Dell already had one of the best designs for a notebook with the XPS 15 9550, so it is perhaps not a huge surprise to see them evolve that design only slightly for this year. It keeps the same thin-bezel design that has catapulted the XPS lineup into the distinctive look and feel they are known for today. Although the XPS 13 is more impacted by the thin bezels in percentage shrunk, Dell still offers the smallest 15.6-inch notebook around with the XPS 15.

Dell uses a machined aluminum top and bottom, and sandwiched in the middle is a carbon-fibre keyboard deck with a soft-touch coating. It makes the laptop very easy to use for extended periods of time, without the sharp edges that some all-metal laptops suffer from, but the coating can be a bit of a fingerprint magnet.

The keyboard is backlit in white, with multiple levels of brightness. It features a six row keyboard too, and without the extra width allowed by wider bezels, Dell doesn’t try to squeeze in a number pad, which is the right decision. Even on larger 15.6-inch laptops, that can make for a pretty cramped keyboard experience, with oddly placed keys. The XPS 15 features a fairly typical keyboard arrangement, with perhaps only the half-height arrow keys being a concern for some typists, although they are well spaced and shouldn’t pose much of an issue even for the pickiest of keyboard users.

The key travel itself is a bit disappointing. It features 1.3 mm of travel, which is likely due to the lack of space inside to offer a thicker keyboard. The keys don’t have the reassuring click sound either, with a more muted, mushy feel. We’ve been spoiled by some great laptop keyboards over the last couple of years, and the XPS 15 can’t reach that lofty goal. As with anything, a person would get used to it over time, but there are better keyboards out there.

The trackpad is smooth, and generously sized. The width is much more traditional than some devices which have gone with the ultra-wide trackpads, and because of this it feels more natural. There’s less hitting your palms on the trackpad too.

New to the XPS 15 9560, and tucked over on the right side of the keyboard deck, is a capacitive fingerprint reader. With Windows Hello integration, this gives you the option of using biometrics as a logon choice. The fingerprint reader is very responsive and has almost never missed a finger in the time here. Some people prefer the tactile feel of a fingerprint reader over a facial-recognition login method, but regardless, it’s nice to have at least one Windows Hello biometric option to speed up login.

The right side features the SD card reader, USB 3.0 with PowerShare, and a battery gauge indicator. The left side has the charging port, another USB 3.0 with PowerShare, full sized HDMI 1.4, a headset jack, and the Thunderbolt 3 connector. Other laptops may have more USB ports, but two A ports are generally enough for most people, and those that need more can easily tap into the USB-C port for far more bandwidth if necessary.

It's hard to say more about the XPS lineup at this point, since it’s become such a well-known design in the last couple of years. If you’ve not had a chance to see one in person, it’s probably worth a look. The smaller bezels really do reduce the bulk of the notebook, with the one downside in Dell’s case of a poorly positioned webcam at the bottom of the display. Dell wants to keep the top and side bezels the same size for aesthetics, and heavy webcam users will not appreciate this, with a less than flattering up-the-nose result. Since the launch of the Infinity Display, other manufacturers have done thin bezels, but with a thicker top bezel to allow space for the webcam. Not everyone uses the built-in webcam though, so whether this is an issue to anyone will be up to them.

Regardless, the XPS 15 is still one of the most striking large form factor laptops around, and Dell has managed to make it a compact device without lowering it to Ultrabook levels of performance.

Introduction System Performance
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  • aznchum - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - link

    I was in this same pickle for the XPS 15 9550 when it first came out in Nov 2015. Issues with lag on waking from sleep and screen flickering. Had to disable the HD 630 graphics to remove the lag waking from sleep and the screen flickering, but that totally kills your battery running the GTX 960M all the time. This may have been fixed with drivers given Skylake was brand-spanking-new at the time. I ponied up the extra money and got the Mid 2015 15" rMBP. Never looked back and never had an issue. If you MUST have windows, use Parallels.
  • nagi603 - Monday, July 31, 2017 - link

    A colleague of mine had a faulty keyboard. The right ctrl button got stuck. Factory new, etc... Looks like QC is not the best at Dell.
  • Garrett S. - Monday, July 31, 2017 - link


    Check my amazon verified purchase reviews of the Dell XPS 15 9560. I've had 3 different laptops. All 3 have the infamous screen flashing/screen strobing, which occurs randomly, sporadically, at different time frames.

    2 laptops were brand new from dell, factory sealed, from Amazon with 4k screen options, and both of the screens were like bloody strobe lights at a dance club. Also had half (left side only) audio coming out of headphone jack on 3 different headphones. I've had bad screens on all 3, defective headphone jacks, and once, on a brand new one, the fn key was bent in the air (again, check the photos).

    So I tried a manufacturer refurbished directly from dell, and walla! Same good ole dancing strobe light (but didn't occur as often as the brand new ones did... it took about 2 hours of usage before screen started rapidly flashing like a strobe, which actually induces seizures).

    I left reviews on Amazon (video/photo evidence), and mine are verified purchases (which means my reviews are not fake and/or fraudulent).

    I'm going to purchase brand new laptop number 4 tomorrow, and most likely later on, number 5, 6, etc...

    Dell: Don't worry guys. I'll cycle through hundreds and hundreds of your laptops until I find a working laptop!! I'll help the shipping company with weekly deliveries until you get your act together. For now, I'm writing this on my 2013 Macbook Pro retina, arguably, the world's greatest laptop ever created.
  • Laxaa - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - link

    I guess ease of mind is what's going to justify spending extra on the MacBook Pro, because that doesn't sound good at all. And I've read similar things on Reddit as well.
  • mr_tawan - Monday, July 31, 2017 - link

    It would be great if they include the numeric pad on the keyboard.
  • DanNeely - Monday, July 31, 2017 - link

    They can't. Not enough room without using undersize keys for the entire keyboard. Slim bezels mean its about an inch narrower than a traditional fat bezel 15.6" laptop, roughly the size of a 14" fat bezel model which is also too narrow to fit a numpad.

    If you want slim bezels and a numpad, you'll need to hope someone makes a slim bezel 17" model. Being the size of a 15" fat bezel laptop, it'll again be wide enough to fit one.
  • tipoo - Monday, July 31, 2017 - link

    I actually feel the opposite, I'd rather a centered keyboard and trackpad than a numpad. If you do data entry there's always external numpads. Most people don't use them that much and the keys are redundant.
  • twtech - Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - link

    I'm really glad it doesn't have a numeric keypad. That's the #1 thing I look to avoid when comparing models, and it pretty much rules out everything over 15".

    I'm actually pretty proficient at using a number pad, but when I have it I use it so rarely, it's not worth having the main part of the keyboard be off-center. I actually don't even use a number pad on my desktop computers either - it's a waste of space.
  • mr_tawan - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - link

    I agreed that it's not for everyone. For English-only usage it's fine not having a numeric pad. In my case, I also use Thai as well. Thai layout covers the whole main keyboard with no room for numbers (as it contains its own set of numeric characters as well). The only other way to input (Arabic) number is to switch the layout back to English, which is a little bit cumbersome.

    Anyway thanks for all input (@tipoo, @twtech, andDanNeely). Appreciated.
  • Glock24 - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - link

    Totally agree. I can't stand the keyboard being off center because of the num pad, and even worse, some laptops have Frankenstein key shapes, sizes and layouts to make the num pad fit.

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