Dell XPS 15 9570 Laptop Critique & Overview
The Dell XPS line has served up some laptop relish over the years, from clamshell to convertibles, workstations and more, the list is as endless as it is impressive. With the XPS 9570, the laptop maker pieces together some of its most impressive hardware components and build designs to create a 15.6″ showcase.
There is flexibility within the configurations with regards to the display and processor options, although the battery will play a large part in the final choice that you’ll settle for.
It still carries over some of the flaws of its predecessors, none so much as the awkwardly placed webcam and a complicated cooling system.
But if you can look beyond all of that, then you can look forward to some of the most striking visuals and hexa-core powered productivity that you’ll find on a 15 inch laptop.
Design and Appearance
The design of this laptop takes a cue, or the whole script, from many of its XPS predecessors. As with previous rollouts, the lid is a solid slab of CNC-machined aluminum featuring the chrome Dell logo at the center of its silvery-hued exterior. It flips open by means of a sturdily-built hinge to reveal a glossy 15.6″ screen that is clad in Corning Gorilla Glass.
Lower your gaze down the screen and you’ll spot a webcam nestled conspicuously at the bottom bezel. It’s a provision that has been the subject of divisive opinions and awkward skype conversations since it was first spotted on the XPS.
The keyboard and the palm rest are of a subdued black visage, with the former now featuring a fingerprint scanner domiciled in the power button and the latter decked in a delicate carbon-fiber weave.
This laptop is sold in various configurations that rub off on the heft of the build. Our review model, with the 4K screen and a 97 Whr battery to boot is the heaviest yet at 4.5Kg. And with a form factor measuring 0.67 x 14.06 x 9.25 inches, this laptop makes up for the extra weight with a relatively compact frame.
Ports and Connection
The keyboard deck is flanked by two USB 3.1 Type-A ports on both sides, then there is an SD card reader to the right with both a full-sized HDMI 2.0 port and a 3.5mm headphone/mic jack combo to the left. Also spotted at the left is a Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C port that you can use for the transfer of data, connecting to external display monitors, and as a means of charging. The Thunderbolt 3 utilizes four PCie lanes, which translates to a faster speed of operation.
A Killer Wireless-AC 1535 Wi-Fi module which incorporates a Wi-Fi 5 provision is employed here. It does not overly impress with its speed and stability over the bandwidth, and the same goes for the Bluetooth 4.1 feature.
Keyboard and Input devices
Dell arms this chiclet keyboard with a backlight provision, an 81-key ensemble that is bereft of a Numpad, and a long-awaited fingerprint reader that is integrated into the power button. Typing on this keyboard is fairly comfortable, the keys are firm and they give good tactile feedback to go with a decent travel of 1.33mm.
On the other hand, the precision touchpad gives out a more subdued feedback when a click is actuated over any part of its glass surface. It is centrally located on the wrist rest and sports a distinct line at its bottom that delineates the left click and right click areas. The surface is smooth and very sensitive, requiring the slightest of touches to effect a click and providing accurate control over cursor movements.
For its audio output, the laptop employs two built-in stereo speakers that are mounted at the front. The sounds that emerge turn out to be pretty much decent, although there is nothing much to note in terms of bass and the volume is not spectacular by any means.
You can always switch things up with the preinstalled Waves MaxxAudio Pro software, but there’s only so much that you can get in return. A dual array microphone setup is also featured here, sensitive to the slightest of sounds and fitting for conversations on skype and zoom.
The first thing that catches your eye when you get a first impression of this laptops’ 15.6″ screen is the trim “Infinity Edge ” bezel surround, followed closely by a webcam(or a nosecam) that is mounted at the site of the bottom bezel. The screen of this laptop comes in choices of a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) non-touch IPS display or a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) touchscreen. But for its massive power draw, the latter would have been the obvious choice for a lot of people as it gives out a richer and more vibrant display in comparison.
While both display options get a 100% sRGB coverage, the 4K panel runs a 100% gamut of the AdobeRGB color space, which is of more value to the work of professionals in the creative space. With this 4K display, the bursts of colors that dot the pixels with the finest of details will make for more visually stimulating contents, albeit at a significant accompanying power draw.
Whether you’re streaming high-res videos or crunching out data on your spreadsheets, the visuals turn out brilliant and the text, crisp for your viewing pleasure. Throw in an IPS panel and you get even greater flexibility with viewing angles. The 400 nits of brightness will join forces with the screens’ anti-glare provision for a comfortable viewing experience in sun-lit surroundings. And with the damage and scratch resistance that is bestowed on the screen by virtue of its Corning Gorilla Glass 4 screen provision, this laptop will also not bear the scars of cosmetic dents and scratches.
Other takeaways from this laptops’ display include a disappointing 60Hz refresh rate, as well as a touch screen, replete with an abundance of touchpoints across the screen.
This laptop can call on the powers of the Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti for all the exertions of its graphic workload, with the Max-Q design accounting for its power efficiency. Admittedly, this graphics card will not blitz past benchmarks or take your graphic demanding tasks to the cleaners. But there is just enough in terms of texture mapping units and shading units, in conjunction with its 4GB of dedicated GDDR5 memory to get the job done.
And with the 4K display in addition to a 100% Adobe RGB gamut, this laptop will stream and transcode 4K videos with relative ease, edit pictures with detail, and then play games at decent frame rates.
However, the clock speeds, and by extension, the performance levels might drop in response to a full-blown increase in heat production, with a view to keep the fan noise within the thresholds.
The XPS 15 is no gaming laptop within it’s $1,000 price range, but it will not shirk from the occasional sessions of gaming, what with the DirectX 12 support for its GPU and a great deal of system RAM to go with its VDRAM.
As is most often the case, the frame rates will drop as the resolution is bumped upwards. So don’t expect to be playing the big guns from the Metro series and the Tomb Raider series at remotely halfway-decent comfort levels in Ultra HD.
Step down a notch to 1080p and you should be able to get frame rates upwards of 40fps for the latest titles from the Far Cry or Call of Duty franchise.
With the XPS 9570, you get to trade battery life for the clarity and vibrancy of a 4K display or go with the less striking visuals of the 1080p model in order to get more from the six-cell battery. With standard WLAN tests, the 4K configuration delivered a runtime of 9.5 hours, and that is with the brightness level pegged at 150 nits.
That figure rises significantly with the 1920×1080 pixels display, and so the choices are pretty straightforward.
The real bummer here is with the fact that this laptop takes an underwhelming 2.5 hours to reach full charge in the absence of a quick charge feature, disappointingly so.
Cooling and Noise Emission
This is one major dilemma with our review laptop, and it lies majorly with the processors. To start with, the wane and wax of the fans under moderate workloads is disturbing, as is the whine of the coil that is within an earshot.
At the thick of the action, especially during gaming, the fans will tend to spiral at fever-pitch in response to the build-up and subsequent dissipation of heat. At this point, the GPU will totter on the cusps of a full-bore throttle, and then inevitably resort to lowering its clock speeds in order to ease up on the stress. This serves to moderate the whirl of the fans and to keep the temperature away from the tethers. Although it may lead to a drop in performance level and a slight warming of the undercarriage or the wrist rest. This is your cue to get a cooling pad if you want to keep using this laptop on your laps.
What this means is that the laptop is hardwired to give up performance for comfort when faced with a heat challenge.
The XPS 15 9570 is rolled out in three different processor configurations namely, Intel’s Core i5-8300H quad-core processor, the Core i9-8950 HK, or the Core i7-8750H hexa-core processors. Our review model utilizes the latter, with its capacity to hyper-thread by up to six cores coupled with a base clock of 2.2GHz serving it ever so well in the execution of regular system tasks.
And with 16GB of DDR4-2666MHz RAM in addition to 512GB of incredibly snappy M.2 PCIe SSD storage, there is adequate support to take on any intensity of computing workloads, especially when it reaches a peak clock that is slightly upward of 4GHz. This much is evident in the remarkable speed with which the system boots up or launches apps and programs.
There is more than enough power under the hood to take on sessions of computer programming, Auto-CAD design works, and video transcoding. Whether you’re creating digital content or working on large numeric spreadsheets, this laptop will hold its ground for hours on end, until it can’t.
There’s no hard and fast rule to the degree of workload that it can safely bear, your best bet is to pay keen attention to the speed of the fans and the thermal situation. A ramp-up in speed is a sure-fire signal that it is at the end of its tethers, as is a slight warming of the palm rest. At this point, the CPU will reduce its clock speeds as if on cue. Performance level will drop slightly, but it will not necessarily result in lags and display glitches.
Our review model of the XPS 9570 offers more in terms of pixels and CPU cores at a greater cost and a more significant battery power implication. The processor performance is not entirely trail-blazing, but it will take on some heavy lifting with high-resolution content creation and consumption, as well as some 1080p gaming.
And with the 4K IPS panel display, the visuals are stunning in their sparks of color and at a variety of viewing angles.
The webcam will need to be relocated and the battery will do with more oomph. However, the XPS 9570 still packs in sufficient punch to rank among the best iteration yet of the XPS line, at least until the next one pops out of the assembly line.
8th Gen 6-Core, Intel Core i7-8750H, up to 4.1GHz, 9MB cache
32GB DDR4 2666MHz RAM
512GB M.2 PCIe SSD
4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with Max-Q Graphics
4k UHD (3840 x 2160)
Operating System Windows 10 Pro