Dell XPS 15 (2019): Review Summary And Final Analysis
Performance Summary: From top to the bottom, the Dell XPS 15 (2019) as configured is a muscular laptop for getting work done, content creation, and yes, even a bit of gaming. It led the way across nearly our entire suite of benchmarks. Some of the benchmark scores were lopsided, as we saw in Geekbench—the 8-core/16-thread Intel Core i9-9980HK processor hammered the multi-core portion of the test, scoring 29,057. The next closet competitor posted a 17,618 score. We also saw a handful of lopsided victories in our graphics and gaming benchmarks. In 3DMark Cloud Gate, for example, XPS 15 scored 35,816, compared to the next closest laptop scoring 20,919. Simply put, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 is in a different class than the usual crop of integrated and lower-end discrete graphics that typically accompany productivity-first laptops.
There is very little not to like about the refreshed Dell XPS 15. Dell took an already excellent laptop design and made a few tweaks, such as repositioning the webcam from the bottom to the top of the display, just as it had already done on its XPS 13 line. It also added an absolutely gorgeous 4K resolution OLED display option. The OLED panel is a fine complement to Dell's InfinityEdge design language, giving the XPS 15 some added visual pop and color fidelity you won't find in many other laptops in its class.
As it pertains to the overall design language, we have to applaud Dell for not trying to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. Some might criticize the system builder for sticking with a design that has not been overhauled for several years. However, it works in our opinion. It may not turn heads, and is even a bit understated in light of the hardware and performance lurking underneath the hood. But in an age of RGB lighting and aggressive design profiles, Dell has resisted adding bits of flair that don't also deliver substance with the XPS 15.
If we are picking nits, however, the battery life on the XPS could be a bit better, and the XPS 15's cooling fans make themselves known in CPU and GPU heavy tasks. Perhaps that's where the XPS 15's aging chassis design is holding it back a bit as well. There's no question the 8-core Core i9-9980HK option isn't delivering its absolute peak performance, as thermal saturation kicks in over extended workloads, bleeding off performance. 6-core CPU options may be a better value here if you don't need the multi-threaded horsepower afforded by the 8-core Core i9-9980HK. These are hardly major gripes, though the XPS 15's pricing may serve as a roadblock for some. The model we received carries an MSRP of $2,649.99 (currently on sale for $2,479.99).
To be fair, you're getting a lot of performance and quality for the money here, and it's spread out over every aspect of the system. That includes system memory—you get 32GB of DDR4-2666 at that price point. And of course there is the brilliant OLED display, 8-core CPU, and discrete graphics with gaming chops.
Fortunately, you don't have to extend your budget that high in order to bring an XPS 15 home. Pricing starts at around $1,100, which is far more affordable. Of course, the level of hardware (and by extension, the performance) is not in the same league as our test configuration. However, you can still get a fair bit of premium laptop for the money. That's especially true if you step up to the $1,549.99 (on sale for $1,420.99) configuration, which pairs a Core i7-9750H processor with the same GeForce GTX 1650 GPU.
Summed up, the new Dell XPS 15 is a premium laptop in every sense, from its physical design and eye-popping OLED display, to its fasten-your-seat-belt performance. It's still one of the very best 15-inch laptops on the market and an easy HotHardware Editor's Choice.