Dell XPS 15 review (2021): OLED screen, upgraded processors

Dell XPS Laptops are some of the The most popular, thin and lightweight Windows PC for money. The 13-inch model has always been a favorite of WIRED (8/10, WIRED RECOMMEND), and the new 15-inch screen gets the same upgrade as its younger brother earlier this year: an OLED screen.

The new 3.5K OLED touchscreen helps make the Dell XPS 15 one of the best 15-inch laptops on the market. It also has a lot of power thanks to the latest Intel processors and a great trackpad and keyboard. The only downside is the battery life.


Photography: dil

The 2021 XPS 15 uses the same 11th generation Intel chips as the previous model. The big news here is the new OLED display, which we should note here, and it’s optional. As with the XPS 13, you should opt for the more powerful Intel i7 chipset for the OLED option. This means that the screen on the base i5 model has not changed. This is a screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels with a resolution of FHD +.

If you choose the i7 or i9-based XPS 15, you can choose between the 4K UHD display and the new 3.5K OLED display. If you want to know which is better…it depends. Resolution is better on a 4K screen. I also think the 4K model has a slight advantage in terms of battery life, although I’m comparing last year’s 4K model to this year’s OLED here.

OLED is more expensive; The cheapest option is $2100. The model I tested featured an OLED, 11th generation Intel Core i7, Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti GPU for the laptop, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. This configuration lists $2,200. From there, you can run up to $4,600 by opting for an i9 Chip, up to 64GB of RAM, and up to 8TB of SSD space, with some reasonable configurations in between.

While the basic mode with an i5 chip is suitable for basic computing needs, I would suggest an OLED screen and a faster chip if you can afford it. It’s a wonderfully bright display, and the thinner bezels give it an immersive quality unmatched in the rest of the 15-inch laptops I’ve tested. Editing photos and videos on this device is a real pleasure, to the point that I found myself taking photos just so I could process them in the Darktable on the XPS 15.

I’ve also found that glossy OLED screens look better in bright light than FHD screens. The 400 nits screen here was fine in all but direct sunlight. The main problem with direct sunlight is that the high-gloss surface picks up fingerprints like crazy. If you keep it clean and beautiful, sunlight and glare will not be a problem.

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