Dell XPS 15 (9560) Review: More Performance, Same Killer Good Looks

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Dell XPS 15 (9560) Now Infused With Kaby Lake And GeForce 10

Lately, Dell has been able to deliver notebooks that bring a smile to our faces, especially when a new XPS laptop slides across our desk. It hasn't always been that way, but since revamping the XPS line, starting with the XPS 13 back in 2015, Dell’s premium laptops have been leaders in the ultrabook market, especially in the 15 and 13-inch formats.
dell xps 15 9560 off angle view close
The XPS 13 and its new 2-in-1 variant make great and highly portable workstations to tote around, but their smaller frames and relative horsepower may not be for everybody. That’s where the crossover to a 15-inch machine might make for a worthy trade-off. For a little more heft, the XPS 15 of yesteryear boasted a discrete GTX 960M onboard with a Skylake quad-core processor, to the XPS 13 line’s integrated graphics on a dual-core chip. As we showed, this allowed the XPS 15 (9550) to brush shoulders with some entry level gaming notebooks, while still looking at home with a business suit.
dell xps 15 9560 rear three quarters close
Now the XPS 15 is back and ready to rumble with even more guts in the same alluring chassis. While its looks have not changed, the XPS 15 (9560) has traded up to seventh generation Kaby Lake processors and Pascal graphics, by way of NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1050. Pascal GPUs, in particular, have made for impressive performance gains this year, over last year’s Maxwell architecture. While the move from a GeForce GTX 960M to a GTX 1050 may sound like a step back in model numbering to some, the later is much more capable in reality for folks that like to game. How much better? Check out Dave's impressions in the video here with respect to just gaming, and read on ahead for more detail on the rest of the story... 


Our review unit is kitted out with Intel’s Core i7-7700HQ, the aforementioned NVIDIA GTX 1050 with 4GB GDDR5, 16GB of 2400MHz dual-channel DDR4 memory (2 x 8GB), a 512GB Samsung PM961 NVMe SSD, Killer Wireless 1535 802.11ac 2x2 networking, a 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge touch display, 97WHr battery, and Windows 10 Home x64 for a premium pricetag of $2049.99.

However, this rings in nearly $200 cheaper than the comparable configuration we scoped out last year. Check out the full specs below.
Dell XPS 15
Specifications & Features
Processor Options
7th Gen Intel Core i3-7100H (3M Cache, up to 3.0 GHz)
7th Gen Intel Core i5-7300HQ Quad-Core (6M Cache, up to 3.5 GHz)
7th Gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad-Core (6M Cache, up to 3.8 GHz)
Dimensions Height: 0.45-0.66 inches (11-17mm) / Width: 14.06 inches (357mm) / Depth: 9.27 inches (235mm)
Starting at weight
Starting at 4 lbs(1.8kg) with 56Whr battery, SSD, and non-touch display
Starting at 4.5 lbs(2kg) with 97Whr battery, SSD and touch display
Display options
15.6” FHD (1920x1080) InfinityEdge display
15.6” UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) InfinityEdge touch display
350-nit, 1000:1 contrast ratio, 72% typical on FHD,100% minimum Adobe RGB on 4K Ultra HD, 170° wide viewing angle -85°/ 85°/ 85°/ 85°
Capacitive touchscreen –10-finger touch support
Construction
CNC machined aluminum
Edge-to-edge Corning Gorilla Glass NBT on 4K Ultra HD display
Carbon fiber composite palm rest with soft touch paint
Memory Options 8GB, 16GB or 32GB DDR4 at 2400 MHz (2 x SoDIMMs)
Graphics
Intel HD Graphics 630
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 4GB GDDR5 graphics
Battery
56Whr or 97Whr Battery (built-in)
AC adapter 130W AC adapter
Storage options
500GB HDD + 32GB Flash or 1TB HDD + 32GB Flash with Intel Smart Response Technology
256GB PCIe SSD, 512GB PCIe SSD, or 1TB PCIe SSD
Keyboard /Touchpad
Full size, backlit chiclet keyboard; 1.3mm travel
Precision touchpad, seamless glass integrated button
Wireless connectivity
Killer 1535 Wireless-AC 2x2 + Bluetooth 4.1
Intel 8265 Wireless-AC 2x2 + Bluetooth 4.1
Miracast capable
Audio Stereo Speaker, Dual Microphones, High Definition Audio with Waves MaxxAudio Pro
Webcam Widescreen HD (720p) webcam with dual array digital microphones
Ports and connectors
HDMI 1.4, USB 3.0 (x2) with PowerShare; Headset Jack(1); SD card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC); Kensington Lockslot; Thunderbolt 3: Thunderbolt 3 supports: Power in / charging, PowerShare, Thunderbolt 3 (20Gbps bi-directional), USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps), VGA, HDMI, Ethernet and USB-A via Dell Adapter (sold separately)
Operating System Windows 10
Software Skype , Microsoft Edge, Dropbox
Manageability and Security Options




Factory Installed with Dell Command | Update and Dell Command | Power Manager, plus compatible with all Dell Client Command Suite tools. Dell Data Protection | Encryption (available via volume licensing), Dell Data Protection | Security Tools, BitLocker Data Encryption with Hardware TPM 2.0, optional Computrace, Configuration Services: Static Image, BIOS settings, Asset Tagging & Reporting 
Pricing:
As Configured and Tested: $2049

The XPS 15 (9560) is visually identical to last year’s XPS 15 (9550), down to port placement and availability - and that’s a very good thing. As such, we will only provide a brief refresher here, mechanically, but you can check out last year’s review as well, for all the gory details.
dell xps 15 9560 lid close
The XPS line’s machined aluminum chassis and carbon fiber lined interior still feels every bit as premium as when the style was first introduced. Curiously lacking is a rose gold color option as can be found on the smaller XPS 13, maybe the coming months will bring us this choice? One has to have goals.
dell xps 15 9560 left side
We find our AC Power-in, a USB 3.0 Type-A port with PowerShare, an HDMI 1.4 port, a Thunderbolt 3 Type-C port, and headset jack along the left edge.
dell xps 15 9560 right side
On the right we have a Kensington Lock slot, battery gauge button and indicator, another USB 3.0 Type-A port with PowerShare, and a very welcome full-size SD card slot.
dell xps 15 9560 front view
Inside, we see the same, nearly unrivaled, 4K InfinityEdge touchscreen panel from last year. Really only Dell's own OLED displays have left us more impressed and we would love to see that option brought to the XPS line. Regardless, all is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass NBT for extra durability against scratches and greater strength - hopefully keeping your display in top condition longer. Of note, we actually could not scratch it with the screwdriver or keys we have on hand, but we caution not to try that at home.
dell xps 15 9560 display straight on

The display also does a fair job of mitigating reflections, though not as perfectly as a matte display. Still, the unit’s 350 nits of brightness helps it power through any condition short of directly reflecting the sun - at which point it serves as a very nice mirror.

dell xps 15 9560 webcam location

Below the display, and to the left of the Dell logo, the 720p webcam remains. This is a victim of the near bezel-less InfinityEdge display, but that doesn’t help ease the pain felt by users who frequently rely upon it. If you do fall into that group, you may want to consider a USB webcam.

dell xps 15 9560 keyboard backlight

Also sometimes controversial is the XPS 15’s keyboard. The keys are very low profile with minimal travel, though they do at least provide decent tactile feedback with near-zero board flex. It does generally take an adjustment period to grow accustomed to, but does eventually feel quite comfortable. This year’s XPS 15 also offers an optional fingerprint reader for $25. This would sit just below the arrow keys, but our unit does not have it included. The fingerprint reader is Windows Hello compatible for enhanced security.

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