If you are looking for a 15 inch powerful ultra-portable laptop, there is a big chance that you will be considering a Dell XPS 15.
This laptop is usually reviewed by people who do video-editing on a laptop or gamers.
Let’s look at how it performs in the office.
This laptop had a lot of display issues when it was released. Flickering display, black screen,… All of these issues are now solved after several firmware and driver updates.
Speaking of display: avoid the 4K touch display. It is like a mirror. In the office you will have a lot of troubles with reflections, making the display difficult to see. If you need to share your display with coworkers in a meeting, the problem is even worser. You can improve things a lot by setting the display to maximum brightness, but that will cut battery life in half. The matte display option, however, is gorgeous, and is readable in all lighting conditions. It feels like an entirely different laptop.
The XPS 15 promises the best performance money can buy. However when using it for normal business use like Microsoft Office, E-mail, CRM, web browsing, etc., this laptop does not feel any faster than most other laptops. So don’t buy this laptop solely for the performance. Disk operations can feel a bit slow at times. Copying files from and to a USB stick, for example is noticeable slower than on most of our other laptops. Unzipping large compressed files is also slower. In the end, it is still a fast machine. But not faster then most other laptops with the same specifications. The speed will come from the dedicated graphics card, that will give it a performance advantage when doing graphic intensive tasks such as video-editing or gaming. In business use scenario’s, however, this card will almost never be used.
When using the version with a 4K display, set at about 40% brightness, we manage to get about 7 hours of continuous business use. The version with the matte display easily manages 8 to 11 hours, depending on the brightness.
We also use the Dell Power Companion. This is an external battery pack that you can take along to charge the laptop. This way, you can leave the charger at home or in the office. At first, this worked like a charm. But with the later firmware releases, more and more the laptop reports that the battery is not compatible. The battery keeps the laptop powered, but does not charge it anymore. This is inconsistent however, because often is also works without error, charging the laptop without problem. It is best to charge the battery and the laptop separately, therefore, to make sure the laptop gets charged.
Lastly we can also report about the USB-C dongle that you can use to connect external displays and a wired network connection (ethernet). For displays this works without issue. For network connections there is an issue however. Users report that their network drives often give error when saving or opening documents. A second later, it works again. When users switch to wi-fi, the issue is gone.
Build quality of the laptop is fine. It is thinner, lighter, and more easy to take along than most other 15 inch laptops with these specifications. The carbon finishing however is a fingerprint and grease magnet. The laptop always seems dirty. The touchpad is even worser. So you will need to clean a lot if you want it to look good.
Our advice would be to only buy this laptop is you really need a 15 inch laptop that is as portable as possible and offers as much performance as possible. If you can accept a 14 inch display, then the Lenovo Carbon X1 is a much better choice.