Dell XPS 15 (L501x) notebook
Dell XPS 15 (L501x) review: This Core i7 Dell laptop is equipped with a Full HD screen
- Excellent screen, plenty of processing power, surprisingly good speakers
- Thicker than a Macbook Pro, graphics card could be more powerful, build quality could be better
The Dell XPS 15 (L501x) notebook is a strong performer, and it's not even particularly expensive. It's not all good news -- it's a little thick and the internal fan can be loud.
Price$ 1,544.00 (AUD)
The Dell XPS 15 (L501x) is a notebook that competes with the Apple Macbook Pro. It has a 15.6in, Full HD (1080p) screen, an Intel Core i7 processor, a fast 640GB hard drive and all the trimmings. It's not as attractive or as well-built as an Apple laptop but it's cheaper and more powerful.
Check out our review of the Dell XPS 15z (P12F)
Dell XPS 15 (L501x): Design and build quality
The Dell XPS L501x draws inspiration from the Dell Adamo, with a small lip that's raised behind the LCD screen. The notebook's chassis is an odd mix of curves and straight edges — it's not as smooth as a Macbook Pro or Apple Macbook Air, and not as squarely utilitarian as a Lenovo notebook. It's a solid notebook, but we did notice a bit of flex in the LCD screen and some play in the DVD drive's tray lock.
The Dell XPS L501x can be customised with one of over 100 designs on its lid. Ours came with the Dazzling Dreams design, which we thought was very unusual and attractive.
What stood out for us was how good the Dell XPS L501x's internal stereo speakers sounded. They're not a patch on real computer speakers, but they're the best we've heard in a laptop. Clear treble and a surprising amount of mid-range and bass make the XPS L501x fine for music or movie playback.
Dell XPS 15 (L501x): Specifications and performance
Our Dell XPS L501x test unit used a quad core Intel Core i7-740QM processor, which isn't available in the Australian model — you're restricted to the less powerful, dual-core Intel Core i5-480M. It's still a good chip, and comparable to the one in a base-level 15in Macbook Pro. Our test unit shipped with 6GB of DDR3 RAM, but you're able to specify between 4 and 8GB of RAM when you order your notebook. The internal 7200rpm, 640GB hard drive proved to be a zippy performer in our tests, copying 2.12GB of files from one folder to another in 1min 2sec.
The NVIDIA GeForce GT 435M graphics card is a mid-range model — it's more potent than the Macbook Pro's GT 330M, but there are significantly more powerful chipsets available in gaming notebooks. This graphics adapter drives the Dell XPS L501's 15.6in, LED-backlit LCD screen — our test unit used the RGB LED-backlit 1920x1080-pixel model — which is able to display excellent clarity and brightness levels (among the best we've seen from a 15in screen). As you'd expect, the Dell XPS L501x also has 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, a couple of USB 3.0 ports and an eSATA connector.
Our battery rundown test, where we play a movie while the screen is set to full brightness and Wi-Fi is enabled, ate through the Dell XPS L501x's battery in 1hr 22min. This is a pretty standard result for a 15in laptop, but if you're looking for extra longevity you can purchase a 9-cell battery instead of the standard 6-cell. It is bulkier though, causing the laptop to tilt forwards when sitting on a flat surface.
We ran through a series of performance tests to give the Dell XPS L501x a bit of a chance to stretch its legs. Our Blender rendering test completed in 2min 14sec using a single thread of the CPU and 43sec when using all eight available threads. 3DMark06 returned a result of 7390 3DMarks, and iTunes encoded 53min of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3s in 1min 16sec. These are strong results and are reflected in the generally snappy operation of the Dell XPS L501x.
Dell XPS 15 (L501x): Conclusion
The Dell XPS 15 (L501x) is a strong performer. It's not as well built or attractive as a MacBook Pro, but it is cheaper.
Become a fan of PC World Australia on Facebook
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features. Sign up to PC World’s newsletters
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Is the world ready for a 4K phone?
- 2 D-Link Taipan AC3200 Ultra tri-band modem-router review
- 3 Dell XPS 13 (2016) review: Making the very best Ultrabook
- 4 Microsoft Surface Book review: The verdict on Microsoft's first notebook
- 5 Telstra Wi-Fi 4GX Advanced III review: Testing the world's first 600Mbps wireless hotspot
Best Deals on PC World
Latest News Articles
- Samsung's UHD Monitor covers 99.5 per cent of Adobe colour spectrum
- HP settles cases with inkjet cartridge vendors
- Study predicts PS3 will win the console war
- Samsung wave makes a splash at Mobile World Congress
- Sony returns to profit, cuts full-year loss forecast
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCICT Fleet and Equipment Audit ResourcesSA
- CCProgram Business Implementation Director- HR Payroll, FINSW
- CCSenior Network Engineer - NV1ACT
- CCHR Systems Support OfficerACT
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (MS SQL Server/C#.NET)160520/AP/vmtAsia
- FTSenior Systems EngineerACT
- CCSolution ArchitectNSW
- FTSenior Developer (.Net)SA
- FTSecurity Software EngineerACT
- CCBusiness AnalystACT
- CCTechnology Lead / Senior Developer - Java (Urgent)NSW
- FTPega Operation Engineer - CEPNSW
- CCNetwork Consultant - Bandwidth Assessment | 3 month contract into Defence | NV1+ACT
- CCInfrastructure Deployment ManagerVIC
- CCAWS Developer/LeadNSW
- FTManager, Applications SpecialistNSW
- CCProject Specialist Continuity AutomationVIC
- CCMobility SpcialistACT
- CCSenior Project ManagerNSW
- CCOracle Applications Team LeadNSW
- FTDynamics Project ManagerNSW
- CCIT Security Consultant -NSW
- CCTechnical Digital Producer / Requirements EngineerNSW
- CCProject CoordinatorACT
- CCIteration Manager/Agile Project ManagerNSW