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

Dell XPS 15 (9560): Battery Life & Final Thoughts

In the following benchmarks we employ two very different battery life tests -- Battery Eater Pro and a custom 1080p HD video loop test -- to prove out battery life with our test group of machines and the Dell XPS 15. In all tests, Windows 10 Quiet Hours have been enabled and displays are calibrated with lux meters on pure white screens to as close to 115 lux as possible. For the average notebook this is somewhere between a 45 - 60% brightness setting.
dell xps 15 9560 with power brick
Since notebook displays significantly affect power consumption and battery life, it's important to ensure a level playing field with respect to brightness of the display for battery testing. However, since many notebook displays vary in brightness at each respective brightness setting in Windows, this calibration with the meter is also critical to ensure all displays are set to as near identical brightness as possible before testing.

Battery Life Testing
Heavy-Duty Workload And Light-Duty Battery Life Performance Tests
Battery Eater Pro works all subsystems including processor, graphics, memory, and storage in its efforts to exhaust a battery as soon as possible. We have lots of legacy comparison data on this test, so we have a wider swath of numbers to compare to here...
dell xps 15 9560 bench battery eater
The custom HD video loop test, however, is relatively new for us here, so we're still compiling reference numbers from a variety of different systems and notebook products.
dell xps 15 9560 bench battery loop

The new XPS 15 features a larger 97WHr battery than last year's maximum 84WHr offering. This enables the XPS 15 9560 to power through over six and a half hours of HD video on a single charge, despite its 4K display, up from just under 6 hours last year. The HP Spectre x360 15t notably does keep pace with a smaller 64.5WHr battery, however, that model was also only kitted with a dual-core Core i5-6200U and lacks discrete graphics.

In Battery Eater, though, things don't look as favorable. Again, Battery Eater is an all out assault on power and the XPS 15 has more horses to gallop than its competition. Still, it is disappointing to see a massive 97WHr battery not hold out longer than an hour and a half in this test. This also tells us the GTX 1050 likely is pulling a bit more wattage than the GTX 960M did, though it is also getting more done. Dell may have some tuning to do, but with a 4K screen and the kind of horsepower the XPS 15 has lurking under the hood, taxing every component is simply going to drain the battery quicker. That said, as you saw in our 1080p video loop test, pedestrian tasks are met with very reasonable efficiency.

Final Thoughts

Dell's XPS 15 is an ultrabook that stands out from the crowd. Very few professional-looking and sleek notebooks bother with high performance hardware, and in that regard the XPS 15 is a bit of a sleeper. It is certainly a welcome respite for those of us who need to maintain appearances in the office or the classroom, but still wish to get our game on during downtime.
dell xps 15 9560 display straight on

The XPS 15 may not be an "everyman's" (or woman's) laptop. Those looking for a super portable ultrabook may be better served by its smaller sibling, the XPS 13. Likewise, users in need of a straight-up gaming notebook may instead prefer an Inspiron 15 Gaming at the entry level or an Alienware machine at the high end for better performance per dollar.
dell xps 15 9560 rear three quarters
The XPS 15 does not claim to be the lightest, thinnest, most powerful, or most groundbreaking notebook of them all. There are notebooks that may outshine the XPS 15 in a specific category. However, the Dell XPS 15 does succeed at blurring the lines between all categories in one hell of a slim, killer package that transcends its spec sheet - and yeah, it's got game.

 hot  not
  • Gorgeous 15" 4K IPS Infinity Edge Display
  • Carbon Fiber And Machined Aluminum
  • Category-defying performance
  • Powerful, Light, Stylish
  • Relatively Pricey
  • Battery life is lacking under load

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