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.

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  • Jodiuh - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - link

  • Rc1138 - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - link

    I really want to live my xps15 9550 but Dell's QC is pretty much nonexistent. Right after warranty expired my battery swelled and lifted touchpad above the body by 5-6mm. I bought and changed the battery but the situation seems to repeat itself again with touchpad buttons becoming hard to press. And that's not the end of my misery because laptop BSODs and reboots randomly without POSTing and the problem seems to be with hardware because reinstall of Windows 10 and downgrade to older drivers doesn't change anything. How can such a premium machine be so faulty
  • Rc1138 - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - link

    I meant like not live
  • davidedney123 - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - link

    I've got a Precision 5520 (which is basically the same laptop) with the 4K screen that has been flawless, my partner has a 9560 with the 1080p which is similarly without issue, and I have a 1080p Precision 5520 on it's way to.

    I remember reading about a lot of issues users were having with the previous XPS15 and Precision M3800, but I bought dozens of these in 2015/16 and not a single one had any issues on arrival and they have been reliable in use.

    TL:DR - don't let a few vocal users with poor experiences put you off, I've found these to be excellent and well built machines.
  • Glock24 - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - link

    I like that they don't cram a numeric pad in the keyboard. But the port selection is lacking. I would expect at least 3 USB type A ports or more than 1 USB type C in a laptop this size and weight. Also the lack of Ethernet is a big minus for me.
  • TraderGary - Saturday, August 5, 2017 - link

    I've had my Dell XPS 15 9560 for 6 weeks and so far it's been flawless. 4K screen is incredible, 32 GB RAM, 1 Terabyte SSD, Fingerprint reader. I can edit 4K video in DaVinci Resolve Studio in real-time with no proxies. After driver update Killer NIC has been faultless. Windows 10 Pro is great.
  • GoMoeJoe - Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - link

    Killer Networking has garbage software support.
    They post new 'Control Center' releases on their support page -
    and then pull them back down - reverting to older versions - all without saying a word.

    Plus their control center app messes with Windows 10 Creator something fierce - inducing blue screens and ipV6 issues out of nowhere.

    Bad decision for Dell (and MSI) to rely so heavily on Killer tech.
    They stink and are no longer a serious player.
  • billobob - Saturday, August 12, 2017 - link

    If only they'd take a cue from microsoft and ditch the horrible 16:9. I love my ultrawide 34" LG, but hate 16:9 formats on notebooks--it's just not terribly practical to have the extra horizontal real estate on a laptop. Even the 16:10 apple uses would be a big improvement. If there were a laptop like this with a better aspect ratio I'd buy it in a heartbeat, even with the NoseCam (TM)
  • nishashrivas93 - Saturday, August 12, 2017 - link

    nice features....m planning to buy it.....thank u for this reviews
  • ttekg - Sunday, August 13, 2017 - link

    Small business - Out of 13 - Dell XPS 15" Laptops - 3 different models over the past 5 years.. only 4 of that group remain operative today. 7 of them dead mainboard - 2.5-3.5 years of usage. 2 of them were user accidents. I actually don't mind too much - they are good laptops and need to be replaced anyway every 3 years.. ;-)

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