Dell XPS 15 Review

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Recently I was able to get my hands on a Dell XPS 15 MLK and it allowed me to do so much more with my laptop than I thought possible.  However how well does this laptop stack up against your daily grind, day in and day out work?  How will it handle a graphic heavy game and video editing?  Can the Dell XPS 15 MLK handle all this and still smile at you?  Only time will tell and by the end of the review you should have your answer.

 

 

First Impressions

When you take a look at the Dell XPS 15 MLK laptop you just see a whole new design in laptops.  Sure it has a bit of a weighty feel for a 15” laptop and the design of the laptop is a bit off.  The battery pack sure does throw the balance off when you are holding it and the heat sink blows down and to the outside ports rather than just straight out the sides.  That can lead to some very hot laps of course.  Looking around the edges of the laptop itself you can see the various ports that you can access.

These ports and accessories are a 9-in-1 media card reader, optical drive, eSATA/USB 2.0 combo with Powershare, Ethernet.  On the left side of things we have a USB 2.0, headphone jacks, microphone jack, and on the back we have a HDMI 1.4, mini DisplayPort, AC Power, Kensignton lock slot.

Specifications

Anytime you look at a computer you want to know all about its Specs or Specifications or better yet what is inside the machine that makes it go beep and bobble!  So here is the rundown and afterwards I will tell you what it means (if you don’t already know).

System: Dell XPS 15 MLK

Memory: 6GB DDR3 RAM

Video:  NVIDIA GeForce 525M with 1GB RAM

Optical Drive:  8x CD\DVD Burner, Blu-Ray Player

Operating System:  Windows 7 Premium

Processor:  Intel Core i7-2720

Hard Disk Drive (HDD):  640G 7200RPM

Monitor:  15.6” HD LCD

Now what does all those numbers and stats mean?  Simple…this laptop is really really fast and can handle damn near anything you throw its way.  It really has a lot of power inside its small frame.  Next we are going to take a look at just how well this laptop performs.

Daily Duties

Now when I got this laptop the first thing I did was load of Avid Studio and Adobe Premiere Elements and Corel VideoStudio ProX4 to see how it could handle doing some video editing.  What I did as a test was to run both programs at the same time and see how the CPU would handle it and surprisingly it ran smooth.  Not a real noticeable lag at all.  I then had both computers auto make a movie for me and see if I could find a lag and no lag.  I even had Chrome running in the background and alas no lag.

Then I decided to jump it up a notch and run City of Heroes along with Chrome and a few tabs running in the background.  Now City of Heroes is a few years old but still I found it hard to crank up the graphics on my desktop so I gave it a go with the Dell XPS 15 and surprisingly the results were fantastic.  The NVIDIA graphic card was able to hold up to all the settings to the max and still ran smooth.  I then had Chrome in the background with 11 tabs open to various websites and 2 of them had flash videos playing.  Only then did I notice a lag in the laptop.  Opening up a word document seemed to be taking forever and the CPU booster showed that the CPU was maxed out and having a hard time keeping up.

But even in that extreme of a test the laptop was able to handle a lot of applications and still ran smoothly until pushed to the limit.  The Laptop Mag ran a battery of tests for the Dell XPS 15 and you can see just how well the XPS holds up against a few other laptops.

Special Features

Now I haven’t had a chance to see how the other XPS lineups stack up against this one and so I can only speak on what I am seeing with this model.  I do enjoy the speakers on the side of the laptop, as they pump out really quality sound.  The JBL sound system really helps with movies and audio clips and doesn’t come off sounding tinny nor do I have to cup my hands around the speakers.

The webcam that is installed into the frame of the monitor works really well, especially doing Skype with Facebook.  I did a Skype call with my sister Kelly who runs Kelly’s Coupon Addiction and we had a good video chat where I was chatting with her and my son was throwing his head into the video every once in a while and the quality was great and the audio was nice.  No real jumping around in the video calls.

An HD Webcam records video at resolutions up to 1,600×1,200 pixels, or at 1,280×720 pixels in HD H.264 format.  Though frame rates are choppy using normal settings, the HD recording mode produces smooth, very watchable clips.  The built-in noise canceling microphone adds to the chat package, pushing its chat capabilities closer to that of a business laptop.

The viewing angles can be a bit sensitive at times where it does reflect quite a lot of light and it can get a bit annoying but one thing I did like was the screen was very easy to move and held into place nicely and the display had vivid colors that made for great Blu-Ray DVD playback.  Also made all the games I played drenched in a wonderful wash of beautiful colors.

Battery Life
I was pleasantly shocked to see the battery hold up as well as it did, while in idle.  I was even more shocked to see how great the battery held up without being plugged in.  It held up for around 6 hours on a full charge.  Now that is with some light working on it you can drain it quicker when you add in video playback and video games and various other things.  It really depends on how hard you work with it.  That was a great surprise about how well the battery holds up in the Dell XPS 15.

 

 

Overall

Now it is times for the wrap up.  I have to say that I absolutely love this laptop.  It runs so smooth and performs wonderfully.  The design could use some help and the placement of the trackpad possibly might need to be looked at as I had some problems with that.  Other than that any issues I had with it were purely superficial.  Now it is time to run this through the Kyle Scientific Scale-o-Rama and on a sliding scale of 0 – 10 with 0 Alex Rodriguez at a poker party and 10 being the Philadelphia Phillies on a tear since getting Hunter Pence (if you haven’t notice I am a Philadelphia guy…I mean I live in near Philly and love it, but hate driving around in it).  The Dell XPS 15 MLK knocks one out of the park with a rock solid 9.6 out of 10.  Small things to fix and other than that this machine is perfect!

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