Dell XPS 15 2-In-1 (9575) Review: An Ultra-Powerful, Premium Convertible Laptop

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Dell XPS 15 2-In-1: Design Language And Software Configuration

The XPS 15 2-in-1 sticks to the same general blueprint as the XPS 13 2-in-1, with a few tweaks to suit the larger form factor. Like its smaller sibling, the XPS 15 2-in-1 houses its components in a durable CNC machined aluminum chassis, in platinum silver. It's actually just a hair thicker than the 13-inch model, measuring 9-16 mm (0.35-0.62 inches), versus 8-13.7 mm (0.32-0.54 inches). The weight difference is more noticeable, with the XPS 15 2-in-1 starting at 4.3 pounds (versus 2.7 pounds), but that's still respectable for what it brings to the table, especially compared to other 15-inch laptops.
XPS 15 2 in 1 open
While the combination of Intel's Core processor with AMD's Radeon RX Vega graphics in a multi-chip module is the star of the show here, the 15.6-inch InfinityEdge IGZO display makes for one heck of a stage for it to perform. Like HP's Spectre x360, the beauty of the display partially lies in the ultra-thin bezels. This allows Dell to cram a 15.6-inch panel into a smaller size chassis than most laptops in this class. In this case, the system measures 354 mm wide (13.9 inches) and 235 mm deep (9.3 inches).

The result of this design decision is that the glass panel extends to nearly the edge on both sides and top. There is a trade off with how the InfinityEdge display is built, which is that the webcam (and IR camera supporting Windows Hello) sits at the bottom instead of the top where it's more traditionally found. Depending on your setup, you may have to tilt the display back further than you are used to when participating in a video conference. It's not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but still a notable caveat.
XPS 15 2 in 1 display
15.6-inch UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD InfinityEdge Touch Display

As mentioned, buyers can choose between a Full HD 1080p (1920x1080) or 4K (3200x1800) panel, both with 10-point touch support, though the 4K panel supports 100 percent coverage of the AdobeRGB color space, while the FHD panel supports just 100 percent sRGB. Dell upgraded both displays to illuminate 400 nits brightness, combined with the wide 178-degree viewing angle, the XPS 15 2-in-1 provides a fantastic viewing experience with bright visuals and accurate colors. To our eyeballs, it comes very close to the fidelity of a high-quality OLED panel.

Editor's Note, 4/4/2018:
This section has been updated to better reflect accurate specifications for the FHD version display (not shown in testing here). 
 
XPS 15 2 in 1 vs X1 Carbon side by side
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon HDR (Left) - Dell XPS 15 2-In-1 (Right)

Side-by-side here versus Lenovo's new ThinkPad X1 Carbon with its 500 nits HDR display, the two machines are very comparable. Interestingly enough, Dell's 4K IGZO panel seems to deliver a bit more brightness, though it's rated at 100 nits less at 400 nits total. And Lenovo's 14-inch HDR display in the X1 Carbon offers just a touch more saturation and color response, though not dramatically so - they're both very close in terms of image quality, and viewing angle capabilities are similarly adept as well. 
 
We mentioned the flexibility of the XPS 15 2-in-1, which supports four different modes—laptop, tablet, tent, and stand. Where this convertible is a little less flexible is in external connectivity. Dell has done away the USB Type-A ports, instead opting for a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports and two USB 3.1 Type-C ports. The XPS 15 2-in-1 charges over USB-C and comes with a 130W AC adapter.

XPS 15 2 in 1 left edige
XPS 15 2 in 1 right edige

While the XPS 15 2-in-1 bids farewell to USB Type-A connectivity, it does sport a 3.5mm audio jack, allowing you to use your existing headphones without an adapter. It's a welcome amenity that we no longer take for granted, particularly on increasingly thin and light systems.

You also get a microSD card slot and Noble lock slot to round things out, along with an optional fingerprint reader that's built into the power button.

XPS 15 2 in 1 keyboard
Dell XPS 15 2-In-1 Mag-lev Keyboard

The 15.6-inch form factor provides a spacious palm rest made from a carbon fiber composite. It surrounds the large trackpad that is centered between the edges, and the "Mag-lev" keyboard. Say what now?

Maglev Keyboard
Dell Mag-lev Key Switch Design

Mag-lev is the clever name Dell has given to its newly designed keyboard, and specifically the magnetic levitation system that uses rare earth metal magnets to hold the keys in place and provide tactile resistance. This enabled Dell to build a lower profile keyboard with keys that sit almost flush with the base of the laptop, but still have a deceptively deeper click action than you might imagine, with 0.7 mm of key travel.

If you're worried that a magnetic system would ultimately result in key caps flying off the laptop, don't be—we gave this keyboard a workout and it never flinched. The lower profile takes some getting used to, but is a surprisingly effectively design (or not surprisingly, depending on how you feel about low profile keyboards). There's also LED backlighting on board, so hooray for that.

Dell XPS 15 2 in 1 Stylus Pen2
Dell's Optional Stylus Pen

Optionally, users may opt to shell out for Dell's $99 stylus, which offers 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. There is a spot on the left side of the laptop to attach it magnetically. We'd like to see this included, just as HP does with its Spectre x360 15. But with a starting price of $1,299, we suppose there isn't much to complain about.

Dell XPS 15 2-In-1 Software Setup

Our review model shipped with Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, which booted to a clean desktop with just a Recycle Bin icon. That's exactly how we like to see things, as opposed to a bunch of third-party junk cluttering up the desktop and loading at startup.

Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 SupportAssist

Dell does include a few of its own utilities, stuff we have seen before on its previous model laptops and 2-in-1 devices. Notably the company's SupportAssist software provides a handy command center of sorts for support services and diagnostics. For example, you can initiate a Hardware Checkup to ensure that the system is firing on all cylinders like it should be. You can also glance your system specs, check for and download updated drivers, and optimize settings.

Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 Killer Control Panel

You also have access to Killer's control center, which ties into the system's Killer Wireless 1435 Wi-Fi adapter. Probably the neatest thing about this utility is its Wi-Fi analyzer. This provides an overview of the various SSIDs available and the signal strength of each one on various channels. If you often have trouble with wireless performance due to crowded networks, this can help you overcome that, provided you're comfortable poking around your router's settings and making some manual changes.

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