Dell XPS 15 9500 Laptop Review

About the Dell XPS 15 9500

As a 15-inch laptop that measures .71 inch thick and weighs at least 4 pounds, the Dell XPS 15 isn’t as shoulder-friendly as another model in the Dell XPS line, the XPS 13. However, the added bulk gets you components closer to desktop grade, such as a separate graphics chipset to accompany a 10th-generation Intel i5, i7, or i9 processor and as much as 64 gigabytes (GB) of memory and 2 terabytes (TB) of SSD storage.

On the downside, the XPS 15 offers relatively few expansion options: three ports for connecting USB-C peripherals or for charging the laptop, and one SD card reader. To help you connect older devices, Dell includes an adapter to connect USB-A and HDMI devices. For Wi-Fi connectivity, this laptop supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.

The 15.6-inch display comes in two versions: an FHD+ 1920x1200 regular screen and a 4K UHD+ 3840x2400 touchscreen. The UHD version adds half a pound and decreases battery life by about 50%; Microsoft says the battery in the FHD+ version lasts almost 17 hours while streaming Netflix, versus about 8.5 hours for the UHD+ model. A 720p webcam sits above that screen and supports Microsoft’s Windows Hello face-recognition authentication. Below the screen, speakers flank a backlit keyboard that lacks a separate numeric keypad, while the power button doubles as a Windows Hello fingerprint reader.

Dell XPS 15 9500

The Dell XPS 15 is a Windows 10 laptop built around a 15.6-inch display that's available in high-definition (HD) and ultra high-definition (UHD) resolutions; the latter display is also a touchscreen. Dell allows shoppers to pick between three different Intel processors, opt for upgraded GeForce GTX graphics, and get a desktop PC’s worth of memory and solid state drive (SSD) storage. This model isn't a two-in-one, so you can't rotate the screen all the way back to use the computer as a tablet.

Dell XPS 15 9500

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Dell XPS 15 Review

This 15-inch laptop tied for 9th place in our Best Laptops of 2021 rating and consistently draws praise from reviewers. In particular, the battery life of the XPS 15 gets high marks, as does the option of a separate graphics processor and the large amount of storage and memory available in certain configurations.

However, many reviewers give a thumbs-down to the XPS 15's limited options for connecting peripherals – just three USB-C ports and an SD card reader, which is fewer than some smaller laptops provide. But the XPS 15 offers user-accessible memory and storage, which is relatively rare on modern laptops, so you can upgrade either later on.

Is the Dell XPS 15 Right for Me?

Best for consumers who:

✓ Are looking for a desktop-replacement laptop

✓ Don't have a large collection of older peripherals

✓ May want to increase their laptop’s memory and storage after purchase

Not recommended for consumers who:

- Prioritize light weight or long battery life

- Want to use Windows 10’s touch interface

The more time the Dell XPS 15 spends on a desk, the better it’s likely to work for most users; its roughly 4-pound weight makes it a little too hefty for everyday commuting. But if you want a laptop that provides desktop-like capabilities and can be used on the road occasionally, the Dell XPS 15 fits the bill. As with other Dell laptops, the extensive custom configuration options let you purchase a combination of processor, memory, and storage that best fits your needs.

Other Products Offered By Dell

Best Dell Laptops

The company that Michael Dell founded in 1984 from his dorm room at the University of Texas in Austin sells a wide variety of desktop and laptop Windows PCs. It retains a reputation for focusing on business customers, but Dell also offers separate lineups of computers built for gamers.

Among all of these Dell offerings, the Dell XPS 15 series isn't even Dell’s biggest laptop, as it has a sibling with a 17-inch screen. Unlike the smaller, lighter Dell XPS 13, the Dell XPS 15 series doesn't include any 2-in-1 convertible models that you can fold up for use as touchscreen tablets. Moreover, the cheaper screen option doesn’t support touch input at all. Shoppers whose computing budgets don't match the Dell XPS 15’s $1,150+ price tag may want to look at the Dell XPS 13 or Dell’s Inspiron series of laptops.

How Much Does the Dell XPS 15 Cost?

List prices for the Dell XPS 15 9500 start at $1,149.99 for a configuration with an Intel i5 processor, an FHD+ non-touch screen, 8 GB of memory, and a 256 GB solid state drive. You can upgrade the last two components at a surprisingly reasonable cost. For example, an extra $98 will double the memory to 16 GB or double the storage to 512 GB. Maximizing the memory to 16 GB and the hard drive to 2 TB will cost $539 more.

Stepping up to a faster processor or the UHD+ touchscreen requires buying a pricier model. For example, the least expensive configuration on which the touchscreen is an option lists at $1,599.99, with the UHD+ display adding $392. That’s not cheap compared to competing laptops, but it's what you will pay to enjoy Windows 10’s extensive touch interface on the XPS 15.

How to Buy a Dell XPS 15

Dell remains known for selling direct to customers and letting them configure a PC as they see fit. But if you don’t want to spec out an XPS 15 before purchase, you can also buy one off the shelf at such retailers as Amazon, Best Buy, or Costco. Whichever way you go, the basics of computer shopping still apply.

1. Set your requirements: Assess how fast of a processor and how much memory and storage you’ll need. Note that unlike many laptops, the XPS 15 lets you upgrade memory and storage after the fact if your needs change.

2. Price out a configuration: Whether on Dell’s website or in a physical store, check the cost of your desired specifications and see which items are worth more to you. At a third-party reseller, you’re limited to whatever configurations are in stock. By contrast, Dell’s website offers a remarkable amount of flexibility, although your chosen configuration may delay the shipping date.

3. Buy the laptop.

Dell XPS 15 FAQ

What Is the Dell XPS 15 9500 Warranty?

Dell offers a standard one-year warranty on its computers, which includes a year of “premium support.” A second year of premium support costs $57.82, and two additional years cost $155.82. Dell also sells separate “accidental damage service," which provides a year of coverage for one mishap like spilling a drink on the laptop or dropping it, for $57.82.

How do I contact Dell’s customer service?

Dell provides 24/7 customer support via a toll-free phone number, email, and live chat. You can also tweet your issue to the company’s @DellCares account.

Can a Dell XPS 15 9500 be upgraded?

Unlike most laptops, the XPS 15 can be upgraded. It has user-accessible slots for its memory and SSD, including a slot left open for a second SSD. Dell provides detailed documentation for these upgrades and other internal component repairs on its website.

Dell XPS 15 9500 vs. the Competition

Which Is Better: the Dell XPS 15 9500 or the Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (2019)?

Both the Dell and the Apple models are desktop-replacement laptops that are meant to be transportable but not carried everywhere like smaller models. The MacBook Pro is far more expensive even before you pay for additional memory and storage. The XPS 15 not only has a lower starting price, but it lets you upgrade memory and storage yourself. Both computers will have you reaching for adapters to plug older devices into their USB-C ports, although the XPS 15 offers even fewer ports for USB-C devices than the MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro does retain one major advantage over the XPS 15: the ability to boot up not just Apple’s macOS but Microsoft’s Windows 10, which it can also run in a window on the Mac desktop using third-party emulation software.

Which Is Better: the Dell XPS 15 9500 or the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 8th Generation?

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a lighter and smaller computer than the XPS 15, yet its list price is significantly higher. But Lenovo sometimes offers discounts, and the X1’s greater portability, ruggedized design, privacy and security features, and additional ports for peripherals will be useful for many consumers. The XPS 15 can get closer to the processing power and storage of a desktop at the cost of some portability; unlike the X1, the XPS 15 invites buyers to upgrade memory and storage later on, making it somewhat future-proof. Finally, the XPS's 15.6-inch screen provides more viewing area than the ThinkPad's 14-inch display.

Which Is Better: the Dell XPS 15 9500 or Asus ROG Zephyrus G14?

The XPS 15 and the Zephyrus G14 both offer something many laptops don’t: separate chipsets for graphics, which are a boon for gamers, graphic artists, and video editors. The Asus ROG Zephyrus features an eye-catching design that includes the AniMe Matrix array of programmable LEDs on the lid. It also has a more useful set of ports, including HDMI. For its part, Dell’s XPS 15 brings a cleaner design and a larger screen, and that last feature alone may sway the decision for many people shopping for a desktop-replacement laptop.


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