Saturday, 17 May 2014

Dell XPS 15 (9530) - A Simple Review after 48 Hours of Using It

Although the Dell XPS 15 (9530) has been selling since Q4 of 2013, I have not taken the plunge of getting one because I was really interested in the Macbook Air due to its superb portability. At that moment in time, I do not need the firepower of a quadcore cpu.

However, at this moment, I would need to have a good laptop with a quadcore cpu. Apart from that, I would also require the laptop to be around 15" and it must be a slim laptop. After doing some research, I have the finalist - Dell XPS 15 (9530) with 512GB mSATA and 16GB of memory; MSI GS60 Ghost Pro; Gigabyte P35K CF4 and the Macbook Pro 15 with 512GB PCI-e storage as well as 16GB of memory.

Initially, I have ruled out the Gigabyte P35K CF4 due to some quality control issues. It is quite well known if you have paid a visit to It seems that Gigabyte is still trying to improve on the P35K's chassis.

Perhaps I could get myself an MSI GS60 Ghost Pro since it comes with the latest Nvidia Gforce 870M graphics card. After doing some research, I have also ruled it out because I am not impressed with the cooling system of such device. I just could not work with constant light buzzing coming from the cooling fans.

Alternatively, I could get myself a Macbook Pro 15 with 512GB PCIe storage with 16GB of memory since it is a quiet machine and it has superb connectivity as well as thunderbolt 2 ports. I did not take the machine due to its high price tag.

This means that I would have to settle with the Dell XPS 15 (9530) with 512GB mSATA storage as well as 16GB of memory. Honestly the machine is not too shabby because it has a beautiful screen with a resolution of 3200x1800 and the machine is light at 2.02kg. It has 4 usb ports coupled with a mini display port as well as a HDMI port. It is simply beautiful. In addition to that, it is relatively cheaper than the Apple Macbook Pro 15 which I have mentioned above.

After paying for the Dell XPS 15 (9530), I was told that it will take around 12 working days to arrive. Oh dear... It is such a drag. I was told that the machine will be arriving from China so that is the reason. I then told myself that I am patient and I will wait for the machine to arrive.

I was asked to track my order online. In summary, it took 6 days for the machine to be build before it is being shipped from China to the UK. I wonder why it took so long to build the machine since I have not made any changes to the stock machine in the first place! Anyway, after it has been shipped, it took another 8 days before I have the machine delivered to me.

I was really happy when I have received the machine. It is sturdy and classy. The chassis itself looks premium and it is light. The mSATA is fast (I am not surprised because it is a Samsung 841 product) and the screen is magnificient. I have no question in relation to the dead pixels on the screen. The machine is also very quiet when I am merely surfing the internet and the system fan rarely run above 1100rpm.I am also very happy with the fact that the 91Whr battery lasted me 6 hours before I need to recharge the machine for the first time ( Bear in mind that I have only used it for word processing as well as light surfing on the internet).

I then had to recharge the XPS 15 when the battery is low. At this moment, I am counting by the time as to how long will it take for the machine to be fully recharged. Well, it took the machine 3 hours to fully recharge the battery. I am puzzled but not surprised because the machine comes with a 91Whr battery. Well, it would only take less than one hour for someone to fully recharge an Apple Macbook Pro 15 and it is equipped with a 95Whr battery! That is certainly very strange indeed.

While I was browsing on the internet with the wall charger plugged in, I can hear faint noises. I then decided to do some tests and it is certainly it is noise surfing the internet with the wall charger plugged in. It is worst when the battery is fully recharged. The noise will stop when the wall charge is removed. I am quite upset because it is a new machine and I would not expect a new machine to behave like that. I then did some research and it relates to a condition of coil whining.

Apparently Dell knows about the problem but they claimed that it is merely an isolated problem.

Well, the coil whining problem is not the only problem I had. The magnificient screen has caused many problems to me. While I can adjust the screen's resolution, it will only make toolbars extra large while the text on the toolbar too small to read. I then called Dell and they managed to scale the resolution down to 1920x1080 but I still have problems because the toolbar on the internet browser is too big while the text is readable. It goes the same to the toolbar when accessing Word documents.

Eventually, I called Dell customer service again and an engineer was called to fix my laptop the following day. He came over and he managed to replace the motherboard and the power cable before he left. Unfortunately, with the change of the motherboard, it has rendered Windows 8.1 unusable. This is because the laptop kept on rebooting by itself and gave me an error which states: Driver_Power_State_Failure. I was then given the option of asking the engineer to fix the problem or Dell will eventually place an order for a new unit. I am also given the option of a full refund since I have only had it for two days.

I did not think twice and told the kind Dell customer service officer that I would like to have a full refund because I am not happy with the product which I am using due to problems which I have encountered. There is no guarantee that a new unit will be free from any problem though. In that case, I would have to resort to laptop hunting again.

What a shame, Dell!!!


30 May 2014 - The return of the laptop took one week but I have yet to receive my refund. Maybe it will take another week to do so. 

04 June 2014 - Finally, after many calls being made, I have received an e-mail stating that my account is closed. However, I have yet to receive any news in regard to my refund.

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