Hands-on: Dell XPS 15 (9500) is every bit as gorgeous as you thought

Dell Xps 15 9500
Dell Xps 15 9500 (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Dell's refresh of its flagship XPS 15 for 2020 is not a surprise. While it's the first major design change in five years (you read that right), Dell has been modernizing its XPS line starting with the XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390) and XPS 13 (9300), both of which won critical rave reviews from us.

We just got our review sample in from Dell, which is configured with the new Core i7-10750H (six-cores), NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650Ti, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and 512GB of storage, which is $2,156 (opens in new tab).

Of course, the real draw is the new 16:10 Sharp IGZO touch display with a UHD+ (3840 x 2400) resolution and anti-reflective layer.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CategoryDell XPS 15
Operating systemWidows 10 Home
Windows 10 Pro
Display15.6-inch 4K UHD+ (3840 x 2400) touch
15.6-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200)
Processor10th Gen Intel Core i5-10300H
10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H
10th Gen Intel Core i7-10875H
10th Gen Intel Core i9-10885H
GraphicsIntel UHD graphics
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti
Memory8GB DDR4 Dual Channel SDRAM at 2933MHz
16GB DDR4 Dual Channel SDRAM at 2933MHz
32GB DDR4 Dual Channel SDRAM at 2933MHz
64GB DDR4 Dual Channel SDRAM at 2933MHz
StorageUp to 2TB PCIe 3 x4 SSD
Ports2x Thunderbolt 3 with power delivery & DisplayPort
1x USB-C 3.1 with power delivery & DisplayPort
1 Full size SD card reader v6.0
3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack
Wedge-shaped lock slot
AudioQuad-speaker design
Dual microphone array
WirelessKiller Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2x2)
Bluetooth 5
Camera720p with Windows Hello
DimensionsHeight: 18mm (0.71") x Width: 344.72mm (13.57") x Depth: 230.14mm (9.06")
Weight4 lbs. (1.83 kg) for non-touch with 56Whr battery
4.5 lbs. (2.05 kg) for touch with 86Whr battery

First impressions matter, and out of the box, the new XPS 15 certainly wows. The keyboard is updated, and we can already say it is much better than the previous generation with larger keys.

And speaking of bigger things, that trackpad is comically large akin to what Apple does in its MacBook Pro line. It's actually 62 percent bigger than the last-gen. That trackpad though, could be controversial, as unlike Apple's, it's a massive physical one that clicks. It's a lot of surface that moves, and while it is exceptionally smooth and accurate, it will be interesting to see how it holds up.

Audio is also massively boosted. Now with quad speakers, including two that are top-firing, and Waves NX 3D Audio for Speakers, it quickly moves to the top of the best audio in a PC laptop. It's very good.

Dell Xps 15 9500

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Toss in some excellent software like Dell Mobile Connect, which works with iOS and Android, and the new XPS 15 (9500) already looks like one of the best laptops of the year.

By the way, expect our Surface Book 3 (15) review for Friday, June 5, and this new XPS 15 for later next week. Fire off any questions about the XPS 15 in the comments that you want to be answered in our review.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • The question that burns the mouth of the community and I hope Daniel will cover it in his review is whether his trackpad has an issue like many people experienced and maybe reach Dell for comment: https://www.reddit.com/r/Dell/comments/gwfnhw/xps_15_9500_trackpad_are_t...
    https://www.reddit.com/r/Dell/comments/gwcmjx/to_owners_of_the_2020_xps_... It's clearly a widespread issue and QC issue. But Dell is sketchy on the issue:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/Dell/comments/gwfui9/dell_deleted_all_dell_xps_... Will they comment and reach out proactively users to replace their deffective laptop with one that actually works?
  • "Now with quad-core speakers" No, it has 4 speakers.
  • Honestly, in this day and age when even modems come with their own processors, it wouldn't surprise me.
  • What is the size comparison between this, the Macbook Pro 16, and the XPS 17? I ask because of how small the bezels are on the XPS line.
  • Roughly speaking, this 15-inch is the size of a 14-inch and the 17-inch should be kind of the size of a 15-inch from a year or two ago. We haven't seen the 17 though in person yet, not due to later this summer IIRC. It's the same width of Surface Book, but shorter due to it being 16:10 and not the taller 3:2.
  • "That trackpad though, could be controversial, as unlike Apple's, it's a massive physical one that clicks.", does that mean that Macbook trackpads don't have physical lmb and rmb clicks? (/so only taps work?) :o
  • No, it means they use software and a haptic engine that vibrates to feel like it is clicking. That's what the Force Touch trackpad is about, it doesn't have any physical moving parts. It's quite remarkable.
  • Thanks, good solution indeed. Personally never had hardware issues with physical TouchPad left/right clicks, is that an issue that happens regularly?
  • Is there a way to get the 86Wh battery on non-touch or would you have to source it from Dell and install it yourself on the non-touch model?
  • Go to Dell's site and you can configure a full HD+ non-touch version with the 86WHr battery.
  • oh, thanks for the heads-up!
  • Can you please comapre the thermals between the xps 15 9500 vs xps 17. Does xps 15 9500 has vapour chamber for cooling?
  • Hey Daniel. Hope you see this. I've planned on getting a new laptop for a while now, and I've settled on buying either the new HP Spectre 15 or this XPS 15. I've leaned more towards the Spectre because of it's much better port selection, number pad (yeah I do a lot of computational work, and while it's not a must have, it makes life easier) and convertible nature. However, it seems there's been a delay in it's release. As at CES, it was expected that a release would happen around April, and this is June. Any news on that?
  • It seems a couple of people in the UK have received their Spectre 15 units. I've stumbled across a couple of home made "reviews" by some people on YouTube.
    While I wait for the Spectre, I'd love to know your thoughts on the battery life. 4k screens are a huge drain on battery life, and I'd love it if it can hit 5-6 hours of battery life. I don't need a 4k display and something along the lines of 1440p would be just right. Unfortunately, only Apple seems to have found the balance. And what are the thermals like? Any throttling or performance issues in general?
  • Can these new Dell XPS laptops be undervalued? I read they can’t. This turns me off since throttling is this laptops major issue IMO. I wish they would give the choice of AMD one day.
  • I have two big themes around Heat and the WIFI
    - Does the laptop have heat issues? I would love to know if it gets uncomfortable for lap use as well as whether it gets so hot that the CPU gets throttled under high/moderate use. I'm not a gamer, so I just mean running virtual machine as an example.
    - Is the wifi reliable? There have been some reddit users complaining about the wifi drivers causing dropped connections/problems with wake (iirc) As a bonus - any thoughts on Linux compatibility for a dual boot, especially with respect to the wifi?