I work as a Designer and have had my 9530 for a few months now and use it for work and play and take it with me when traveling.
Overall the experience is very positive, I honestly don't believe there is a laptop this thin and light anywhere else on the market at this time that can boast the same screen resolution and impressive CPU + GPU combination - and that 512gb SSD is fantastic.
There are issues however, some are only minor but ill include everything in a list and hopefully we can find some fixes along the way.
- There are GPU overheating issues when under load, usually when gaming - I haven't tested rendering yet. Afterburner monitors the GPU temp while gaming and it shows the temperature slowly goes up until about 75 degrees and then the throttling kicks in. Usually lasts 3 minutes and continues as normal. I haven't found a fix for this at the moment - running the laptop in power save mode does keep the temperature down for longer but obviously performance is not optimal.
-The touch pad is irritating. Gestures are sometimes miss-read and left and right clicking can even be misinterpreted. I use a mouse 95% of the time but that other 5% i do find the touch pad a disappointment. Also it comes with bloatware that is unnecessary and is surprisingly CPU intensive. I shut it down most of the time from the task manager.
-Stereo speakers. The sound is great for a laptop but i'm disappointing with the position of the speakers. The Right Speaker is where it should be - on the front right but the Left Speaker is located at the front center. This probably wont bother most people but I fined it a distraction when watching films and an odd design choice. I have a thing for symmetry.
-The Display. This is more of a win 8 issue - it simply isn't optimized for such a high PPI - yes there are scaling options and lower resolutions you can run but these aren't ideal. Normal windows text should be readable at 100% scale without you having to squint. Windows 8 needs to be optimized for QHD screens and I'm sure it will be as they become more popular.
-The Display, again. I have a dead pixel, at least that's what I thought it was - However, it appears there is a pin sizes pressure point behind the screen that has damaged a tiny area near the center. Its barely noticeable and this is probably just an issue I've had but Ill be interested to hear if other people have noticed anything like it.
-Headphone Socket - This is a minor issue but its a feature all laptops should have by now - The volume should automatically change when headphones are plugged in. My old dell did it and I miss it.
For now id say that's the bulk of the more irritating issues but should anything else arise I'll add to the list.
Like I said before this is an amazing laptop and apart from the speaker placement I'm confident some of these issues will be solved in time.
Dell XPS 15 (2013) 9530
GT 750M 2GB
QHD (3200 x 1800)
Overheating was generally fixed on my laptop - it was a problem with heatsink grease out of the plant... I had to send it back but they fixed it right up...
I agree with everything else, I personally have a touch screen that even after fixing it twice stops responding completely sometimes.
The computer feels nice, but Dell is MAJORLY slacking on software support for this PC. =(
I bought a xps 15 9530 in june 2014 because of the impressive specs. Personally I feel that the specs being what sells, this is where the attention has gone. The good about this machine is mostly that which hasn't been done by dell.
So what is good?
- Haswell processor (compiles a linux kernel in about 17min)
- QHD (high resolution is very pleasant on the eyes especially for text)
- nvidia GT 750M (does play modern 3d video games, for a laptop that's mostly what I expect from a high end)
- gorilla glass (there is effectively no scratch on it after several months of usage, that's impressive)
- the outside materials are nice to the touch, the aluminium on the top, the carbon on the bottom and the palmrest (even though this last one gets dirty easily)
What's not so good:
- after about a month of usage, I started to get dead pixels in the screen. I have at least two clusters.
- the power jack is very loose. It feels like it might break off easily. (so far it has survived, but I'm kind of surprised)
- it overheats. In normal usage conditions it already gets very hot (impossible to keep it on your knees without a book in between), then when playing a flash game on the internet even hotter. Bubbles have formed under the palmrest rubber layer, and after about 4 months of usage the machine died. I was abroad so I haven't yet been able to have it repaired, but I'm afraid this is a conceptual problem. I have the impression the cooling system is not in par with the cpu/gpu and this leads to a component dying. Maybe there's a reason dell is the only producer to promise such impressive specs.
- maybe related to the above, but I find the fans noisy. They have three settings. The lowest setting is pleasant, but I can only get that setting for a few minutes after turning on. The middle setting is a bit of a nuissance, and the high setting which is definitely always on when playing a game or doing any serious cpu work is proper annoying. Especially for such an expensive modern machine, I was expecting less noise.
- the touchpad. I haven't before owned much touchpads, so I have a hard time to compare, but it's sure that middel/right clicks are unworkable and you end up dragging along a usb mouse.
- I had to spend 50 euro's extra to have adaptors for ethernet and vga connections. On a 1500 euro machine, they could have given that for free, at least on request, or at least very cheap.
- There is no way to hide the service tag. Even when you set a bios password, it shows up straight away. This might allow someone with access to your machine to get identifiable information of you. Especially the police, but anyone can get the date and country of purchase straight from the dell website. Dell provides no support for this, basically if you flash your bios to fix something like this and you make a mistake, you could turn your machine into a brick
- I have been having a very hard time to get support. It's difficult to find the webform on the dell website to file a support issue, and I have only sometimes had a response.
- No option to buy without microphones and webcam, or without windows (might have saved me several hundreds of euros)
- It was long and difficult to figure out what all the technologies shipped in the bios mean. There is tracking functionality for example and other technologies that allow your machine to be activated over the network. It's not easy to make a security assessment for this machine, as documentation is vague about these technologies.
- Other people seem to report good battery life, but I have never been able to get more than 4h in idle, 3h when in use
- I can't get some of the principal goals I had in mind for this machine to work. I wanted to be able to pass the nvidia graphics card directly to a virtual machine, but that hasn't been possible so far. (When reading the specs beforehand, I was under the impression that such kind of things would work)
All in all, I would not have bought this machine if I had known all of this before. I would have waited another year or two searching a cheap second hand laptop to cover the gap to let the whole ultrabook concept mature a bit and get cheaper. Sure the offer for laptops with haswell/16GB memory/3200px screens will grow and prices will drop. I might have been to demanding at the time, and I'm very afraid that if the heat problem is conceptual, it'll come back after a few months, and once the warranty is gone, i'll have purchased a 1600 brick that gave some glimpses of the latest computer technologies for a few months before dying on me. I bought this to have something solid that would last for 10 years and hopes are getting slimmer and slimmer that this will be the case.
we'll see after the repair
I forgot another important dissapointment. The lid doesn't open 180 degrees, so some excellent use case die. As it has a touch screen being able to put it flat out on a table would have allowed using it as a game board. I would also have liked to be able to put it on a piano to avoid having to print sheet music.
The backlighting of the keyboard is always on on boot, so you have to turn it off manually on every boot, since often it's not only useless, also not benificial for battery life, and poorly done. When you are in front of the computer, at about 45° the light of the leds shines through the gaps under the keys, which is particularly unpleasant. In general the keyboard is questionnable as there is a lot of spare space on the computer, but certain buttons are small and annoying, especially the arrow keys which are intensively used. The 'enter' key is also reduced in size as are the F-keys.