Dell XPS 15 7590 | Full Laptop Review! Is It Actually Any Good?

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Dell XPS 15 7590 | Full Laptop Review! Is It Actually Any Good?

The Dell XPS 15 is a premium laptop with high end build quality that’s packing some fair specs in a thinner package. In this detailed review I’ll show you the good and bad aspects of the XPS 15, and help you decide if it’s a laptop you should consider. For the specs mine has an Intel i7-9750H CPU, Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics, 32gb of memory in dual website, a 15.6” 4K OLED screen and a 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD. For network connectivity it’s got WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5, but it’s too thin for an ethernet port, so you’ll need to use a dongle if you need it. It’s also available with i5 or i9 CPU, you can find examples of other configurations and check updated pricing in the description. The chassis is CNC machined aluminium, the lid is silver metal, while the interior has a black carbon fiber composite with a sort of rubberised feeling texture. There were no sharp corners or edges anywhere and the whole laptop felt extremely well built and premium in terms of materials and design.

The weight is listed at 2kg for the larger battery option I’ve got, and mine was right on this. With the 130 watt power brick and cables for charging the total weight rises to 2.4kg. The dimensions are 35.7cm in width, 23.5cm in depth, and 1.7cm in height. This thinner footprint allows it to have 8mm thin screen bezels on the sides. The 15.6” 4K 60Hz OLED screen has a glossy finish and looks excellent, however it’s also available with a 1080p 60Hz 500 nit IPS screen too, or a 4K IPS touch screen. I’ve measured the colour gamut of the panel using the Spyder 5 Pro and got 100% of sRGB, 95% of NTSC, and 98% of AdobeRGB. At 100% brightness I measured the panel at 508 nits in the center and with a 500,000:1 contrast ratio, so extremely impressive results for a laptop panel, perfect for content creation. As each pixel is lit individually there’s no backlight, so backlight bleed does not exist with OLED. There are some downsides to the OLED screen though. The main issue is that it uses pulse-width modulation, or PWM, to adjust brightness. I don’t have the tools to properly measure this, however I could pick it up on camera with a high shutter speed.

This can cause eye strain for some people over long periods of time, however I didn’t personally have any problems. The other potential issue is burn in over time, though apparently that takes a long time to develop with these new generation panels, but unfortunately it is not something I’m able to uncover in just a few weeks. Otherwise the glossy finish can be distracting in a well lit room as it easily shows reflections. There was almost no screen flex, it’s solid metal, and the hinge running along most of the space below the screen made it feel very sturdy. It wasn’t possible to open up with one finger, not the end of the world, but it does help show there’s more weight towards the back, it felt fine on my lap though. Despite the thinner bezels, the 720p camera is found above the display in the center, no Windows Hello support though. This is what the camera and microphone look and sound like on the Dell XPS 15. The webcam is a bit below average and quite blurry and the audio is about average. The chiclet keyboard has 1.3mm of travel and white backlighting which can be adjusted between two levels of brightness or turned off with the F10 shortcut key. It illuminates all keys and even secondary key functions, however by default I found it would turn off pretty quickly after just 10 seconds.

You can adjust the timeout period in the BIOS though, with different limits for AC and battery power. Overall I liked typing on the keyboard, it’s got no numpad which some people may not like, personally I only didn’t like the small arrow keys which Dell always seem to use. Here’s how it sounds to give you an idea of what to expect. There’s an optional fingerprint scanner in the power button, which is found on the top to the right of the keyboard, and I found it to work very fast. There was only a little keyboard flex when pushing down hard, overall the body felt very solid and I found the letter keys needed 61 grams of force to actuate. The glass touchpad uses precision drivers and worked very well, it feels very smooth, gives a satisfying click and has all the usual gestures. I liked its size and had no problems using it. Fingerprints and dirt show up on the black interior, but they’re harder to see due to the carbon fiber pattern, and despite it being kind of rubbery feeling it was easy enough to clean. On the left from the back there’s the power input, USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A port, HDMI 2.0 output which goes via the Intel graphics, USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port which also offers Thunderbolt 3 with 4 PCIe lanes, power delivery, and DisplayPort 1.2 output, followed by a 3.5mm audio combo jack.

On the right from the front there’s full size SD card slot, USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A port, a button you can press to show the battery charge level, and a wedge lock slot. There’s nothing at all on the back, air is exhausted out below the screen, while the front has holes for the microphones and white light in the center. The metal lid is all matte silver with the Dell logo in the center with a shiny mirrored finish. Underneath is pretty clean looking, there are just air intake vents towards the back. To get inside you need to remove 10 TR5 screws, then underneath the XPS logo there’s two Phillips head screws. The flap uses magnets to stay closed to keep the bottom looking clean. Once inside we’ve got the WiFi 6 card up the top left corner, single M.2 drive on the left in the middle, battery along the bottom, and two memory slots in the middle just below the heatpipes. The two speakers are found down the front on the left and right. They sounded quite clear even at higher volumes with a little bass, I’d say they’re above average for laptop speakers. At maximum volume they can get pretty loud, however the latencymon results weren’t looking good. The XPS 15 is powered by either a 3 cell 56wh or 6 cell 97Wh battery, I’ve got the larger 97Wh option here, so expect lower results with the smaller battery.

I’ve tested it with the screen brightness at 50%, background apps disabled, and keyboard lighting off. While just reading YouTube articles it lasted for 8 hours and 11 minutes, and it was using the Intel integrated graphics due to Nvidia Optimus. This is one of the best results I’ve ever had with this test, especially with this level of hardware. While playing the Witcher 3 with medium settings and Nvidia’s battery boost set to 30 FPS the battery lasted for 1 hours and 45 minutes, and it ran at 30 FPS for the whole test without any dips, so well above average battery life and good results. The 130 watt power brick that’s included with the XPS 15 seemed to be adequate in terms of there not being any battery drain while gaming or under heavy stress test, though as we’ll see next that may just be due to harsh power limitations. I’ll only briefly cover thermal performance, you can check out the detailed thermal testing with the card in the top right if you want all the juicy details. The Dell power manager software allows us to select from four different performance modes. When under combined CPU and GPU stress test, I found that the temperatures were on the lower side. The exception was with the highest ultra performance mode in use, for the first 3 minutes where I saw higher temperatures, but these dropped down after the first 3 minutes.

This was because the CPU power limit was capped to 30 watts for the first 3 minutes or so, after this PL1 drops down to 15 watts, which results in less performance in terms of clock speed for long term workloads. CPU performance outside of combined CPU and GPU workloads was a different story though, the power limit for CPU only load was 56 watts and the limitation was thermal throttling as the fans don’t get very loud, here’s how they sound to give you an idea. The fans were silent at idle, and even when under heavy load the fan noise was considerably quieter compared to most laptops I usually test, which generally exceed 50 decibels easily. The keyboard area was comfortable to use when under heavy load, only the parts between the keys showed up as hitting around 50 degrees Celsius, the actual body and keys were just a little warm. The main limitation seems to be that power limits are dynamically adjusted after around 3 minutes, which results in lower levels of performance while under combined CPU and GPU workloads. This does however have the advantage of offering cooler temperatures for sustained heavy load, while short duration burst style workloads were able to perform better for the first few minutes.

Based on the performance that I saw with the XPS 15, I find it difficult to recommend the $500 upgrade to get the 8 core i9 CPU. Dell seem to be prioritizing cool and quiet operation, and given we’re not getting the most out of the i7 an i9 just feels like a waste unless you do a lot of multicore work and don’t mind lower clock speeds than what other laptops could offer. Although the XPS 15 isn’t designed to be a gaming laptop, given we’ve got GTX 1650 graphics it should still be capable of playing some games. Battlefield 5 was tested in campaign mode, and it was still possible to run with above a 60 FPS average with medium settings, however in my testing I still thought high and ultra were quite playable, probably as there was minimal difference between 1% low performance. Control was very playable with low settings, which is the setting preset that was required to play with 60 FPS averages. Medium settings felt a bit worse, and I wouldn’t want to use ultra on this hardware. Apex Legends was tested with either all settings at maximum, or all settings on the lowest possible values, as it doesn’t have predefined setting presets. In this game even with all settings maxed out it was still a playable experience.

Fortnite was tested with the replay feature, and as a less demanding game even epic settings was playing with 60 FPS, so definitely usable and honestly just fine given we’ve got a 60Hz screen anyway, however much higher was possible with lower settings should you wish to further reduce input lag. CS:GO was tested using the Ulletical FPS benchmark, and as a game that depends primarily on CPU power the results aren’t all that much lower compared to a laptop with higher graphical power. Don’t get me wrong, there is a difference, it’s just smaller compared to most other games. Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the built in benchmark. Even the maximum ultra setting preset was able to hit 60 FPS for the 1% low, and that’s with a 100% render scale, so another game that should play quite nicely on this machine. PUBG was tested using the replay feature, and high settings was still able to run over 60 FPS, with very low settings it was still possible to reach 100 FPS and above. Dota 2 was tested playing in the middle lane, and as another primarily CPU heavy game the results at lower settings aren’t really that much different compared to other laptops with the same CPU.

At ultra settings where we’re presumably a bit more GPU bound, it was a little lower now, however 150 FPS is still plenty for this game. If you’re after more gaming benchmarks check the card in the top right corner where I’ve tested 20 games in total on the XPS 15. Let’s also take a look at how this config of the XPS 15 compares with other laptops, use these results as a rough guide only as they were tested at different times with different drivers. In Battlefield 5 I’ve got the XPS 15 highlighted in red near similarly specced machines. I haven’t tested that many GTX 1650 laptops yet, but out of the ones I have covered, surprisingly the XPS 15 was out in front, at least in terms of average FPS. These are the results from Far Cry 5 with ultra settings in the built in benchmark. This time the XPS 15 was behind the Aorus 5 with same specs. This kind of makes sense when we consider the lower CPU performance of the XPS 15 noted earlier. These are the results from Shadow of the Tomb raider with the built in benchmark at highest settings. It’s only just 1 FPS behind the Aorus 5 with similar specs now, and 1 FPS ahead of the L340, so quite similar when compared to the other 1650 laptops that I’ve covered on the website. Despite not being a gaming laptop, the GTX 1650 graphics is definitely making the XPS 15 capable of gaming.

Although most modern games at higher settings didn’t go too well, low to medium settings was definitely playable in most titles. Now for the benchmarking tools, I’ve tested Heaven, Valley, and Superposition from Unigine, as well as Firestrike and Timespy from 3DMark, just pause the article if you want a detailed look at these results. I’ve used Crystal Disk Mark to test the storage, and the 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD was performing well, however this will vary based on your drive selection. The SD card slot was also performing very nicely with my V90 card. For updated pricing check the links in the description, as prices will change over time, as Dell frequently run sales. At the time of recording, in the US the XPS 15 starts at $1000 USD, although that’s with i5 CPU and without any discrete graphics. The specific configuration I’ve tested in this article goes for $1850 USD, but it’s around $500 more if you want the 8 core i9 CPU. Here in Australia, my configuration is over $4300 AUD, though it starts under $1900 for the i5 and no graphics. With all of that in mind let’s conclude by looking at the good and bad aspects of the Dell XPS 15 laptop. Overall the XPS 15 is a nice looking machine, it feels like it’s built very well with quality materials.

The OLED screen looks amazing, though it’s not without its drawbacks which include glossy finish, use of PWM to adjust brightness, and potential burn in later on. Despite not being a gaming laptop the GTX 1650 is definitely capable of running modern games well with low to medium settings. It’ll also be a nice addition for other GPU accelerated tasks like article editing or 3D modelling. The actual performance when under CPU and GPU load left a bit to be desired, at least when compared against other laptops I’ve tested on the website that are available for less money. Based purely on the specs, the XPS 15 ticks off a lot of boxes for a laptop I’d want to use personally for article editing while travelling. It’s got the SD card slot, good screen, large battery, even Thunderbolt 3, however the lack of performance under heavy load has put me off it. The plus side of this though is that in general it tends to run on the cooler side with the fans being relatively quiet compared to other laptops even under worst case stress testing. If cool and quiet is your preference, the XPS 15 could be a consideration. Then there’s the price, even if I got half the memory and half the storage space, you could still get something like the MAG-15 from Eluktronics for less money with a GPU that will blow the 1650 away.

Sure you can’t get the MAG-15 with an i9 or OLED screen, but based on the performance with the i7 in the XPS I seriously doubt it’s worth paying $500 USD more to get the i9 anyway. That said, in my opinion, the build quality of the XPS 15 is a level above the MAG-15, and yeah if you really need the OLED screen then it could be worth considering, but then the Gigabyte Aero 15 also becomes another option, again for less money and a much better GPU. Of course if you’re just after a laptop for gaming, there are much cheaper options without all the extra features on offer from these machines. So to summarise, I think the XPS 15 is a decent laptop, but for the price it’s lacking performance compared to the competition. The superior build quality and cooler and quieter operation wouldn’t be enough for me to pick it over an Aero 15 or MAG-15. Let me know what you thought about the XPS 15 laptop from Dell down in the comments, and if you’re new to the website consider getting subscribed for future laptop reviews and tech articles like this one.
Dell XPS 15 7590 | Full Laptop Review! Is It Actually Any Good? Dell XPS 15 7590 | Full Laptop Review! Is It Actually Any Good? Reviewed by Admin on 2:03 AM Rating: 5

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