Dell XPS 15 (2019) Review: OLED Display Beauty, 8-Core Beast

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Dell XPS 15 (2019): Graphics And Gaming

UL’s well-known 3DMark benchmark suite features tests that target different types of computing devices. We selected Cloud Gate, Sky Diver, and Night Raid tests since they are light-duty 3D graphics and gaming benchmarks aimed at PCs that weren't built specifically for gaming. We also have plenty of comparison data for Cloud Gate and Sky Diver, which is the more strenuous of the two tests. Night Raid is UL's newest addition, which measures DirectX 12 performance in mainstream PCs.

3DMark Benchmarks
3D Performance

Dell XPS 15 3DMark Cloud Gate

Our graph for 3DMark's Cloud Gate test is lopsided in favor of the XPS 15. Most of the laptops represented here are using integrated graphics, save for a handful running discrete GPUs from AMD or NVIDIA. The XPS 15 sports the fastest GPU of the bunch, though, and while not a gaming laptop, the GeForce GTX 1650 inside this system has the chops play games and push pixels around the screen.

Dell XPS 15 3DMark Sky Diver

The Sky Diver benchmark shows the same thing—the XPS 15 just has more graphics muscle to flex, and is considerably faster than Dell's own XPS 15 2-in-1 powered by a Radeon RX Vega M GPU. Meanwhile, the crop of laptops running Intel UHD Graphics 620 neatly align themselves in the bottom half of the graph.

Dell XPS 15 3DMark Night Raid

The Night Raid test is intended for laptops running integrated graphics, not discrete GPUs. Nevertheless, we have a few data points to compare against, including the Acer Swift 3, the previous leader with its discrete GeForce MX150 GPU. It's no match for the GeForce GTX 1650 in the XPS 15, though.

GRID Autosport
Gaming Performance

GRID Autosport is a cross-platform racing simulation developed by Codemasters. The developer wanted to make up for GRID 2, which released to mediocre reviews from critics and gamerse alike. Codemasters set out to improve GRID Autosport's handling and environment rendering to make it a true racing simulator. The third GRID game is built on Codemasters' EGO engine that boasts more realistic physics and damage systems to add a bit of danger and some extra realism to the racing. Codemasters also tuned its graphics engine to perform well over a wide variety of mainstream systems, which makes it a great test for systems with integrated graphics. Codemasters also promotes that GRID Autosport is "optimized for integrated Intel HD Graphics", which is certainly something. We tested at 1080p with the High image quality preset. 

dell xps 15 grid autosport benchmark

GRID Autosport is a little more interesting because it's an actual game. It also underscores the gaming capabilities of the XPS 15, especially compared to the wide crop of systems running Intel UHD Graphics 620 for gaming and graphics duties. We're in triple-digit framerate territory, here, with the high image quality preset at 1080p.

Middle Earth: Shadow of War
Glorious Orc-Slaying Action
Monolith’s fun Orc-slaying title Middle Earth: Shadow of War, delivers a ton of visual fidelity even at its lower quality settings. To get an overview of performance, we tested at high, medium, and low image quality settings at 1920x1080

Dell XPS 15 Middle Earth Shadow of War

For our final gaming and graphics benchmark, we ran Middle Earth: Shadow of War. We have a smaller selection of laptops to compare against, but the ones we do have are running discrete GPUs. Once again, however, we see the XPS 15 pulling ahead of the pack, averaging 52 fps at high, 65 fps at medium, and 88 fps at low quality settings.

The takeaway from all of this is the XPS 15 is certainly capable of playing games, even though it's not billed as gaming laptop. It's not going to offer the same level of performance as a true gaming laptop with, say, a GeForce RTX 2070 or something like that, but the GeForce GTX 1650 GPU should be capable of comfortably handling most titles at 1080p, depending on the game and image quality settings.

Now lets move onto battery life and noise...

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