Full Review New Dell XPS 15 9500 With 4k Display


hey everybody it’s lon seidman and we don’t look at all that many premium laptops here on the channel but i like looking at them from time to time this is a real nice one this is the dell xps 15. this is the 9500 model that came out in 2020 very thin bezels on this thing very attractive and we’re going to be taking a closer look at it in this review in just a second but i do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure this came in on loan from dell so we’re done with this it goes back to them all the opinions you’re about to hear are my own nobody is paying for this review nor has anyone reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what this laptop is all about now the price point on the review loaner they sent us is about twenty four hundred dollars all configurations have a 15 inch display the one they sent us has a 4k display that’s running at 3840 by 2400 for its resolution that’s a 16 by 10 aspect ratio which means you have a little bit more screen real estate here on the vertical which is good for looking at web pages and document editing and that sort of thing it’s not as narrow as some of those 16 by nine displays can look so that was nice to see on here and this very much mirrors the design language of the smaller 13-inch model that we reviewed a little

bit earlier in the year there’s a 1080p version of this available as well in the same aspect ratio that costs a little less and gives you some extra battery life but i gotta say this display the 4k one looks beautiful in fact it’s so bright we have to turn it down a bit to keep our cameras from getting blown out so nice and bright the folks from notebook check did a great review of this if you want to get into the weeds on the specifications here and they found that it meets all of the srgb color space and most of the adobe rgb color space so if you’re looking for a good photo editing machine this one might do it and again i’m very very pleased with the display the build quality is very nice on it as well and as you can see the display and keyboard are very well balanced here so you don’t have the keyboard kicking up on you as you move the display around it’ll kick up on you when you hit the end of the hinge here but overall a really solid balanced design which is what you would hope to see in a very high priced notebook like this one now our review unit here has an i7 1087 processor that’s from intel it also has a 1650 ti gpu from nvidia with four gigabytes of video memory

that will make this good not only for photo editing but also video editing and you can get some light gaming done on it and it’s also probably going to be useful for some light video streaming as well given that you have the gpu so applications like vmix or obs should run pretty nicely on here for even moderately sized streams given that you have that gpu with a good amount of video ram on board now the system memory is 16 gigabytes on the loaner model that we received that ram is upgradable and you can also upgrade the storage uh so this one came with a 512 gigabyte nvme there’s a second nvme slot inside and of course you can upgrade the hard drive that it comes with as well so you do have some degree of upgrade ability here but as with most of these devices you cannot upgrade the ram or the gpu on it the weight on this one is four and a half pounds or about 2.05 kilograms so it’s a little on the heavier side but that’s because it’s got a big battery inside and it’s got a nice rugged case to it so the battery life on this thanks to that heavy battery is going to run you probably about 10 to 12 hours depending on the screen brightness that you have on the 4k version here if you start using the gpu and playing games on it doing some video editing that of course will cut your battery life down significantly but if you’re sticking to the basics like web browsing email and word processing with a dimmer display you should be able to get through a good chunk of

the workday if not all of it on battery and you’ll do even better if you’re running with the 1080p version and they did a nice job on the new keyboard here it’s got full size keys that are well spaced very nice to type on you’ve got decent travel on the keys as well it’s just got a nice tactile feel the keyboard is backlit so all in a very nice premium typing experience and like the 13-inch we looked at a little while ago they have a fingerprint reader embedded right into the power button next to the delete key there you got stereo speakers here on the left and right hand side that sound very nice it’s always good to have upward firing speakers and these are very very nice to listen to for music and podcasts and web conferences and all the other stuff you’ll do on there a good range of sound the track pad is rather large as you can see it kind of reminds me of the macbook trackpad it’s very good it’s not overly sensitive so it doesn’t often pick up errant movements and that sort of thing i have a very confident feel when i’m using it the one thing that i’m running into though is that sometimes when i rest my hands down to type i’m accidentally clicking the click pad here because unlike the mac which is a virtual touch pad that doesn’t actually physically click this one does physically click so if you put your wrist down sometimes

you’re going to click it on the side here so that’s just one thing i encountered but otherwise a very nice track pad not too many ports on this one you’ve got your two thunderbolt 3 ports here on the left hand side these are four lane ports they are full service ports so they do power data and video out one thing to note though with the thunderbolt ports and the usbc port on the other side is that it only seems to work with the dell power supply that it came with it has a 130 watt usbc power adapter and when i plugged in some of my docks and other third-party charging adapters into this it didn’t recognize those so in most cases you’re just going to be getting data in and video out and you may have to use the dell adapter for power that’s one of the trade-offs when you’re doing usb-c power with these devices is that these ones with the gpus often consume more power you’ve got a kensington lock here this is a different version from the typical ones i believe this is an angled lock so you’re going to need to get the right one for this and you can certainly find that on dell’s website for locking the computer down on the other side you’ve got a usbc port this is not

thunderbolts only the two on the other side are and then you’ve got a card reader here for sd cards and a headphone jack for plugging in a headset speaker now i also noticed that they included a little dongle here in the box to convert one of those thunderbolt ports or the usb-c port into a regular a and an hdmi output so they probably figured people would have a hard time adjusting to usbc right out of the gate so you do get a little adapter in the box which was a nice touch and shows that they’re thinking about their customers as they adapt to newer technology and along those lines of transitioning into new technology it was interesting to see how the feel of this machine is the same as the older ones were so i had a xps 15 from 2015 and the keyboard deck here with the carbon fiber with the rubberized coating on it feels identical to my old one uh the overall weight and feel of this the metal casing it all feels very much like an xps 15 and it’s not going to take long to get used to carrying this thing around because it just feels pretty much the same there are of course some modern accoutrements here you’ve got a nice shiny hinge on it you’ve got the beautiful new display the better keyboard but overall when you touch it it feels the same and i think that is a good thing one thing they did improve was the webcam location so my older xps 15 had the webcam down below in the lower bezel and it was always like shooting up your nostrils didn’t look all that great this one they managed to get the webcam in way up here at the top the trade-off though is video quality so the video doesn’t look all that great out of it but at least it’s at a better angle for when you’re doing your zoom calls and everything so if you want to look better on one of those conference calls i would hook up an external camera for better results the 720p out of this tiny camera

isn’t all that great and it’s funny how we’ve not seen better webcams out of these premium laptops they’ve been kind of stagnant for a while so maybe in the next iteration if we’re still stuck at home we’ll probably see next year’s machines have better webcams built in all right let’s take a look now and see how this performs we’re going to begin with some web browsing and then we’ll take a look at some games all right let’s take a look at nasa.gov here and see how quickly everything loads up as you can see the page loads up very quickly the 4k model we have here has a touch display as well so you can use that to zoom in if you need to no issues here i wouldn’t expect any issues on a laptop at this price point for browsing the web and it should be a good experience overall a little bit earlier we ran some youtube videos on the edge browser at 60 frames per second both at 4k and 1080p we didn’t have any drop frames on that browser but as usual we did encounter some drop frames at 4k 60 with the chrome browser and that comes back to their long-standing issue of not properly supporting the intel hardware decoders on here so if you are doing a lot of video through a web browser you might want to use edge versus chrome and we’re finding some issues with the new version of edge now as well so hopefully they can get some optimizations working there but we did have a good experience on the apps that you can find in the windows store for popular video services so for example netflix here supports 4k video it supports hdr

including dolby vision and for videos that support it dolby atmos audio one thing to note though is that when the laptop is unplugged you don’t get the hdr video so you’ve got to have the power cable in to get the best visual quality but 4k video will work when the laptop is disconnected from power but altogether a very nice display and it’s nice to see netflix and other providers support it and on the browserbench.org speedometer test running on google chrome we got a score of 195 on version 1.

0 of that test and 117 on version 2.0 and that puts this right within the margin of error of other i7 based intel machines we have looked at recently altogether a good performer for doing the basics so let’s move on now to some gaming and this does have a gpu built in a gtx 1650 ti i was hoping for something a little bit more powerful in this one but it seems adequate for the task what we decided to do here was run a bunch of games at the laptop’s native resolution of 3840 by 2400 at the lowest settings so here jake was playing around with fortnite and we were getting frame rates at that resolution between 40 and 60 frames per second you can of course hit the 60 frames per second target if you lower the resolution and you can play around with different detail settings to get to where you want to go not bad at the native 4k here so we’ll move on now to a little bit of the witcher 3.

this is again running at the native resolution lowest settings on that beautiful display and here we were getting about 30 frames per second give or take so again not spectacular at the native res but certainly playable and if you go down to 1080p you could get yourself into that 60 frames per second territory so not bad there either we also ran rocket league again lowest settings here at the 4k resolution what we did notice on this one and a few other games we were playing around with is that it would sometimes lock the frame rate i don’t know if we were just conveniently maxing out at 30 frames per second or not but typically even with all the vsync settings off both within the game and the nvidia settings we were pretty much locking in here at around 30. so we might do a little better on rocket league if we could figure out some of the settings that might be restricting the frame rate but again rocket league with this gpu at 1080p should run just fine and remember the display is a 60 hertz display last game to check out here is grand theft auto 5.

This was another one that was oddly locking its frame rate in we weren’t able to get it past 40 frames per second at the native resolution but it looks great even at the lowest settings doesn’t it so again i think for gaming you can certainly play a lot of aaa games on this one and if you adjust your settings accordingly especially at 1080p resolutions you should have a very nice smooth 60 frames per second in most of the games that you attempt to play on it and on the 3d mark times by benchmark test we got a score of 3695 i was expecting slightly better performance out of the 1650 ti gpu in here versus the 1650 we’ve seen on a few other laptops this year but it really came in at around the same performance which i guess is probably because of some thermal thresholds they were trying to meet and what’s interesting when you look at this chart is that the one directly below this one which is that asus tough gaming laptop that one comes in well under a thousand dollars yet this one is twenty four hundred dollars and what you’re paying for on these premium laptops is build quality nicer displays better battery life less weight quieter fans those are all of the things that go into a more expensive laptop but if all you care about is performance you can do very well without spending a lot of money and find laptops that perform at the same level as this one or even better than this one for much less money you’re just going to have something noisy heavy and not so great on power efficiency to lug around with you there but if you want the best you will pay for it and get some really nice design as a result and if you’re curious about vr compatibility we ran the vr mark orange room test and we came in at the

lower level there as expected but it will meet the minimum specifications for doing some basic vr but again if you want to really get into vr a proper gaming laptop or gaming desktop is the better way to go but we were very impressed with the thermal performance on this one on the 3d mark stress test that we run on all these laptops we got a perfect score 100 i have never seen that before it really did quite well there so you’re not going to see much thermal throttling if any uh when you’re placing the computer under sustained load for long periods of time and that’s one of those trade-offs you make is either nice bursty performance that reduces when the heat builds up or something that runs very consistently and this one will perform very consistently just make sure you keep these lower vents clear so that you get good air flow most of the time you’re not going to hear the fan at all especially when you’re idle or just doing some web browsing or whatever it’s either off or super quiet when you put it under load that fan will kick on more aggressively but it’s definitely not as loud as what you might get out of a gaming laptop that is running with a more powerful gpu so overall the fan noise even under load is very minimal and i think it’s something that if you are sensitive to fan noise you’ll appreciate here but that does come at a performance cost and if you want a faster and more powerful gpu you’re going to have to get a laptop that has a noisier fan that’s just the nature of the beast here but this one seems to be pretty quiet all right one last thing to check out and that is its linux compatibility we booted up the latest

version of ubuntu here and it seems like it is working just fine it detected the display properly we’ve got it running at the native resolution here just over 4k it’s scaling everything properly here it looks as though the touch display is largely working as well so all together i think if you are looking to run alternative operating systems on here beyond windows you should be able to do that and dell has long supported linux on some of their xps machines and this one looks like it’s no exception to that rule everything looks and runs pretty nicely here at first glance so overall this is a nice machine i really really like what they’ve put together here it is a premium laptop but it lives up to the price you’re paying it’s very well designed great build quality it feels very solid great performance a nice improvement over prior editions and it’s nice to have a pretty capable performer here that will be good for a lot of the productivity tasks you might want to do on the road and i have really few complaints about this laptop they’ve put together a very nice product here that is going to do it for now until next time this is lon seidman thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the london tv supporters including gold level supporters tom albrecht chris allegretta david hochman brian parker mike patterson and bill pomerantz if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to lawn dot tv support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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