28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2011
First things first, this is an excellent machine. Zippy fast, feels rock solid and user friendly. It is a bit bulky but like I said, feels solid. Keys are lit and feel really secure. As a whole, you feel like you purchased a rock solid machine that wasn't built with cheap materials.
1) Great specs (i7 core 2nd gen, 6 gb ram, 750gb hard drive) & performance.
2) Rock solid build & feel (keyboard, touchpad & body).
3) User friendly to setup & use.
4) Two USB 3.0, HDMI & Bluetooth.
5) Excellent speakers, best sound I've heard on a laptop.
6) 2.0 mega pixel webcam.
7) Excellent deal for students with free Xbox 360.
1) A little bulky.
2) Power brick a little big (but to be expected with needed power).
3) 6-cell battery is ok at best (2-3 hours). A 9-cell is available but currently $179.
In summary, this is not a MacBook Pro in terms of style but it's a great performer and despite it's slightly bulky build, the machine looks really nice & solid. It's also considerably cheaper than a MacBook Pro. On a side note, a bit of a gripe regarding Amazon -- despite description being accurate, the last of the item photos shows a Blu-Ray drive (available as an upgrade). A bit misleading, I think. Only the photos of the actual model being sold should be on display.
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2011
This will be a review of the L501x model (1st Generation)Only thing that is upgraded is processor and gpu, which i'll talk about later.
The main upgrade the second generation Dell XPS 15 has are the newer SandyBridge CPUs which run cooler and are up to 30% more efficient than previous generation i5/i7s. The addition of a 1080p WLED multi-touch display is exclusive to the newer L502x model, but in my opinion you might as well upgrade to the BRGLED if you want a nicer display. Lastly the inclusion of Optimus is a big plus on second gen L502x's due to the ability to save more battery and lower temperatures.
The Dell XPS 15 includes the speedy USB 3.0 technology and offers up 2 USB 3.0 ports, one on the left side and one on the back next to the power connector. A USB 2.0 (eSATA/powershare combo) can be found on the right side of the laptop. On the back you'll find a gigabit LAN port and an HDMI 1.4 port. The SD card reader slot is flushed with the front of the laptop covered by hardly noticeable dummy SD card.
One of the main gripes I have with this laptop is the form factor and weight. The Dell XPS 15 is a whopping 1.5" at its thickest point. With the 9 cell battery plugged in, you're looking at carrying around a 6.33lbs laptop. That is both bulky and hefty compared to its competition, the Macbook Pro 15-inch model (boasting a height of only .95" and a weight of 5.6lbs). The 9 cell battery adds to the height of the laptop, protruding about an inch from the base of the laptop. Although the incline the battery creates makes typing more comfortable, it can become uncomfortable when having the laptop on your lap for too long. The weight and bulky nature of the Dell XPS 15 make the laptop less friendly for frequent commuters. I found it best to unplug the 9 cell battery when storing the laptop in my messenger bag.
I can honestly say I have never listened to laptop speakers as good as the JBL 2.1 speakers on the Dell XPS 15. The laptop includes two speakers on either side (each boasting 4W of power) and a 12W sub-woofer on the bottom of the base. That is a total of 20W total peak audio performance on a 15 inch laptop. The speakers are not only loud, but clear at high volumes. There was no noticeable distortion when playing music and movies at full volume. The bass impressed me the most, achieving a clear booming sound. Without a doubt these speakers make the Dell XPS 15 one of the best multimedia laptops on the market.
The 9 cell battery boasts about 4 hours of general use (web browsing, light video viewing). If you're going to sit down and watch a movie, expect around 3 hours of battery life. Finally if you're going to be gaming unplugged, you'll only get an hour to an hour and a half. The newer generation Dell XPS 15 includes the Optimus technology with their video cards. Optimus claims to give better battery performance by switching to the integrated Intel graphics when you are not gaming or using dedicated GPU based programs.
The back-lit keyboard is phenomenal. Typing is a breeze and the back-lit keys are easy to read in low light. When the Dell XPS 15 first came out, you had the option to add the back-lit keyboard for around US$25, but Dell has since wizened up and now includes the back-lit keyboard automatically with any new purchase of the Dell XPS 15. If you are buying this laptop from a third-party retailer, make sure you check that it has the back-lit keyboard if that is a feature you wish to have.
The Dell XPS 15 was the first laptop to include a Skype-certified webcam. The webcam is a 2.0MP camera capable of recording 720p HD content. While performing a Skype test, the person on the other end, could both hear and see me clearer than my Logitech Webcam Pro 9000. Video footage taken with the webcam was decent, but suffered from heavy noise and framerate issues when recording at 720p.
The wireless card on this review model is the Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300. This model was quickly taken down weeks after the Dell XPS 15 release due to lack supply for the overwhelming demand. It's a shame because this little card is by far the best laptop wireless card I have ever had the pleasure of using. The range on this Ultimate-N 6300 is rated as 2x that of the Centrino Advanced-N 6200 series, but what really makes the card shine is the addition of a third antennae. 6200 cards usually have only 2 antennae. Having a third allows for faster wireless speeds and an overall more reliable connection. Speeds are rated at 450 Mbps compared to the 300 Mbps of the 6200 cards.
The Dell Xps 15 is one warm machine. Notice I used the word warm not hot. If you're using the laptop for general everyday things like browsing the web and working on documents, the temperatures will hang around 55 degrees Celsius. If you're rendering video, expect the fan to ramp up and temperatures to hover around 70 degrees Celsius. Gaming will raise temperatures even higher into the 80s.
While these temperatures are higher than what I'm used to on my personal computer, they are not entirely bad. Most laptops starve for cool air because of the enclosed nature of the chassis, so temperatures around this range are actually normal. For reference, the Dell XPS 15 does not get anywhere near as hot as its predecessors the Studio XPS 16 and Dell XPS M1530. If the warmth the Dell XPS 15 gives out proves to be too much for you, or if you're a heavy gamer, I suggest you invest in a laptop cooler. Nowadays laptop coolers run around US$20 - $50 depending on how much cooling force you want.
The Dell XPS 15 is the best multimedia laptop on the market at its price point. If you can live with the slight bulky design and 6lbs weight, you'll be able to enjoy the high quality JBL speakers, brilliant BRGLED display, and more than adequate performance it has to offer. Whether you're a gamer or multimedia enthusiast, this laptop will take everything you throw at it.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2011
I am very pleased with this Dell XPS (L502X). Solid build, feels expensive. A little bulky, perhaps -- but that's why it feels high end and not like cheap piece of plastic.
The great: 1) Specs (I7 2nd Generation, 6 GB RAM, 750 HDD -- mine came with 750 instead of the described 640 -- thanks!). 2) JBL speakers - best sound ever on a lap top -- trust me. 3) Keyboard - feels solidly in place & backlit - love it! 4) Two USB 3.0 slots, an HDMI out & Bluetooth connectivity. 5) Performance - you can multi-task all day long.
The good: 1) Machine stays cool. 2) 15.6 screen size shows off nice colors but not quite like a MacBook Pro -- nice but not great. 3) Personally, I like having the Power cord, HDMI and a USB in the back. 4) Overall feel of machine -- like the metal feel around the mouse pad/keyboard. Power button feels strong, like it won't fall off at some point.
The not so good: 1) Battery life is average. Three hours tops on regular, not extremely intensive use. You're going to need the expensive 9-cell battery if you want 4+ hours. 2) A little large as I mentioned above but don't let that deter you because in the end, the machine's solid build makes you feel as if you bought a quality product.
After a week of putting this machine to the test, I would recommend it. The price for the specs/performance you get is very good. If you're a student, you get an even better deal with the free Xbox thrown-in. Amazon has already run several promotions, including a $100 gift card. So if you've been thinking about buying a laptop, take advantage. You won't regret it.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2011
I purchased this laptop from Amazon a little less than a week ago and truly enjoy this product. It is the seventh laptop I've owned(third Dell). The screen is large and very bright with amazing colors. The keyboard is very nice-I LOVE the backlit feature! The trackpad is large and works very well. The sound system and JBL speakers are the best I've heard in a laptop but still don't compare to my Bose Companion 3 Series II external speaker system. I got somewhat of a bonus in that mine came preloaded with Windows 7 Professional instead of Windows 7 Home Premium operating system. The laptop is pretty fast with the CORE i7 processor and 6GB of RAM. The 640GB harddrive is nice, but definitely more than I'll ever use. It seems to stay nice and cool while running, and is very quiet. So far, so good..My ONLY complaints about this laptop are that the USB ports are not real convenient, in that they are on the side towards the rear and on the rear of the unit, and I think the bootup time could be a little faster(my Asus netbook boots up much faster). Overall, it seems very well constructed and I'm VERY satisfied with my purchase...Thank you Dell and Amazon!!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2011
Surprised with the overall quality of this laptop as this is the fourth laptop I have purchased, second dell. The other Dell I was disappointed by and ended up not lasting long. However this model is very well built and lighter than I expected even though it is not as slim as some laptops.
expectional price to performance ratio
6 GB RAM
7200 RPM HDD
Well built with aluminum casing
Excellent sound.. All the other reviews are correct, this is the best sound I have ever heard from any laptop.
Dedicated graphics card
Not a bluray drive
Graphics card only turns on when software determines it is needed... Could be great to save battery but I would have liked a physical button to turn it off and on.
Overall love this laptop and would recommend it to anyone looking for a high end performer with great speakers and nice design
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2011
I bought this laptop and got it on friday. That same day it worked completely fine. I downloaded some programs (Skype, Avast free antivirus, google chrome and League of Legends, that same day, windows update software also downloaded and installed some updates. The next day, when I turned it on, it crashed. The computer started to freeze once it loaded the desktop, I had to turn it off and back on with the power button and also had to run it in safe mode many times. The computer also became very slow. Today I also started to get a bluescreen error. I already talked to DELL. They told me to reinstall the BIOS, which I will do tomorrow. I hope it fixes the problem, because none of the programs I downloaded should be a problem, and I even used system recovery to go back to before I downlodaded them. I'm really dissapointed as for now with this computer. Other than that, which is VERY important, the specs are nice.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2011
Well just like it said, i ordered it yesterday morning and it came today mid day and i truely love this laptop. everything runs smoothly, I especially love the back lit keyboard. It is truely an awesome feature dell has put into this one. This is my first laptop and i really believe this will last with me over 10 more years. It will really be helpful for school and sound on this is just mind blow from any other laptop i have heard from.
Any student going back to school. this is just the laptop with power you would want.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2011
Just got this laptop about two weeks ago. I had owned a macbook pro previous to this, and for the most part I like this one better. The macbook pro had a better touchpad, and of course the more stable OS. However, everything else on this laptop is better.
IMPORTANT make sure you get the upgrade for the high def 1080p display. This may be the only upgrade that is a MUST. This screen is by far the clearest laptop screen I've seen. Trust me! You need it. I also opted for a blu-ray drive, and movies look and sound great (more on sound quality later). I customized mine on dell.com with the core i7 2720 processor, 6gig RAM, and the better graphics card Nvidia 540M 2gig. This is one powerful machine, although the graphics card could be better it still handles games well.
Ok, so back to the sound. The built in speakers are fantastic. There is a subwoofer built in but its pretty weak. That being said the rather large stereo speakers are the best I've heard on a laptop. Blasting The Expendables was a treat for the eyes and ears.
There are two cons I've found with this laptop. The first is the touchpad. It was really jumpy at first, and hard to two finger scroll. I went into the settings and moved some sliders around until I found the settings I liked. ALSO one key change I made was changing it to ONE-FINGER scrolling. It works much better, but takes about two days to get used to.
The other issues is heat/fan. Reading through some Dell XPS forums had helped me solve the issue, too much detail for here. However google Dell XPS forums and the first one the pops you should join and read. There are fixes to the fan/heat issue.
Other than that this is a great choice, and I love it!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2011
Very nice computer, love the back lit keys, never had this before and it will always be a requirement in the future. It is very fast for the money I don't think anything even comes close. This is my first experience with windows 7 it is a joy and after you get past how pretty it is and shut off the window dressing it is even faster and is what I feel is the way a computer should operate.
I never liked any touch pad so I can't really comment on it I immediately installed a bluetooth mouse, with built in bluetooth it was as simple as turning it on for the new mouse to work. The keyboard is simple and I enjoy the keys. It lacks a number pad but it doesn't matter to me.
I have to say the sound from this gets more than 5 stars it is very impressive for a laptop. My girlfriend was shocked at how great it sounds, she lives for beautiful music. It just sounds amazing for a laptop.
The i7 processor and the 7200 RPM hard rive with 6GB of mem make it a very speedy machine. It is really a joy to use. Dell got this product spot on, for an everyday machine you can't get much better. Almost forgot when I ordered this from Amazon it was advertised with Windows 7 Home Premium but was shipped with Windows 7 Professional, thanks Dell. Just another plus to an already great machine.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2011
I got this laptop through amazon during one of it's back to school specials. The laptop has amazing specs and after using it for a month has not slowed down at all. The audio on the laptop also is amazing. Unlike most laptops where the volume has to be at max to barely hear anything, the audio on this laptop is easily and clearly heard on 50%. Screen is nice and it is very fast.
Only complaint is the bloatware put on by dell.