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The Dell XPS9560-7001SLV-PUS finally answers a question I get asked quite often: Which is the best laptop for visual artists who are onto photography or video? In fact, it is what we all thought Apple MacBook Pro 15 (Retina with Touchbar) would have been: extremely light, a 4K touch display, 100% Adobe RGB display screen, a new Kaby lake processor, tons of RAM, a dedicated Pascal-based Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card and all-day battery life. The MacBook pro skimps on most of these features, safe for a trophy touch bar and sleek design, but the newest XPS 15 shines in both form and function.
The system feels premium in every angle; from the screen; to the chassis and keyboard; to the touchpad and speakers. Yes, it’s pricey, but it is worth considering its superior build quality, top-notch features and excellent performance including a brilliant 4K screen for multimedia creation. For these reasons, it is our newest Top Pick for high-end desktop-replacement laptops.
The Dell XPS9560 sports premium construction that’s attractive and nice to hold in your arms. It carries the same aluminum base and lid from last year’s XPS 15 Touch, with the all-familiar palm rest and keyboard base. Using the same body and screen as Dell’s XPS line, this system looks and feels expensive. It measures 0.66 by 14.06 by 9.3 inches (HWD), and weighs a relatively light 3.9 pounds.
That is relatively smaller than both the Asus ZenBook Pro UX501J-DS71T a top pick, and the Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch with Retina Display, though all two are almost 11.2 ounces heavier. This is arguably a sweet spot for a premium laptop, as it blends size and weight for daily commute.
The touch-enabled 15.6-inch 4K display is perhaps the most important highlight here. Dell used Infinity edge display technology to deliver a virtually borderless display, no wonder they managed to fit a 15.6-inch display inside a laptop that is a few inches shy of 14-inches. It has 3,840-by-2,160 resolution, the screen is incredibly sharp and clear. With this resolution, the display is ideal for web design and working on large spreadsheets is enhanced.
There is more. It does come with a 100-percent Adobe RGB color gamut and PremierColor software that works by adjusting the display to match the DCI-P3 standards. What this means is that you’ll have photos and films show accurate colors. With this, it trumps rivals like the Asus ZenBook Pro UX501J-DS71T, that supports 74-percent Adobe RGB fidelity.
Apparently, the thin bezels make the screen look larger than what we’ve seen on other 15.6-inch systems, like the 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro or even the Toshiba Satellite Radius 15. The thin bezel gives you wider viewing angles, meaning you can view the screen contents from extreme angles without much distortion. Because of the thin bezels, the HD webcam can’t fit in the usual upper-level of the screen, so you have it at the bottom of the screen, near the hinges.
For a premium laptop, the keyboard and touchpad ought to reflect that; the XPS 15 delivers exactly that. The backlit chiclet-style keyboard is well designed, comfortable, and nice to type on though some might find the key travel to be a lil’ shallow. It possible to work in darkness since the keys are well lit with two levels of back lighting. The one-piece touchpad is well set and comfortable to use, with support for Windows 10 multi-touch gestures. Its speakers are clear and loud enough to fill a medium-size room.
Connectivity is excellent. The Dell XPS9560 has all the ports you might need for a business presentation including: an HDMI port, a headset jack, a USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3, an SD card reader and two standard USB 3.0 ports. For wireless connectivity, you get dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1. You don’t get an optical driver here, but it’s still acceptable as its one of the sacrifices to have a really thin system.
For storage, there’s a 512GB PCIe-based solid-state-drive (SSD), which adds to the exciting features in this laptop. This is a large capacity for flash-based storage. In fact, it is double the storage in Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro, though, it’s the same amount of storage you get in the Asus UX501J-DS71T and the Toshiba Satellite Radius 15.
A seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad Core Processor (3.8GHz), 16GB of system memory, and gaming-ready Pascal-based Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 (with 4GB GDDR5) contribute to the Dell XPS9560’s superb performance and hefty sticker price tag. The Kaby lake Intel Core i7 CPU is the latest in the range, and can handle up to eight computing threads simultaneously, which translates to impressive score in most demanding tasks.
With a beefy hardware, you’ll be happy to use the system for most power-user tasks including photo editing and video encoding among other professional media works. The system is plenty quick overall, and will complete media projects you might need to work on at a good clip.
The Dell XPS9560 isn’t a dedicated gaming machine, but it has features that are typical of gaming system, and an even better resolution. Given its discrete graphics card, it’s capable of playing some of the latest AAA games at moderate quality and resolution settings, and a 4K display may make things better. For instance, played at 1080p (1920-by-1080), you’ll get around: FIFA 17-145 fps; Fallout 4-40 fps; The Witcher 3-35 fps; and, GTA V – 65 fps.
This is quite impressive, though gameplay at 4K native resolution at ultra-quality settings might be just too much for the entry-level Pascal GPU, but anything above GTX 1060 would deliver better frame rates per second (FPS). At least, its playability is way smoother at medium-quality setting than laptops with integrated graphics.
Just like other 4K systems, there’s always a catch somewhere, and it unfortunately rests on battery life. The XPS 15’s sealed battery can’t quite last all day, and the much you getting is 5 hours 58 minutes at most. That’s still pretty good, considering that other 4K systems like the Asus UX501J-DS71T and the Toshiba Satellite Radius 15 will last up to an hour less.
If you need a system that will last all-day, you might look at the ‘champ’ Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (11:29), though, you’ll have to do a lower-resolution battery, but comes with a larger-capacity battery. To avoid any inconvenience, just have your AC adapter at hand, although you might still be able to work untethered most of the day.
The Bottom Line
The Dell XPS9560-7001SLV-PUS is the latest entrant into the power-category and it does shine as a multimedia powerhouse that will serve both media professional and prosumers alike. It has the muscle to invigorate you throughout complex projects, including a level of screen detail; that’s a near rarity in a consumer-grade system.
Yes, it’s pricey, compared to systems like the Asus ZenBook Pro UX501J-DS71T, but it packs the latest features and components, is one of the few system with 100-percent Adobe RGB color accuracy, solid performance, decent battery life, and forward-looking technology like the USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3. For all these reasons, it replaces last year’s Dell XPS 15-Touch as our top pick for high-end desktop-replacement laptops.
The Dell XPS9560-7001SLV-PUS might be pricey, but it does that for value and reason. It is one of the few systems with a premium construction and powerful high-end systems for work and video work, and will allow you play games on the side.
- Strong performance
- A crisp clear 4K Touch display
- Large-capacity solid-state drive
- Sealed chassis