Dell has offered some of the more popular and well-design Windows 10 machines for a few years now. The XPS 13 is perhaps the best Windows 10 Ultrabook on the market, for example, and the XPS 15 has been a leading workhorse notebook since its last refresh in 2015c. Now, Dell clearly intends to tighten things up by further enhancing their notebooks with updated processors and graphics, while taking some steps to compete with Microsoft at the high end.
At CES 2017, accordingly, Dell is announcing the updated XPS 15 with high-end Kaby Lake processors and significantly improved graphics via Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 GPU, with the same excellent build quality and small stature as last year’s model. And, the company is taking its cue on the desktop from Microsoft’s Surface Studio, with its own high-end Windows 10 all-in-one that focuses on providing outstanding display quality and superior audio for creative professionals.
Dell XPS 15
Dell accidentally posted a web page with specs for an updated XPS 15 model in mid-December, a page that was just as quickly taken down. The specs indicated a significant upgrade to Dell’s flagship 15-inch notebook, including new Nvidia graphics and Kaby Lake processors, and created a bit of excitement for anyone looking for a powerful midsized machine.
As it turns out, that’s exactly what’s coming. Dell has officially announced the revamped XPS 15 9650, and just as indicated in the inadvertently posted information, the new machine represents a significant upgrade to the original with a number of improvements that should make an already powerful machine even more compelling.
First up is an upgrade in processors. The new XPS 15 sports Intel’s seventh-generation Kaby Lake CPUs, with dual-core Core i3-7100H and quad-core Core i5-7300HQ and Core i7-7700HQ options. The CPU upgrade should provide significant performance improvements to go along with enhanced battery life.
Next up are graphics, where the XPS 15 gets perhaps its most significant upgrade. The new machines utilize Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 chipset, with 4GB of GDDR5 graphics. The VRAM represents an enhancement from the stock GTX 1050’s 2GB, meaning that Dell didn’t skimp on graphical processing capabilities.
Keeping the whole thing powered is an upgraded battery. The standard 56 watt-hour option remains the same, but a new 97 watt-hour upgrade combined with Kaby Lake should dramatically improve on the relatively weak battery life we uncovered in our review of the previous XPS 15.
Finally, there’s a new 32GB RAM option for professionals, which could entice some MacBook Pro customers who are unhappy with that machine’s 16GB maximum. The XPS 15 also gets the Killer 1535 Wi-Fi chipset for improved wireless connectivity, along with a variety of wired ports including HDMI, two USB 3.0 ports with PowerShare, a USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt, and an SD card reader.
Otherwise, the new XPS 15 9650 offers the same display options as the previous models, along with the same excellent carbon fiber and machined aluminum build with InfinityEdge display putting all this power in a much smaller chassis than other 15-inch notebooks.