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

Dell has presented its top-tier XPS 15 laptop a makeover for 2020, with a redesigned chassis and up to date specs. It can be a sturdy but effective 15.six-inch laptop that can accommodate up to 1TB of storage, and a 4K UHD+ (3840 x 2400) contact display if you go further than the base £1,419 (ex. VAT) model. But how a lot of an progress is it on its predecessor?

Previous year’s Dell XPS 15 packed a large amount of punch into a small chassis, and whilst we did have some difficulties, total we located it to be a effective and very knowledgeable — if considerably high priced — laptop. The 2020 edition of the XPS 15 (9500) has some layout variations and upgraded specs.

The most obvious layout adjust is that the significant bottom display bezel on last year’s model is long gone there are now slender bezels all round, leaving just plenty of room for the webcam to sit higher than the display. This a single adjust will make a huge big difference when it comes to viewing video clip and employing the redefined InfinityEdge show extra usually (see down below).


Dell’s XPS 15 9500 has an almost bezel-no cost 15.six-inch display with either FHD+ (1920 x 1200) or UHD+ (3840 x 2400) resolution and 500-nits utmost brightness. It weighs 1.8kg and is driven by 10th generation Intel Core i5, i7 or i9 processors.

Photos: Dell

Cramming a 15.six-inch display into a chassis with a 344mm by 230mm footprint is quite a feat. This year’s model comes in at 18mm thick (1mm extra than the 2019 XPS 15), and has a beginning fat of 1.8Kg, which you’ll certainly come to feel in a backpack. The trade-off is a very strong develop utilising carbon fibre to add a true solidity to the chassis. You will find no give in the skinny lid portion, nor in the base, wrist relaxation or keyboard. A sleeve possibly just isn’t needed to present in-bag defense, unless of course you want to protect a scratch-no cost complete to the outer chassis.

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There are two other notable layout variations in contrast to last year’s model. A single of these is the touchpad, which has elevated substantially in dimension. It now appears to be like almost comically huge, but in simple fact the dimension will make navigation about the display less difficult: you can find no want to come to feel for a single edge if you want to drag the cursor from a single facet of the display to the other. Just after producing this review, going back to my typical laptop’s more compact touchpad felt positively constraining. 

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Earlier mentioned the touchpad, the very well spaced, backlit keyboard is very responsive to use. Typing is very tranquil, with just the faintest simply click as keys are frustrated. You will find a great deal of spring to the action, and I had no problems typing at my ordinary contact-typing pace.


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

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The remaining layout adjust from the 2019 XPS 15 is that the previously unused areas to the left and appropriate of the keyboard are now occupied by speaker grilles. That means audio from the quad speaker array is projected immediately at you somewhat than outputting from the sides or even the underside of the chassis. This is a very good shift: the XPS 15 is not a 350-diploma convertible, so this laptop will be employed in regular clamshell manner for offering shows or soon after-hrs video clip viewing, for illustration. Audio excellent is spectacular at lower to middling volumes, and the XPS 15 places out greater volume than I can remember hearing from a laptop for some time. Audio excellent suffers at the top close, but mid-stage volume is very good plenty of for many circumstances.

The XPS 15 9500 definitely stands out for the excellent of its 15.six-inch show. My review unit had the top-close 4K+ contact display with 3,840 by 2,four hundred resolution (290ppi). Whilst the OLED selection from last year’s model is no for a longer time out there, the show is splendidly sharp, crystal clear and brilliant. The small-bezel InfinityEdge layout will make it a true satisfaction to check out the odd motion picture, and you can find a great deal of place to horizontally split two doing work windows whilst getting a third document generation window open to the comprehensive top of the display. If just about anything, the utmost brightness of 500 nits was a very little too a lot for me whilst doing work, but it came into its possess in ‘TV viewing’ manner. Picture and video clip editors will appreciate the screen’s colour gamut aid: one hundred{fb741301fcc9e6a089210a2d6dd4da375f6d1577f4d7524c5633222b81dec1ca} of Adobe RGB and 94{fb741301fcc9e6a089210a2d6dd4da375f6d1577f4d7524c5633222b81dec1ca}of DCI-P3.

There are 6 pre-created configurations of this laptop on Dell’s Uk web-site at the time of producing, all working 10th generation Intel processors (like two Core i9 options), some with the contact display and some with discrete graphics:

  • Intel Core i5-10300H, Home windows 10 Professional, 15.six-inch 1,920 x 1,200 (FHD+) non-contact display, Intel UHD Graphics, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD
    £1,419 (ex. VAT)
  • Intel Core i7-10750H, Home windows 10 Professional, 15.six-inch 1,920 x 1,200 (FHD+) non-contact display, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £1,739 (ex. VAT)
  • Intel Core i7-10750H, Home windows 10 Professional, 15.six-inch 3,840 x 2,four hundred (UHD+) contact display, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £2,029 (ex. VAT)
  • Intel Core i9-10885H, Home windows 10 Professional, 15.six-inch 1,920 x 1,200 (FHD+) non-contact display, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £2,127.33 (ex. VAT)
  • Intel Core i7-10750H, Home windows 10 Professional, 15.six-inch 3,840 x 2,four hundred (UHD+) contact display, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £2,149 (ex. VAT)
  • Intel Core i9-10885H, Home windows 10 Professional, 15.six-inch 3,840 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 different: it ran Home windows 10 Property on an Intel Core i7-10750H processor with 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics — and, as by now famous, the 4K UHD+ (3,840 x 2,four hundred) contact display.


Connections on the XPS 15 9500: a few USB-C ports (the two on the left aid Thunderbolt 3) and a comprehensive-dimension SD card reader. 

Photos: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

There are a few USB-C ports, all with energy shipping and delivery and DisplayPort, two of which (on the left facet) also have Thunderbolt 3 aid. You will find also an SD card reader — an abnormal sight these days — and a 3.5mm headset jack. That’s it as much as on-system connectivity is anxious, despite the fact that Dell throws in a small dongle that adds USB 3.1 and HDMI connections by means of a single of the USB-C ports.

Dell offers quite granular and distinct information about battery lifestyle. The XPS 15 9500’s six-mobile 86Wh battery can provide up to 24 hrs with the FHD+ model when employing productiveness applications like Phrase or Excel, or up to sixteen hrs fifty two minutes when streaming Netflix. With the substantial-resolution UHD+ panel, Dell says the battery can provide up to 13 hrs forty six minutes employing productiveness apps, or up to eight hrs 27 minutes of Netflix streaming.

My true-globe battery checks ended up carried out with the UHD+ panel. I intentionally left video clip streaming throughout a 3.5-hour period of time for the duration of which I labored into web apps, considered web web pages, and viewed the occasional video clip. To begin with the show set by itself to its one hundred{fb741301fcc9e6a089210a2d6dd4da375f6d1577f4d7524c5633222b81dec1ca} brightness on battery energy, but I located this too brilliant for ease and comfort, and lessened it to 50{fb741301fcc9e6a089210a2d6dd4da375f6d1577f4d7524c5633222b81dec1ca} soon after an hour and a fifty percent. In that initial period of time the battery fell from one hundred{fb741301fcc9e6a089210a2d6dd4da375f6d1577f4d7524c5633222b81dec1ca} to 71{fb741301fcc9e6a089210a2d6dd4da375f6d1577f4d7524c5633222b81dec1ca}. The subsequent two hrs with the display at 50{fb741301fcc9e6a089210a2d6dd4da375f6d1577f4d7524c5633222b81dec1ca} observed the battery fall to forty four{fb741301fcc9e6a089210a2d6dd4da375f6d1577f4d7524c5633222b81dec1ca}. So that was a net loss of sixty six{fb741301fcc9e6a089210a2d6dd4da375f6d1577f4d7524c5633222b81dec1ca} of battery lifestyle in 3.5 hrs. Will not anticipate all-day battery lifestyle from this laptop unless of course you retain display brightness lower and run somewhat undemanding workloads.

A pair of other operational factors of take note: the chassis received a very little warm equally on the keyboard and on the underside, and the enthusiast, whilst not noisy, was a very little distracting at occasions. This may perhaps not apply to all configurations, though.


The Dell XPS 15 9500 (2020) is a hefty laptop with a sturdy chassis. The small-bezel display, at least on the UHD+ model I reviewed, is extraordinarily very good. In this respect, Dell sets a benchmark for other brands. The huge touchpad is a satisfaction to do the job with — as famous earlier, I located it constraining to return to the more compact touchpad on my typical laptop. 

You will find room for enhancement in battery lifestyle, despite the fact that it’s asking a large amount for legitimate all-day battery lifestyle from a laptop working a substantial-resolution 3840-by-2400-pixel display. Still, even with that caveat, the XPS 15 9500 (2020) sets a new substantial bar for 15.six-inch laptops.

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