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Asus ZenBook 15 vs. Dell XPS 15: Still not enough to dethrone the popular 15-inch king

Asus ZenBook 15 vs. Dell XPS 15: Still not enough to dethrone Dell
Asus ZenBook 15 vs. Dell XPS 15: Still not enough to dethrone Dell
The bestselling Dell XPS laptop manages to be faster, tougher, brighter, and more feature-packed than the new competing Asus ZenBook 15 without running any louder or shorter. In return, the Asus laptop is much lighter and even a bit smaller, but its advantages don't go much deeper.

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Whenever a new 15-inch multimedia laptop comes to market, someone will inevitably ask: How does it compare to the Dell XPS 15? The popular Dell laptop has become a standard of sorts for competitors to beat. It's not perfect by any means especially when it comes to bugs and crashes, but its sound hardware and long list of features have left a lasting impression.

We recently checked out how MSI's new PS63 Modern compares against the Dell and now we'll see how Asus' new 15.6-inch ZenBook 15 UX533 can hold up to the same machine.

Chassis Quality

Asus has done a surprisingly good job here. The ZenBook 15 is both smaller and noticeably lighter than the Dell equivalent by almost 400 (!) grams without looking or feeling like a piece of paper. Its aluminum build is firm especially around the outer lid, but its base is just a hair more flexible than the XPS 15. It's not enough to be of any concern and we'd gladly take this trade-off for the significant savings in weight.

CPU Performance

Asus relies on a 15 W Whiskey Lake-U Core i7-8565U CPU whereas the Dell system uses a more demanding 45 W Coffee Lake-H Core i5-8300H or i7-8750H. Overall multi-thread performance is more similar to the older Kaby Lake Core i7-7700HQ because the i7-8565U tends to throttle more heavily. For example, Our CineBench R15 Multi-Thread loop test below shows the i5-8300H XPS 15 outperforming the Asus by almost 14 percent after taking into account the throttling on both systems.

The even faster hexa-core Core i7-8750H is able to outperform the i7-8565U in our Asus by over 50 percent.

GPU Performance

The GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q in the Asus is about 10 percent and 24 percent slower than the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, respectively, as found on the XPS 15 series. Users who want every ounce of GPU power possible may want to consider the XPS over the ZenBook.

Fan Noise 

Despite having less powerful components, the ZenBook 15 is still about as loud as the XPS 15 when gaming or otherwise.

Display

The FHD Asus display falls short when compared to the FHD Dell display. It's about 25 percent dimmer with more inaccurate colors and a narrower color space. Black-white and gray-gray response times are also just as slow between the two models for noticeable ghosting. Nonetheless, Dell still has the clear advantage in this category.

Touchscreen is available on the Dell while the ZenBook 15 series is limited to FHD or 4K UHD non-touch.

Battery Life

Do the less demanding ULV CPU and Max-Q GPU give Asus the edge in battery life? Not really, because battery capacity is also smaller than on the Dell (73 Wh vs. 97 Wh). Real-world WLAN runtime is within an hour or so to be comparable to the XPS 15 9570 with the 4K UHD display. The XPS 15 9570 FHD SKU can last for several hours longer than the Asus.

Ports

Both systems share the exact same port options albeit with different positioning on each. Dell still has the advantage here because its USB Type-C port supports Thunderbolt 3 whereas the USB Type-C port on the Asus is limited to Gen. 2 speeds only.

The UHS-II SD reader on the Dell performs significantly faster than the UHS-I SD reader on the Asus as well (78 MB/s vs. 200 MB/s).

Conclusion

The ZenBook 15 is a great machine on its own. When compared to the XPS 15, however, many of its features are a step or two behind that all ultimately add up to an inferior product. For example, the Asus has a USB Type-C port, SD reader, and 15.6-inch display just like on the Dell, but there is no Thunderbolt 3 support, the SD reader is slower, and the display is both dimmer and less color accurate. CPU and GPU power are also slower which should theoretically give Asus the edge in both battery life and fan noise, but the two machines are instead comparable in these aspects instead of leaning heavily toward a single model.

Perhaps the one exceptional characteristic we can applaud Asus for is the chassis. The ZenBook 15 is surprisingly rigid considering how much lighter it is than the XPS 15. The competing MSI PS63 Modern feels more flexible than both. Otherwise, Dell edges out the Asus in pretty much every core category.

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Asus ZenBook 15 UX533FD Intel Core i7-8565U, Intel Core i7-8565U: Ø704 (683.27-815.1)
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh Intel Core i5-8300H, Intel Core i5-8300H: Ø812 (765.87-840.02)
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD) Intel Core i7-7700HQ, Intel Core i7-7700HQ: Ø680 (662.88-735)
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Asus ZenBook 15 UX533FD
Intel Core i7-8565U
191 Points ∼100%
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
Intel Core i7-8750H
175 Points ∼92%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
Intel Core i5-8300H
167 Points ∼87%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
157 Points ∼82%
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
146 Points ∼76%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
Intel Core i7-8750H
1251 Points ∼100%
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
Intel Core i7-8750H
1215 Points ∼97%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
Intel Core i5-8300H
840 Points ∼67%
Asus ZenBook 15 UX533FD
Intel Core i7-8565U
815 Points ∼65%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
735 Points ∼59%
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
508 Points ∼41%
3DMark - 1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, Intel Core i7-8750H
7428 Points ∼100%
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Intel Core i5-7300HQ
6393 Points ∼86%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Intel Core i5-8300H
6216 Points ∼84%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-7700HQ
6074 Points ∼82%
Asus ZenBook 15 UX533FD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-8565U
5622 Points ∼76%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, Intel Core i7-8750H
9079 Points ∼100%
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Intel Core i5-7300HQ
8201 Points ∼90%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Intel Core i5-8300H
7790 Points ∼86%
Asus ZenBook 15 UX533FD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-8565U
7016 Points ∼77%
PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
5605 Points ∼100%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
4672 Points ∼83%
Asus ZenBook 15 UX533FD
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
4204 Points ∼75%
Productivity
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
7037 Points ∼100%
Asus ZenBook 15 UX533FD
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
6879 Points ∼98%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
6592 Points ∼94%
Essentials
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
8429 Points ∼100%
Asus ZenBook 15 UX533FD
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
8233 Points ∼98%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
7922 Points ∼94%
Score
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
4966 Points ∼100%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
4479 Points ∼90%
Asus ZenBook 15 UX533FD
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
4443 Points ∼89%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Asus ZenBook 15 UX533FD
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
5381 Points ∼100%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
5271 Points ∼98%
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7300HQ, WDC WD10SPCX-75KHST0 + SanDisk Z400s M.2 2242 32 GB Cache
4884 Points ∼91%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
4422 Points ∼82%
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
4418 Points ∼82%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Asus ZenBook 15 UX533FD
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
4052 Points ∼100%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
4030 Points ∼99%
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7300HQ, WDC WD10SPCX-75KHST0 + SanDisk Z400s M.2 2242 32 GB Cache
3659 Points ∼90%
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
3631 Points ∼90%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
3588 Points ∼89%
Asus ZenBook 15 UX533FD
8565U, GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
8300H, GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11, LED IGZO IPS InfinityEdge, 1920x1080, 15.6
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD, IGZO IPS, 3840x2160, 15.6
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
8750H, GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G, IPS, 3840x2160, 15.6
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *
2.7
2.9
11.9
9.48
Idle Average *
8
5.8
17.1
16.1
Idle Maximum *
10.6
7.5
17.3
16.9
Load Average *
74
77.5
94.7
90.8
Load Maximum *
89
107
122
134.4
Witcher 3 ultra *
84
104.8

* ... smaller is better

Asus ZenBook 15 UX533FD
8565U, GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 73 Wh
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
8300H, GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 97 Wh
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 97 Wh
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
8750H, GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 97 Wh
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
1587
831
WiFi v1.3
519
942
434
576
Load
171
114
103
76
Witcher 3 ultra
62
62
H.264
738

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Asus ZenBook 15 UX533FD
BOE07D8, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
Sharp SHP149A LQ156M1, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
3840x2160, 15.6
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
LQ156D1, , 3840x2160, 15.6
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
45 (21, 24)
49 (25, 40)
57.2 (27.2, 30)
46.4 (22.8, 23.6)
Response Time Black / White *
37 (23, 14)
30 (16, 14)
39.2 (23.6, 15.6)
32 (18, 14)
PWM Frequency
961 (10)
961.5
980.4 (25)
Screen
Brightness middle
311
413
370.1
494
Brightness
303
378
356
457
Brightness Distribution
81
86
87
88
Black Level *
0.24
0.29
0.37
0.34
Contrast
1296
1424
1000
1453
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.1
2.44
5.3
5.2
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
8.91
4.46
9.9
17.5
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
2.48
2.48
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.93
2.48
4.6
2.7
Gamma
2.44 90%
2.43 91%
2.31 95%
2.1 105%
CCT
7641 85%
7006 93%
6284 103%
7038 92%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
58
62
88.3
71.2
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
88
96
100
98.8
Total Average (Program / Settings)

* ... smaller is better

Asus ZenBook 15 UX533FD
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7300HQ, WDC WD10SPCX-75KHST0 + SanDisk Z400s M.2 2242 32 GB Cache
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
Noise
off / environment *
30.5
30.3
28.4
30.3
29.9
Idle Minimum *
30.5
30.3
29
31.6
29.9
Idle Average *
30.5
30.3
29
31.6
29.9
Idle Maximum *
30.5
30.3
32.2
33.4
30.3
Load Average *
40.8
37.1
47.1
47.8
36.5
Load Maximum *
41.8
43
47.1
47.8
40.4
Witcher 3 ultra *
43.3
52
40.4

* ... smaller is better

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 02 > Asus ZenBook 15 vs. Dell XPS 15: Still not enough to dethrone the popular 15-inch king
Allen Ngo, 2019-02-14 (Update: 2019-02-14)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.