In this article, I give you my DELL XPS 15 9510 (2021) review with specs included. Same physical design as previous year’s model (2020) but what’s new inside is Intel 11th gen CPUs which so far have actually been pretty good and Nvidia RTX 3050 and 3050Ti dedicated graphics.
So, we’re starting to talk about some serious performance here and I often feel like the XPS 15’s every redesign takes a couple of revisions before they really get to where Dell envisioned they would always be in terms of performance and thermals and stability and all that stuff.
Even better here, we have a 3.5 K OLED touchscreen display. So the XPS 13 got OLED now so does the XPS 15.
As ever, the beauty of the XPS line is the fact that you can get it starting at an affordable price tag. Granted, for enthusiasts is not the configuration that you’re probably going to want.
DELL XPS 15 9510 (2021) Specs
DELL XPS 15 9510 (2021) starts around $1200 to $1299 MSRP, a little bit lower in the United States, and that gets you a full HD plus display with a 16 by 10 aspect ratio (standard with XPS line) and a Core i5 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB SSD and only integrated graphics.
If you move up the line and spend around $1700-$1800 you’re getting into a Core i7, and more RAM, a bigger SSD, that sort of thing.
My OLED model is sort of a pre-configured higher interior so you can’t go with the Core i5 and get the OLED. It’s an Intel Core i7 11th-gen, 16 GB of RAM, and a 512 GB SSD, and that 3.5K OLED display for $2299. So, $2300 or less if you find it on sale and some retailers sell for less than Dell’s list price.
Given the fact that this is a premium unibody CNC aluminum machine with good specs and all that sort of thing that price isn’t bad for a nice OLED display on top of that and it’s a touch screen.
For the display options you have the base one which is the full hd plus ips display 500 nits non-touch full srgb. So not a bad display actually at all for those who want better battery life and don’t care about higher resolutions.
There’s also a 4k plus ips display 500 nit as well full adobe rgb. So that’s a very nice one for designers as well. But for oled fans out there there’s a three and a half k resolution one. So not quite 4k. And it is gorgeous. And they have a pretty effective anti-glare coating on it it’s glossy in its touch.
So it doesn’t really glare all that much compared to say some hp spectre models. You will notice in there is gorilla glass on top that there’s a touch layer on it but it’s well done. And the colors on this and the color accuracy the factory color calibration is very good.
So this ain’t oled displays are old where the colors were garish or there was a funny yellow tint or off-angle viewing was you know. This is really very nice stuff. So if you’re buying this for content consumption particularly it’s really enjoyable to watch videos on this.
And if you’re buying it to do some light gaming because the chops are there it’s really really very nice. I was playing some apex legends which you can see on screen and it was good. And that intel 11th gen cpu which is an eight core cpu in conjunction with the rtx 3050 ti with four gigabytes of gddr6 vram is actually sufficient to play apex legends at around 45 to 55 frames per second at 2k resolution or 2k plus.
So if you drop it down to 60 frames per second because you’re feeling competitive and you want a higher frame rate that’s pretty good. What’s even better is the temperatures actually weren’t bad on this. As you can see in that clip where we have msi afterburner burner running so giving us performance metrics on there and thermal metrics.
So the xps 15 is always being a thermally constrained. Very thin more geared towards mobile workstation high-end productivity kind of stuff video editing which is great for it. And not so much for gaming. But they’ve actually reached the point thermally where it’s it’s doable.
I’m not recommending that you buy this if you primarily want a gaming laptop. But if you want some gaming on the side while you’re doing your other stuff like your video editing your blender rendering and all that sort of thing then yeah.
And obviously if you’re a serious 3d person then you still want something like mobile workstation or a gaming laptop to do that. But for those who are doing it for school or for fun and all that sort of thing you get the idea.
This is also available with a core i9 in addition to the core i5 and core i7 options in. That is a more thermally challenging cpus from other thin and light designs that i’ve reviewed like the msi msi creator along with intel 11th gen. So i would say thermally i and price wise go with the core i7.
You’re going to get 95 of the performance without as much of the thermal baggage. For cooling we have two fans and two heat pipes. Some gore insulation to help keep the laptop less hot to the touch against your skin. And for the ram we have two ram slots just as we did before ea that.
So you can go up to 64 gigs of ram if you want. It starts at eight gigs if you’re ordering from dell and anywhere up to 64. And it’s ddr4 3200 megahertz ram. For ssds you have a fast nvme boot ssd. You can get with either a pci e3 or the new pcie 4 which are much more expensive still and considerably faster but they’re overkill for a lot of people.
You know who you are if you really need that faster ssd you can get that and that’s because until 11g supports that. And there’s a second m.2 slot so that makes the storage quite expandable here which is nice. In terms of multimedia loveliness you got quad stereo speakers here and they’re actually quite good.
I know they always they’re going after the 16 inch macbook pro which has great speakers and they’re trying to be on parody with that you got the giant trackpad like a mac too microsoft precision. But speakers do sound pretty good on this. The bass is actually present.
I mean it’s not going to replace your stereo system or your great headphones but it’s pretty enjoyable stuff if you’re going to watch a movie on the go. Speaking of that trackpad it was a little weird with the clicky. I didn’t have any rattling hardware problems but it was just sometimes missing clicks and then there was a dell firmware update that just came out and i applied that and actually it’s been good since then.
Keyboard is the same as on the last generation and really for years going back. It’s a pretty short key travel here 1.3 millimeters or so. So not the most tactile. They have improved the sense of cushioning and damping and return over the years. So there is some tactility there.
Again it’s up to you. Some people like this keyboard quite a lot others don’t. I’m not a big fan of apple’s keyboard still at this point either but some of you like that short travel business. For wi-fi we have killer wi-fi six which is really an intel based card.
So no worries there that’s good stuff. You got bluetooth on board as well. You have a 720p webcam which is meh you know like most built-in webcams. And for ports you have thunderball and four yeah that. Several thunderbolt 4 ports a headphone jack and full size sd card software creators.
So if you need legacy connectors it’s dangled life for you. Hello doc i have don golitis well the cure is in the box some of the cure. They include the dongle like they have for a while now it has one usb a and an hdmi connector on board.
When it comes to things like usbc monitors or usb c to displayport adapters you can do all that sort of thing. Display out is supported thunderbolt docks are supported all that sort of thing. So that’s it dongle life but at least lots of thunderball ports and docking possibilities to make it hurt a little less.
So so far performance on this is pretty good. They keep the thermals under control not letting the cpu run absolutely wild. But we’re still talking a 45 watt intel eight core cpu on board good stuff. So what about battery life.
Well most models will have an 86 watt hour battery unless you get the real base model that has only intel uhd integrated graphics then you get a 56 watt hour battery. So there’s a gotcha there if you get that very cheapest model.
All right so we have the 86 watt hour battery obviously which comes with the 130 watt charger. If you get the 56 watt hour battery you get a 90 watt charge anyway. It’s really going to depend on which display you get folks. Oled is typically really not easy on battery life at higher resolution combined. So we probably have the worst case scenario.
The 4k ips would be a little bit better and obviously the full hd plus display would be the best. I’ve been averaging about seven to eight hours in mixed productivity and light work use with a little bit of photoshop thrown in because it is the kind of laptop you want to do photoshop with right.
But doing social media slack streaming some youtube video doing some office stuff email that sort of thing with a display set to 200 nits of brightness. All right same as last year to get inside you undo the torx t5 screws. There right visible no problems there.
And you pry it off. This these just wrap around the unibody metal sides so where you pry from is well a little bit down get the idea. That’s the underside. Okay and inside here are two fans the two heat pipes shared obviously.
Two ram slots awesome that so you can upgrade a ddr4 ram again 3200 megahertz. So 64 gigs would be the maximum. And right here we have our boot ssd nvme. And a second slot so you could add a second ssd in there if you wanted to.
And the speakers flank the 86 watt hour battery as per normal. And here we have a big copper plate and some thermal pad underneath. My guess is maybe that’s a heatsink for the pch not quite sure about that. And on the other side we have the wi-fi card it’s soldered on.
It’s a killer card which again wi-fi six that’s really made by intel. The hardware so no issues they probably wouldn’t want to replace that but that’s what that is. So that’s the dell xps 9510. Obviously ours is an arctic white with the white woven interior.
You can still get it with silver and carbon fiber black inside if you want it. And as ever it’s a very nice premium well-built solid piece yet it’s not too heavy under 2 kilograms or about 4.3 pounds or so. And for those who are looking in the equivalent of a windows macbook pro this is still in.
It’s one of the nicest most best built and now with that oled display option is pretty enticing. Again if you’re looking for something that has absolute crazy performance you know there’s gaming laptops and mobile workstations. But for those who need to do this things like video editing a little 3d work or you’re just the world’s most powerful powerpoint jockey and you like nice things well this is it.
DELL XPS 15 9510 (2021)