Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 9575 review: It might just be the fastest 2-in-1 in town

It's one of only two Kaby Lake G laptops in existence, and this is why we're sad about it.

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Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 Performance

Our main suite of performance tests compares the XPS 15 2-in-1 to a wide variety of laptops to show how its rare Kaby Lake G CPU compares to other processors. Later on, we’ll show how it compares to similar 2-in-1 models. 

Cinebench 

Our first test is Maxon’s Cinebench R15. It’s a multi-threaded test and is mostly CPU-bound. If you read our review of the Kaby Lake G CPU (available here), you know we were pleasantly surprised by the performance of the CPU. With the Dell, performance is also quite good. It’s not as fast as the HP Spectre x360 15 with its Core i7-8705G and its score of 807 in Cinebench. But as you can see from the chart below, the performance holds up well when compared to 7th-gen Core i7 CPUs even though it’s a Core i5 model.

dell xps 15 2 in 1 9575 cinebench nt IDG

The 8th gen Core i5-8305G can stand with 7th-gen Core i7 CPUs in multi-threaded tasks.

The vast majority of applications and tasks aren’t multi-threaded, however. To gauge general single-threaded performance we turn to Cinebench, setting it to test a single CPU thread. We can see the Core i5-8305G in the Dell falling short with a score of 159. Although not on our chart, the Kaby Lake G Core i7-8705G in HP’s Spectre x360 15 scored 174.

This basically means you legitimately get more performance between Core i7 and Core i5. What’s impressive is how the Core i5 in the XPS 15 2-in-1 places with the older 7th-gen CPUs. It can basically maintain high-enough clock speeds to make it every bit as fast as the previous Core i7-7700HQ chips. 

dell xps 15 2 in 1 9575 cinebench 1t IDG

HandBrake

One issue with typical benchmarks is they run in just a few seconds to a couple of minutes or three. While they shed light on performance for short loads, they don’t tell you how a laptop will behave if heated up. Will the performance drop? Will it warm like a thermal detonator?

To gauge a laptop’s behavior under thermal stress, we use the free and popular encoder HandBrake to convert a 30GB 1080P MKV file using the Android Tablet Preset. In the results, you can see the six-core CPUs with a healthy performance advantage thanks to the extra cores. We can also see how well the 8th-gen Core i5 holds up in a 45-minute encoding run. It’s every bit as fast as the 7th-gen Core i7 CPUs in gaming laptops.

dell xps 15 2 in 1 9575 handbrake performance IDG

The 8th-gen Core i5 Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 can hang with 7th-gen Core i7 chips in gaming laptops.

Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 3DMark FireStrike Performance

Most of the excitement over the Kaby Lake G in the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 is over its graphics chip. After all, Intel’s incorporation of an AMD part was about as expected as a Yankee and Red Sox playoff game without a dozen fist fights breaking out in the stands.

The Radeon RX Vega M GL in the Dell is limited by the total power of the CPU/GPU package (65 watts), so it’s not going to outpace more traditional discrete graphics that can run at 75 watts alone. 

The good news is that it punches very well for its class. Intel has said the custom Radeon RX Vega M GL would perform in between a GeForce GTX 1050 and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, and in 3DMark FireStrike it does just that. We wonder what the Core i7 Kaby Lake G would have done. 

dell xps 15 2 in 1 9575 3dmark firestrike overall IDG

The Radeon RX Vega M GL in the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 offers up performance between a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q and a GTX 1050 card.

Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 Rise of the Tomb Raider Performance

3DMark is a general synthetic benchmark, but it tracks generally with what you’ll get from more modern games. In Rise of the Tomb Raider, we see the XPS 15 2-in-1 sticking with a GeForce GTX 1050 chip rather than rising above, not exactly stellar performance at 19x10 on Very High in DirectX 11 mode.

On newer, more taxing games such as Rise of the Tomb Raider or Far Cry 5, the Dell XPS 15 2-in1 9575 is probably most comfortable at lower resolutions or lower game settings. But on older titles or less taxing titles, like the vast majority of esports games, it’ll comfortably run 1080p with all the bells and whistles turned on.

dell xps 15 2 in 1 9575 rise of the tomb raider dx11 19x10 very high IDG

Some games will push the Radeon RX Vega M GL closer to a GeForce GTX 1050 in performance.

It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that battery life. Find out how much on the next page.

At a Glance
  • Dell's first XPS 15 2-in-1 makes some controversial choices, including its all-USB connectivity and MagLev keyboard, but its powerful Kaby Lake G part offers top-notch performance in a slim profile.

    Pros

    • Core i5 performance that easily competes with most Core i7 laptops and 2-in-1s
    • Thin, light and powerful

    Cons

    • No USB-A Port
    • MagLev keyboard has a short travel and can be noisy
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