Dell XPS 15 Owners Complain of Battery Drain, Overheating

The Dell XPS 15 is one of the best laptops you can buy, but the notebook's problematic standby mode is reportedly spoiling the experience for some users. Now XPS 15 owners, who are experiencing overheating and battery drain, are pleading with Dell to do something about it.

The problems, which were first reported on by Notebookcheck, appears to stem from a Windows 10 feature called Modern Standby, which replaced the previous S3 power state that signified when a laptop was in a deep sleep but some components remained powered.

Credit: Microsoft

According to Microsoft, the benefits of Modern Standby include faster wake times and that background activities resume even when the system is "Off." Dell also wrote about Modern Standby in a support article, claiming the feature allows the XPS 15 and Precision 15 5530 to resume from sleep faster from lower power states than they would in S3.

Dell's post goes into more detail, explaining that this pair of laptops default to "Disconnected Standby" mode instead of the Connected Standby option that is set by Microsoft. The difference is that Disconnected Standby stops all Wi-Fi traffic, which should, in theory, reduce battery drain and overheating.

However, numerous online complaints say otherwise. A Google search reveals dozens of forum and Reddit posts from frustrated users asking about how to fix the Dell XPS 15's power management issues that arise when the laptop is asleep. In one Reddit post, an XPS 15 owner says their laptop's battery drains at 1.5% to 2% per hour, and claimed that a Dell representative said the rate was acceptable. The problems also apply to the Precision 15 5530, not just the XPS 15.

Many users are pleading with Dell to revert back to the S3 power mode as Lenovo did with the X1 Carbon following customer complaints. However, Dell has been accused of being dismissive of these issues, particularly by Notebookcheck, a tech review site that blamed Dell of being "intransigence" and diverting accountability onto users. 

Dell appears to be aware of these complaints, and listed ways in which to improve battery life for those who "have a concern about battery capacity or the power consumption issue." Those suggestions include updating the latest drivers and disabling Wake on Wireless LAN, among other things.

We have reached out to Dell for more information and will update this article if we hear back.

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.