Dell XPS 15 9500 (2020) review: Still the 15-inch laptop to beat Review

Dell has presented its leading-tier XPS 15 laptop a makeover for 2020, with a redesigned chassis and updated requirements. It is a strong but strong 15.six-inch laptop that can accommodate up to 1TB of storage, and a 4K UHD+ (3840 x 2400) contact display if you go past the foundation £1,419 (ex. VAT) product. But how considerably of an advance is it on its predecessor?

Last year’s Dell XPS 15 packed a ton of punch into a small chassis, and though we did have some issues, overall we observed it to be a strong and incredibly competent — if rather pricey — laptop. The 2020 edition of the XPS 15 (9500) has some design and style modifications and upgraded requirements.

The most recognizable design and style change is that the considerable base display bezel on very last year’s product is long gone there are now narrow bezels all spherical, leaving just ample room for the webcam to sit previously mentioned the display. This one particular change will make a enormous distinction when it arrives to viewing video clip and using the redefined InfinityEdge display screen more frequently (see under).


Dell’s XPS 15 9500 has an practically bezel-free of charge 15.six-inch display with possibly FHD+ (1920 x 1200) or UHD+ (3840 x 2400) resolution and 500-nits optimum brightness. It weighs one.8kg and is powered by 10th technology Intel Core i5, i7 or i9 processors.

Illustrations or photos: Dell

Cramming a 15.six-inch display into a chassis with a 344mm by 230mm footprint is really a feat. This year’s product arrives in at 18mm thick (1mm more than the 2019 XPS 15), and has a starting up weight of one.8Kg, which you’ll certainly feel in a backpack. The trade-off is a incredibly robust construct utilising carbon fibre to incorporate a authentic solidity to the chassis. You will find no give in the slender lid part, nor in the foundation, wrist rest or keyboard. A sleeve most likely isn’t really essential to provide in-bag security, unless of course you want to protect a scratch-free of charge finish to the outer chassis.

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There are two other noteworthy design and style modifications compared to very last year’s product. Just one of these is the touchpad, which has greater considerably in dimensions. It now appears to be like practically comically enormous, but in fact the dimensions will make navigation all-around the display less difficult: you can find no require to feel for one particular edge if you want to drag the cursor from one particular side of the display to the other. Following crafting this review, going again to my regular laptop’s smaller sized touchpad felt positively constraining. 

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Over the touchpad, the very well spaced, backlit keyboard is incredibly responsive to use. Typing is incredibly peaceful, with just the faintest click on as keys are depressed. You will find lots of spring to the motion, and I had no hassle typing at my standard contact-typing velocity.


The backlit keyboard is flanked by grilles for the quad speaker system (2 woofers, 2 tweeters). Notice the extremely large touchpad.

Graphic: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The ultimate design and style change from the 2019 XPS 15 is that the previously unused areas to the remaining and correct of the keyboard are now occupied by speaker grilles. That means sound from the quad speaker array is projected specifically at you alternatively than outputting from the sides or even the underside of the chassis. This is a very good go: the XPS 15 is not a 350-degree convertible, so this laptop will be made use of in normal clamshell mode for giving presentations or soon after-hours video clip seeing, for example. Audio high-quality is impressive at small to middling volumes, and the XPS 15 puts out increased quantity than I can recall hearing from a laptop for some time. Audio high-quality suffers at the leading close, but mid-amount quantity is very good ample for numerous predicaments.

The XPS 15 9500 actually stands out for the high-quality of its 15.six-inch display screen. My review device had the leading-close 4K+ contact display with three,840 by 2,four hundred resolution (290ppi). Despite the fact that the OLED option from very last year’s product is no for a longer time out there, the display screen is wonderfully sharp, very clear and vivid. The negligible-bezel InfinityEdge design and style will make it a authentic enjoyment to observe the odd movie, and you can find lots of space to horizontally split two functioning windows though acquiring a 3rd doc development window open to the complete peak of the display. If everything, the optimum brightness of 500 nits was a minimal way too considerably for me though functioning, but it arrived into its very own in ‘TV viewing’ mode. Picture and video clip editors will value the screen’s color gamut assistance: 100% of Adobe RGB and 94%of DCI-P3.

There are 6 pre-created configurations of this laptop on Dell’s British isles web page at the time of crafting, all operating 10th technology Intel processors (which include two Core i9 options), some with the contact display and some with discrete graphics:

  • Intel Core i5-10300H, Windows 10 Professional, 15.six-inch one,920 x one,two hundred (FHD+) non-contact display, Intel UHD Graphics, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD
    £1,419 (ex. VAT)
  • Intel Core i7-10750H, Windows 10 Professional, 15.six-inch one,920 x one,two hundred (FHD+) non-contact display, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £1,739 (ex. VAT)
  • Intel Core i7-10750H, Windows 10 Professional, 15.six-inch three,840 x 2,four hundred (UHD+) contact display, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £2,029 (ex. VAT)
  • Intel Core i9-10885H, Windows 10 Professional, 15.six-inch one,920 x one,two hundred (FHD+) non-contact display, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £2,127.33 (ex. VAT)
  • Intel Core i7-10750H, Windows 10 Professional, 15.six-inch three,840 x 2,four hundred (UHD+) contact display, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £2,149 (ex. VAT)
  • Intel Core i9-10885H, Windows 10 Professional, 15.six-inch three,840 x 2,four hundred (UHD+) contact display, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £2,497.33 (ex. VAT)

My review sample was various: it ran Windows 10 Dwelling on an Intel Core i7-10750H processor with 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics — and, as now noted, the 4K UHD+ (three,840 x 2,four hundred) contact display.


Connections on the XPS 15 9500: 3 USB-C ports (the two on the remaining assistance Thunderbolt three) and a complete-dimensions SD card reader. 

Illustrations or photos: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

There are 3 USB-C ports, all with electricity shipping and DisplayPort, two of which (on the remaining side) also have Thunderbolt three assistance. You will find also an SD card reader — an uncommon sight these times — and a three.5mm headset jack. That’s it as significantly as on-machine connectivity is anxious, whilst Dell throws in a small dongle that provides USB and HDMI connections through one particular of the USB-C ports.

Dell presents really granular and distinct info about battery life. The XPS 15 9500’s six-cell 86Wh battery can deliver up to 24 hours with the FHD+ product when using efficiency applications like Word or Excel, or up to sixteen hours 52 minutes when streaming Netflix. With the significant-resolution UHD+ panel, Dell claims the battery can deliver up to 13 hours forty six minutes using efficiency applications, or up to 8 hours 27 minutes of Netflix streaming.

My authentic-entire world battery checks ended up done with the UHD+ panel. I intentionally remaining video clip streaming all through a three.five-hour interval throughout which I worked into internet applications, seen internet pages, and watched the occasional video clip. Initially the display screen set alone to its 100% brightness on battery electricity, but I observed this way too vivid for comfort, and reduced it to fifty% soon after an hour and a half. In that initially interval the battery fell from 100% to 71%. The subsequent two hours with the display at fifty% noticed the battery drop to 44%. So that was a web decline of 66% of battery life in three.five hours. Don’t count on all-working day battery life from this laptop unless of course you retain display brightness small and run somewhat undemanding workloads.

A few of other operational factors of note: the chassis received a minimal heat the two on the keyboard and on the underside, and the admirer, though not noisy, was a minimal distracting at periods. This could not use to all configurations, while.


The Dell XPS 15 9500 (2020) is a significant laptop with a strong chassis. The negligible-bezel display, at least on the UHD+ product I reviewed, is terribly very good. In this regard, Dell sets a benchmark for other companies. The large touchpad is a enjoyment to operate with — as noted before, I observed it constraining to return to the smaller sized touchpad on my regular laptop. 

You will find room for enhancement in battery life, whilst it is inquiring a ton for correct all-working day battery life from a laptop operating a significant-resolution 3840-by-2400-pixel display. Nevertheless, even with that caveat, the XPS 15 9500 (2020) sets a new significant bar for 15.six-inch laptops.

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