Okay, so the Dell XPS series of laptops. They’re one of the most premium Windows 10 laptops thay money can buy right now – and it has a lot of good stuff too – bright, beautiful screen with thin bezels all around with maximized footprint since it’s using a 16:10 aspect ratio, and 4K in resolution and has touch capability, beautiful design and overall just a joy to use.
But, no product is perfect – and that applies to the XPS lineup of laptops too. So in today’s video, we’ll go through some of the things I did to the XPS 15 9500 that I have here, and how to fix some of the quirks that I personally have.
The first thing that I and many others say is to always “remove bloatware”. But, I realized I ended up not removing many of the pre-installed Dell software because they’re just very useful.
I ended up keeping this list of pre-installed utilities:
- Dell Update to keep the BIOS firmware up to date
- SupportAssist for diagnosis purposes and also for warranty checking
- Dell Power Manager
- Dell PremierColor
So, if you want to reformat your XPS laptop and have a fresh, clean start – then keep these 4 utilities because they are very useful.
But you might ask – why? Well, I think both Dell Update and SupportAssist are pretty self-explanatory.
Let’s head into tip number 2 – the Dell Power Manager.
This utility is pretty much a one-stop app for managing the XPS in terms of its battery and performance. Like how’s the battery level, battery health, and also how much the battery charges before it is indicated as “full”.
These are very useful settings if you want to get the most out of your battery in terms of how many years it’ll last – because batteries deteriorate over time as it gets used.
You can also set schedules of how it should charge and whatnot – but if all of those are too complicated for you, there’s always the “adaptive” mode where it learns how you use the XPS laptop instead. For me, though, I just set it to “primarily AC use” because I edit videos using this laptop – and that definitely needs AC power.
And then – tip number 3 – still within the Dell Power Manager utility, but about its performance. Inside this utility, there’s a tab that says “thermal management” and we have a total of 4 different options here.
They’re all distinct from each other, too – by default, it’s in “optimized” mode and the laptop adjusts itself to however we use it. This… pretty much works most of the time but there are some occasions that fan ramps up because I opened Spotify or something like that.
Then both cool and quiet options might look like they mean the same thing, but they’re not. They’re both limiting performance but achieving different goals. Cool profile ramps up the fam to ensure the laptop stays within a certain temperature while its performance is limited, whereby Quiet profile only turns the fan up when it is absolutely needed.
We also did some benchmarks too – and if you’re doing some intensive work like gaming or video editing, then it matters a lot. I use it in optimized profile most of the time and while editing videos, the XPS 15 9500 can be a hand-warmer. Not a bad thing, since I can get my videos edited smoothly.
Also I do have these kickstands to prop up the laptop for better cooling. This stand is by Baseus and it works very well.
Tip number 3 – the Dell PremierColor utility. Now, one of the best things that I love about the XPS 15 9500 that we have here is the screen. It’s massive and yet it has tiny bezels all around the sides – and the bottom bezel is partially hidden because of the hinge positioning. I love it.
But color is a pretty subjective thing. Some people like their displays colder, some like it warmer. Whatever your choice is, I suggest starting from the built-in color profiles that the Dell PremierColor. The XPS 15 9500 is using the “vibrant” color profile out of the box – and while it truly looks beautiful, I ended up using sRGB because my content creation workflow uses sRGB.
There are other profiles like Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 as well – so have fun exploring. There are dials to fine-tune it to your personal liking too. It can also automatically swap between color profiles according to whatever apps you’re using – so that’s handy if you want more vibrant colors while watching Netflix but not on Photoshop, for example.
As a quick mention – the Dell PremierColor has a built-in color calibration applet. Currently, it only supports two devices – and our X-Rite i1Display Pro Plus is not supported so we can’t share our experience with you.
We’ll definitely post it on our social media when the Dell PremierColor supports our colorimeter – so follow us there.
Okay, tip number 4 – that print screen key on the XPS 15 9500. Like what we mentioned in our full review, I have no idea why Dell decided to nest the print screen key under F10 but instead gave a dedicated “insert” key.
It annoys me because I do use the F1 to F12 keys for work and navigation. But I don’t want to press Fn + F10 every time I want to take a screenshot.
It’s an easy fix, really – but just a minor annoyance. I used Autohotkey – or AHK for short – and programmed the F10 key to become the print screen key.
Tip number 5 – please do remember that the XPS laptops are upgradeable – except for the XPS 13 9300. Like what we mentioned in our full review of this laptop, there are two M.2 SSD slots and two SODIMM RAM slots that we can access easily.
For me, I slotted in another 512GB SSD as my “work drive” and I have 32GB of RAM in this laptop – so that’s enough for me. But, do take note that this is not an upgrade guide – and if you’re attempting to do it, it’s at your own risk.
And that’s it! Those are a few things that I have done to the XPS 15 9500 after 5 months of using it so far. I’m loving this laptop and it’s just a joy to use.