Dell XPS 15 9510 is the company’s newest luxury work laptop, featuring a slimmer design and an upgraded OLED screen option, and it’s the latest addition to the firm’s work laptops range. The XPS is still built on Intel’s 11th-generation silicon and discrete Nvidia graphics, both of which are housed on the inside.
17 inch laptop like Dell XPS 17 9720 or GIGABYTE AERO 17, most people are looking for this laptop because it offers Nvidia RTX 30 series graphics card and excellent processor performance. But with a large size of 17 inches, the laptop is difficult to carry when traveling.
Still, if you want a smaller screen for work or additional processing cores or graphics power for video editing or gaming, you may need something bigger and more powerful. Or if you want a computer that focuses not only on size and weight but more on Windows instead of macOS, the XPS 15 is the one for you. The Dell XPS 15 9510, on the other hand, is a complete package of high-quality construction, a compact form factor for a full-size laptop with plenty of high-quality display options, as well as performance and thermal balance. It can still be the perfect starting point for many of you, including great speakers and adequate input and IO. I have a lot of nitpicks with this series, and I’ll cover them all in the extensive review below.
The Core i7-11800H is a fantastic eight-core CPU with a top speed of 4.6GHz. It can perform most common tasks, such as running numerous browser tabs or managing Office applications and mainstream content creation, when combined with the default 16GB of memory.
This CPU performs slightly better than the AMD Ryzen 7 5800H that comes in competitor laptops, and it is miles ahead of low-power Core i7 CPUs. The XPS was never too hot or loud, and Dell’s machine does a spectacular job in the thermal department.
Don’t expect a significant performance advantage if you choose the Core i9-11900H. The Core i9 CPU is just 300MHz faster than the Core i7. Both CPUs have eight cores. If you want to run demanding apps like 4K video tools or high-end design software, the processor upgrade will provide some extra ability in creative tasks.
You’ll notice modest boosts to single-threaded applications with large improvements in multi-core tests if you want to wait for Intel’s 12th generation CPUs. The increased Dell XPS 15 will almost certainly be more costly than the devices outlined here, but if you want to run really demanding creative applications, it’s worth it.
For most daily tasks, the standard 16GB of RAM is sufficient, but a 32GB upgrade is required to run complex professional and creative applications. Most users will be overkill for the 64GB upgrade; only the most demanding designers and creators will qualify.
Both the RTX 3050 and RTX 3050 Ti are underwhelming graphics cards. They’re quicker than any integrated graphics processor, but they’re only good for basic content-generation applications. They won’t play esports or single-player games at 1080p on the gaming side.
I’m not going to spend much time on this laptop because its looks and overall feel have remained relatively unchanged throughout the years, as has been the case with many other laptops.
However, there are a few things that stand out for me. In addition, given that it includes a full-size 15.6-inch 16:10 display, capable hardware, and a big battery, this laptop is extremely compact. Although there is practically no chin on the bottom and barely any bezels around the screen, a camera and a light sensor can be placed at the top of the unit.
This is not a UL product by any means, despite its relatively thin size. With the matte screen and a lower battery, the basic models weigh just over 4 pounds, however with the touchscreen, bigger battery, and extra storage you’ll swell to over 4.4 pounds, plus an extra pound for the charger. So, assuming you don’t need the processing power and full perks of this type of device, the Dell XPS 15 9510 might not be the best option for everyone because there are many lighter full-size laptops to choose from.
The quality and durability of this XPS 15 9510 is also excellent. No matter how you hold it or where you pick it up, it doesn’t bend or squeak or flex in any way. Few other products can compare to the build quality of this series.
Moreover, it has a sophisticated premium feel to it, with a neat design that is appropriate in even the strictest of corporate or educational settings.
Although, at least on this color version (there’s also another model with a white interior), the choice of the material is a little bit of a mixed bag right now. I still like Dell’s aluminum body and carbon-fiber interior design, but I feel it is a bit outmoded since it was first introduced almost six years ago.
The black clickpad and keycaps are susceptible to smudges and finger oil because the carbon-fiber interior is soft and smooth to the touch, which doesn’t show fingerprints as readily as other surfaces. After a few days of use, here’s how the laptop looks.
I also feel that the texture of the palm rest has gotten slightly sticky with time, requiring me to clean it more often than I used to, and I can see some scuffs from my watch buckle on the left-side armrest of my XPS 13. Despite this, the newer XPS 15 has a softer, glossier finish than my previous 2015 XPS 13 did, so I believe it will age considerably better. Lastly, the gleaming portions around the borders will dent and scratch readily, so when carrying it in your bag or backpack, make certain to use it in a sleeve. The sanded metal utilized for the top and bottom will age really well.
I like the sleek and compact look, as well as the big 16:10 screen, spacious keyboard, clickpad, and wrist support, and the fact that punchy up-firing speakers are positioned on either side of the keys in this 15-inch segment. As far as practicality is concerned, I appreciate these features about this laptop.
Other parts, on the other hand, are a mixed bag for me. There are a slew of them, and I may be nitpicking here, but I’d rather inform you about them so you might pick whether or not they bother you.
For example, I had to use both hands to pick up the screen because there wasn’t a nub on the front lip that allowed me to easily do so. The screen angle on this 15-inch model, unlike on previous XPS models, may be adjusted singlehandedly. However, you will need to lift up the display portion from the main chassis in order to do so. The display stays in place when set up thanks to the hinges, which keeps it from wobbling excessively when you poke at it with your finger (which you will do since this is a touch version).
Despite this, when you grab and tilt the computer laterally, the screen and main body may not always remain tight. This is one more reason why I’d recommend keeping this inside a protective sleeve when carrying it in your bag, just to make sure nothing gets between the screen and the main body. It’s been reported and documented for some time now. Also, I believe the magnets that keep the two pieces together are a bit stronger than on prior-generation XPS devices, which is one reason why lifting up the lid is more difficult on this series and requires both hands to do so.
Let me add that the XPS 15’s screen only reclines to around 140 degrees when used on a desk, which is good for desktop usage but not so great for lap or thighs usage. On portable computers, I much prefer a design that allows the screen to go back to 180 degrees.
The crispness of the lips surrounding the main chassis is another minor nit with this design. In some circumstances, such as while using the computer on a narrow desk, the same lip was somewhat more blunt on my older Dell XPS 13 but is now sharper on this Dell XPS 15 9510 model. I prefer designs with a friendlier front lip, so this may not sound like much to you.
Dell still shines a brilliant white beam on the front lip, which stays on as long as the laptop is charging and turns off when it’s completely charged. Both of these make little sense to me since they cannot be controlled or switched off in any manner. They are connected with an always-on light in the charger’s plug. I’ve had issues with these lights on my XPS 13 for a long time, and I’m disappointed that Dell hasn’t fixed them yet.
The IO is another topic entirely. The Dell XPS 15 All in One series has two USB-Cs on the left side, plus an additional USB-C on the left, without Thunderbolt 4 but with data, charging, and video functionality. This is nearly as good as having two Thunderbolt 4s in one package. A full-size card reader, an audio jack, and a Lock are also positioned around the sides of the computer, as well as a finger-sensor incorporated into the power button. An always-on light in the power button was once standard on older XPS models, but it has been removed with this new fingertip sensor button.
Dell includes a tiny USB-C to USB-A/HDMI dongle in the package, which you may use if you need those connections. They at least give you something, even if it’s not ideal. The laptop’s bottom has grippy rubber feet and speaker cuts on the sides, which is about all there is to it. The bottom of the laptop only rises a few millimeters above the desktop due to the profile of those feet, which is very restricted.
The thermal design is one more factor to consider. The open intakes over the fans and heat pipes, as well as vents positioned under the hinge and beneath the screen, draw in most of the fresh air through the bottom of the laptop. As a consequence, some heated air enters the panel, but the display never gets toasty enough to pose a risk, as we’ll see later in the Emissions section.
In the end, despite some of my concerns above, this XPS 15 continues to meet many of the right criteria for a premium mid-sized performance laptop. Those lights annoy me when I’m using my PC at night, and I’d also like a 180-screen, friendlier front panel and a more versatile mix of full-size ports. I can function without HDMI, although I still utilize USB-A as a lot as I can and don’t expect to purchase a laptop that lacks at least one of them.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The latest Dell XPS 15 doesn’t buck the trend of having a good keyboard, and other Dell XPS machines have had it. With enough travel to feel solid and a reassuringly firm base, its buttons are fast, crisp, and satisfying.
The lack of a numberpad is the only serious layout issue, and the keys are easily good enough to handle a day of typing.
In comparison to what other portable full-size laptops had to offer a few years ago, I feel that the keyboard is the same shallow-stroke kind we’ve seen on XPS laptops for generations. This XPS 15 is outdone by current gen ThinkPad X1Es, ZenBooks, HP ZBooks, and the new Apple MacBooks.
As I’m sure you’re not the first one to make a complaint about this keyboard’s restricted stroke-depth and unusually abrupt action, the kind that would take some time to acclimate to, it should come as no surprise. Despite this, I still like how the plastic keycaps feel to the touch and how the layout looks (excluding the half-sized Up and Down keys), and after a few days, I was able to get along with this XPS 15. Even so, even compared to most current ultrabooks, this seemed like a extremely shallow typer, and I felt there was significant room for advancement in this class.
Of course, the keys are backlit with white LEDs that are rather dim but consistent. While some light remains beneath several of the essential keys, I have no concerns with the lighting system here. It turns on instantly with a swipe over the clickpad and includes a physical indicator for Caps Lock. It times out if not in use.
With an accurate, smooth surface, the Dell XPS 15 9510 trackpad is large. It has quick in-built buttons and supports full gesture control. Connecting a USB mouse is the only way to get anything better.
Dell launched the XPS 15 9500 and 9510 series, both of which are supposed to be among the greatest clickpads available on a Windows computer, with this enormous glass surface. Thing is, even since the 9500 series was released, there have been numerous reports of bugs and unpredictable behavior. Dell issued a series of software updates to address some of the issues, and I assume they were able to finally figure out what was going on, but hey, tough luck.
As of November 2021, my laptop is running the latest BIOS and software available for this model, and I am not experiencing any fake clicks or palm-rejection problems. Instead, on my unit, the left mouse button doesn’t work. As long as I’m using taps, everything is fine, but when I press on the left corner of the clickpad, it depresses and clicks as it should, but it does not always register an action. That happens at least once every 4-5 clicks, or 20% of the time, and it feels and sounds like it clicks but does nothing. It works more reliably if I move my finger and press one or two centimeters away from the corner, but clicking right on the corner doesn’t always work.
This seems to be a hardware issue, as far as I can tell. Because this device is a loaner, I didn’t open it up to see if there was anything I could do about this behavior, but there are several videos and articles on Reddit that describe the wonders of a little piece of tape on this clickpad. Meanwhile, I’d definitely send this laptop back for a replacement if I paid 2.5K for it and got this type of clickpad.
Dell, on the other hand, seems to have improved their QC over time as fewer and fewer complaints about the clickpad have surfaced online in recent months. As a result, there is a good chance that you will be lucky in the long run.
This XPS 15 9510 series has an infrared camera built into the webcam, as well as a finger-sensor in the power button and Hello support. It’s the type that works fine when you first press the power button on this laptop to turn it on, and it uses your fingerprint to log into Windows after that. While there have been reports of the power button and finger-sensor failing on the XPS 15 9500 series from last year, there is no way to guarantee you won’t encounter any difficulties.
Screen & Speakers
The two IPS variants and the lone OLED variant are all available with the XPS 15. The three panels feature a 16:10 aspect ratio, which provides more vertical space than conventional 16:9 panels.
The contrast ratio of the 3,840 x 2,400 IPS display is 1,750:1, making it ideal for both indoors and out. It has a maximum brightness level of 450 nits. That helps this IPS panel deliver excellent depth and brightness, with everything being bold and forceful.
In the color department, Dell’s panel takes a turn. This screen is capable of operating in those regions because it shows the full range of the sRGB color gamut and approximately all of the Adobe RGB and DCI-P3/HDR color ranges. Color accuracy is excellent, but not great, on the display.
In regular use, the modest color inaccuracy is insignificant, and it is suitable for normal work. Indeed, this is one of the greatest laptop panels available today due to Dell’s vibrancy, clarity, and contrast. With the lower-resolution IPS option, expect similar quality.
Despite this, if you work in professions that necessitate picture-perfect color accuracy, consider Dell’s OLED screen or look at other machines.
Regardless of how great the show is, you’ll get superb sound here. The Dell speakers are fantastic: they are loud, clear, and crisp. The only negative thing about the phone is its slightly strong bass. These are some of the laptop’s greatest speakers.
While this isn’t inherently negative if you have restricted peripheral requirements and appreciate the sleek edges achieved by fewer interfaces, last year’s major XPS 15 redesign saw a significant reduction in the number and variety of input/output ports. The only physical connections are three USB-C ports: two on the left are Thunderbolt 4 ports, while the right has a USB 3.2 Type-C connector. There is no SD card slot or headphone jack. Can be used to charge the laptop, and all provide DisplayPort monitor support. Dell includes a pair of USB-C to USB-A and USB-C to HDMI adapters in the box, which is a welcome addition.
Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) with 2×2 MIMO support and Bluetooth 5.1 are standard wireless connections available. In summary, a small yet premium 15-inch laptop should have the connectivity situation that we’ve got.
The chassis redesign included improved audio quality, thanks to two upward-facing speakers that flank the keyboard and push sound towards your ears more effectively than previous models’ bottom-mounted speakers. Although not as good as the Apple MacBook Pro 16, which has a dedicated woofer for better bass response, the Dell XPS 15 continues to provide excellent audio.
Both popular Windows Hello sign-in options, a face recognition webcam, and a fingerprint reader integrated with the power button were available on our XPS 15 unit. The fingerprint reader worked better for more dependable logins without having to type my password, and I found the webcam worked best in bright light situations. It has the typical poor 720p quality that translates to slightly grainy picture quality when utilized for video calls, so be aware of that.
Dell XPS 15 9510 Battery Life
In our typical video playback test with the screen set to 120 nits, and in a PCMark 10 work test, the Dell XPS 15 lasted for nine hours and four minutes. The 86Wh battery on the Dell XPS 15 lasted for ten hours and 56 minutes.
Those are decent outcomes for a big 15.6in computer, and unless you push the hardware hard, this machine will get you through the day.
Be aware that lifespan will decrease if you want to get the most out of the internals. The Dell lasted for six hours and 33 minutes when tasked with a work test, but only over two hours when tasked with a gaming test.
The laptop comes with a mid-sized 130W power brick that connects via USB-C and is appropriate for this hardware. It has long cables and a dual-piece construction, but it lacks a cable strap, so if you don’t want to untangle all of your cables from your bag, you’ll need to come up with an alternative (as I did in the image below).
Charging is possible on both the left-side and right-side USB-C ports, so keep that in mind when purchasing the XPS 15 9510 without any GPU configurations.
Dell XPS 15 9510 Price & Availability
A Core i7-11800H, 16GB of memory, and a 512GB SSD are included in the Dell XPS 15 9510 in the United States, which costs $2,400. It’s only a little slower than the RTX 3050 Ti, despite having Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 graphics.
Switching to a high-resolution OLED display and you get Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics with faster memory and storage, as well as upgrading the American model to a Core i9-11900H costing $3,450.
While that part will most likely reappear on the specs list, the Dell XPS 15 9510 notebooks with a 3,840 x 2,400 IPS screen are presently unavailable.
This is still a fully functional package of top-tier craftsmanship, small size for a full-size laptop, several nice display choices, and balanced features, performance, thermals, and battery life as a whole. This could still be the start for many of you if you add in good speakers, adequate inputs and outputs, and OK IO.
In the same way, in comparison to the more recent premium segment launches, I sense that this is starting to show its age here and there. I’ve previously mentioned several of the ergonomics of this computer, so I won’t go into detail about them again. Consequently, in the past, overly shallow typing was a letdown, and it is no longer on par with the competition today. Given the numerous complaints they’ve had since launching the 9500 model last year, I would have hoped Dell had fixed the clickpad on my unit by now.
The IO is also included in this equation. With this generation, I’m pleased to see widespread support for Thunderbolt 4, although USB-C connectors on a production laptop like this one are a tough sell for me. For you, it probably wouldn’t make a difference. There are a few things to consider when evaluating the performance of this XPS 15 9510.
On the other hand, it is now significantly quicker than the previous generation in the mainstream Core i7 +3050Ti configuration and can handle anything you throw at it. Without having to reach for the i9 configurations, this means you’ll get a 5-25% performance boost with the mid-tier 9510 models. Dell has also improved their power profiles and cooling over the years, while this generation has lowered the thermal issues of prior XPS 15 models while also meeting comfortable fan noise levels and temperatures at both the case and system level.
In our tests, of course, the CPU+GPU power was just 55-60W, which is a result of this being a power-limited design. In demanding loads, that implies less restricted implementations of the same hardware will operate faster, so if you’re looking for the greatest performance in a portable chassis, the XPS 15 isn’t it.
The Dell XPS 15 9510 laptop, which competes with other laptop brands like the Apple MacBook Pro 16 and HP ZBook Studio, is even more costly than the others, but it offers a wide range of benefits such as improved performance, IO, and input. On the Apple-silicone MacBook, it offers a more efficient platform. Then there’s the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme, which comes with a 16:10 16-inch display, Core i9 processor, 80W RTX 3080 GPU, and possibly a superior typing experience. It’s now available. That hasn’t been tested yet, but it’s a viable XPS 15 alternative, so you’ll want to take a look at it.
In general, the Dell XPS 15 is still one of the best premium multipurpose computers available today, with faster performance than earlier versions and enhanced software, cooling, and flaws.
And with that, I’ve finished my Dell XPS 15 9510 series review, so feel free to comment below with your thoughts, queries, or feedback.
Bernard Gilbert is a writer and senior computing reviewer at WordWT Covering Technology. Previously, he spent six years in IT repairing computers and helping people buy the best laptop for their needs.