Dell XPS 15 9560 (2017) Review

With Dell launching new versions of the XPS 15 what  feels like all the time, I thought it would be good to check out what these powerhouse laptops are all about. This time we’re looking at the Dell XPS 15 9560, which is a step down from this year’s 9570, but still offers a wonderful specification.

The Dell XPS 15 9650 is what Dell are calling the world’s smallest 15.6″ laptop, and that’s down to its Infinity Edge display. What this means is the screen has very minimalistic bezels, which looks absolutely wonderful, and means  that Dell can fit a 15.6″ laptop inside a 14″ body. Pairing the screen with the aluminium chassis, the soft touch carbon fibre keyboard and mouse housing, and you’ve got yourself one great looking laptop.

We were sent the model without the fingerprint reader, although Dell have released multiple models for this particular machine, and you can go on the Dell website to check the different variations out. All of course, come with different costs.

Along the right hand edge you can find a kensington security lock, a USB 3.0 port and an SD card reader, while on the left is another USB 3.0 port, a HDMI connection for external displays, a Thunderbolt connection, a headphone jack and of course a port for its charger. It uses its own power brick rather than a USB Type-C port which is a little disappointing, but alas, this is a small complaint.

The back has no ports, and instead, Dell use this area to vent hot air from the system. It’s an effective method, and does a good job of getting rid of the heat. However, there’s also a fan on the bottom, of which gets very hot very quickly because it spends most of the time blocked, especially if you’re using it on a sofa or on a bed. I might add that componants do run hot under load, but this is really to be expected from a laptop setup.

Screen wise we were treated to a 4K display which shows amazing colours and is very bright and vivid. It can display around 90% of the sRGB spectrum which is amazing, and paired with its Infinity Edge, media creation and even consumption was a very nice experience. The screen is very reflective however, so bare that in mind if using in sunlight or a bright lit room. It’s a touch screen display which is a nice touch, especially when doing things like photo editing so you can pinch and stretch your fingers on the screen to zoom in and out. This is really the only use I found for it though.

Using the keyboard is a really great experience too. The keys are very nicely positioned, and are backlit for using in less than ideal lighting conditions. The touchpad is smooth which makes tracking feel nice and accurate and the click, although loud is satisfying.

The model that was sent through to us houses an Intel I7-7700HQ mobile processor and  a whopping 32GB RAM. Paired with an nVidia GTX1050, and you’ve got one hell of a laptop that can easily scrub through your video production timelines as well as play some AAA gaming titles. For  those of you who love numbers, the Fire Strike benchmark threw back a score of 3,403, while the more intensive Time Spy gave me a score of 1,385. The battery mode was set to performance for both of these tests.

I had no trouble at all running MOBA titles like TechNuovo’s favourite Heroes Of The Storm, and when it came to more intense games like Doom and Rise of the Tomb Raider, yes, FPS did drop in comparison to the MOBAs and I had to run them in medium settings to get the most out of the FPS number. Any lower than medium graphics settings and games aren’t really worth playing in my opinion. You’ll need a better laptop if this was the case.

When playing games however, one of the biggest complaints I had was fan noise. This this whirrs, and it didn’t take me long before I found myself reaching for a pair of headphones to use, just to cancel out the noise. Most of the time however, when browsing the internet or doing general work, I had no issue with the fan noise and this machine is extremely quiet.

What’s clever here is Dell’s power management system, figuring the right amount of power the components need for the task at hand. Because of this, I was comfortably getting around five hours worth of gaming time from its 56Wh battery. That’s pretty average for a powerhouse like this, but still, I think it’s a pretty good time before reaching for the charger. It means that it can survive business meeting with ease, as long as you go into them with a fully charged battery.

I know this laptop is a year old, and it loses out on some modern touches like the new i9 processor that’s found in the newer 9570 models, but this machine is still a great offering into the world of laptops if you’re looking for a small form factor powerhouse to either handle photo and video editing workloads or to play games on the go. For more information on the Dell XPS 15 9560, head over to the Dell website.

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