Dell Precision 5510 Review
Pros: Gorgeous, bright display; Discrete graphics; Attractive body; Blazing-fast SSD
Cons: Awkward webcam placement; Modest battery life
Verdict: Both beauty and the beast, the Dell Precision 5510 combines high-end workstation performance with a gorgeous screen and a sexy chassis.
With its XPS 13 and XPS 15 consumer-focused notebooks, Dell found a winning laptop formula: pack powerful components into a beautiful, slim chassis, and use a vibrant Infinity display with almost no bezel. With an optional 3840 x 2160 display, a powerful Intel Core Xeon processor and Nvidia Quadro graphics, Dell’s Precision 5510 brings this award-winning design and display to a workstation-class business laptop, with fantastic results.
It’s easy to mistake the Precision 5510 for Dell’s consumer-oriented XPS 15, which is not a bad thing. Like the XPS 15, the 5510’s lid and bottom are made of dark-silver aluminum. Inside, there’s a carbon-fiber deck with a comfortable, soft-touch finish. The Precision 5510 also includes Dell’s Infinity display technology, with a bezel so slim that it’s almost unnoticeable around the 15.6-inch display.
The computer tapers down toward the front, making it look light and sleek. It weighs 4.6 pounds, which is about average for a workstation this size.
The Precision 5510’s 15.6-inch display is packed into a fairly small package, at 14.06 x 9.27 x 0.66 inches, which is identical to the size of the Dell XPS 15.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Precision 5510’s keyboard is a bit shallow, but it is easy to adjust and typing feels normal. The keyboard has 1.33 millimeters of travel, just under the preferred 1.5 mm. The keys require 61 grams of force to press down, making them feel nice and clicky.
Coated with a soft-touch material, the 4.1 x 3.1-inch touchpad on Dell’s workstation proved comfortable and reliable. It responded to Windows 10 gestures quickly and accurately.
A nearly invisible bezel, a high resolution, a bright backlight and a wide color gamut make the Dell Precision 5510’s display look fantastic. Details could easily be made out while watching an HD movie trailer.
At 322 nits on our light meter, the Precision 5510’s 3840 x 2160 touch-screen display is brighter than those on competitors, as well as the category average of 293 nits. Viewing angles were absolutely incredible. The screen could still be seen clearly until reaching 90 degrees.
The Precision 5510 covers an excellent 177 percent of the sRGB spectrum. It also has a fairly accurate display, with a Delta-E color accuracy score of 2.6 (the closer to zero, the better).
The dual speakers on the Dell Precision 5510 were a great surprise.
Listening to a Broadway track in a conference room, there was incredible bass coming from the laptop. The vocals faded a bit among all of the instruments, but it filled the room with clear audio. Dell’s preinstalled audio software includes MaxxAudio Pro sound tools for adjusting the sound to your liking, which is a great plus.
With a 2.8-GHz Intel Core Xeon E3-1505M processor, 16GB of RAM, an Nvidia Quadro M1000M GPU with 2GB of graphics memory and a 512GB PCIe SSD, our review configuration of the Precision 5510 provided snappy, responsive performance. Even when I ran two HD videos from different streaming services simultaneously, this workstation didn’t slow down.
The SSD in the 5510 is insanely fast, taking just 9 seconds to copy 4.97GB of mixed media files, for a speed of 565.48 MBps. That’s significantly faster than the competition.
Dell’s workstation completed the Laptop Mag Spreadsheet Test, which uses OpenOffice to match 20,000 names with their addresses, in 3 minutes and 30 seconds — just 4 seconds behind the Dell XPS 15. It came in faster than the category average of 3:55.
Ports and Webcam
The Precision 5510 has several updated ports. On the left side of the laptop, there is a power jack, a USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, a Thunderbolt 3 port and a combo headphone/microphone jack. The right side includes an SD card slot, another USB 3.0 port, a power indicator and a security lock slot.
Because the Precision 5510 has the same Infinity display as the XPS 13 and the XPS 15, it also has the same awkward camera position that plagues its siblings. With no room for a webcam above the screen, it’s placed in the bottom-left-hand corner. A very odd design choice, allowing for your Skype recipients to see you at an awkward angel. If you type while using the webcam, anyone you teleconference with will be seeing your fingers. However, the 720p camera managed to catch details in my face, and colors were fairly accurate.
This workstation can get some serious work done. Unfortunately, with a short battery life of 5 hours and 34 minutes, you likely won’t be working far from an outlet. That time is higher than the category average of 4:30, but there are other laptops within the category that have a longer battery life.
The Precision 5510’s Nvidia Quadro M1000M graphics chip is built for 3D applications. Additionally, while doing some graphic design, AutoCAD or other intensive work, it’s good enough to run some games on your workstation.
With low settings, the 5510 ran Rainbow Six Siege and Metro: Last Light at 1080p without a hitch. Frame rates were at 61.6 fps and 64.4 fps, respectively. On high settings, the 5510 couldn’t keep up, dragging at 26.4 fps and Metro: Last Light hitting only 14.02 fps.
On 3DMark Fire Strike, a synthetic benchmark that measures overall graphics prowess, the Dell Precision 5510 scored 3,379, which beats both the MSI WS60 and the Lenovo W550s. However, Dell’s own XPS 15, with its Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M GPU, scored 3,949 and played Metro: Last Light at a smooth 75 fps on low settings at 1080p.
The Dell Precision 5510 managed to stay mostly cool in our testing. When we streamed HD video from for 15 minutes, the touchpad hit 85 degrees, and both the underside of the laptop and the keyboard hit 90 degrees.The only alarming spot was next to the left Shift key, which reached 102 degrees — 7 degrees higher than our comfort level.
Software and Warranty
Fortunately, the Dell Precision 5510 doesn’t come with much bloatware. It does have some useful Dell software on it, however, including a power manager, Waves MaxxAudio and Dell PremierColor, which lets you tune your laptop display’s color temperature and brightness, and even pick the appropriate color gamut for what you’re working on. A free one-month trial of Microsoft Office 365 also comes preloaded.
The base warranty for the Precision 5510 is a one-year limited warranty on parts and labor. If you need more time, you can extend the warranty to three years for an additional $114.80. Dell also offers accidental damage protection and extended 24/7 support.
Our $2,603 review configuration of the Dell Precision 5510 came tricked out with an Intel Core Xeon E3-1505M processor, an Nvidia Quadro M1000M graphics card with 2GB of video RAM, a 3840 x 2160 ultra-HD touch screen, a 512GB PCIe SSD and 16GB of RAM. It costs $2,603 as reviewed. There are multiple configurations to choose from to cut costs, but likely not perform as well as the reviewed laptop.
The $1,399 base configuration comes with a Core i5-6300HQ processor; 8GB of RAM; an Nvidia Quadro M1000M GPU with 2GB of graphics memory; and a 500GB, 7,200-rpm hard drive. It comes with a 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 full-HD display and a three-cell (56Wh) battery that will almost certainly require a charger nearby.
There is also an option for a Core i7-6820HQ processor, along with hard drives in a variety of sizes. You can get a 500GB or 1TB hard drive, SATA solid-state drives between 256GB and 512GB, and PCIe SSDs between 256GB and 1TB.
Dell’s Precision 5510 is a premium 15-inch workstation that offers powerful performance, an eye-popping ultra-HD screen and an attractive, lightweight body. If you don’t need the power of a workstation but still want a 15-inch computer with the beauty of the Precision 5510, check out the Dell XPS 15, which is almost exactly the same on the outside but offers better battery life. However, if you want to do professional 3D work or high-end calculations on the go, the Precision 5510 is hard to beat.