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Grow Your Business Technology

Dell XPS 15 (Infinity Edge display) Review: Is It Good for Business?

Dell XPS 15 (Infinity Edge display) Review: Is It Good for Business? The Dell XPS 15 earns 4 out of 5 stars. / Credit: Jeremy Lips

Dell's XPS 15 is a powerful 15-inch workhorse that won't weigh you down on your daily commute. That's because it's significantly smaller, thinner and lighter than competing laptops, including Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro. You also get a sturdy design, a comfortable keyboard, and long battery life. 

You don't get business-class durability or security features, but workers who want a portable 15-inch laptop that doesn't sacrifice performance have a winner in the XPS 15, which starts at $999.

[For more information on how we test mobile devices, visit our testing methodology page.] 

The XPS 15's most striking feature is its edge-to-edge display, which it borrowed from last year's XPS 13 laptop. The bezel around the XPS 15's screen is super-thin, giving the machine a smaller footprint than any other 15-inch notebook. It measures 13 x 9.7 x 0.66 inches, making it smaller and thinner than the Asus ZenBook Pro UX501 (15 x 10 x 0.83 inches), the Toshiba Satellite Radius 15 P55W (14.9 x 9.6 x 0.79 inches) and the MacBook Pro (14.13 x 9.73 x 0.71 inches).

The 4.4 lb. XPS 15 is also lighter than all of those machines, with the MacBook Pro coming closest at 4.49 lbs., and the ZenBook Pro UX501 tipping the scales at a full 5 lbs. Of course, there are plenty of lighter 15-inch laptops, but it's noteworthy that the XPS 15 weighs noticeably less than similarly equipped notebooks.

Size aside, the XPS 15 has a premium look and feel. The brushed aluminum lid sports an attractive silver paint job, and the keyboard deck has a soft-touch finish that feels luxurious.

The XPS 15's roomy 15.6-inch display is ideal for screen-intensive work like viewing large documents and editing spreadsheets. We tested two different XPS 15 models: one with an ultra-HD (UHD) touch display, and one with a lower-res full-HD (1080P) non-touch display.

The UHD screen is a gorgeous sight to behold. The super-sharp panel delivers crisp images, vibrant colors, with a broader color range than rival laptops, including the MacBook Pro. Its colors aren't quite as accurate as on Apple's laptop, though. The bigger downside is that the UHD display is a serious battery hog.

That's the main reason workers should probably opt for the full-HD model, which lasts nearly twice as long on a charge. The lower-end display is still plenty sharp, and is also brighter than its UHD counterpart. And most business users probably won't miss the loss of touch functionality.

It could be a bit deeper, but the XPS 15's keyboard is still pretty comfortable to type on. The individual keys have about 1.39mm of travel distance, which is slightly below average. On the bright side, the keys feel snappy and offer plenty of feedback, which mostly prevents that feeling of bottoming out as you type. Note that there's no 10-key number pad, but that's typical for laptops not explicitly meant for business use. I wish Dell had made room for full-size arrow keys, though.

The large touchpad, meanwhile, is a pleasure to use, with a smooth finish that lets my finger glide easily. Measuring 4 x 3 inches, the pad is spacious enough to move the mouse from corner to corner without lifting your finger. Cursor control also felt precise, and gestures like two-finger scrolling were responsive.

The XPS 15 offers an array of ports typical for a consumer notebook. The left edge features one USB 3.0 port, one USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt 3 support, and an HDMI port for linking to a larger monitor or projector. 

The right edge adds an additional USB 3.0 port, a full-size SD card slot for expanding the notebook's internal storage, and a lock slot for physically securing the machine at your desk.

Decked out with a 6th-gen Intel Core i7-6700UHQ processor with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of NVMe storage, the XPS 15 is a real workhorse. It breezed through large spreadsheet computations with ease, and performed very well during heavy multitasking, when I streamed a 1080P video alongside several spreadsheets.

The XPS 15 beat out most competing laptops on the Geekbench 3 test, which measures overall performance, racking up a score of 13,502. That outstrips the ZenBook Pro UX501 (11,887) and the Toshiba Satellite Radius P55W (6,021). The MacBook Pro edged it out with a score of 14,423.

Dell's laptop beat all challengers on our spreadsheet productivity test, though. The XPS 15 was able to match 20,000 names to their addresses in just 3 minutes and 36 seconds, about 20-60 seconds faster than the competing laptops.

Both units we tested also came equipped with a relatively powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M graphics card with 2GB of video RAM, which is a bonus if editing photos and videos is part of your job. It's also a perk if you'd like to be able to do some serious gaming after work.

There's one big downside to the XPS 15's razor-thin bezels: There's no place to stick a webcam above the display. Instead, Dell opted to place the notebook's front-facing camera below the screen. If you plan to use the XPS 15 for videoconferencing, the person on the other end of your call will be looking up at you from an extreme angle, which is pretty awkward in my opinion.

Workers who opt for the XPS 15 with a lower-res full-HD display will be treated to excellent battery life. The XPS 15 ran for an epic 10 hours and 26 minutes on our battery test, which involves continuous Web browsing over Wi-Fi. That’s long enough to last through the end of the workday and beyond.

The UHD model didn’t fare nearly as well. The energy-sucking high-res display drained the laptop's battery in just 6 hours and 35 minutes. That still beats out the ZenBook UX501 (4:25) and the Satellite Radius P55W (4:52). Apple's MacBook Pro lasted for a very good 9 hours and 2 minutes on the same battery test.

Dell sells the XPS 15 in a variety of hardware configurations. The low-end model has a 1920 x 1080-pixel display, Intel Core i3 CPU, 8GB of RAM, 32GB SSD and 500GB HDD for $999. That model will work for business users who want the XPS 15's compact design and don't need a lot of extra power.

Our review model, meanwhile, includes an Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor, 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD and an Nvidia 960M GPU for $1,800. The UHD model has the same specs but a higher-resolution display for $2,100.

If you can get by without business-class features like hardware encryption and a 10-key number pad, the Dell's XPS 15 deserves strong consideration. It has just about everything that business users need, including fast performance, long battery life, a nice keyboard and a roomy display. And being smaller and lighter than rival machines means it's easier to carry around on your commute or business trip.

I wouldn't recommend the UHD model for most workers, since the high-res display will kill your battery in a hurry. The XPS 15 is also not a great pick for frequent videoconferencing, due to the awkward placement of its webcam below the screen.

Apple's MacBook Pro is a strong alternative to the Dell, offering more accurate colors but slightly shorter battery life. For workers who don't work with graphics or video, the XPS 15 is hard to beat. 

[For more information on how we test mobile devices, visit our testing methodology page.] 

Brett Nuckles

Brett Nuckles has been a working journalist since 2009. He got his start in local newspapers covering community news, local government, education and more before he joined the Business News Daily staff in 2013. He graduated from Ohio University, where he studied Journalism and English. Follow him on Twitter @BrettNuckles.