Dell XPS 15 9510 review – good looking but overpriced

If you are looking for a MacBook Pro alternative then you are probably acquittanced with the XPS series from Dell. It is a workstation device, that can double as a creator’s item. In fact, the manufacturer labels some of its notebooks with a “Creator Edition” badge, which means that they come with NVIDIA Studio drivers.

So, this means that your laptop will be equipped with a dedicated GPU? Well, like last year, if you opt for the Core i5 model, you will only get the integrated graphics, so you have to keep that in mind. Otherwise, you can choose from the Core i7-11800H and Core i9-11900H for your processor, and between the RTX 3050 and RTX 3050 Ti for graphics. Even before we start, there is a recommendation we can make – as we saw with the XPS 17 9710, the Core i9 CPU is too much for the cooling of this laptop. This means you can expect the same performance from the Core i7, and it is a bit less expensive.

On the other hand, we are interested in what the graphics can provide, since both options feature a 45W TGP – pretty modest in our opinion, but the chip found in both cases is pretty powerful. In addition to that, you get a couple of interesting display options, including a 3.5K OLED panel with an alleged full DCI-P3 coverage. Our particular unit features a 4K IPS display with touchscreen support.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-xps-15-9510/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Dell XPS 15 9510 - Specs

  • Sharp 90T02-LQ156R1 (SHP14D0)
  • Color accuracy  3.7  3.4
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 16000GB SSD
  • RAM
  • up to 64GB
  • OS
  • Windows 11 Pro, Windows 11 Home, Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Home
  • Battery
  • 86Wh, 6-cell, 97Wh, 6-cell, 56Wh, 3-cell
  • Body material
  • Aluminum, Carbon
  • Dimensions
  • 344.40 x 230.30 x 7.70 ~ 18.00 mm (13.56" x 9.07" x 0.30")
  • Weight
  • 2.04 kg (4.5 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • 2x USB Type-C
  • Thunderbolt 4, Power Delivery (PD)
  • Card reader
  • SD, SDHC, SDXC
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.1
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • optional
  • Web camera
  • HD and IR
  • Backlit keyboard
  • optional
  • Microphone
  • Digital Array Microphones
  • Speakers
  • 2x 8W, Speaker System
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot
  • Wedge Lock

All Dell XPS 15 9510 configurations

#CommissionsEarned

What’s in the box?

Inside the box of this device, you get a 130W power adapter (90W if you go for the Core i5 model), as well as a USB Type-C to Type-A and HDMI dongle.


Design and construction

As was the case for the past several years, the XPS 15 is made out of aluminum for the top and bottom panels, and carbon fiber for the base. Its thickness spans from 7.7mm in the front up to 18mm in the back. Respectively, the entire assembly weighs 2.04 kg, which is reasonable. Generally, the build quality is great, and the structure is pretty solid with the exception of some flex in the front part of the chassis. In this case, the lid is actually more structurally sound than the base, thanks to the Gorilla Glass 6 screen cover (this is only for the touch-enabled models).

Thankfully, the lid opens easily with a single hand, and the motion of the hinges is fluid and satisfying. At the same time, it is pretty stable and won’t wobble when you bump your desk. And this is not even the most impressive thing about it, as the bezels are extremely thin all around the display. This is why Dell is very proud of its 4-element lens on the Web camera, which has an HD resolution, and features an IR face recognition scanner.

Now, let’s talk about that carbon fiber base. It has a rubberized finish on top, so it feels pretty smooth on your wrists. The keyboard has average key travel and clicky feedback. It offers a backlight, and although it doesn’t come with a NumerPad, Dell can be forgiven. That’s because they have slapped two huge speaker grills on either side of the keyboard. They hide two 1.5W tweeters. However, the fun part is that there are two more grills on the sides of the notebook, which house the 2.5W Woofers of the quad-speaker system.

We almost forgot to tell you about the touchpad. It would be hard to miss though, as it has a true behemoth size. Speaking in numbers, it is 15 cm wide and 9 cm tall. We found it pretty accurate, and the click feels satisfying.

Lastly, the bottom panel is home to the ventilation grill, while the hot air is being exhausted from two slits on the back of the base. Essentially, it is projected towards the bottom part of the display, and we hope this won’t be an issue down the line.

Ports

On the left side, you get a security slot, as well as two Thunderbolt 4 connectors. And on the right, there is an audio jack, an SD card reader, and a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port.


Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

You need to undo 8 Torx-head screws to get inside of this notebook. After you do this, pry the bottom panel with a plastic tool, starting from the front two edges.

This device is equipped with an 86Wh battery pack. By the way, if you want to take the battery out, you need to undo 8 Phillips-head screws and remove the tape holding the speaker cables to the package.

As you can see, there are two SODIMM slots on this laptop. This allows it to take up to 64GB of RAM. Storage-wise, there are two M.2 PCIe x4 slots.

Unlike the 17-inch XPS, this one lacks a vapor chamber. Instead, Dell supplies a more conventional solution with two heat pipes, two heat sinks, and a couple of heat spreaders for the graphics memory, and the VRMs.


Display quality

Dell XPS 15 9510 is equipped with a 4K IPS touchscreen panel, model number Sharp 90T02-LQ156R1 (SHP14D0). Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.6 cm), and the resolution 3840 x 2400 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:10, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 290 ppi, and a pitch of 0.09 х 0.09 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 30cm (12″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).

Viewing angles are comfortable. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

The measured maximum brightness of 465 nits in the middle of the screen. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 6470K – virtually matching the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.

Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work. The contrast ratio is very good – 1740:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Dell XPS 15 9510’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 100% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976, and 96% of DCI-P3, which results in a vibrant image.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

Dell XPS 15 9510 uses apps like the “Premier Color”, “Cinema Color”, and “Premier Color Calibration”. The middle one offers four presets – movie, comfort view, sport, and animation.


Respectively, the Premium Color Calibration app is pretty self-explanatory. However, we couldn’t find a way to emulate the “narrower” sRGB color space.


We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you see the scores of Dell XPS 15 9510 (with Premier Color Calibration) with our “Gaming and Web design” profile.

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 33 ms – this one is a bit slow.

After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.


PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Dell XPS 15 9510’s backlight doesn’t use PWM to adjust its levels of brightness. This means the display is comfortable for use, without presenting any excessive eye strain in this aspect.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Dell XPS 15 9510 configurations with 15.6″ 4K IPS Sharp 90T02-LQ156R1 (SHP14D0).

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected].

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

Dell XPS 15 9510’s quad-speaker setup produces dynamic and loud audio. Its low, mid, and high tones are clear of deviations.


Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://www.dell.com/support/home/en-us/product-support/product/xps-15-9510-laptop/drivers

Storage performance

The average bandwidth we got from this notebook’s Western Digital PC SN730 NVMe drive was 291 MB/s with an average access time of 108 µs, which is okay.

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. This laptop’s 86Wh battery delivers 8 hours and 31 minutes of Web browsing, or 7 hours and 22 minutes of video playback.

Brightness: 180 nits; HDR: Off
Time to Full Discharge: Higher is Better

Dell XPS 9510 86Wh, 6-cell

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

Dell XPS 9510 86Wh, 6-cell

CPU options

This device can be configured with Core i5-11400H, Core i7-11800H, or Core i9-11900H.

Dell XPS 15 9510 CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Dell XPS 15 9510 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Dell XPS 15 9510 model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.


GPU options

If you opt for the Core i5 model, you will only get the integrated graphics. Otherwise, you can choose from the RTX 3050 and RTX 3050 Ti, both of which come with a 45W TGP and 4GB of GDDR6 memory.

Dell XPS 15 9510 GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the Dell XPS 15 9510 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Dell XPS 15 9510 model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.


Gaming tests

Metro ExodusFull HD, Low (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Extreme (Check settings)
Average FPS89 fps39 fps17 fps

Borderlands 3Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Badass (Check settings)
Average fps72 fps51 fps38 fps

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018)Full HD, Lowest (Check settings)Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)
Average75 fps61 fps57 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon WildlandsFull HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)
Average fps71 fps66 fps57 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i7-11800H (45W TDP)0:02 – 0:10 sec0:15 – 0:30 sec10:00 – 15:00 minMax Fans
Dell XPS 15 95103.41 GHz (B+48%) @ 99°C @ 82W3.00 GHz (B+30%) @ 99°C @ 63W2.71 GHz (B+18%) @ 93°C @ 48W
Lenovo Legion 5i (17″ Intel, 2021)3.84 GHz (B+67%) @ 96°C @ 113W3.69 GHz (B+60%) @ 96°C @ 101W3.36 GHz (B+46%) @ 81°C @ 80W
Dell G15 55113.67 GHz (B+60%) @ 97°C @ 100W3.54 GHz (B+54%) @ 98°C @ 91W3.43 GHz (B+49%) @ 93°C @ 79W
Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH317-55)3.67 GHz (B+60%) @ 90°C @ 103W3.66 GHz (B+59%) @ 99°C @ 103W3.40 GHz (B+48%) @ 99°C @ 84W
ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 GU6033.87 GHz (B+68%) @ 95°C @ 106W3.90 GHz (B+70%) @ 95°C @ 109W3.58 GHz (B+56%) @ 86°C @ 80W
MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux)3.12 GHz (B+36%) @ 96°C @ 68W3.03 GHz (B+32%) @ 95°C @ 62W2.76 GHz (B+20%) @ 95°C @ 53W2.90 GHz (B+26%) @ 95°C @ 59W
MSI GE76 Raider (2021)3.22 GHz (B+40%) @ 95°C @ 67W3.11 GHz (B+35%) @ 94°C @ 62W3.14 GHz (B+37%) @ 94°C @ 61W3.26 GHz (B+42%) @ 94°C @ 64W
ASUS TUF F15 (FX506, 2021) (Turbo Mode)3.98 GHz (B+73%) @ 86°C @ 102W3.88 GHz (B+69%) @ 95°C @ 100W3.44 GHz (B+50%) @ 87°C @ 77W
MSI Pulse GL763.16 GHz (B+37%) @ 95°C @ 65W3.00 GHz (B+30%) @ 95°C @ 59W2.87 GHz (B+25%) @ 95°C @ 55W
MSI Pulse GL662.94 GHz (B+28%) @ 94°C @ 58W2.76 GHz (B+20%) @ 94°C @ 52W2.77 GHz (B+20%) @ 94°C @ 52W

Interestingly, the XPS 15 9510 was the worst laptop equipped with this CPU that we’ve tested. This might be contributed to the fact, that even with the Ultra Performance preset, the cooling policy of the firmware was aimed at noise comfort. The fans were spinning way slower than they should have, and in our opinion – the pursuit to match and beat Apple’s MacBook Pros was the main culprit of the demise of this laptop.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 TiGPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min)GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)GPU frequency/ Core temp (Max fan)
Dell XPS 15 95101187 MHz @ 74°C @ 40W1293 MHz @ 75°C @ 44W
Dell G15 55111882 MHz @ 71°C @ 88W1878 MHz @ 72°C @ 89W
Dell G15 55151857 MHz @ 76°C @ 80W1850 MHz @ 77°C @ 80W
Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-57)1616 MHz @ 70°C @ 66W1607 MHz @ 72°C @ 65W1632 MHz @ 69°C @ 66W
MSI Katana GF761619 MHz @ 76°C @ 60W1594 MHz @ 82°C @ 60W1632 MHz @ 70°C @ 60W

What we said above is also true for the graphics performance. We found that the fans refused to spin even after 30 seconds into the game. This led to a rather severe throttling taking place. As you can see, after the cooling started to work as it should, things have stabilized, and the laptop was able to maintain the 44-45W TGP limit of the RTX 3050 Ti. Also, the temperature was not that high either.

Gaming comfort

Well, the middle of the keyboard did warm up to more than 45°C. And from what we saw, it did so pretty quickly – once again, due to the slow reaction from the fans. On the other hand, we can confirm that the laptop is really quiet even during extreme workloads.


Verdict

One thing can be said for sure – the XPS 15 is extremely consistent year on year, not only in its looks but when it comes to performance. It comes with very potent hardware, and upgrade options, that the MacBooks can only dream of. Unfortunately, it was the performance that broke Dell’s wings. And the reason for that – the immense pressure coming from Apple’s latest Pro devices. Apparently, Dell wanted to be the main competitor to the company from Cupertino, but this is no longer the case.

Another area where the XPS 15 fails in our opinion is the I/O. There are two Thunderbolt 4 connectors, one more USB Type-C port, an SD card reader, and an audio jack. To give credit where it’s due, you get a Type-C to Type-A and HDMI dongle inside the box, but come on! It was this year that Lenovo offered their Legion 5 laptop with up to FOUR USB Type-A ports. Someone would say that this is not apples to apples comparison, and we will ask why? The XPS 15 9510 should be able to work as a content creator tool, the Legion 5 can too. But what we didn’t expect was that this year, the IPS panel wouldn’t be the creator’s best friend.

Dell XPS 15 9510’s IPS touchscreen panel (Sharp 90T02-LQ156R1 (SHP14D0)) has a 4K UHD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and a very good contrast ratio. Thankfully, its backlight doesn’t flicker at any brightness level. Ultimately, it covers 96% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, which results in a very punchy image. On the other hand, the color accuracy was always a bit off, even with our Gaming and Web design profile.

That’s petty because ultimately, we are running out of reasons to recommend this machine. It is very expensive, and you can’t count only on good sound quality. For real though, this device is equipped with a spot-on quad-speaker setup, which is probably the best on a Windows laptop right now.

Also, you get features like a fingerprint reader embedded onto the power button, and an IR face recognition system working in conjunction with one of the smallest cameras out there. Moreover, the touch-enabled displays come protected by a sheet of Gorilla Glass 6.

As we said, we can’t help but feel that there are better laptops out there. If you are a content creator, or your work depends on color accuracy, the MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux). On the other hand, an item like the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED UX582 will definitely be useful with its powerful hardware.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-xps-15-9510/

Pros

  • Strong body build of carbon fiber and aluminum
  • Virtually bezel-less screen
  • 465 nits maximum brightness, 100% sRGB coverage (96% DCI-P3) (Sharp 90T02-LQ156R1 (SHP14D0))
  • Thin and light
  • Easy upgrade and maintenance
  • Great keyboard, touchpad, and speakers
  • Fingerprint reader embedded in the power button and optional IR face recognition system
  • Two Thunderbolt 4 connectors, USB Type-C charging, and an SD card reader (+ tiny dongle inside the box)
  • Doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness (Sharp 90T02-LQ156R1 (SHP14D0))


Cons

  • Weird cooling policy prioritizing comfort over performance
  • Pricey
  • Not very color accurate display (Sharp 90T02-LQ156R1 (SHP14D0))

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Contradictorio
Contradictorio
2 years ago

Recomendáis “si eres un creador de contenidos, o tu trabajo depende de la precisión del color, el MSI Creator Z16” y en vuestra propia revisión del MSI Creator Z16, afirmáis que “el panel no llega a ser ideal para el trabajo profesional, debido a la representación desigual del color en toda el área de la pantalla.”