Dell Precision 15 3561 review – can the cooling cope with the powerful hardware

With the latest Tiger Lake-H45 processor, we seem to be getting proper mobile workstations now. Today, we have the Dell Precision 15 3561, which is probably one of the best devices in this world when it comes to price/performance ratio.

So, what is so special about this device. Well, the answer is pretty easy – precisely the Tiger Lake processors we were talking about. Dell offers the notebook with up to the Core i9-11950H. It is interesting to see how the cooling solution will perform, though, because we know that it has only one fan inside of the chassis.

Other than that, you can pick a pro-grade graphics card in the form of either the Quadro T600 or T1200. Ultimately, the difference between the two is in the CUDA core count – 896 vs 1024, as well as in the memory bandwidth.

Ultimately, if you want the max-specced option out there, you can go for the 4K IPS panel, but we prefer to stay reasonable, so our unit was equipped with a Full HD display – test results can be found further down in the review.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-precision-15-3561/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Dell Precision 15 3561 - Specs

  • BOE V3NPM-NV15N6B (BOE093E)
  • Color accuracy  2.3  1.1
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 2000GB SSD + up to 2000GB HDD
  • M.2 Slot
  • 1x 2280 M.2 PCIe x4 Gen 4 +1x 2280 M.2 PCIe x4 Gen 3  See photo
  • RAM
  • up to 64GB
  • OS
  • Windows 10 Pro, Windows 11 Pro, No OS, Windows 10 Home
  • Battery
  • 97Wh, 6-cell, 64Wh, 4-cell
  • Body material
  • Plastic / Polycarbonate
  • Dimensions
  • 357.80 x 233.30 x 22.67 ~ 24.05 mm (14.09" x 9.19" x 0.89")
  • Weight
  • 1.79 kg (3.9 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), Sleep and Charge
  • 2x USB Type-C
  • Thunderbolt 4, Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • 2.0
  • Card reader
  • microSD (SD/SDHC/SDXC)
  • Ethernet LAN
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.2
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • optional
  • Web camera
  • HD / FHD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • optional
  • Microphone
  • Dual Array Microphones
  • Speakers
  • 2x 2W, Stereo Speakers
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot
  • Wedge Lock

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, you will find a 130W USB Type-C power adapter, as well as some paper manuals.


Design and construction

What is unfortunate for some, and irrelevant for others, is that Precision 15 3561 is made entirely out of plastic. However, this doesn’t seem to make a big difference in terms of quality, as the chassis here is very strong, and shows almost no flex when twisted. And although the profile may seem bulkier than what we’re used to seeing in 2021 at 22.7-24.1mm, the weight is kept at 1.79kg, making it one of the lightest workstations out there.

Thankfully, the lid can be opened with a single hand, and although it flexes a bit during twists, we can’t say it is something to worry about. Additionally, there is an HD Web camera, with an optional Full HD sensor, and also an optional IR face recognition system. What will be present on all configurations, however, is the privacy shutter.

Moving down to the keyboard, we see a full-sized unit with a large NumberPad. It offers decent key travel, clicky feedback, and an optional fingerprint reader embedded onto the power button. The only disadvantage we can think of is the size of the “Up” and “Down” arrow keys.

Now, at first sight, one of the more disappointing aspects of this machine is clearly the touchpad. It seems a tad too small, in a year, where most manufacturers enlarged their units (keep it clean, boys). However, it is rather comfortable to use, with perceivably quick response times and accurate tracking.

Last but not least there is the bottom panel, which is home to the speaker cutouts, and the ventilation grill. Obviously, the latter is where the cooling fan breaths cold air, while the hot air gets exhausted from a rather large vent on the left side of the device.

Ports

On the left side, there are two Thunderbolt 4 connectors, as well as a Smart Card reader. Then, on the right, you get a wedge-shaped security slot, an RJ-45 connector, an HDMI 2.0 connector, followed by two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports, an Audio jack, and a MicroSD card slot.


Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

To get inside of this device, you need to undo 9 captive Phillips-head screws. Then, carefully pry the bottom panel with a plastic tool, and remove it from the body.

As you can see, Dell has supplied this notebook with a huge 97Wh battery.

There are two RAM SODIMM slots that support up to 64GB of memory in total. Additionally, you get two M.2 PCIe x4 slots, one of which supports Gen 4 drives.

As for the cooling, you get two rather beefy heat pipes cooling both the CPU and the GPU. Then, the heat gets dissipated by a side-mounted heat sink and a pretty large fan.


Display quality

Dell Precision 15 3561 in the configuration we tested has a Full HD IPS panel with a model number BOE V3NPM-NV15N6B (BOE093E). Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution is 1920 х 1080 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:9, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 142 ppi, and a pitch of 0.18 х 0.18 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 60cm (24″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).

Viewing angles are excellent. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

We measured a maximum brightness of 413 nits in the middle of the screen and 392 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 10%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 6600K – almost matching the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.

Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work. The contrast ratio is good – 1430:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Dell Precision 15 3561’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 97% of the colors of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Dell Precision 15 3561 with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 24 ms.

After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.


PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Dell Precision 15 3561’s display doesn’t flicker at any brightness level. This provides comfort in extended periods of use.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Dell Precision 15 3561 configurations with 15.6″ FHD IPS BOE V3NPM-NV15N6B (BOE093E).

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

Dell Precision 15 3561’s speakers produce a sound of very good quality. Additionally, the low, mid, and high tones are clear of deviations.


Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://www.dell.com/support/home/en-us/product-support/product/precision-15-3561-laptop/drivers

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. This device’s huge 97Wh battery pack delivers 11 hours and 54 minutes of Web browsing, and 10 hours and 42 minutes of video playback.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.


CPU options

This notebook can be found with the Core i5-11400H, Core i5-11500H, Core i7-11800H, Core i7-11850H, Core i9-11950H, and the Xeon W-11855M.


GPU options

In terms of graphics, you get the Quadro T600, and Quadro T1200 – very similar GPUs, with the major difference between the two being in the CUDA core count – 896 vs 1024, respectively.


Gaming tests

Far Cry 5 Full HD, Normal (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Average fps 56 fps 52 fps 48 fps

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) Full HD, Lowest (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings)
Average fps 101 fps 70 fps 34 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings)
Average fps 53 fps 49 fps 43 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i9-11950H (45W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Dell Precision 15 3561 2.86 GHz @ 94°C 3.28 GHz @ 99°C 2.82 GHz @ 94°C

We were quite certain that the cooling solution here won’t be enough, and we happened to be right.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA Quadro T600 GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)
Dell Precision 15 3561 1333 MHz @ 71°C 1338 MHz @ 70°C

On the other hand, the relatively efficient GPU didn’t seem to bother the system too much.

Comfort during combined load

Under extreme load, you should expect the fan to be quite audible, and the keyboard to warm up a bit. However, it is nothing too much on either front.


Verdict

One thing we want to mention before we put everything into perspective is that there are better devices for 3D manipulation, especially if you can make use of the CUDA cores. Indeed, having a professional-grade graphics card is great, but this one is on the level of a GTX 1650, so it is clearly one of the lowest spec proper GPUs out there.

Now, we were super enthusiastic about this product, because of the Core i9-11950H inside of it. However, what we got as a conclusion is that you are probably better of settling for the Core i7-11850H, which has the same number of cores and a slightly lower clock speed. However, it is more affordable, and the performance difference will be negligible because of the cooling setup limitations. On the other hand, the battery life here is amazing with almost 12 hours of Web browsing, and 10 hours and 42 minutes of video playback.

Dell Precision 15 3561’s IPS panel (BOE V3NPM-NV15N6B (BOE093E)) has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and a good contrast ratio. It covers 97% of the sRGB gamut and doesn’t use PWM for brightness adjustment, which makes it comfortable for long periods of use. Additionally, with the help of our Gaming and Web design profile, you can get standard-matching color accuracy with an average dE of 1.1. In the beginning, we said that we preferred to stay reasonable by picking the 1080p option, but honestly, it is one of the best IPS panels for professionals out there.

And to put the performance disappointment aside, there is the port situation – both on the inside and out. Let’s start with the former – you get two Thunderbolt 4 connectors, which can be used for charging, a Smart Card reader, a MicroSD card reader, and a lot more. As for the upgrade options, well, you can put up to 64GB of DDR4 memory in dual-channel mode via two SODIMM slots. And not only are there two M.2 slots for a storage upgrade, but one of them supports Gen 4 drives.

Perhaps people using workstations will agree – having slots for RAM and storage is pretty important in the industry. Well, yes, you don’t get ECC memory support, but the general idea of having a high amount of memory and storage is refreshing.

By the way, let’s not forget the optional IR face recognition, fingerprint reader, and LTE connectivity you can get. We are waiting to get the HP ZBook Power G8, and Lenovo ThinkPad P15v Gen 2 in our office, so stay tuned for direct comparisons between them in the near future.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-precision-15-3561/

Pros

  • Great upgradability + PCIe Gen 4 support
  • Lack of PWM (BOE V3NPM-NV15N6B (BOE093E))
  • 97% of sRGB coverage and accurate color representation with our profiles (BOE V3NPM-NV15N6B (BOE093E))
  • Good input devices
  • Great battery life
  • Optional IR face recognition, fingerprint reader, and LTE support
  • Thunderbolt 4 + MicroSD card slot


Cons

  • Cooling can’t cope with the CPU
  • All-plastic build (although of not bad quality)
  • Not the best choice if you need a lot of graphics power

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Andy Turfer
Andy Turfer
1 year ago

Excellent review. I’m still trying to decide between a Precision 3561 and a Precision 7560… Very hard choice. Not very confident with cooling in thinner laptops, so may go for the 7560…

Elbi
Elbi
1 year ago

Hello any overheating bootlooping windows issue on this notebook?

Daniel
Daniel
1 year ago

Fan is very whiny even on low speed.
Very annoying in a quiet environment.

Rob
Rob
3 months ago

very weak bluetooth coverage, I need to be very carefull how I sit with lid closed (connected to a docking) otherwise the music or voice is breaking up heavily…