Dell XPS 15 (early 2015) review

This is a top-tier Windows machine that rivals the MacBook Pro

Dell XPS 15 (2015)
Dell XPS 15 (2015)

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We liked

The XPS 15 is a well-built, great-looking machine. The metallic exterior exudes class and is strong enough to be tossed in a bag, and the carbon-fibre base and interior look good and feel fantastic. It matches the MacBook for style while still managing to stand out, which is a rare achievement.

The keyboard is fantastic, the trackpad is decent, and the components are good too – there's enough power here for work and play, and the battery is better than the Windows-based competition.

The screen is sensational. It's sharper than the MacBook's Retina display, and its high contrast, low black point and accurate colours help images pop from the touch-enabled panel.

We disliked

The XPS has no real weaknesses – so, instead, we have to drill down on smaller flaws. The fans spin up a little too much during intensive use, and the processor is fine – but it's bettered elsewhere by machines that have chips without reined-in power requirements.

It's tricky to get inside the XPS, there's no numberpad on the keyboard, and the decent battery still can't beat the MacBook.

Final verdict

The high-quality design, well-balanced components and stonking screen make the XPS one of the best Windows laptops on the market, and it's further bolstered by its solid build quality and excellent screen. The MacBook Pro has a better battery, but it's $156 (about £100, or AU$212) more expensive – which means the XPS is a top-notch alternative, and one of the best Windows laptops on the market.

Mike has worked as a technology journalist for more than a decade and has written for most of the UK’s big technology titles alongside numerous global outlets. He loves PCs, laptops and any new hardware, and covers everything from the latest business trends to high-end gaming gear.