Review Dell XPS 15 (9500) Review: Professional Glow-up

TCA_ChinChin

Honorable
Feb 15, 2015
391
93
10,990
29
Nice hardware and design, but Dell can still work on some of the technical details for the next refresh such as Ryzen support and incorporating the vapor chamber from the XPS 17 into the XPS 15. I would imagine if they used a more efficient Ryzen mobile CPU, they would have the power envelope (and heat dissipation) to include a higher tier graphics card or increase battery life.
 
May 16, 2020
2
0
10
0
This is a well-written review. Very comprehensive -- as is expected from Tom's. Unfortunately, I suspect the author has really had little experience with this product in actual use. We have two identical products of this exact model. BOTH exhibit the exact same serious anomalies:

1. Motherboard failures (as reported by Dell), after experiencing problem 4, below. Both mobos were replaced by Dell under warranty (with "refurbs," as is Dell's policy, even though less than 30 days old.)

2. Intel Optane memory pinning error (fixed with the help of Dell support).

3. Periodic UI lock-ups/freezes. This occurs at random intervals and lasts 20-30 seconds. During this time the computer accepts no inputs from mouse or keyboard and the display does not change. Debilitating and unresolved.

4. Occasional failure to start. When starting from "off" with the power supply attached the computer will not come to life with a quick press of the power button. A loooong press (>30 sec) will do it but it sometimes takes more than one attempt. Scary and unresolved. (What's next, a real mobo failure?)

5. The wi-fi periodically disconnects. The only way to get the computer to talk to the "outside world" is to add a USB-ethernet adapter -- which does work, of course. Dell support opined this was an issue with the "Killer Wireless" drivers. ("Killer Wireless" -- aptly named!) However, we did a complete remove/reinstall (not overwrite/update) and that failed to fix the issue -- so, unresolved.

We purchased these computers with an [expensive!] 4-year suppport package. Glad we did. To be conservative, I'd say no less than 30 e-mails have been exchanged; everal hours on the phone with Dell, and I've spent dozens of hours trying to resolve these issues. Again -- both computers, used by different folks -- have the exact same issues. Dell fails to acknowledge they have a real "product problem" here. A "one off" case? Very doubtful. Very.

A computer can have the coolest screen, fastest CPUand a smokin' wonderful graphics card. But, if it's scary-unreliable and anchored to a desk with an ethernet cable, well, how wonderful is it?

The Dell XPS 15 (9500) gets slimmer bezels than ever around a 16:10 display, along with Intel’s latest, 10th Gen H-series chips.

Dell XPS 15 (9500) Review: Professional Glow-up : Read more
 

PapaCrazy

Distinguished
Dec 28, 2011
169
6
18,715
7
This is a well-written review. Very comprehensive -- as is expected from Tom's. Unfortunately, I suspect the author has really had little experience with this product in actual use. We have two identical products of this exact model. BOTH exhibit the exact same serious anomalies:

1. Motherboard failures (as reported by Dell), after experiencing problem 4, below. Both mobos were replaced by Dell under warranty (with "refurbs," as is Dell's policy, even though less than 30 days old.)

2. Intel Optane memory pinning error (fixed with the help of Dell support).

3. Periodic UI lock-ups/freezes. This occurs at random intervals and lasts 20-30 seconds. During this time the computer accepts no inputs from mouse or keyboard and the display does not change. Debilitating and unresolved.

4. Occasional failure to start. When starting from "off" with the power supply attached the computer will not come to life with a quick press of the power button. A loooong press (>30 sec) will do it but it sometimes takes more than one attempt. Scary and unresolved. (What's next, a real mobo failure?)

5. The wi-fi periodically disconnects. The only way to get the computer to talk to the "outside world" is to add a USB-ethernet adapter -- which does work, of course. Dell support opined this was an issue with the "Killer Wireless" drivers. ("Killer Wireless" -- aptly named!) However, we did a complete remove/reinstall (not overwrite/update) and that failed to fix the issue -- so, unresolved.

We purchased these computers with an [expensive!] 4-year suppport package. Glad we did. To be conservative, I'd say no less than 30 e-mails have been exchanged; everal hours on the phone with Dell, and I've spent dozens of hours trying to resolve these issues. Again -- both computers, used by different folks -- have the exact same issues. Dell fails to acknowledge they have a real "product problem" here. A "one off" case? Very doubtful. Very.

A computer can have the coolest screen, fastest CPUand a smokin' wonderful graphics card. But, if it's scary-unreliable and anchored to a desk with an ethernet cable, well, how wonderful is it?
It's sentiments like this that have kept me from buying an XPS15 for years. This new model is tempting, but I plan to wait for user feedback on known issues like overheating, coil whine, unreliable Wi-Fi, and sleep/wake problems.

I've done alot of research, and no laptop really seems to be reliable anymore. Lenovo has long list of problems, one of those being a disregard for user privacy and freedom which I find repugnant. HP has become a laughing stock. Razer has nice machines, but are notorious for dead laptops. Mac is a locked down system and their laptops are littered with unserviceable soldered-down components and Orwellian T2 chip. MS laptops are impossible to repair, many being constructed from glue, and were knocked off Consumer Reports recommended list temporarily for atrocious reliability.

I remember laptops that were made like iron and lasted years. They still can be turned on, like relics of the past. But the new market is wholly different. A sea of expensive yet disposable items only worth the length of their service contract. I am horrified by it, and yet I need a modern laptop and can't put this decision off much longer. If the 9500 has the same issues as last gen, I have no idea what to do.
 
Reactions: Rick_P_engineer
May 16, 2020
2
0
10
0
Agreed 100%. I might also mention I tried the "usual" solutions to the start-up issues including disabling power management features at both BIOS and OS levels. No joy. ("Sleep," "hibernate," and "suspend" are always disabled as a matter of course -- they've rarely worked reliably on much of anything we've seen.)

So here we have a situation where Microsoft continues to add unwanted "features" to its OS while making the OS environment greatly less stable and reliable. They'll destroy user data to add a new "thing" most users won't even know exists or ever use. And, Dell neither acknowledges the problem nor raises its voice, as a major "user" of WIndows 10, to Microsoft telling them to "STOP IT -- we have to support this mess you've created!"

So, folks love to read great reviews of products (and reviews sell advertising) written by pundits who have had the device in their hands for only a day or two -- while the real customers turn out to be victims of both Microsoft and Dell. Damn sad.
 
May 30, 2020
1
0
10
0
This is a well-written review. Very comprehensive -- as is expected from Tom's. Unfortunately, I suspect the author has really had little experience with this product in actual use. We have two identical products of this exact model. BOTH exhibit the exact same serious anomalies:

1. Motherboard failures (as reported by Dell), after experiencing problem 4, below. Both mobos were replaced by Dell under warranty (with "refurbs," as is Dell's policy, even though less than 30 days old.)

2. Intel Optane memory pinning error (fixed with the help of Dell support).

3. Periodic UI lock-ups/freezes. This occurs at random intervals and lasts 20-30 seconds. During this time the computer accepts no inputs from mouse or keyboard and the display does not change. Debilitating and unresolved.

4. Occasional failure to start. When starting from "off" with the power supply attached the computer will not come to life with a quick press of the power button. A loooong press (>30 sec) will do it but it sometimes takes more than one attempt. Scary and unresolved. (What's next, a real mobo failure?)

5. The wi-fi periodically disconnects. The only way to get the computer to talk to the "outside world" is to add a USB-ethernet adapter -- which does work, of course. Dell support opined this was an issue with the "Killer Wireless" drivers. ("Killer Wireless" -- aptly named!) However, we did a complete remove/reinstall (not overwrite/update) and that failed to fix the issue -- so, unresolved.

We purchased these computers with an [expensive!] 4-year suppport package. Glad we did. To be conservative, I'd say no less than 30 e-mails have been exchanged; everal hours on the phone with Dell, and I've spent dozens of hours trying to resolve these issues. Again -- both computers, used by different folks -- have the exact same issues. Dell fails to acknowledge they have a real "product problem" here. A "one off" case? Very doubtful. Very.

A computer can have the coolest screen, fastest CPUand a smokin' wonderful graphics card. But, if it's scary-unreliable and anchored to a desk with an ethernet cable, well, how wonderful is it?
This is a well-written review. Very comprehensive -- as is expected from Tom's. Unfortunately, I suspect the author has really had little experience with this product in actual use. We have two identical products of this exact model. BOTH exhibit the exact same serious anomalies:

1. Motherboard failures (as reported by Dell), after experiencing problem 4, below. Both mobos were replaced by Dell under warranty (with "refurbs," as is Dell's policy, even though less than 30 days old.)

2. Intel Optane memory pinning error (fixed with the help of Dell support).

3. Periodic UI lock-ups/freezes. This occurs at random intervals and lasts 20-30 seconds. During this time the computer accepts no inputs from mouse or keyboard and the display does not change. Debilitating and unresolved.

4. Occasional failure to start. When starting from "off" with the power supply attached the computer will not come to life with a quick press of the power button. A loooong press (>30 sec) will do it but it sometimes takes more than one attempt. Scary and unresolved. (What's next, a real mobo failure?)

5. The wi-fi periodically disconnects. The only way to get the computer to talk to the "outside world" is to add a USB-ethernet adapter -- which does work, of course. Dell support opined this was an issue with the "Killer Wireless" drivers. ("Killer Wireless" -- aptly named!) However, we did a complete remove/reinstall (not overwrite/update) and that failed to fix the issue -- so, unresolved.

We purchased these computers with an [expensive!] 4-year suppport package. Glad we did. To be conservative, I'd say no less than 30 e-mails have been exchanged; everal hours on the phone with Dell, and I've spent dozens of hours trying to resolve these issues. Again -- both computers, used by different folks -- have the exact same issues. Dell fails to acknowledge they have a real "product problem" here. A "one off" case? Very doubtful. Very.

A computer can have the coolest screen, fastest CPUand a smokin' wonderful graphics card. But, if it's scary-unreliable and anchored to a desk with an ethernet cable, well, how wonderful is it?
Thanks for the review, as I just canceled the one I had on order and will wait awhile to see if Dell gets these problems you indicated resolved.
On paper it looks like the best 15 inch around.
 

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