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.
- 15.6-inch 4K or Full HD screen, touch optional
- Core i3-7100H, Core i5-7300HQ, or Core i7-7700HQ
- Up to 32GB DDR4 RAM
- Up to 1TB PCIe SSD or 1TB HDD + 32GB Flash
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 4GB GDDR5 and Intel HD 630 graphics
- 56 watt-hour or 97 watt-hour battery options
- HDMI, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 X USB Type-C with Thunderbolt 3, SD Card slot
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.
Dell XPS 27
Dell has introduced a serious creativity machine. The XPS 27 AIO has impressive specifications and will be of particular appeal to anyone who needs to work with an excellent, accurate color display and outstanding sound.
- 27-inch UltraSharp 4K screen with or without touch
- Core i5-7400 or Core i7-7700
- Up to 32GB DDR4 RAM
- Up to 1TB m.2 PCIe SSD, up to 2TB SATA HDD with 32GB Flash
- Intel HD 530, AMD R9 M470 4GB, or AMD R9 M485X graphics
- 5 x USB 3.0, HDMI, DisplayPort, 2 x USB Type-C with Thunderbolt 3, SD Card slot
At the heart of any AIO PC is the display, and Dell has put some serious thought into an excellent display for the XPS 27. The 27-inch display features UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD resolution (3840 x 2160) with 100% Adobe RGB color gamut and support for 1.07 billion colors. Further rounding out its professional chops, Dell ships the machine with PremierColor Software to allow creative professionals to remap colors easily to match their graphical workflow.
The display will come in two versions. One has an articulating touchscreen that moves from five degrees forward to 60 degrees back, and can lay flat when the screen is lifted up slightly. There’s also a non-touch version that tilts from five degrees forward to 30 degrees back. In addition, a built-in infrared scanner provides support for Windows 10 Hello authentication via facial recognition, and quad-array microphones provide support for Microsoft Cortana.
Sound is also a major feature of the XPS 27, with audio components designed in partnership with Grammy Award-winning producer Jack Joseph Puig. It has a distinctive sound bar design that matches up ten discrete speakers with digital dynamic amplifiers, providing 50 watts per channel of sound that’s optimized for the task. Two tweeters, four full-range drivers, and two passive radiators fire from the front of the XPS 27, while two more, down-firing, full-range drivers provide a more immersive experience.
The XPS 27 is powered by seventh-generation Intel Core processors, including Core i5-7400 and Core i7-7700 options. The AIO PC can be equipped with up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM and up to 2TB HDD or up to 1TB SSD storage. The 4K display is driven by a choice of Intel HD 530 graphics or discrete graphics with either the AMD R9 M470 4GB or AMD R9 485X 4GB GPUs.
Connectivity is also comprehensive. A single USB 3.0 port with PowerShare, an SD card reader, and audio jack lines the side of the XPS 27, and four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and DisplayPort connections, a USB Type-C with Thunderbolt 3, and a gigabit Ethernet port on the back of the machine. Wireless connectivity includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
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