Dell calls revamped XPS 15 the ‘smallest performance 15.6-inch laptop’

Dell’s XPS 15 has been one of our favorite full-size clamshell notebooks for a few years now. It’s eschewed fancy 2-in-1 features for a solid design, excellent performance, and solid battery life, and the 2018 refresh doubles down on the equation while creating the “smallest performance 15.6-inch laptop.”

Clearly, Dell focused on improving the performance and dialing in some of its most recent design concepts but kept the notebook’s primary strengths intact. Here’s what’s new with the latest XPS 15.

First up is one of the first notebooks we’ve seen that builds in Intel’s latest and greatest eighth-generation CPUs. As with the previous generation XPS 15, Dell is using the high-power “H” versions of the chips, with options ranging from the quad-core Core i5-8300U to the six-core Core i7-8750H and what we presume is the Core i9-8950HK (Dell did not specify the version in its release information). These processors will represent the fastest notebook options available and should retain the XPS 15’s performance advantages.

Next is the addition of an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU to the existing Intel integrated graphics and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 configurations. In our testing, we’ve found the GTX 1050 Ti to offer meaningful performance improvements over its slower sibling, and that should enhance the XPS 15’s gaming and creativity application chops.

We can’t discount the XPS 15’s dimensions, either, which are a scant 14.06 inches wide by 9.02 inches deep, and between 0.45 and 0.66 inches thin. According to Dell, that makes the notebook the “smallest performance 15.6-inch laptop” around, and given its starting weight of 4.0 pounds it’s also one of the lightest. That doesn’t meant the XPS 15 suffers in the battery life department, either — it’s still available with a 97-watt-hour battery capacity that’s only three watts less than the 100-watt limit imposed by airlines. Dell says that results in the longest battery life for a 15-inch laptop at 21.5 hours.

Another significant performance improvement is tied to the notebook’s connectivity, where Dell has now equipped the USB-C port with the fastest version of Thunderbolt 3 with a full four lanes of PCIe Gen 3. That’s an upgrade from the two lanes of PCIe found in the previous version. Other ports include two USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports, a full-size HDMI port, and an SD card reader.

As with the previous versions, Dell has two display options for the newest XPS 15. There’s a Full HD (1920 x 1080 or 141 PPI) panel promising a 1,200:1 contrast ratio and 100 percent sRGB coverage, and a 4K UHD (3840 x 2160 or 282 PPI) touch display with 500 nits of brightness, a 1,500:1 contrast ratio, and 100 percent sRGB coverage. Both options use Dell’s InfinityEdge technology for tiny bezels, contributing to the notebook’s impressively small dimensions.

Here are the complete specifications for the new machine:

Dell XPS 15 (2018)
Screen size: 15.6 inches
Screen type: In-plane switching
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
1920 x 1080
Processor: Intel Core i5-5300H
Intel Core i7-8750H
Intel Core i9-9850HK
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 with 4GB GDDR5
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB GDDR5
Memory: Up to 32GB DDR4-2666MHz
Storage: Up to 1TB PCIe SSD
Up to 1TB HDD
Audio: 2x speakers
Waves MaxxAudio Pro
Camera: 720p webcam
Connectivity: Wireless AC
Bluetooth 4.2
Ports: 1x HDMI 2.0
2x USB-A 3.1 Gen1
1x USB-C with Thunderbolt 3
1x SD card reader
1x headphone/microphone jack
Security: Optional fingerprint scanner in power button
Battery: 56WHr
AC adapter: 130W
Dimensions: 14.06 x 9.25 x 0.45-0.66 inches
Weight: Starting at 4.0 pounds (56WHr battery)
Starting at 4.5 pounds (97WHr battery)
Colors: Gray and black
Starting price: $1,000

Pricing for the new Dell XPS starts at $1,000. Availability is estimated to start in May.


Dell’s latest sale knocks $200 off the price of the touchscreen XPS 13 laptop

Looking for a new laptop? Now is the time to shop, as Dell is currently giving you a chance to save up to $200 on the new XPS 13, the gaming-ready XPS 15, and several other versions of its laptops.

From Chromebooks to MacBooks, here are the best laptop deals for March 2019

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some post-holiday shopping, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.

We gave both notebooks a perfect score, but there can only be one best laptop

Dell's XPS 13 has been our favorite 13-inch laptop for a while, but HP's latest Spectre x360 13 2-in-1 presents a serious challenge. Which wins out in a head-to-head comparison?

These cheap laptops will make you wonder why anyone spends more

Looking for a budget notebook for school, work, or play? The best budget laptops, including our top pick -- the Asus ZenBook UX331UA -- will get the job done without digging too deeply into your pockets.

Is 14 inches the perfect size for a laptop? These 4 laptops might convince you

If you're looking for the best 14-inch laptops, there are a number of factors to consider. You want good battery life, an attractive screen, solid performance, and a good build. Our favorites that do all that and more.

Get Corsair’s best mechanical keyboard at a decent discount

From March 17 to 23, you can get one of the best mechanical keyboards around at a great price. The Corsair K95 RGB Platinum is normally $200, but this week you can pick one up from Amazon for $160.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Need more from your conference white board? The Surface Hub 2 should have it

The Surface Hub 2 could be the most expensive whiteboard ever made, but it should be a powerful and capable one. With the ability to connect several of the 50-inch displays together, the picture at least, should be gorgeous.

Teens using Google Docs as the modern version of passing notes in class

Google Docs is reportedly being used by teens as a secret communications app. Instead of passing notes, students are now using the software's live chat function or comment boxes to talk with their friends while in the middle of classes.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-generated text is supercharging fake news. This is how we fight back

A new A.I. tool is reportedly able to spot passages of text written by algorithm. Here's why similar systems might prove essential in a world of fake news created by smart machines.

Windows updates shouldn't cause problems, but if they do, here's how to fix them

Windows update not working? It's a more common problem than you might think. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot it and in this guide we'll break them down for you step by step.

Here’s how you can watch today’s Nvidia GTC 2019 keynote live

Nvidia's rumored 7nm Ampere graphics could debut soon. The company will be kicking off its GPU Technology conference at 2 p.m. PT today, Monday, March 18, and you can watch the opening keynote here.

After fourth attack, hacker puts personal records of 26M people up for sale

A serial hacker going by the name of Gnosticplayers is selling the personal data of 26 million people who have been using the services of six different companies from across the world.

HP’s Omen Mindframe headset keeps your ears chill, but might leave you lukewarm

The Omen Mindframe headset uses HP's FrostCap technology to keep ears cool during long gaming sections. While it delivers on keeping ears cool, it forgets some of the essentials of a quality gaming headset.