Dell XPS 15 9520 FHD+ vs. UHD+: Which should you buy?

More affordable

Dell XPS 15 9520 (FHD+)

Stunning clarity

Dell XPS 15 9520 (UHD+)

Dell XPS 15 9500

The 1920×1200 (FHD+) models of the XPS 15 9520 start at a smaller price, but you’re still going to get an outstanding PC experience thanks to a quality build. Battery life should be longer, and the NVIDIA RTX 3050 or 3050 Ti graphics card (GPU) will fare better when gaming. However, there’s no touch function, and it doesn’t have the same “wow” factor as the higher-res models.

From $1,420 at Dell

Pro

  • Cheaper starting price
  • Longer battery life
  • 16:10 aspect ratio
  • Dolby Vision HDR support
  • Up to 500 nits brightness

Cons

  • No touch function
  • No anti-reflective coating

You will ultimately pay more for a 3840×2400 (UHD+) display in the XPS 15 9520, but those who crave the extra pixels and precise AdobeRGB and DCI-P3 color reproduction will find that it’s worth the money. Keep in mind that battery life will take a hit, and that models with UHD+ display will be slightly heavier.

From $2,199 at Dell

Pro

  • Precise AdobeRGB and DCI-P3 color
  • 16:10 aspect ratio
  • VESA DisplayHDR 400 certified
  • Up to 500 nits brightness
  • Anti-reflective coating

Cons

  • More expensive than FHD+ and 3.5K versions
  • Reduced battery life

Comparing the Dell XPS 15 9520 FHD+ model against the UHD+ model is no longer telling the whole story. The XPS 15 9520 also has a third display option: a 3.5K OLED screen. It hits about 400 nits brightness, it has an anti-reflective finish, and it’s touch enabled; it also costs less than the full UHD+ version, giving you an extra option on the way to 4K.

No matter which display you choose, it’s built into a chassis that has the same dimensions, ports, and features. Do note that some lower-end hardware is only available with the FHD+ display as part of Dell’s configuration setup. No matter what, you’re still getting an incredible laptop that makes the cut in our roundup of the overall best Windows laptops options. It also takes the crown for best 15-inch laptop in 2022.

Dell XPS 15 9520: Comparing displays

Dell Xps 15 9500 Review Screen

XPS 15 9500.Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

The cutting-edge 9520 version of the Dell XPS 15 has either FHD+, 3.5K OLED, or UHD+ display options from which to choose. The “+” comes from the added pixels due to the 16:10 aspect ratio that expands the display for a taller look. While the three displays are the exact same size, they differ significantly.

The FHD+ model will help land you the lowest possible price on an XPS 15, and it’s still a respectable IGZO display with 100% sRGB color reproduction and up to 500 nits brightness. It can handle HDR content thanks to Dolby Vision. Battery draw is much less than the UHD+ model, which is important if you like the AC adapter behind when you leave your home or office.

The FHD+ option is non-touch and has an anti-glare layer rather than anti-reflective; However, the 500 nits brightness should help solve intense light falling directly on the display.

XPS 15 (FHD+) XPS 15 (3.5K OLED) XPS 15 (UHD+)
Display size 15.6 inches 15.6 inches 15.6 inches
Resolution 1920×1200 3456×2160 3840×2400
PPI 145 261 290
Brightness 500 nits 400 nits 500 nits
Color 100% sRGB 100% DCI-P3 100% AdobeRGB, 94% DCI-P3
Refresh rate 60Hz 60Hz 60Hz
Power draw 4.41W 12.13W 10.4W
Touch No Yes Yes
Finish Anti-glare Anti-reflective Anti-reflective

Dell Xps 15 9500

XPS 15 9500.Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

If you opt for the dedicated NVIDIA RTX 3050 or 3050 Ti GPU for some gaming, it will perform much better and offer higher frame rates at the lower resolution. If you’re not buying the XPS 15 for any specialized work — design, development, or heavy editing — you should find the FHD+ model checks all the boxes unless you just want more pixels or touch function.

The UHD+ touch display comes in one flavor this time around. The IGZO display also has the 16:10 aspect ratio, and it comes with 100% AdobeRGB and 94% DCI-P3 color reproduction. If you’re planning on design and editing work, this display should be ideal. It will use more battery than the FHD+ model due to more pixels and touch functionality, but that’s a tradeoff you’ll have to live with.

Dell Xps 15 9500 Review Hero

XPS 15 9500.Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

The UHD+ option has an anti-reflective layer to better combat glare, and it’s VESA certified DisplayHDR 400. Like the FHD+ model, the higher-res display can hit 500 nits brightness. An XPS 15 with UHD+ display will weigh a bit more, but not anything too noticeable.

Dell has also introduced a 3.5K OLED display option to the XPS 15 9520. It doesn’t have quite the same pixel density as the UHD+ version, but its deeper colors (and 100% DCI-P3 reproduction), DisplayHDR 500 capabilities, and deep contrast make it a great choice for professionals. It is finished with an anti-reflective layer and can hit 400 nits brightness.

Dell XPS 15 9520: Comparing hardware options

Dell Xps 15 9500

XPS 15 9500.Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

Performance hardware differs depending on the display you go with, and if you don’t need the added power from a dedicated graphics card (GPU), the FHD+ model is going to be quite a bit cheaper due to the hardware on offer. Note that Windows 11 is available from the factory in all models.

You can configure an XPS 15 with FHD+ display to have all the most powerful hardware, including an 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900HK processor (CPU), 64GB of DDR5-4800MHz RAM, NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti Laptop dedicated GPU, and 2TB of M 2. PCIe solid-state drive (SSD) storage. You can also go as low as an Intel Core i5-12500H CPU, 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD, 8GB of RAM, and integrated Intel UHD Graphics. The low-end model comes with a smaller 56Wh battery due to the lack of a dedicated GPU.

The FHD+ display can be paired with any hardware, but the 3.5K and UHD+ panels require more powerful specs.

The 3.5K OLED option is also without options for integrated graphics, Core i5 CPU, and the baseline 8GB RAM, making it significantly more expensive than the standard FHD+ models. All the high-end specs, including Core i9 CPU and RTX 3050 Ti Laptop GPU, are available with this display.

Currently, all Versions of the Dell XPS 15 9520 appear to be sold exclusively on Dell’s official website, though we expect that the device will be available from third-party retailers in the near future. Note that the price of each configuration will likely vary depending on which retailer you’re looking to buy from, though the general price differences between all three display options will undoubtedly remain similar.

Bottom line? Ultimate performance is available no matter the display you choose, but the jump in price from FHD+ to the other displays is more noticeable due to the lack of baseline hardware options. Our collection of the best Dell laptops has more hardware to peruse if you don’t need a 15-inch device. In terms of premium XPS devices, our XPS 13 vs. XPS 15 vs. XPS 17 comparison breaks down the similarities and differences across sizes.

The FHD+ XPS 15 is a lot of laptop for most people

If you’d like to save money at checkout and still get high-end performance hardware in your XPS 15, the FHD+ display model is quite attractive. It can also be had in low-end hardware for even further savings. Though you won’t have touch function, you will get some extra battery life and an excellent picture. The NVIDIA RTX 3050 and 3050 Ti Laptop GPUs, if included, will perform much better when gaming in FHD+.

More affordable

Dell XPS 15 9500

Dell XPS 15 9520 (FHD+)

The FHD+ XPS 15 is available at a cheaper starting price, you can get the same powerful hardware inside (great for gaming), you’ll get longer battery life, and it’s a bit lighter. As long as you don’t plan on a lot of professional design, development, or editing work, it should make a great choice.

The 3.5K OLED XPS 15 is better for professionals

Pros who need precise DCI-P3 color reproduction, deep contrast, and DisplayHDR 500 certification will want to check out the XPS 15’s OLED display option. While it’s still not as sharp as full UHD+, it has deeper colors and contrast. It also still delivers touch functionality and an anti-reflective coating.

Color and contrast

Dell Xps 15 9510

Dell XPS 15 (3.5K OLED)

With touch, anti-reflective coating, deep contrast, and precise color, the 3.5K OLED version of the XPS 15 is a great option for anyone who doesn’t want to go with UHD+.

The UHD+ XPS 15 is better for power users

Video and photo editors can undoubtedly take advantage of the extras the UHD+ XPS 15 models have to offer, but know that it’s also a great all-around laptop for anyone who appreciates a high-res display. Once you go 4K, it’s hard to go back to anything else.

Stunning clarity

Dell XPS 15 9500

Dell XPS 15 (UHD+)

UHD+ XPS 15 models, much like 3.5K OLED ones, ultimately cost more than FHD+ configurations. They have less battery life, but if you need a touch display, brilliant contrast, or precise color reproduction in AdobeRGB, going with UHD+ makes sense.

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