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Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 (9575) Review: Kaby Lake-G Hits the Road

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Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Dell

Overview

The initial announcement of Intel and AMD's collaboration on the "8th Gen Intel® Core™ processors With Radeon™ RX Vega M Graphics" (Kaby Lake-G) at CES this year caused a big stir amongst the PC hardware space. 

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Now that we've taken a look at the Intel Hades Canyon NUC and its impressive performance compared to mid-range gaming desktops, it's time to take a look at Kaby Lake-G in the mobile form factor.

Dell's XPS 15 2-in-1 is one of two notebooks utilizing the Intel Kaby Lake-G processor with Vega graphics, alongside the HP Envy Spectre x360.

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Building upon the successful standard clamshell, this new notebook is Dell's first convertible XPS 15, featuring a 360-degree hinge which allows for a variety of configurations including tablet mode where the device folds back on itself.

Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
MSRP $1299 $1499 $1699 $2199
Screen 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge Anti-Reflective Touch Display 15.6" 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge Anti-Reflective Touch Display
CPU Core i5-8305G Core i7-8705G 
GPU AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL Graphics with 4GB HBM2 Memory
RAM 8GB DDR4-2400 (non-upgradable) 16GB DDR4-2400 (non-upgradable)
Storage 128GB SATA 256GB PCIe
Network Killer 1435 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi and Bluetooth
Display Output

2 x Thunderbolt 3
2 x USB 3.1 Type-C (DisplayPort)

Connectivity

2 x Thunderbolt 3
2 x USB 3.1 Type-C
3.5mm headphone
MicroSD Card Reader

Audio Waves MaxxAudio® Pro 2W (1W x 2)
Weight 4.36 lbs (2 Kg)
Dimensions 13.9-in x 9.2-in x 0.36-0.63-in
(354mm x 235mm x 9-1mm)
Battery 75 WHr
Operating System Windows 10 Home / Pro (+$60)

As far as specifications are concerned, the XPS 15 2-in-1 impresses.. With up to a 4K, touch-enabled display, quad core processor, discrete AMD Vega graphics, and up to 16GB of memory, the hardware of the XPS 15 2-in-1 is a compelling package for gamers and content creators alike. For review, we recieved the top of the line XPS 15 2-in-1, with a 512GB SSD instead of the stock 256GB configuration (a $150 upgrade from Dell).

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Continue reading our review of the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1!

Like its XPS notebook relative, the XPS 15 2-in-1 features the same Dell InfinityEdge display that has made the XPS lineup standout from the crowd. In addition to the iconic thin bezels, the display on the XPS 15 2-in-1 provides 100% AdobeRGB coverage, making it a great option for users who are doing color accurate work in programs like Photoshop and Adobe Premiere.

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As we've seen with the XPS 13 2-in-1 and XPS 13 9370, the XPS 15 2-in-1 features a Windows Hello-enabled webcam in the bottom center of the display. While this placement works well for face login via Hello, it still remains in my opinion, unusable for actual video calling.

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To accommodate the added complexity of a 2-in-1 design in a similar thickness to the original XPS 15, Dell is using what they are calling their "MagLev" keyboard design. In many ways, this design is similar to the modern Apple notebook keyboards, using butterfly switches to shorten the Z-height of the keyboard.

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In practice however, I found the keyboard on the XPS 15 2-in-1 to be disappointing. The MagLev design provides little phyiscal key travel, and is much less tacticle than a traditional chiclet style keys of the XPS 13 and nonconvertible XPS 15. Given how the rest of the XPS lineup has some of the best keyboards on notebooks currently, this lack of tactility from the XPS 15 2-in-1 is less than ideal.

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The trackpad, however, maintains the same look and feel from the rest of the XPS lineup and continues to be a fantastic option among Windows notebooks.

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The XPS 15 2-in-1 features support for the Wacom-powered Dell Premium Active Pen (PN579X) for notetaking and drawing. With a 240Hz polling rate and 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, it's an impressive stylus solution but is a standalone $99 option on top of the XPS 15 2-in-1.

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As far as ports are concerned, the XPS 15 2-in-1 follows the rest of the XPS lineup and only offers USB-C ports, along with a microSD card reader and 3.5mm headphone jack.

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In this case, we have two Thunderbolt 3 ports (providing full x4 throughput), as well as two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports. All of these ports are capable of data transfer, charging, and display outputs, offering substantial flexibility.

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Dell also continues to pack a single USB-C to USB-A adapter in the box with their XPS notebooks, which I very much appreciate.

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Powering the XPS 15 2-in-1 is a large, 130W USB-C power adapter. While relatively small for its size among notebook power supplies, it's still a large device to have to contend with in your bag while on the go.

Review Terms and Disclosure
All Information as of the Date of Publication
How product was obtained: The product is on loan from Dell for the purpose of this review.
What happens to the product after review: The product remains the property of Dell, and will be returned after the review is published.
Company involvement: Dell had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.
PC Perspective Compensation: Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by Dell for this review.
Advertising Disclosure: Dell has not purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.
Affiliate links: This article contains affiliate links to online retailers. PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases through those links.
Consulting Disclosure: Dell is not a current client of Shrout Research for products or services related to this review. 

June 1, 2018 | 09:51 AM - Posted by Rich R (not verified)

Received mine on Wednesday and needed to update the drivers on several items.

The machine could not auto-rotate the screen this was one of several out-of-date Intel drivers that can be updated from Dell support.

The Vega M gpu was reported as Generic VGA, and I didn't see anything on the Dell support pages to correct this. The ARK page for this CPU however did have the AMD Vega driver though, so I installed them from there.

Now I'm just curious to find out how to ensure the graphics tasks are actually being conducted by the Vega M GPU and hot the Intel HD xxx GPU, which are both active.

June 1, 2018 | 10:52 AM - Posted by Chaitanya (not verified)

Really hate that Dell has decide to solder RAM and go route of removing SD card slot and full sized USB A port.

June 1, 2018 | 11:43 AM - Posted by ReallyTooAppleCrappleLike (not verified)

So "100% AdobeRGB coverage" and more graphics software testing please.

"In this case, we have two Thunderbolt 3 ports (providing full x4 throughput), as well as two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports."

x4 of what? PCIe 2.0 or PCIe 3.0 and the Kaby lage G version gets the Soldered RAM while the non G versions get the upgradable RAM SODIMMS. I'll bet that the TB3 ports(Type-C) and the USB 3.1 gen 2 ports(Type-C also) are one and the same ports so more adaptor profits for Dell(very Apple Like). And forget that USB Type-C to USB Type-A adaptor as that can be replaced with a Type-C to Gigabit Ethernet adaptor option for those that use wired connections.

This is just more like Apple(not very user upgradable) and less like non Apple laptops(more upgradable). And I can not wait for AMD's Mobile Vega(Real Vega) to appear in a non Intel(Sort of "Vega" semi-custom) True AMD Zen/Vega option. And no one reviewer appears to have the jewels to see if that Semi-Custom "Vega" in the Kaby Lake G has that working HBCC IP. That Vega HBCC IP that can make use of the HBM2 as High Bandwidth Cache for the GPU with the ability to have more Virtual VRAM swapped out to and from regular system DRAM for non gaming graphics workloads where the user would want very high resolution images that may take up more than only 4GB of VRAM.

I'm Really not liking some reviewers who do not provide close up shots of the Ports on a laptop along with some better all around images of the laptop and those MagLev Butterfly like switches are they exactily like Apple's Butterfly IP that's going to get Apple some Class Action Treatment what with the issues they are having with that.

I want a Raven Ridge APU laptop with some Vega Discrete mobile Options with 4GB of HBM2 and that HBCC/HBC IP that actually works for allowing the user to have the HBM2 acting like a GPU Cache to a much larger pool of Virtual VRAM out on regular system DRAM.

June 5, 2018 | 09:07 AM - Posted by Rich R (not verified)

The Type-C ports on the left are thunderbolt. The rearmost having the power symbol as well. The two on the right are the USB3 ports. The power brick can be plugged into any of the 4.

I would have liked to have one Type-A port so I don't have to use the dongle to plug in the logitech universal adaptor. (I really don't like trackpads so a marathon mouse is always in my kit.)

June 1, 2018 | 11:53 AM - Posted by Stef (not verified)

Good news: It's as fast as a mobile GTX 1050
Bad news: It have half the mileage than a GTX 1050 system with the same battery, really poor battery life but something which was expected given Vega's power efficiency

June 1, 2018 | 01:48 PM - Posted by Rocky1234 (not verified)

Total no go first off on the cheapest model 128GB SSD only once windows is installed and of coarse the Dell recovery you are left with very little room. The second thing going from 128GB to 256GB is like $200 extra are they on glue. Third thing non expandable memory so you are stuck with whatever the unit came with. I hope this is not a trend but then again if the likes of Del and Apple and MS get away with it then this will become the norm for every company to do in the future.

June 7, 2018 | 03:35 PM - Posted by ~wizpig64 (not verified)

This is the first time I've seen the review terms and disclosure, I think it's a great idea.

June 7, 2018 | 06:47 PM - Posted by Jeremy Hellstrom

Thank you.

June 28, 2018 | 01:07 PM - Posted by Jared E. (not verified)

I am looking at the XPS 15 (9575) and the XPS 15 (9570). do either of these support miracasting with the killer wireless hardware in them? Either the 1535 or the 1435 series? Dell has no support info on these 2 machines and Killer Networks doesn't either? I find things in forums, but not for these 2 machines? Any help would be great!

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