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Review: Dell XPS 15 Touch is the best Windows laptop ever

Woody Leonhard | July 14, 2014
Dell's big, fast, 15-inch flagship laptop and its amazing touchscreen give the MacBook Pro Retina a run for its money

Put under duress, the base near the vent turned warm, up to 110 degrees — not exactly egg-frying territory, but uncomfortable nevertheless. The fan, when it kicked in, was noticeable but not overbearing (I work in a moderately noisy office).

I like the keyboard, but I like the MacBook Pro Retina's keyboard, too, and they're very similar. The track pad works simply and well, with swiping gestures and a defined zone for right click. There's no number pad. Touch on the screen responds as you would expect, with good edge coverage and full 10-point recognition.

The machine I tested has full TPM 1.2 support, but it does not have a fingerprint scanner. Your experience with finger scanners may be better than mine, but I don't consider the lack of one a debilitating loss.

In short, for most folks, the Dell XPS 15 Touch machine (in its two high-end configurations) is the best Windows laptop ever made. It's also among the most expensive. Even if you never touch the screen and work only on the desktop, the XPS 15 will keep up with everything you throw at it, looking superelegant in the process.

Downsides? You get 12 months of McAfee Security. It'll take a few minutes to blow that away. The wallpaper isn't commensurate with the gorgeous display. It'll take two more minutes to address that. Otherwise, it's a very clean machine.

For the past six months, my mobile machine of choice has been a MacBook Pro Retina, running Windows 7 under Boot Camp. This is the first machine I've seen that comes close to matching Apple's flagship — high praise indeed. The Mac's battery life is better, and the MacBook Pro Retina is cheaper if you don't run Windows. The XPS 15 has touch support and Windows built in.

If you want a Windows-first machine, don't mind hauling 4.4 pounds, and haven't drained your expense account yet, Dell's XPS 15 is the machine to get.


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