i9-10885H, Home windows ten Professional, 15.6-inch 3,840 x 2,400 (UHD+) touch screen, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £2,497.33 (ex. VAT)

My critique sample was distinctive: it ran Home windows ten Residence on an Intel Core i7-10750H processor with 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics — and, as by now observed, the 4K UHD+ (3,840 x 2,400) touch screen.


Connections on the XPS 15 9500: 3 USB-C ports (the two on the left support Thunderbolt 3) and a whole-measurement SD card reader. 

Pictures: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

There are 3 USB-C ports, all with energy shipping and DisplayPort, two of which (on the left aspect) also have Thunderbolt 3 support. There is also an SD card reader — an uncommon sight these times — and a 3.5mm headset jack. That is it as far as on-machine connectivity is concerned, despite the fact that Dell throws in a tiny dongle that adds USB and HDMI connections through one of the USB-C ports.

Dell gives pretty granular and particular information about battery lifetime. The XPS 15 9500’s 6-mobile 86Wh battery can deliver up to 24 hrs with the FHD+ product when working with productiveness purposes like Term or Excel, or up to 16 hrs 52 minutes when streaming Netflix. With the superior-resolution UHD+ panel, Dell says the battery can deliver up to 13 hrs forty six minutes working with productiveness applications, or up to 8 hrs 27 minutes of Netflix streaming.

My true-entire world battery tests ended up performed with the UHD+ panel. I intentionally left movie streaming in the course of a 3.five-hour period of time throughout which I worked into world wide web applications, viewed world wide web webpages, and viewed the occasional movie. Initially the show set alone to its a hundred% brightness on battery energy, but I identified this also vibrant for comfort, and diminished it to 50% right after an hour and a half. In that initial period of time the battery fell from a hundred% to seventy one%. The subsequent two hrs with the screen at 50% observed the battery tumble to forty four%. So that was a web reduction of 66% of battery lifetime in 3.five hrs. Don’t count on all-day battery lifetime from this notebook except if you keep screen brightness reduced and operate somewhat undemanding workloads.

A few of other operational details of note: the chassis obtained a minor heat each on the keyboard and on the underside, and the enthusiast, even though not noisy, was a minor distracting at instances. This may not apply to all configurations, even though.


The Dell XPS 15 9500 (2020) is a heavy notebook with a durable chassis. The minimal-bezel screen, at the very least on the UHD+ product I reviewed, is terribly fantastic. In this regard, Dell sets a benchmark for other manufacturers. The substantial touchpad is a enjoyment to perform with — as observed before, I identified it constraining to return to the smaller touchpad on my regular notebook. 

There is home for advancement in battery lifetime, despite the fact that it’s inquiring a whole lot for accurate all-day battery lifetime from a notebook working a superior-resolution 3840-by-2400-pixel screen. Nonetheless, even with that caveat, the XPS 15 9500 (2020) sets a new superior bar for 15.6-inch laptops.

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