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Grow Your Business Technology

Dell Precision 5510 Review: Is It Good for Business?

Dell Precision 5510 Review: Is It Good for Business? The Dell Precision 5510 earns 4 out of 5 stars. / Credit: Jeremy Lips

Dell's Precision 5510 is a gorgeous, compact 15-inch notebook with workstation-class power. It has a much smaller footprint than competing laptops, with razor-thin bezels and a striking edge-to-edge display. But while it looks just like Dell's consumer-focused XPS 15 laptop, the Precision 5510 is a powerhouse machine designed for graphically intense workloads.

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

The Precision 5510 is the prettiest workstation-class laptop on the market, bar none. Like the XPS 15, the Precision 5510 sports a stunning edge-to-edge display, thanks to a razor-thin bezel around the 15.6-inch screen. Other systems with thick bezels look downright chunky next to this one.

The silver paint job on the aluminum lid looks classy and professional, and the carbon-fiber keyboard deck has a soft-touch finish that looks and feels luxurious.

But while the notebook has a smaller footprint than its competitors, its weight is about average. At 4.6 lbs., the Precision 5510 is significantly lighter than the Lenovo ThinkPad W550s (5.47 lbs.) but slightly heftier than the MSI WS60 Workstation (4.36 lbs.) and the Dell XPS 15 (4.4 lbs.). So, while it may fit into your work bag easier than rival notebooks, Dell's machine won't feel any lighter on your daily commute.

The Precision 5510's edge-to-edge display is a joy to work on. The 15.6-inch, 3840 x 2160-pixel panel is really roomy, providing plenty of real estate for screen-intensive tasks like viewing large documents and editing spreadsheets. Text looks supremely sharp on this display, and images are crisp and colorful.

The Precision 5510's display is also a bit brighter than the displays on competing laptops. Topping out at 322 nits of brightness, it outshines rival machines like the Lenovo ThinkPad W550s (312 nits) and the MSI WS60 (216 nits). That makes this display easier to view outdoors or in direct sunlight.

Although the Precision 5510's keyboard is a bit on the shallow side, I was still mostly satisfied with it. It offers about 1.3 millimeters of travel, which falls a bit short of the 1.5 mm we look for in a laptop keyboard. Deeper keys provide a more comfortable, desktoplike typing experience.

Fortunately, the keys felt nice and springy, delivering plenty of feedback on each keystroke. The keyboard also offers backlighting, which comes in handy for low-light typing.

The roomy 4.1 x 3.1-inch touchpad felt great, with a smooth finish that let my finger glide easily. Cursor control was responsive, and gestures like two-finger scrolling were reliable.

The Precision 510 boasts a decent array of ports. The left edge includes a USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port and a Thunderbolt 3 port. 

The right edge adds an additional USB 3.0 port and an SD card slot for expanding the notebook's internal storage. There's no Ethernet port, so you'll need to invest in a USB adapter to connect to wired Internet or secure work networks.

Under the hood, the Precision 5510 has a 2.8-GHz Intel Core Xeon E3-1505M processor with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage. That configuration provides blazing performance, outstripping all challengers on our benchmark tests.

It racked up a blazing-fast score of 14,136 on the Geekbench 3 test, which easily beats the category average of 11,329. Dell's own XPS 15 takes a close second place, with a score of 13,502.

The Precision 5510 was also the fastest on our spreadsheet test, matching 20,000 names to addresses in just 3 minutes and 30 seconds. The MSI WS60 finished a bit more slowly (3:53), and the Lenovo ThinkPad W550s took even longer (4:43).

You also get a powerful Nvidia Quadro M1000M graphics card that's made for graphic design and intensive 3D applications such as AutoCAD. That helped the Precision 5510 score 3,379 on the 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark test, which measures overall graphics performance, edging out the MSI WS60 and the Lenovo W550s.

The Precision 5510's webcam placement is awkward at best. Because the bezel is so small, there's no place to stick a camera above the display. Instead, Dell positioned it just below the screen, which means that the person on the other end of a video call will spend a lot of time looking up at you from an extreme angle. It's inelegant, but not a big deal if videoconferencing isn't a big part of your work routine.

The Precision 5510 offers pretty good battery life for a 15-inch laptop. It ran for 6 hours and 40 minutes on our battery test, which involves continuous Web browsing over Wi-Fi. That beats some rival workstations, including the MSI WS60 (3:05), as well as the category average of 4:30. And its on par with the ZBook 15u G2, which lasted for 6 hours and 44 minutes. Lenovo's ThinkPad W550s is the battery-life king, though, running for an epic 15:52 with its extended battery attached.

Dell sells the Precision 5510 in a variety of hardware configurations. The baseline setup ($1,399) includes a 6th-generation Intel Core i5-6300HQ processor with 8GB of RAM; an Nvidia Quadro M1000M graphics card with 2GB of graphics memory; a 500GB hard drive; and a 15.6-inch 1080p display.

Our fully loaded review configuration is significantly pricier, at $2,603. It comes with a speedier Intel Core Xeon E3-1505M processor with 16GB of RAM; an Nvidia Quadro M1000M graphics card; 512GB of solid-state-drive (SSD) storage; and an ultra-HD, 3840 x 2160-pixel touch screen.

As stylish as it is powerful, Dell's Precision 5510 comes highly recommended for workers who need a little extra computing power. Dell managed to cram a 15.6-inch display into a chassis that's about the size of a typical 14-inch laptop, which makes it a bit easier to tote around in your work bag. I was also impressed by the notebook's sturdy design and stunning ultra-HD display, which is a pleasure to work on.

For heavyweight spreadsheet computations or processor-intensive 3D work, the Precision 5510 is a winner.

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

Brett Nuckles
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.