Dell XPS 15 (L501x) notebook

Dell XPS 15 (L501x) review: This Core i7 Dell laptop is equipped with a Full HD screen

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now 2
Dell XPS 15 (L501x)
  • Expert Rating

    3.75 / 5

Pros

  • Excellent screen, plenty of processing power, surprisingly good speakers

Cons

  • Thicker than a Macbook Pro, graphics card could be more powerful, build quality could be better

Bottom Line

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.

Would you buy this?

  • Best Deals (Selling at 2 stores)

See lowest prices

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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: notebooks, Dell, Dell XPS notebooks
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?