Dell XPS 15 Touch Screen Laptop Review

Design and Layout

Dell took an interesting approach to the XPS 15 Touch by essentially shoehorning a potent laptop configuration with a crazy high resolution into an Ultrabook's body. As previously discussed, it's a bit heavier than your typical Ultrabook at 4.44 pounds and it doesn't carry the Ultrabook designation, but it's easy to mistake it for one at a glance.

If you've seen a recent XPS laptop in person, you have a pretty good idea of the XPS 15 Touch will look like. It follows the same basic blueprint, one that calls for a machined aluminum finish with Dell's logo sitting unobtrusively in the center. Though the XPS 15 Touch definitely has some gaming chops -- we'll get into that in a bit -- there are no flashing LEDs or aggressive angles to designate a peppy GPU underneath the hood. Those seeking a flashy exterior can head over to Dell's Alienware division, whereas the XPS 15 Touch is designed in way that you can take it to the board room without it being a distraction.

As we noted when we revisited Dell's XPS 13 Ultrabook last year, the XPS 15 Touch is constructed out of a single block of aluminum that's precision cut. The lid itself is not the least bit pliant or flimsy like some lighter weight notebooks tend to be, and it fights gravity to stay open at whatever angle you choose. You'll also notice that all four corners are rounded. That might not seem important, but it can actually help when slipping the laptop into or out of a backpack, briefcase, or laptop bag. Sharp corners have a tendency to grab hold of whatever they can, especially when you're in a hurry.

There's really no way to capture of the essence of the Quad HD+ panel in photos, but trust us when we say it's a gorgeous display. The 15.6-inch touch screen IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) panel is made from the same material as today's 4K Ultra high definition displays. This one doesn't pack quite as many pixels at 3200x1800, but crammed into 15.6 inches of real estate with 400 nits brightness, you'll be loathe to go back to a Full HD 1080p laptop, especially after seeing high resolution images and super HD video at this resolution.

The other benefit running at a 3200x1800 resolution is that you have more room for multitasking. We never felt like we had to strain when viewing the QHD+ display, and it sure is nice having all that room to play with, whether it's browsing the web or shuttling files between folders or drives. We were also impressed with the generous viewing angles, which allowed us to see the screen in high detail without having to sit dead center in front of it.

Typing on the backlit keyboard is comfortable, even for long stretches. This has been a high point of previous XPS laptops and it continues to be a standout feature here on the XPS 15 Touch. Curved keycaps with just the right amount of spacing ensure that you'll spend more time pecking away your thoughts than you will going back and fixing typing errors. Our only real gripe is the lack of a Numpad, which would have been hard to squeeze into a 15.6-inch laptop. Hint to OEMs: Try using that space to the right of the trackpad. There could even be a sliding door to cover and reveal the Numpad as needed.

Nestled dead center below the keyboard is a big trackpad with gesture support. A rubberized finish wraps around the trackpad and extends up and around the plank as well. It's cool, smooth, and comfortable, and best of all, it doesn't attract finger prints like those glossy finishes are notorious for.

Dell did a good job with its port selection too. Over on the right side of the laptop is a memory card reader, a USB 3.0 port (non-color coded), a USB 2.0 port, and a Noble lock. Both of the USB ports (as well as the ones on the other side) feature PowerShare technology, which allows you to charge USB devices even when the laptop is turned off or in standby mode. Do note, however, that if you turn the system off while charging a device, it will stop charging. To resume, just unplug and plug and plug it back in.

On the left side of the XPS 15 Touch you'll find the AC power port, HDMI output, mini DisplayPort, two USB 3.0 ports with PowerShare, a headset jack, battery gauge indicator (press circle for light), and a battery status LED.

None of the USB ports are color coded, though if you forget which of the four is a slower USB 2.0 port, just peer at the scribblings next to each one. Each of the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports are designated with "SS" next to them.

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