When it comes to mainstream laptops, Dell offers two lines of products: Inspiron and XPS. The Inspiron range takes value into account, from the 3000 series, which you can have for around $ 400, to the 7000 series, which extends up to $ 1,000.
The XPS range, on the other hand, uses the traditional “Ultrabook” model with premium design, components, battery life and build quality. However, Dell charges the privilege with an equipped XPS notebook starting at $ 3,000.
We compared the latest 15-inch options, the Inspiron 15 7000 and the XPS 15, to see if the latter was worth its premium price or if the former was better value.
Prices and configurations
The Dell XPS 15 and the Inspiron 15 7000 are very similar – and have always been. The main difference lies in the build quality, while the internals remain comparable.
The Inspiron 15 7000 series starts with an i5-10300H device with 8 GB of RAM, a 256 GB NVMe solid-state drive, and integrated Intel UHD graphics for around $ 700. The second and last model in the range improves the technical data across the board. For around $ 1,000, it comes with an i7-10750H, a 512 GB NVMe SSD, and a GTX 1650 4 GB GPU. Unfortunately, the RAM remains the same in both models: 8 GB at 2,933 MHz.
It makes sense that the Inspiron 7000 configurations cost around $ 1,000. This is where the XPS 15 range begins. For around $ 1,200, the XPS 15 base model offers the same specifications as the base Inspiron 15 7000 model: an i5-10300H, 8 GB of RAM, Intel UHD graphics and a 256 GB NVMe SSD. The only big difference is in the RAM. The XPS 15 comes with two 4 GB modules, while the Inspiron comes with a single 8 GB module.
The XPS 15 range is best defined by the most expensive model, but not the cheapest. The first-class configuration includes an i9-10885H, 32 GB RAM (split into two 16 GB modules), a GTX 1650 Ti 4 GB GPU and a 1 TB NVMe SSD. It also comes with a 4K touch display. They pay a pretty penny, however: around $ 2,700.
If you need more power, the XPS 15 series offers space. You can upgrade your device with up to 64 GB RAM and a 2 TB SSD. Unfortunately, the Inspiron line doesn't offer the same degree of customization.
Dell Inspiron 15 7000
Dell XPS 15
If you look closely, you'll find that the high-end Inspiron configuration only has 8GB of RAM. In addition, it is a single RAM module. This means that the memory is running in single channel mode and slowing down the laptop. Fortunately, the Inspiron 15 7000, especially the 7591 model we tested, is extremely easy to upgrade.
Take out the screws on the back of the laptop and you can add and replace RAM, add a second PCIe SSD, and even a third storage option in the form of a 2.5-inch drive (either SSD or 2.5-inch) Disk) add drive). For around $ 30, you can upgrade the memory to 16GB and switch to faster dual-channel storage by adding another 8GB RAM module to meet your storage needs.
The XPS 15 has similar configuration options, but comes standard with dual-channel memory. You can swap out the large internal battery for a smaller one to make room for a 2.5-inch drive (either mechanical or solid-state).
Build quality and connectivity
The Inspiron 15 7000 is made of stamped aluminum and therefore allows only minimal bending or bending of the lid, case and keyboard deck. However, the XPS 15 is made from a combination of machined aluminum and carbon fiber (or fiberglass for the Arctic White model). The build quality is the main difference between the two machines. If you compare them side by side, this is immediately apparent.
They're both well built and eschew plastic for aluminum. It's not so much that the Inspiron 15 7000 feels worse, but rather that the XPS 15 feels better. It's clear where your money goes when you buy an XPS 15. However, if you are on a budget, the Inspiron 7000 is still a solid unit.
They also differ in terms of connectivity. The Inspiron 15 comes standard with multiple ports: two USB-A 3.2 ports, a headphone / microphone combo jack, a full-size HDMI, a USB-C 3.2 port, and a micro SD card reader. The XPS 15 has fewer ports, but is more flexible. It comes with a single powered USB-C 3.1 port, a full-size SD card reader, and a headphone and microphone combo jack. The two Thunderbolt 3 ports make all the difference and allow you to add more connectivity with one of the best Thunderbolt 3 docks.
Both laptops are the same – or at least very similar – in terms of wireless connectivity. Both support Wi-Fi 6 and up to Bluetooth 5.1. The only difference is that the XPS 15 comes with a nicer AX1650 Wi-Fi module, while the Inspiron 15 comes with an AX201 module.
Keyboard and touchpad
Both laptops offer keyboards with sufficient travel and mechanisms with a nice click. The XPS 15's keyboard is slightly more precise, however, and high-speed typists will prefer it. The touchpads are a big point of deviation. Although both support Microsoft Precision drivers, the 2020 XPS 15 has a massive touchpad similar to the MacBook Pro. The Inspiron 15 has a more traditional touchpad that's about half the size of the XPS 15 and offset to the left.
You can configure the XPS 15 with a touch display, either Full HD (1920×1080) or 4K (3840×2160), which is not available on the Inspiron. After all, both laptops use fingerprint readers to support passwordless Windows 10 Hello logins, and both work reliably and quickly.
Portability and battery life
The Inspiron 15 7000 is equipped with a 56 watt hour battery, which enables the third storage space. Given the fast CPU, that's not much battery capacity – even with a less power-hungry Full HD display – and this was shown in our battery tests. For example, it only managed six hours on our web browser test, and that's the best indicator of productivity longevity.
The XPS 15 offers more battery options. The base model comes with the same 56 watt hour battery as the Inspiron 15 7000. However, you can upgrade this to an 86 watt hour battery (at the expense of a different drive bay).
The XPS 15 has a larger battery. However, this does not mean that the battery will last longer. The 4K display, which is shown in high-end configurations, consumes battery life just as quickly as the Inspiron: around six hours with a light workload. However, you can configure the XPS 15 with a Full HD display, which significantly improves battery life.
In terms of portability, the XPS 15 and Inspiron 15 7000 are almost identical. The XPS 15 is a bit thinner technically, but you won't notice any difference. However, you may notice a slight difference in weight. The Inspiron 15 7000 is the lighter of the two at 3.86 pounds. The XPS 15 is a little heavier at 4 pounds with the 56 watt hour battery or a little heavier with the 86 watt hour battery at 4.5 pounds.
There is only one display between the two Inspiron 15 7000 configurations: a Full HD IPS panel. It is a non-contact display that is limited to thin, but not invisible, frames. The Inspiron 15 7000 continues to use the traditional 16: 9 aspect ratio with a webcam on top. It's a good screen, but nothing special.
The screen of the XPS 15 is. It uses an aspect ratio of 16:10, with the Full HD model having slightly more pixels than 16: 9 displays (1,920 x 1,200). The same goes for the 4K model.
In addition, the XPS 15 has an InfinityEdge control panel with almost invisible frames around the screen. It might not sound like much, but the slightly larger screen combined with the slightly smaller bezels makes the XPS 15's display appear much larger than it should.
It looks good too. As we found out in our review, the XPS 15's screen is perfect for photo and video editors. It's also more durable and comes with Gorilla Glass 6 on the touchscreen model.
You can configure the Inspiron 15 7000 with either a Core i5-10300H or a Core i7-10750H CPU, but the GTX 1050 is the only graphics option outside of the integrated graphics. The XPS 15, on the other hand, can be configured with up to a Core i9-10885H and a GTX 1650 (and up to 64 GB RAM). This is by far the faster option whether you need a fast productivity machine or a creative workstation.
The combination of these parts makes a serious video editing and rendering machine. The GTX 1650 also gives you better frame rates in games, although this is anything but a real gaming laptop.
The two laptops should perform similarly if they are equipped with the same components. This means that in terms of raw performance for the price, the Inspiron 15 offers better value.
The XPS 15 wins in most cases
The Inspiron 15 7000 offers a very attractive price point and is slightly superior in upgradeability. This is not something to sneeze over. If you're looking under $ 1,000, this is your only choice on this comparison.
When we look at each laptop as a whole, we ultimately prefer the XPS 15 as the winning system. One of the reasons is configurability. The Inspiron 15 7000 may have great upgradeability, but you can configure the XPS 15 with better components right away. The most important of these is the powerful 10th generation i9 processor.
There is a price difference of around $ 200 between the base XPS 15 and the Inspiron 15 7000 for good reason. At this price, you get better build quality, a slightly more efficient keyboard, a thinner case, and longer battery life. While the Inspiron 15 7000 has completely sufficient technical data, the XPS 15 is clearly superior, which justifies the higher basic price.
The two options are very competitive in the end, but the XPS 15 comes out on top.