Dell already had one of the best designs for a notebook with the XPS 15 9550, so it is perhaps not a huge surprise to see them evolve that design only slightly for this year. It keeps the same thin-bezel design that has catapulted the XPS lineup into the distinctive look and feel they are known for today. Although the XPS 13 is more impacted by the thin bezels in percentage shrunk, Dell still offers the smallest 15.6-inch notebook around with the XPS 15.

Dell uses a machined aluminum top and bottom, and sandwiched in the middle is a carbon-fibre keyboard deck with a soft-touch coating. It makes the laptop very easy to use for extended periods of time, without the sharp edges that some all-metal laptops suffer from, but the coating can be a bit of a fingerprint magnet.

The keyboard is backlit in white, with multiple levels of brightness. It features a six row keyboard too, and without the extra width allowed by wider bezels, Dell doesn’t try to squeeze in a number pad, which is the right decision. Even on larger 15.6-inch laptops, that can make for a pretty cramped keyboard experience, with oddly placed keys. The XPS 15 features a fairly typical keyboard arrangement, with perhaps only the half-height arrow keys being a concern for some typists, although they are well spaced and shouldn’t pose much of an issue even for the pickiest of keyboard users.

The key travel itself is a bit disappointing. It features 1.3 mm of travel, which is likely due to the lack of space inside to offer a thicker keyboard. The keys don’t have the reassuring click sound either, with a more muted, mushy feel. We’ve been spoiled by some great laptop keyboards over the last couple of years, and the XPS 15 can’t reach that lofty goal. As with anything, a person would get used to it over time, but there are better keyboards out there.

The trackpad is smooth, and generously sized. The width is much more traditional than some devices which have gone with the ultra-wide trackpads, and because of this it feels more natural. There’s less hitting your palms on the trackpad too.

New to the XPS 15 9560, and tucked over on the right side of the keyboard deck, is a capacitive fingerprint reader. With Windows Hello integration, this gives you the option of using biometrics as a logon choice. The fingerprint reader is very responsive and has almost never missed a finger in the time here. Some people prefer the tactile feel of a fingerprint reader over a facial-recognition login method, but regardless, it’s nice to have at least one Windows Hello biometric option to speed up login.

The right side features the SD card reader, USB 3.0 with PowerShare, and a battery gauge indicator. The left side has the charging port, another USB 3.0 with PowerShare, full sized HDMI 1.4, a headset jack, and the Thunderbolt 3 connector. Other laptops may have more USB ports, but two A ports are generally enough for most people, and those that need more can easily tap into the USB-C port for far more bandwidth if necessary.

It's hard to say more about the XPS lineup at this point, since it’s become such a well-known design in the last couple of years. If you’ve not had a chance to see one in person, it’s probably worth a look. The smaller bezels really do reduce the bulk of the notebook, with the one downside in Dell’s case of a poorly positioned webcam at the bottom of the display. Dell wants to keep the top and side bezels the same size for aesthetics, and heavy webcam users will not appreciate this, with a less than flattering up-the-nose result. Since the launch of the Infinity Display, other manufacturers have done thin bezels, but with a thicker top bezel to allow space for the webcam. Not everyone uses the built-in webcam though, so whether this is an issue to anyone will be up to them.

Regardless, the XPS 15 is still one of the most striking large form factor laptops around, and Dell has managed to make it a compact device without lowering it to Ultrabook levels of performance.

Introduction System Performance
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  • Garrett S. - Monday, July 31, 2017 - link

    How on earth is everyone using these Dell XPS 15 9560 models?
    I have purchased 2 brand new factory sealed models from Amazon, and both had defects. If you look under my name (Garrett S.), you will see that the screen shuts off, on/off rapidly like a strobe light in a club. Both laptops did this.

    So, I recently ordered a factory refurbished unit from Dell, from a different reseller (again, because brand new factory sealed units were always defective), and the new one has the same issue. Screen randomly shuts off and flickers after a couple of hours. 3 laptops in 1 month.

    Don't believe me? I've posted videos of the problem, on amazon, as a verified purchase under product review. Can't fake that...

    Already sent off laptop number 3. Here goes laptop number 4, 5, 6, etc...
  • linster - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - link

    When I read user horror stories like yours, I can't help but think other issues may be involved. Sure, you could be the anti-lottery winner, someone has to be on the other end of the luck spectrum. However, 3 laptops all having the exact same problem? Unless it was a bad batch, statistically highly unlikely. Have you thought maybe of testing to see if it's your environment. I don't know, maybe some type of electronic interference? Something other than just spectacularly bad luck?
  • Garrett S. - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - link

    It's not my power strips, electricity, humidity, environment, or anything else. Other users on amazon are posting similar images and videos of the exact same problem.

    The funny part is, these are brand new factory sealed laptops directly from dell, and even the refurbished ones from dell have the same issue, but it doesn't replicate itself immediately (it takes 2-3 hours of usage before screen starts flickering).

    Users on reddit are posting the same thing. Users on amazon are showing verified purchased review videos of the problem. The Dell XPS 15 9560 laptop on amazon has 3 out of 5 stars which is a great improvement, compared to when it was released. When laptop was released earlier in the year (march?) the laptop had 2 out of 5 stars. Guess what? Not one review had a "manufacturer's response" posted which other computer makers often do.

    That leads me to believe that dell doesn't give a flying **ck.

    Because all of the brand new laptops have the same problem, I tried dell manufacturer refurbished. Same problem. Customers are returning defective laptops to dell (which is why it's labeled refurbished on the bottom), and the same problem exists.

    Why? Most likely, the dell "technicians" are simply turning on the laptop, and if the screen turns on, they immediately ship the device. However, the problem occurs after 2-3 hours of regular web browsing or word processing usage. The screen shuts off and on, and off, and flashes and gets progressively worse, similar to a strobe light. Perhaps the dell "technicians" can't/won't test longer than 5 seconds verifying if the screen simply turns on? The problems *ALWAYS* show after a couple of hours use.

    If there is something wrong with my environment, then why do all the product reviews of this laptop on amazon show 3 out of 5 stars (previously 2 out of 5 stars)?

    Perhaps everyone's environment is terrible around the world! My environment consists of a very clean table in the dining room. You can see my dining room table on the video posted on amazon, under garrett, in the amazon verified reviews, along with everyone else's. Just be careful you don't have a seizure from watching the strobe like effect that the laptop screens display.

    It's ok. Shipping is free.
    If I were you guys, I would buy stock in UPS. They are beginning to know me on first name basis. I see this happening all year on this model of laptop from dell.
  • ddriver - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - link

    Bad karma. I've had lots of dell products, laptops included, never ever had a problem with any of them. Not a single unit manifested any kind of problem during the warranty period, most were working well after double the time until they were sold on the cheap.
  • Garrett S. - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - link

    Once again... respectfully ddriver...

    Why on earth does the product have 3 out of 5 stars (2 out of 5 stars in first month during release) on amazon for this dell xps 9560 laptop, with verified purchase reviews? Most people buying the product on the most popular online retailer in the U.S. is having the same problem I am having. Review the Dell XPS 9560 on amazon. 3/5 is the review, which is better than it was a short while ago, 2/5. That's the lowest I've ever seen of any product on Amazon.

    How is this karma directed towards me? Why is everyone else having the same problem? Check out reddit. There are hundreds of negative reviews of the same thing.

    Oh wait a minute... Maybe everyone purchasing these Dell 9560 XPS 15 laptop models have a specific vendetta against Dell and they all want to get even at Dell... Strange that everyone was waiting for years, and they are all choosing now, and only 1 specific newly released model, and they are all showing pictures and videos of the problem... verified purchases...

    You're right! It's a conspiracy.. You are onto something here bro....
  • Glock24 - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - link

    From what I've read in forums and other people's experiences, Dell's QC is pretty bad. If you are lucky, you'll get a good unit and it may last over 10 years. But a lot of units have faults and are very problematic.
  • rrinker - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - link

    You know what they all have in common? They were purchased through Amazon. You know what is really really bad? Amazon's shipping and packing. They actually sent me a hard drive which was in the static bag LOOSE IN A BOX with just one piece of crumpled paper for packing. It was, as I expected, DOA. When contacting them for a replacement, I specifically mentioned the poor packaging. Replacement one came - PACKED EXACTLY THE SAME WAY! Luckily this one worked, although what sort of life span it will have is still up in the air. It's multiply backed up so it's just an annoyance at having to tear the box apart if (when) it dies. I left two blistering packaging feedbacks. That takes some kind of special to pack a hard drive like that. At the same time I bought a power supply. It was encased in foam inside the OEM box, PLUS they placed that inside another larger box totally packed with air bags. Really boggles the mind. Wonder if Amazon's involvement with shipping the laptops is causing an issue. I hope Amazon doesn't warehouse these - even here in the northeast there are reports of the inside of the local Amazon distribution center getting well over 100 degrees on a sunny day.
  • Glock24 - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - link

    I've had many problems with Dell laptops in the past, from cheap Inspirions to expensive Latitudes. The problems include keyboard failing, motherboard dying, one Latitude melting, LCDs failing, etc. Luckily the client had extended 3 year warranty, and Dell repaired or replaced the units, but even the replacements failed in less than a year. Those were systems from 2012 to 2015. Since then I don't recommend Dell anymore.

    Seems like they are no better now.
  • Sancus - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - link

    I bought an XPS 9560 and had zero problems with it. I've used my display for 12+ hours at a time and no flickering or anything like this.

    I suspect a software issue if it's that reproducible, though. I'm not saying that the rate of defects on the 9560 is acceptable, just adding a report of someone who has had no problem.
  • Rc1138 - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - link

    In my case screen flickering issue was solved with uninstall of dell premium color software that was incompatible with new gpu drivers (though that was on 9550)

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