Dell XPS 15 9500 Review (2020)

by birtanpublished on November 3, 2020

This is Lisa from mobile tech review and this is the 2020 Dell XPS 15 model 9500 so finally we see a little bit of a redesign here I look at it at first blush you might not notice but it's 18 millimeters thick so it keeps getting thinner we have no more legacy ports this is all Thunderbolt 3 USB see happily still a headphone jack and an SD card slot inside and the new 16 by 10 aspect ratio despite so it's taller which is something I know a lot of you out there like it's great for productivity webpages all that sort of thing Intel tenth generation CPUs inside Core

I5 and core i7 Dell says core I nine will be coming in a later day and a little bump in the Nvidia graphics department we're gonna look at it now but first a shout-out to our sponsor iFixit now a lot of you written to me and asked what tools do you use for taking apart laptops and all that sort of thing you know he said I get I fix-it toolkit so and they approached me to do a sponsorship it was like a no-brainer I mean I love their tools they're high-quality and you know I actually used to have a car business and when you go back to things like cars the quality

Of the tools matter you don't want to strip your screws and so all that sort of thing and have the right bit for the task at hand for example there's the pro Tech tool kit this one is $70 and this is your jack-of-all-trades kit here it's the burrito you're opening up the velcro here and then you've got tools to open up smartphones laptops GoPros and tablets everything so that's pretty handy and then they have more specialized one like the man to driver a bit set for those who are looking for all the kinds of bits out there not just your Phillips head in your torches but

Pentalobe screws the bane of existence when you're working on Apple computers trying all of those sort of things the bits are all steel they're all lifetime guaranteed and their magnetic see it won't be dropping screws into the bowels of your motherboard be sure to visit the link and get yourself a kit back to our video so as ever with the XPS line this is their premium line for consumers and for businesses as well so you're paying here for the CNC aluminum chassis the particularly good looks the relatively lightweight might not be the lightest at this point for mobile workstations in

This class but still pretty light that carbon fiber interior and also they say a white model is coming which is going to have a white interior so it's the whole premium thing and specs fast SSD that you're paying for clearly if you just need horsepower and you're on a budget there are always gaming laptops with plastic chassis and all that sort of thing that'll offer more bang for the buck but this is for folks who are looking for something that actually looks good and feel solid so inside we have Intel tenth generation H series CPU that means the 45 watt CPUs

You start with the core i5 on the base model then there's the core i7 six core a core i7 eight core which is the one that we have and like I said the core I nine will be coming in a future date that one's also eight cores they display aha this is new we have sixteen by ten aspect ratio so this is sort of the XPS 13 if occation of the model and going all the USBC connector types and that aspect ratio I think again most of you gonna like that so you have full HD plus and 4k plus resolution it's plus because you've got a little extra height going on so 38 40 by 2400 instead of 2160

Pixels for our 4k model as ever you have a full HD base model that's IPS it's matte and non touch that one will get the better battery life and there's the 4k option which this time around is IPS and not OLED like the last generation me thinks because typically speaking for productivity work IPS has better battery life than OLED does when displaying bright colors and the battery capacity has actually dropped a little bit to 86 watt hour hmm it's a good display it's well color calibrated they claimed 500 nits for both displays whichever one you go to we didn't quite measure that with

I disabled every manner of power Simmons that could find including in the Intel graphics control panel but still it's a very bright looking display it might be eggs own house that kind of thing so look the color calibration in fact is good and there's a several different pre calibrated factory profiles you can go with on this good contrast ratio wide gamut display so well done there I think most people are going to like this and if you into this for color accuracy professional photo editing video editing all that sort of thing you've got that in spades here for graphics we have the

NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti so a little bump up from the last generation that has four gigs of DDR 6p RAM inside it's capable enough card it's not really a ideal gaming laptop kind of graphics card but this is not gaming laptop it's thin is for business and content creator type people more than for gaming and the cooling solution is improved but it's not really intended for gaming well cover cooling a little bit more later on you have to RAM slots go that you know with an alienware m15 now and m17 the ram is soldered on it's funny that you go to the XPS and you get

Your RAM slots back so you can get it with 8 to 64 gigs of ram and dual channel configurations there so you've got 2 slots you can do the math there that's good we have 2 m2 PCIe nvme SSD slots Delk fills the first slot with your boot SSD it's up to you if you want to put one in the second slot it's nice to have I appreciate that so that's really good for content creators who need a lot of space safer renders or video footage of that sort of thing they've also revamped the speakers and they're pretty darn good they have two main speakers firing surrounding the

Keyboard and a MacBook S look which they've been doing and also two down firing tweeters you would think those would be woofers but they'll so as those infector tweeters the sound has a nice dimensionality it's got some bass it's fairly good sounding actually it's definitely improvement from the last generation the keyboard also is a little bit better the key caps are bigger but the tactile feel is improved it's not short travel 1.3 millimeter keyboard but the keys have more of a tactile feel the spring back all that sort of thing not only bottoming against hard mushy

Yet the same time keys which I used to feel about the XPS keyboard so that's a good thing backlit and white the trackpad is humongous and I don't know I swear they just did this to make it look more like the Mac but I still don't even know why the Mac has such a huge trackpad happily palm rejection is good even following the XPS 15 you know about the janky trackpad problem and our review loader indeed does have that kind of it feels like it's a loose like there's an extra click on the way down kind of feeling to it

So they'll said that they indeed are aware of this and from June production on no more problem with this and if you got one that does have a loose wobbly sort of trackpad you can send it in and they will fix that problem for you other than that's a Microsoft precision trackpad so it behaves well other than the random extra wobbly clicky thingy going on so the battery is 86 watt hour which is a down a little bit from the previous generation and the base model let's talk about that base model it's a 56 watt hour battery because that one doesn't

Have dedicated graphics that one always exists so they can say look we have a low starting price and so IT departments can buy people who are begging for XPS 15 something that's not too expensive it's 1275 but it's not the configuration most of you would want that one is a Core i5 8 gigs of ram a 256 gig SSD only integrated graphics and the full HD display and the smaller battery where the meat of the line is starts around 2150 on Dells website as of today that's the pricing that gets you the core i7 and that gets you 16 gigs of ram and a 512 gig SSD and that's a 6 core i7 if

You want to go up to the 8 core i7 and 32 gigs of ram and one terabyte SSD you're looking at $2,500 or better so yeah oh and the 4k display for both of those configurations at the 4k display is almost a $300 add-on from the base configuration with a full HD plus display so for a mobile workstation I do like to have some so called legacy ports like DisplayPort or HDMI normal USB a ports we don't get that here we do get a little dongle but thing in the box that gives you hdmi 2.0 and 1 USB a port which does help a little bit you have two Thunderbolt 3 ports on left side and

You have a USB C port on the right side all of them support charging and DisplayPort as well and again the SD card slot the headphone jack you know there's that so yeah if you really want legacy ports and don't like dongle life this isn't the laptop for you but these thin designer mobile workstations are all following the MacBooks lead and doing this to you in terms of cooling which has always been an issue at the XPS I think us a lot of people buy and then they want to do more that they take it and they say hey I'm gonna game on this when I'm on the road and when you

Get to go back on the road again it's still not really free gaming yes you can and you know you can play apex legends on it with this level of graphics cards certainly overwatch you could even be a little bit more ambitious you could pray play something like Far Cry 5 or new dawn on medium settings we have a 60 Hertz refresh display here so you're not gonna push it for the high frame rates anyway unless you plug in an external monitor it will get hot it will get toasty you'll see the core temperatures typically go around 95 centigrade and

Some thermal throttling happening pretty soon after you get into a demanding triple-a title again not primarily a gaming laptop that said this is a little better than the 98 to 100 degrees centigrade we saw on the previous generation so I think Intel's getting a little bit more power efficient and Dell is improving their heatsink design now we'll take a look at the internal so you can see what I mean the fans are also quieter too on previous generation one the one we had anyways oh is a huffy chuckle you kind of laptop it would fans are just come on some so I'm seemingly

Randomly and you would hear them this not so much the fans are tuned very quietly and there's no cycling on and off so much for seemingly random reason so I think they did a good job here this is not something that's going to deranged people around you you know unless you are playing far cry and then the fans are gonna be going pretty much max for things that it's really more meant to do say like video editing in Photoshop the temperatures are absolutely fine on this I in Premiere Pro I did not see a thermal throttling much occasionally yes

But mostly the core temperatures were around 90 and the most demanding parts of them not too bad actually and Photoshop easy walk in the park Photoshop is not so demanding if you're doing some 3d rendering it's fine too I mean obviously you're not having r-tx level graphics here but if you're just getting into that sort of thing you're doing small renders short renders then it's fine if you're gonna do a really long one well the heat is gonna build up and you're gonna stress it a little bit but it can still handle that sort of stuff which is really what it's meant to

Do in terms of improvement over last generation we had the core i9 last time which is an eighth course so it's not unfair completely to compared to our eight core i7 this time around but overall if you're going I 7 I 7 here look for about a 10% cpu improvement graphics bigger up to 33% in benchmarks but real-world gaming was more like 8 to 10 frames per second in games so not a big change there but when it comes to something like well Adobe Premiere the improvement was more significant that was about 20% faster for video exports so that's nothing to sneeze that

That's pretty good so battery life in charging this gets interesting let's just ignore the 56 water our battery on that base model and look at the eighty-six water hour that we have so we have the eight core i7 we have the 4k display so that's going to consume some power and we have the 130 watt adapter which is what you'll get unless you buy the base Edition interestingly it looks just like the same one that we saw before and probably it is just a different cord connecting it but now it's USB sea-based how dell this does is I don't know because USB

See actually tops out at 100 watt charging and this is 130 watt but it seems to work unlike the Dell XPS 17 where some people said they saw it drain while it was plugged in remember the XPS 17 has even more powerful RTX 2060 inside them so I didn't see any draining under load here battery life is for us has been about 6 hours of moderate to light use and not doing Doby premier which I would prefer to do plugged in for better performance anyway not playing games or something like that but the usual office slack some photoshop that sort of thing 6

Hours and 115 it's a brightness it's decent it's not much better than or competing razor blade 15 either and not as good as the 16 inch MacBook Pro but that one is always a battery life leader isn't it speaking of the blade 15 there's the competition and since the Dell XPS 15 is a premium device whose prices are always up there the blade is actually still competitive so on the pro there if you go with the base model for $1600 on the blade that's the one that gets you is more powerful gtx 1660 GPU a core i7 and 16 gigs around a 256 gig SSD then some legacy ports which is handy

That was pretty tempting and if you want to get a little fancier at the blade and move up to the entry-level r-tx card you're looking at around $2,300 so it's worth considering that – uh-huh unless your business is buying this or you're asking to get it for your IT department where your IT departments going to say yeah sure I'd like to have a blade – that's not gonna fly and your boss is gonna be uh-huh we know what you're gonna be doing also for a lot of the folks who buy an XPS 15 the level of graphics that you get with your average razor blade is kind

Maybe overkill there's that to get inside you remove the visible torques t-50 all use as you can see right here at the same size screws then you'll work your way around and boy this lid is on tight it's easier if you work from the front first and use a guitar pick to get it often there's our lid it's the underside of the lid right there and here are our internals you can see we have two RAM slots here how again take that Alienware m15 which has no RAM slots anymore alright m2 SSD and there's a second slot here Dell will not sell it populated

That I've seen anywhere on their website but you can put one in there there's no screw here so you'd have to well get a hold of a screw to mount that down should be that hard the 86 watt our battery is right here against slightly lower capacity from the last generation and our two down firing tweeters and for the cooling solution no vapor chamber like you would get on the XPS 17 the new model that Dell came out with or with the razor blades just traditional to heat pipes right here with two fans and that's about it cooling is a little bit beefed up from

The previous generation like I said the CPU temperatures are a few degrees centigrade cooler under really heavy loads and this is the Wi-Fi card right here this is soldered on the motherboard it's not upgradeable but since it's a good killer Wi-Fi six card Intel based you probably won't want to upgrade that anyway so that's the Dell XPS 15 for 2020 the 9500 model is ever going slimmer actually those legacy points by giving us a nice 16 by 10 aspect ratio display decent battery life again go for the full HD Plus display if you really are into battery life the improved

Keyboard I like the improved speakers I like the cooling being a little bit better I like this to sound Lisa from mobile tech review be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more cool tech videos and hit the notification bell so you know about them

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