Dell XPS 15 vs. Razer Blade 15: which to buy in 2022

You can pick up a dedicated gaming notebook and put up with a sci-fi aesthetic with jet fighter exhausts, or you can pick up a stodgy business-oriented machine that looks like something out of a cubicle farm. Those are your only choices, right?

Wrong.

Today, you have other options, tweeners that straddle the gamer aesthetic and performance fence. They won’t stand out too much in either a boardroom or a LAN party. Here, we compare two such machines, the Dell XPS 15 and Razer Blade 15, that provide a mix of (relatively) conservative looks and at least decent gaming chops. But which is better?

Specs

  Dell XPS 15 9520 Razer Blade 15
Dimensions 13.56 inches x 9.06 inches x 0.73 inches Base model: 13.98 inches x 9.25 inches x 0.78 inches
13.98 inches x 9.25 inches x 0.67 inches
Weight 4.22 pounds (non-touch)
4.62 pounds (touch)
Base model: 4.6 pounds
4.4 pounds
Processor Intel Core i5-12500H
Intel Core i7-12700H
Intel Core i9-12900HK
Intel Core i7-11800H (Base model)
Intel Core i7-12800H
Intel Core i9-12900H
Graphics Intel UHD graphics
Intel Iris Xe graphics
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
RAM 8GB DDR5
16GB DDR5
32GB DDR5
64GB DDR5
16GB DDR4 (Base model)
16GB DDR5
32GB DDR5
Display 15.6-inch 16:10 Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) IPS
15.6-inch 16:10 3.5K (3456 x 2160) OLED
15.6-inch 16:10 UHD+ (3840 x 2400) IPS
15.6-inch 16:9 Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS 144Hz
15.6-inch 16:9 Full HD IPS 360Hz
15.6-inch 16:9 QHD (2560 x 1440) IPS 165Hz
15.6-inch 16:9 QHD IPS 240Hz
15.6-inch UHD (3,840 x 2,160) IPS
Storage 512GB PCIe 4.0 SSD
1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
512GB PCIe 3.0 SSD
512GB PCIe 4.0 SSD
1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
Touch Optional Optional
Ports 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
Full-size SD card reader
1 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
2 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
3 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
Full-size SD card reader
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
Webcam 720p with Windows 11 Hello infrared camera 1080p with Windows 11 Hello infrared camera
Operating system Windows 11 Windows 11
Battery 86 watt-hours 65 watt-hours (Base model)
80 watt-hours
Price $1,249+ $1,800+
Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

Price and configurations

The XPS 15 starts at a relatively low $1,249 for a Core i5-12500H, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, Intel UHD graphics, and a 15.6-inch FHD+ non-touch display. The most you’ll spend is $3,299 for a Core i9-12900HK, 64GB of RAM, a 4TB SSD, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 TI GPU, and either a 3.5K OLED or a 4K+ IPS display.

The Blade 15 has two versions, the Base model with a last-gen Intel CPU, slower RAM, and slower storage. It’s also limited to a choice of 144Hz Full HD or 165Hz QHD displays. The Base model costs $1,800 ($1,540 on sale) for a Core i7-11800H, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, an RTX  3060 GPU, and the slower display. The other option is $2,300 ($2,050 on sale) for an RTX 3070 and 165Hz QHD panel. The regular Blade 15, which is a much faster and more current laptop, has an entry-level price of $2,500 for a Core i7-12800H, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, an RTX 3060, and a 240Hz QHD display. The most powerful configuration is $4,000 for a Core i9-12900H, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, an RTX 3080 Ti, and a 144Hz UHD display.

The XPS 15 is a premium 15-inch laptop for sure, but it’s significantly less expensive than the Blade 15. Of course, you get lesser-performing components, but that’s likely to matter most to hardcore gamers and very demanding creators.

Design Fortnite running a Razer Blade 15.Razer Blade 15

In 2020, Razer took the previous Blade 15 design and modernized it, expanding the display by framing it in smaller side bezels. That design remains today, and the avowed gaming notebook is relatively thin at 0.67 inches (0.78 inches in the less expensive Base model) while contained within a svelte, all-aluminum chassis that weighs a reasonable 4.5 pounds. We call that “reasonable” because that chassis tucks in some seriously powerful components (see the Performance section below). The Blade 15 also enjoys an excellent keyboard that offers sufficient key travel, beautiful Razer Chroma per-key RGB lighting with 16.8 million colors, and even spacing with only a handful of irksome layout issues. The attractive and sleek aesthetic manages to avoid projecting its owner as either an overt gamer or a conservative businessperson.

Dell XPS 15 9520 front view showing display and keyboard deck.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Dell’s 2022 XPS 15 9520 looks a great deal like the same version a couple of years ago. In fact, it’s pretty near to identical, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s made of machined aluminum and carbon fiber that combine for a sturdy and particularly comfortable notebook to carry around and use. It’s not the thinnest notebook around, coming in at 0.73 inches at its thickest point, and it’s not exactly light at 4.62 pounds when equipped with its 86-watt-hour battery (more on that later). But it’s one of the smallest 15.6-inch notebooks thanks to super-thin bezels. The keyboard is top-notch, with decent travel enhanced by a snappy mechanism that invites fast and accurate typing, and the touchpad — Microsoft Precision, of course — is expansive and oh-so-comfortable to swipe.

The Blade 15 is prettier and the Dell XPS is slightly smaller, but both are solidly built, and neither will embarrass you no matter the environment.

Connectivity is important on large laptops like these, and Blade 15 offers more ports overall. The XPS 15 has one more Thunderbolt 4 port, but the Blade 15 has additional USB-A and USB-C ports. Both have Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, the latest standards.

The Blade 15’s 1080p webcam beats the XPS 15’s 720p version, making the Razer a better videoconferencing tool. Both laptops have infrared cameras for Windows 11 Hello passwordless-login support via facial recognition, and the XPS 15 also has an excellent fingerprint reader built into the power button. Neither has extensive privacy or security features beyond Windows 11 Hello.

Performance A person playing a game on a Razer Blade (2018).Riley Young/Digital Trends

The Blade 15 is built around Intel’s latest 12th-generation 45-watt 14-core/20-thread CPUs, ranging from the Core i7-12800H to the Core i9-12900H. Those are supremely speedy mobile CPUs that burn through whatever task they’re assigned whether physics-oriented ga

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