From the Department of Grading on a Curve

From Monica Chin’s review of Dell’s new XPS 15 for The Verge, which she describes as “the closest Windows-running contender [to Apple’s MacBook Pros] that I’ve been able to find”:

Generally, when I review a laptop, even a fairly thin one, I might see an occasional spike above 90 degrees (Celsius) while running heavy loads. Larger laptops with very competent cooling (such as Asus’ ROG Zephyrus G15) are very capable of keeping their CPUs below the 80s. Recent MacBooks basically don’t turn on their fans ever.

But this XPS 15 unit was really ... something. Throughout my various testing, the CPU was consistently around 99-100 degrees. This wasn’t a matter of brief spikes in temp — it was very worryingly hot.

My fellow Americans should keep in mind that water boils at 100°C.

The fans weren’t holding back, either. They were roaring the entire time throughout most of my tests. The XPS could be heard from across the room for the duration of our 4K video export test (which it completed in 3:57 — a respectable but not amazing time). [...] Outside of benchmark testing, while running my comparably lighter load of Chrome tabs, apps, and streaming with occasional Zoom calls overtop, I wasn’t necessarily hearing the fans all the time. But I did hear them occasionally, and more concerningly, I did feel quite a bit of heat. [...]

And, of course, even these mid-range chips come with a fairly substantial downside: battery life. Even with the GPU disabled, this XPS is getting a fraction of the lifespan that a MacBook Pro can get. (I’m sure the high-resolution screen isn’t helping.) I was only averaging three hours and 46 minutes of continuous work with the screen at medium brightness, with occasional downloads running, files copying, and other such tasks.

So it runs very hot and very loud and the battery doesn’t last 4 hours in typical use. The Verge’s score: 8.5/10. The Aristocrats!

Thursday, 3 March 2022