Review archive

I bought a Dell XPS 15

I’ve been trying to justify buying a new laptop for nearly 2 years. Despite it being the only thing that allows me to earn an income, I have been stuck in this “the old one still works” mindset: even though it’s slower, heavier, and has approximately 6 minutes battery life these days. Given the Acer’s approx value at purchase was circa £400 and that’s my daily rate, I’d paid for it through work several hundred times over; I was holding on to it because I’m a miserable scrooge.

So, after convincing myself that it was a sensible business decision to invest in some faster / better tech at some point, I had to decide what to buy. I read review after review for lots of top spec laptops: HP Spectre series, the Microsoft Surface Pro 4s, and various Dells including the Dell XPS 15. The only problem was the price tag: the build I wanted was £1500. My car is worth less than that.

Towards the end of June, on a whim I checked out the Dell website again and noticed that they had a series of offers on: £100 off certain laptops over £1000, £150 cashback on laptops over £1299 bought before 5th July AND Dell are on topcashback, which I knew would recover about £75 which would bring the final price down to just under £1200. Probably still worth more than my car, but enough of a saving that — combined with my recent celebration of 5 years in business — sealed the deal. One Dell laptop, in the bag.


(Not my photo, soz.)

It is a fucking beast of a laptop, with tech specs as follows:

  • 7th Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-7700HQ Quad Core Processor
  • 15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge display
  • 16GB, DDR4, 2400MHz; with support for up to 32GB should I feel insane enough to upgrade
  • 512GB PCIe Solid State Drive
  • 97WHr battery with estimated 19hr use
  • NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) GTX 1050 with 4GB GDDR5(!!!)

First off, I have to state that the 19hr estimated use on the battery is optimistic at best. That said, I can do a full working day of heavy dev running XAMPP, Photoshop, PDF reader, Microsoft Word etc and only just start to worry about charging at the end of it. I can get a good 12 hours out of casual web browsing.

It’s a surprisingly lightweight laptop for the spec (I was expecting it to weigh half a ton) at approx 2kg, albeit heavier than some of its competitors, but 100% looks the business for it. With a smooth aluminium chassis and massive screen filling virtually every bit of space available, it looks every bit as expensive as the price tag it carries. Unfortunately the palm rest and internal casing let it down a little as it picks up grease from my fingertips like woah.

Visuals aside, the laptop hasn’t faltered yet. I’ve thrown a heavy workload at it from the get go (things are busy right now) and it’s hit the ground running. On Friday I was running Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator simultaneously while working on a CSS3 heavy website with multiple instances of Chrome open, as well as the various dev tools in the background. To top it all off, it wasn’t plugged in so running on a reduced power mode and I hadn’t noticed: there was not even a stutter from the processor. I honestly think I have outdone my personal needs here, and would love to see what this thing can truly handle.

It’s the quietest laptop I’ve ever owned, although that’s not necessarily hard given the old acer sounded like a plane taking off if it got in the slightest bit stressed.

I’ve previously expressed my concern about laptops shipping without e.g. CD drives (admittedly, back in 2008!) and the XPS 15 is one of them but I’m prepared to eat humble pie: I can’t remember the last time I used the CD/DVD drive on my Acer & I’ve yet to miss it on the Dell. Admittedly, growing USB drive capacity and “cloud” back-up services are the main reason behind that, with media streaming being my main source of music consumption a close second.

Aside from the case marks I touched upon earlier, my only other complaint is that I sometimes struggle to open the lid. It sounds silly but if I don’t have my fingers in a very specific placement, I find it difficult to get enough grip on it to get it open. Nobody mentioned this in any of the reviews I read prior to purchase, so that might just be me being a total bellend.

I’m also led to believe that the built in webcam is not positioned particularly well, which could lead to some interesting chats with my clients, but if I ever double up as a cam girl might produce some interesting chest shots ;)

All in I’m really pleased I finally took the plunge in buying some new hardware and I like that the Dell has offered me so far. I only hope it’s more reliable than my bloody car.


An evening with Circus Funtasia

I was recently invited to pop along to see the travelling animal-free circus “Circus Funtasia” as they’re in Madeley, in nearby Telford, for the weekend. Circus Funtasia have visited Madeley on several occasions, and each time we drive past the signs the kids will pester and badger about going along, I’ll promise we can go… read full entry »


Opening night at Novello Lounge, Telford

For a large town, Telford has a pretty poor nightlife. With an estimated population of 155,000 (according to Wikipedia), which makes it the largest town in Shropshire, it beggars belief that we Telfordians have to travel to Bridgnorth, Shrewsbury and beyond if we want a few cocktails and some decent music to start a night out…. read full entry »


Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge review

I tried to make a call to a website client of mine recently, and my phone — a Samsung Galaxy Core I8262 — spent what felt like half an hour thinking about what it was supposedly doing before locking up and rebooting. I am usually fairly patient with my technology but when a phone can’t… read full entry »

Am I being unreasonable? (Poor customer service)

Gaz and I picked the kids up from Karl’s earlier today a little later than I would normally do so, so we decided to head out for some lunch. I left the decision up to Gaz as I was feeling a bit dodgy (self-inflicted, don’t ask .. or look at Instagram) and so he drove… read full entry »


Friday Night Treat: Peepo Pizza

I treated Gaz to some pizza on Friday night at one of our favourite local food places — Peepo Pizza, in Bridgnorth — to celebrate finally invoicing some jobs that have been on my list for a while (note how I say invoicing… cross your fingers they actually get paid!) Anyway, I rang and booked… read full entry »


Best Chips in Shropshire: The Bell Inn, Cross Houses

I don’t often blog about my experiences eating out, but there are times when I’m so surprised (either positively or otherwise) by what I’m eating I can’t help but give it a mention. This is one of those times. I have recently had the pleasure of dining — twice, in fact — with Gaz at… read full entry »


Our Day Out in Birmingham

It was Karl’s birthday on Saturday (I won’t tell you how old he is because he might throw something at me) and because he is the most awkward person in the world to buy for, I didn’t buy him anything; instead we went for a day out in Birmingham. Considering I have always lived within… read full entry »


My awesome t-shirt

Did you see my boobies on twitter recently? No silly, not on show, in my awesome ‘Jem’ logo t-shirt. I recently had a mail from a chappy called Martin at T Shirt Printing .net asking me if I wanted to review one of their printed tees and I said sure, because (as my oldies will… read full entry »


The Bravado Embrace

The people at Bravado were so impressed by the description of my boobs in the review of their nursing tank top that they have been sending me lavish gifts ever since. OK, that’s a big fat lie, nobody is that impressed by my boobs any more ;) I was offered the opportunity to test run… read full entry »


Shiny new Acer Aspire E1

I’ve been bending Karl’s ear recently about my laptop. After posting not so long ago on Snark about how it was just fine for a near-7-year-old laptop, I think I must have jinxed it. Suddenly it was creaking at the seams, not coping with what I was throwing at it. Of course, now I’m actually… read full entry »