Dell XPS 15 (9570) Review: Same Beauty, Even More Beast

Dell XPS 15 (9570): Battery Life, Acoustics And Thermals

We employed a custom 1080p HD video loop test developed in-house, to prove out battery life with our test group of machines. In all tests, Windows 10 Quiet Hours has been enabled and the displays are calibrated with meters on pure white screens to as close to 115 lux as possible. For the average laptop this is somewhere between a 40 - 60% brightness setting. Since laptop 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. And, since many laptop displays vary in brightness at each respective setting in Windows, this calibration with a meter is critical to ensure all displays are set to as near identical brightness output as possible, before running battery tests.

Battery Life - How We Test:

Our custom HotHardware video loop test takes a 1080p HD video with a 16Kbps bit rate and loops it repeatedly, with 1 minute break intervals in between. A timer log file increments minutes of up-time, every minute -- along with the grand total -- before system shutdown is stored and logged. 


The 4K screen and relatively powerful hardware inside certainly puts a drain on the XPS 15’s battery. That said, the system was one of the better performers in the 4K group, slightly outlasting the Dell XPS 13, lasting 109 minutes longer than the convertible XPS 15 2-in-1, and 59 minutes longer than the HP Spectre x360 15t. Certainly, 6.5 hours isn't too shabby for a 4K laptop with the kind of performance the XPS 15 offers, but you'll probably want the 1080p version if you need to work away from a power outlet for most of the day.

Dell XPS 15 2-In-1 Acoustics & Thermals (Updated, 9/8/18)

During day-to-day Office work and web browsing, the XPS 15 remained silent, except when viewing multiple videos simultaneously. Even then its cooling fans ramped up to a dull whisper, and the bottom of the laptop warmed only slightly.

However, during our gaming and CPU-straining benchmark tests, the fans did make their presence known. It was never a cacophony, but you will know that this system is working hard when the fans spin up. Thankfully, the performance of this system means that it will most likely finish its work quickly and quiet its fans after the tasks are done. However, over extended use case scenarios, especially with heavy graphics workloads or gaming, the XPS 15 can get noticeably loud. It's to be expected with this kind of horsepower on board but it's something to consider if you're particularly sensitive to acoustics. It's all relative, as they say.

Finally, with respect to performance and Dell's thermal solution in the new XPS 15 9570, we found the machine throttled only moderately under extended heavy load. Variances between test runs, whether it was multiple, extended compute-intensive tests like Cinebench or in extended game testing, the XPS 15 9570's performance varied less than 10 percent at any given time. We found this to be as good or better than most laptops in its weight and performance class. We've head reports that detail issues with the XPS 15 9570 thermal throttling but we did not experience this with our unit, which was fully updated with multiple BIOS updates during the process. Perhaps Dell has resolved any of these previously reported issues over time but it was our experience that the machine maintains its performance relatively well.

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