Dell XPS 15 9500 (2020) review: Still the 15-inch laptop to beat Review

Matthew N. Henry

Dell has specified its top rated-tier XPS fifteen laptop computer a makeover for 2020, with a redesigned chassis and updated specifications. It’s a durable but potent fifteen.6-inch laptop computer that can accommodate up to 1TB of storage, and a 4K UHD+ (3840 x 2400) touch display screen if you go outside of the foundation £1,419 (ex. VAT) model. But how considerably of an advance is it on its predecessor?

Past year’s Dell XPS fifteen packed a whole lot of punch into a tiny chassis, and while we did have some issues, all round we observed it to be a potent and really knowledgeable — if relatively high-priced — laptop computer. The 2020 version of the XPS fifteen (9500) has some structure adjustments and upgraded specifications.

The most obvious structure improve is that the important bottom display screen bezel on very last year’s model is long gone there are now slender bezels all spherical, leaving just enough room for the webcam to sit previously mentioned the display screen. This one improve makes a huge variance when it comes to viewing video clip and applying the redefined InfinityEdge exhibit extra commonly (see below).


Dell’s XPS fifteen 9500 has an practically bezel-totally free fifteen.6-inch display screen with either FHD+ (1920 x 1200) or UHD+ (3840 x 2400) resolution and five hundred-nits most brightness. It weighs 1.8kg and is run by tenth generation Intel Main i5, i7 or i9 processors.

Images: Dell

Cramming a fifteen.6-inch display screen into a chassis with a 344mm by 230mm footprint is very a feat. This year’s model comes in at 18mm thick (1mm extra than the 2019 XPS fifteen), and has a setting up weight of 1.8Kg, which you are going to surely experience in a backpack. The trade-off is a really sturdy make utilising carbon fibre to incorporate a actual solidity to the chassis. There is certainly no give in the slim lid area, nor in the foundation, wrist relaxation or keyboard. A sleeve most likely isn’t really essential to provide in-bag defense, unless you want to protect a scratch-totally free end to the outer chassis.

SEE: Windows ten Start off menu hacks (TechRepublic High quality)

There are two other notable structure adjustments in comparison to very last year’s model. A person of these is the touchpad, which has amplified considerably in dimension. It now appears to be practically comically huge, but in reality the dimension makes navigation close to the display screen less difficult: you can find no have to have to experience for one edge if you want to drag the cursor from one aspect of the display screen to the other. Soon after crafting this assessment, going again to my standard laptop’s more compact touchpad felt positively constraining. 

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Above the touchpad, the effectively spaced, backlit keyboard is really responsive to use. Typing is really silent, with just the faintest simply click as keys are frustrated. There is certainly a lot of spring to the motion, and I had no difficulties typing at my ordinary touch-typing velocity.


The backlit keyboard is flanked by grilles for the quad speaker program (2 woofers, 2 tweeters). Observe the exceptionally big touchpad.

Graphic: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The closing structure improve from the 2019 XPS fifteen is that the formerly unused areas to the left and correct of the keyboard are now occupied by speaker grilles. That suggests sound from the quad speaker array is projected specifically at you fairly than outputting from the sides or even the underside of the chassis. This is a superior go: the XPS fifteen is not a 350-degree convertible, so this laptop computer will be used in normal clamshell method for providing shows or following-hrs video clip looking at, for case in point. Audio high quality is spectacular at minimal to middling volumes, and the XPS fifteen puts out greater volume than I can remember hearing from a laptop computer for some time. Audio high quality suffers at the top rated finish, but mid-amount volume is superior enough for quite a few situations.

The XPS fifteen 9500 seriously stands out for the high quality of its fifteen.6-inch exhibit. My assessment device had the top rated-finish 4K+ touch display screen with 3,840 by 2,four hundred resolution (290ppi). Despite the fact that the OLED possibility from very last year’s model is no extended out there, the exhibit is splendidly sharp, clear and dazzling. The small-bezel InfinityEdge structure makes it a actual satisfaction to look at the odd film, and you can find a lot of room to horizontally split two functioning windows while getting a 3rd document generation window open up to the complete peak of the display screen. If nearly anything, the most brightness of five hundred nits was a small as well considerably for me while functioning, but it arrived into its individual in ‘TV viewing’ method. Photo and video clip editors will respect the screen’s colour gamut help: a hundred% of Adobe RGB and ninety four%of DCI-P3.

There are six pre-crafted configurations of this laptop computer on Dell’s British isles web-site at the time of crafting, all working tenth generation Intel processors (including two Main i9 solutions), some with the touch display screen and some with discrete graphics:

  • Intel Main i5-10300H, Windows ten Professional, fifteen.6-inch 1,920 x 1,200 (FHD+) non-touch display screen, Intel UHD Graphics, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD
    £1,419 (ex. VAT)
  • Intel Main i7-10750H, Windows ten Professional, fifteen.6-inch 1,920 x 1,200 (FHD+) non-touch display screen, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £1,739 (ex. VAT)
  • Intel Main i7-10750H, Windows ten Professional, fifteen.6-inch 3,840 x 2,four hundred (UHD+) touch display screen, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £2,029 (ex. VAT)
  • Intel Main i9-10885H, Windows ten Professional, fifteen.6-inch 1,920 x 1,200 (FHD+) non-touch display screen, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £2,127.33 (ex. VAT)
  • Intel Main i7-10750H, Windows ten Professional, fifteen.6-inch 3,840 x 2,four hundred (UHD+) touch display screen, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £2,149 (ex. VAT)
  • Intel Main i9-10885H, Windows ten Professional, fifteen.6-inch 3,840 x 2,four hundred (UHD+) touch display screen, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £2,497.33 (ex. VAT)

My assessment sample was distinctive: it ran Windows ten Home on an Intel Main i7-10750H processor with 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics — and, as by now noted, the 4K UHD+ (3,840 x 2,four hundred) touch display screen.


Connections on the XPS fifteen 9500: 3 USB-C ports (the two on the left help Thunderbolt 3) and a complete-dimension SD card reader. 

Images: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

There are 3 USB-C ports, all with energy shipping and delivery and DisplayPort, two of which (on the left aspect) also have Thunderbolt 3 help. There is certainly also an SD card reader — an strange sight these times — and a 3.5mm headset jack. That is it as significantly as on-product connectivity is worried, whilst Dell throws in a tiny dongle that adds USB 3.1 and HDMI connections through one of the USB-C ports.

Dell provides very granular and distinct facts about battery daily life. The XPS fifteen 9500’s 6-mobile 86Wh battery can provide up to 24 hrs with the FHD+ model when applying productiveness applications like Word or Excel, or up to sixteen hrs fifty two minutes when streaming Netflix. With the large-resolution UHD+ panel, Dell states the battery can provide up to thirteen hrs forty six minutes applying productiveness apps, or up to 8 hrs 27 minutes of Netflix streaming.

My actual-planet battery exams were done with the UHD+ panel. I intentionally left video clip streaming through a 3.five-hour interval all through which I worked into website apps, viewed website web pages, and watched the occasional video clip. At first the exhibit set alone to its a hundred% brightness on battery energy, but I observed this as well dazzling for consolation, and decreased it to 50% following an hour and a 50 %. In that initial interval the battery fell from a hundred% to seventy one%. The subsequent two hrs with the display screen at 50% saw the battery tumble to forty four%. So that was a net reduction of 66% of battery daily life in 3.five hrs. Do not hope all-working day battery daily life from this laptop computer unless you keep display screen brightness minimal and run comparatively undemanding workloads.

A pair of other operational factors of notice: the chassis received a small heat equally on the keyboard and on the underside, and the lover, while not noisy, was a small distracting at instances. This may perhaps not apply to all configurations, though.


The Dell XPS fifteen 9500 (2020) is a major laptop computer with a durable chassis. The small-bezel display screen, at minimum on the UHD+ model I reviewed, is extraordinarily superior. In this respect, Dell sets a benchmark for other companies. The big touchpad is a satisfaction to function with — as noted previously, I observed it constraining to return to the more compact touchpad on my standard laptop computer. 

There is certainly room for improvement in battery daily life, whilst it truly is asking a whole lot for real all-working day battery daily life from a laptop computer working a large-resolution 3840-by-2400-pixel display screen. Nonetheless, even with that caveat, the XPS fifteen 9500 (2020) sets a new large bar for fifteen.6-inch laptops.

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