Dell XPS 15 (2012) review

MacBook Pro rival boasts Ivy Bridge speed and an incredible display

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The Dell XPS 15 is a fantastic high-end notebook that ignores the Ultrabook threat and instead parades proudly in a slightly curvaceous, but lusciously attractive exterior.

The wealth of cutting-edge technology afforded to the buyer more than makes up for its slightly expensive price-tag and, pound-for-pound, it actually comes in at slightly cheaper than Apple's MacBook Pro – a machine that it's impossible not to compare the Dell XPS 15 to.

We liked

The design, albeit somewhat Apple inspired, is fantastic and the Dell XPS 15 exudes an air of assurance through the use of both premium materials and precision manufacturing.

The impression only improves when you open up the 15.6-inch model with the near-frameless edge-to-edge Full HD display, and the incredibly comfortable keyboard and trackpad make the XPS 15 an absolute pleasure to use.

Finally, it's impossible not to be impressed by the raw performance of the 2012 Dell XPS 15. The Ivy Bridge CPU adds a welcome speed boost for everyday tasks and, combined with the discrete Nvidia GPU, the healthy amount of RAM and the generous hard-drive storage, you'll have no issues keeping up with the digital revolution.

We disliked

It's hard to pick any major faults but, if we're being picky, Blu-ray as standard would have been nice, and the backlit keyboard doesn't seem to glow quite as magically as its MacBook Pro rival.

And while we're on the subject of the competitor in the Cupertino corner, and although we've already praised the gorgeous design, it would be foolish to consider the Dell XPS 15's outer workings as original.

A direct copycat it is not, but the similarities are striking.

Final verdict

If you're looking for a high-end PC that marries good looks and superb performance, and are more Windows than Mac, then you really shouldn't look any further than the Dell XPS 15.

Sure, the Sony Vaio S series probably has the upper hand when it comes to aesthetics on the laptop top-table, and the Asus N56V shades it slightly in terms of operating pace, but the Dell XPS 15 ticks a much wider range of boxes and delivers with aplomb on all fronts.

The final mention must go to the incredible Corning Gorilla Glass, Full HD display. It may not have the "wow" factor of the MacBook Pro with Retina display, but in the PC market we're not sure we've seen anything quite as impressive.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Hard Drive Capacity640 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerNVIDIA, Intel
Graphics Controller ModelGeForce GT 525M, HD 3000
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityDedicated, Shared
Backlight TechnologyLED
eSATA/USB ComboYes
Product FamilyXPS 15
Processor Modeli5-2410M
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameDell
Processor Speed2.30 GHz
Processor TypeCore i5
Screen Size39.6 cm (15.6")
Standard Memory4 GB
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelHM67 Express
Optical Media SupportedDVD±R/±RW
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 1 GB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Memory StandardDDR3-1333/PC3-10600
Height33 mm
Width381 mm
Depth264.2 mm
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product Series15
ManufacturerDell, Inc
Product ModelNX5M11
Product NameXPS 15 Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineXPS
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberNX5M11
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Movies, games, music and Web chat come to life with amazing visuals and incredible sound - all powered by the latest Intel processors. Its top-of-the-line adaptable speed and responsiveness make the 2nd generation Intel Core processors the ideal choice for visibly smart performance.

High-octane Entertainment

Powerful graphics. Powerfully smart. The XPS 15 laptop has what it takes to take you to new levels of performance. Its top-of-the line adaptable speed and responsiveness makes the 2nd generation Intel Core processor the ideal choice for visibly smart performance.

Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • XPS 15 Notebook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter