Dell XPS 15 review

Dell's well-built high-performance machine offers stunning value for money

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dell xps 15

The Dell XPS 15 is built for play as well as work, and an essential part of any entertainment laptop is the screen. A widescreen 15.6-inch display is in place here and is definitely a highlight.

Although the XPS 15's 1,366 x 768 pixel resolution is nothing special, and doesn't make the most of high-definition films, we found contrast levels were superb with truly black blacks. Colours are also realistically reproduced which brings photographs and video to life.

The true widescreen aspect ratio is what we expect of mid- to high-end laptops these days, perfect not just for watching films, but for working on documents side-by-side also. The XPS 15's display is bright enough to make working late a more comfortable experience, but the reflective Super-TFT coating is a pain in bright conditions and means fiddling with your accounts or watching DVDs should be conducted indoors.

The XPS 15 has some great features for a mid-range laptop, including 500GB of storage. Not only that, but the hard drive spins at 7,200 revolutions per minute (compared to the standard 5,400RPM), which makes a real difference when copying folders, opening applications and so on.

We also enjoyed the XPS 15's HD webcam, which captures your mug in glorious 720p. Not so good for hosting a web chat when you're hungover or generally disheveled – we recommend dimming the lights first.

Port lovers will rejoice to hear the XPS 15 has tons of them. USB 3.0 ports enable speedy communication with compatible devices, and an eSATA port is also at hand for even faster data exchange with external storage devices.

The 9-in-1 memory card reader offers considerably more flexibility than the usual card readers we see. There's no VGA port on the XPS 15 for hooking up an external monitor, but you do get an HDMI socket and a rare DisplayPort also.

Networking is similarly strong, with 802.11n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet on board for the fastest possible wireless and wired connections.