Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2020) review: speedy, spectacular convertible
Not only is the Dell XPS 13 one of Dell’s best-known laptops, but it’s one of the best-known laptops, period. If you know anything about Windows laptops, you’ve probably heard its name. It’s great in pretty much every way, and it just keeps getting better.
So it’s forgivable to hear about a “Dell XPS 13 2-in-1” and assume it’s a run-of-the-mill XPS 13 that you can flip around. But the XPS 13 2-in-1 is very much a laptop of its own, with a different set of trade-offs and considerations from its clamshell counterpart. In some areas (like graphics performance), the convertible is a step ahead of the standard XPS; in others (like the keyboard), it’s compromising a bit. The best model for you depends on the type of tasks you’re looking to do.
Edge-to-edge keyboard, large touchpad — the works.
This year’s 2-in-1 starts at $1,099.99 for a Core i3-1115G4 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. You can spec that all the way up to $2,249.99 (listed now at $1,999.99) for a 3840 x 2400 display, a Core i7-1165G7 CPU, 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. You can also pay $50 extra for the white (“frost”) color rather than the silver and black model and $60 extra to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2020)
- 16:10 display
- Exceptional build quality
- All-day battery life
- Fast CPU with new integrated graphics
- Shallow keyboard
- No USB-A ports
- Not-great webcam
- CPU heat is pushing it
$1499.99 at Dell
I have a model in the middle, containing the 1165G7, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 1920 x 1200 touchscreen. That costs $1,649.99 (but is currently listed at $1,469.99 on Dell’s website). The regular XPS 13 with the same processor has just 8GB of RAM and is said to cost $1,499.99, but it’s currently listed at $1,349.99. That means you’re paying $120 extra for 8GB more memory, and the other benefits of the 2-in-1.
Before getting into that, I’ll give you a brief rundown of what’s new from the last XPS 13 2-in-1. It’s mostly one thing: the processor. This 2-in-1 (the 9310) includes Intel’s newest 11th Gen “Tiger Lake” mobile chips. The CPUs bring Intel’s best-in-class Iris Xe integrated graphics, which have been the talk of the town since Tiger Lake’s launch, as well as the Thunderbolt 4 standard. This 9310 is actually certified through Intel’s Evo program (denoted by a small sticker on the right palm rest), which is supposed to guarantee that a laptop meets the needs of an everyday home or office user, in categories from connectivity to battery life and performance.
The ports support up to two 4K displays and data transfers up to 40Gbps.
Apart from that, the new 2-in-1 has largely the same look as its predecessor and the clamshell XPS, complete with a slim and sturdy aluminum chassis, a 1920 x 1200 (16:10) Gorilla Glass screen, and four ports (two USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, DisplayPort, and Power Delivery, one headphone jack, and one microSD card reader). Dell has made a few tweaks as well: the webcam now supports Windows Hello, there’s a new “frost” color option, RAM has been bumped from 3733MHz to 4267MHz, the touchpad is quieter, and there’s an updated microSD reader that Dell says will deliver better performance. That’s all well and good, but the processor is the star of the show here — and it is a star.
For general performance, the 1165G7 handled my office workload, which includes a dozen-ish Chrome tabs, a few other apps like Slack and Spotify, and some downloading, file copying, and other office-y stuff in the background, with no problem. I never heard the fans spin up or felt any heat unless I was running an intense program. This is the experience you’ll have with any machine with an i7, but you certainly aren’t sacrificing any performance for this convertible form factor.
Heavier media work is where this system starts to stand out. The 2-in-1 took 10 minutes and 5 seconds to export our 5-minute, 33-second 4K video in Adobe Premiere Pro. That’s 38 seconds faster than the regular XPS 13 — effectively comparable. Both systems are faster than any 10th Gen Ice Lake laptop with integrated graphics, and they beat the Asus ZenBook 14 with the same processor (which took 11 and a half minutes). They also both lose out to the Arm-powered MacBook Air (which doesn’t even have a fan) and MacBook Pro, which finished the job in 8:15 and 7:39, respectively.
Where the 2-in-1 really differentiates itself from the clamshell, though, is gaming performance. You can actually play a fair number of games on this laptop without needing to bump the resolution down. The 2-in-1 smoked the clamshell on Rocket League’s maximum settings (an average of 120fps, to the clamshell’s 111fps) and League of Legends (226fps to the clamshell’s 205fps). You’ll only see 60fps on either XPS 13 since that’s the maximum their screens can display, but those results show how much higher Dell has clocked the 2-in-1 over the standard XPS.
The display covers 100 percent of the sRGB spectrum and 78 percent of AdobeRGB, and it reaches 469 nits of brightness.
The hinge is sturdy and doesn’t add too much to the bottom bezel.
The 2-in-1 is putting up such impressive numbers that there are actually games where you’ll see better performance than you will on the clamshell. It breezed through Overwatch’s Ultra settings, averaging 71fps. That beats the standard XPS 13, which averaged 48fps on the same preset — a difference you’ll notice in gameplay. It also beats Lenovo’s IdeaPad Slim 7 with AMD’s eight-core Ryzen 7 4800U, which put up 46fps and actually isn’t too far off a system I tested with the most powerful Tiger Lake processor (the Core i7-1185G7) which averaged 89fps.
The really exciting news is that you can actually play Shadow of the Tomb Raider on this machine at 1080p. The 2-in-1 averaged 36fps on the game’s built-in benchmark (at the lowest-possible settings). That’s just two off from the newest MacBook Air with Apple’s M1 chip (38fps), which has been outperforming 1165G7 systems across the board. Now, you may very well not want to play demanding titles like Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 38fps, but you can play them on this machine without feeling like you’re watching a flipbook. That’s a big accomplishment for these integrated graphics, especially considering that the standard XPS 13 only averaged 22fps on the same benchmark.
Agree to Continue: Dell XPS 13 (2020)
Every smart device now requires you to agree to a series of terms and conditions before you can use it — contracts that no one actually reads. It’s impossible for us to read and analyze every single one of these agreements. But we started counting exactly how many times you have to hit “agree” to use devices when we review them, since these are agreements most people don’t read and definitely can’t negotiate.
To start using the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2020), you’ll need to agree to the following:
- A request for your region
- A request for your keyboard layout
- Windows 10 license agreement and Dell Terms of Sale / License Agreement
- Microsoft account
You can also say yes or no to the following:
- Windows Hello face and fingerprint recognition
- Privacy settings (speech recognition, location, Find My Device, sharing diagnostic data, inking and typing, tailored experience, advertising ID)
- Tell Microsoft how you plan to use your device for customized suggestions (you can choose between gaming, schoolwork, creative, entertainment, family, and business)
- Connect an Android phone
- OneDrive backup
- Office 365
- Allow Microsoft to collect information including location and location history, contacts, voice input, speech and handwriting patterns, typing history, search history, calendar details, content and communication history, messages, and apps
- Sign up for Dell’s Support and Protection
- McAfee security subscription
That’s six mandatory agreements and 16 optional ones to use the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2020).
The convertible’s cooling system is being pushed to its limit
Similar to that of the clamshell XPS, however, the convertible’s cooling system (including two fans, hidden vents in the hinge, and what Dell calls “an ultra-thin vapor chamber”) is being pushed to its limit during these high-intensity tasks. During the Premiere Pro export and my gaming sessions, the CPU spent some time in the high 90s (Celsius) and even hit 100 a few times. This may cause problems for the XPS form factor down the line if Intel doesn’t make significant gains in efficiency. On the plus side, the keyboard and touchpad never got hot at all. (The keyboard got toasty on the clamshell.)
So the 2-in-1 gives you better graphics performance than the standard XPS (as well as a convertible form factor) for just a slightly higher price. What’s the catch? There are two worth considering.
The Dell logo is slightly larger than it was on the last 2-in-1.
The first is battery life. I averaged eight hours and 50 minutes using the 2-in-1 as my primary work driver with the screen at 200 nits of brightness. That’s quite good among the Tiger Lake systems we’ve seen so far, and it means you should get a full workday from one charge. But it’s a bit worse than the standard XPS, where I usually saw nine hours and 15 minutes — a small difference but one that could be important to students or frequent business travelers who are looking for every ounce of juice they can get.
Dell XPS 13 2-in 2020 specs (as reviewed)
- Processor: Intel Core i7-1165G7
- RAM: 16GB
- Storage: 512GB
- Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- Display: 13.4-inch 1920 x 1200 touch display
- Ports: two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 with DisplayPort and Power Delivery, one 3.5mm headphone / microphone combo jack, one microSD card reader
- Camera: 2.24mm infrared 720p webcam
- Weight: 2.9 pounds (1.32kg)
- Dimensions: 11.69 x 8.15 x 0.56 inches (297 x 207 x 14.35mm)
- Operating system: Windows 10 Home
The second trade-off to consider is the keyboard. The standard XPS 13 has one of my all-time favorite laptop keyboards; it’s snappy, quiet, and comfortable, with a really nice texture. The 2-in-1 has a different keyboard that Dell calls the “Next Gen MagLev keyboard.” It has wider keycaps with just 0.7mm of travel. It feels similar to using the old low-profile butterfly keyboard on the 2019 MacBook Pro. Personally, I hate this. Typing on the convertible feels like slamming my fingers onto flat plastic. But I begrudgingly acknowledge that some people (including Verge deputy editor Dan Seifert) prefer these kinds of keys.
Overall, the XPS 13 2-in-1 9310 is an excellent Windows convertible. It keeps the slim, sturdy, premium build quality that makes the XPS line the best of the best while also delivering some of the best performance you can get from an ultraportable laptop. It’s a formidable competitor to Apple’s groundbreaking MacBooks, especially if you’re looking for a touchscreen and a convertible form factor.
A few steps forward, a few steps back.
If you’re deciding whether to buy the XPS 13 or the XPS 13 2-in-1, the differences are simple — but they’re also significant and worth thinking about. The convertible form factor is the most obvious distinction, but I would argue it’s not the most important one (unless your job requires tablet use). You’ll be using the keyboard a lot, so you’ll want to figure out which one you prefer (if you’ve used MacBook butterfly keyboards and other MacBook keyboards, those are a rough approximation). You should also consider the sorts of tasks you’ll be putting your system through and whether a significant increase in graphics performance (especially with demanding games) is worth giving up a bit of battery life. And of course, there’s the price difference.
Anyone who’s considering an XPS 13 and thinks they might prefer a convertible should definitely consider the 2-in-1. Just don’t assume they’re the exact same package.
Photography by Monica Chin / The Verge
Dell XPS 13 9310 Review: Tiger Lake Perfects Perfection
DT Editors’ Choice
“The XPS 13 9310 with Tiger Lake isn’t so much faster than the Ivy Lake version that it will compel you to upgrade, but it solidifies the XPS 13 as the best there is. ”
- Streamlined design
- Tiny bezels all around
- 16:10 display adds to productivity
- Keyboard and touchpad are larger and excellent
- Solid productivity performance
- Connectivity is limited
- Battery life has been downgraded
Editor’s note: A new version of this laptop has launched, the XPS 13 9315.
- Keyboard and touchpad
- Battery life
- Our take
I’ve reviewed a lot of laptops for Digital Trends over the last several years, and it’s been great. But there’s been a gaping hole in my experience — I’d never had the opportunity to review one of the best laptops on the market: The Dell XPS 13. Imagine my excitement, then, when I was assigned the Tiger Lake refresh of the Dell XPS 13 to review.
I was sent a fairly high-end, $1,550 configuration of the XPS 13 9310 — the base price is $1,150 –with a quad-core 11th-gen Core i7-1165G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD), and a 13.4-inch Full HD display in Dell’s new 16:10 aspect ratio. I know my editor, Luke Larsen, loves the XPS 13 and has consistently rated it the best laptop on the market. I wondered: Would I feel the same?
Jump to: Design | Performance | Display | Keyboard and Touchpad | Battery Life | Our Take
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends
OK, after spending some time with the new XPS 13, I get it. The latest versions really are well-designed laptops. I say this because I hadn’t had a chance to spend much time with one until my review unit arrived, and while I trust Luke to perform a thorough and accurate review, it’s the rare laptop that I believe deserves the perfect score he assigned to the last version.
From a design perspective, it’s perfectly proportioned, and it has just enough aesthetic elements mixed in to elevate its otherwise simple design. Seriously, compared to the HP Spectre x360 13 (the XPS 13’s strongest competitor, in my opinion) with its gem-cut design and standout color schemes, the XPS 13 seems downright streamlined. While I love the HP, and in fact consider it one of my favorites, I can appreciate what Dell has done with the XPS 13 as well. There’s not an unnecessary line or angle anywhere on the laptop’s chassis — it just looks right. My review unit is the arctic white model, with a woven glass fiber palm rest that’s not only comfortable but looks great. The new aluminum striping along the sides adds a little flair, and the tiny bezels — which wrap all the way around the display thanks to the 16:10 aspect ratio — are as modern as you can get.
And, yes, the build quality is superb. The laptop feels just like a premium laptop should — although it’s manufactured from different materials, like glass and metal and glass fiber, it’s all been somehow fused into one cohesive whole. There’s no bending, twisting, or flexing anywhere. Other laptops can boast the same, such as the Spectre x360 13 and competitive Asus laptops, but there’s no doubt that the XPS 13 is firmly ensconced among the best of the bunch. That includes you, MacBook Pro.
Dell also put some extra effort into ensuring durability, including by double-dipping the side aluminum in the anodizing process so that you won’t be scratching the surface every time you plug in a peripheral. And the hinge opens easily with one hand and then tightens up at just the right moment to hold the display firmly in place.
Compared to the previous XPS 13 (not the last version but the one before it), the laptop is thinner at 0.58 inches compared to 0.62 inches, which is significantly thinner than the Spectre x360 13’s 0.67 inches. It’s the tiniest bit heavier than the earlier generation at 2.8 pounds versus 2.7 pounds, and the Spectre x360 13 tops them both at 2.88 pounds. Frankly, these are minute differences, and if you hold the XPS 13 next to the Spectre x360 13. you’ll find it just the tiniest bit deeper and the slightest bit less wide. As far as real-life use goes, they’re essentially identical in how tiny they feel when you’re carrying them around and using them on your lap.
I will fault the XPS 13 a bit for its connectivity, which comprises just two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support (in the Tiger Lake manifestation) and a microSD card reader. The Spectre x360 13 also gives you two Thunderbolt 4 ports (in its most recent iteration), as well as a USB-A 3.1 port for your legacy devices. Make sure you carry around the included USB-C to USB-A dongle that Dell tosses in the box. Of course, there’s also Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 on hand to make sure your wireless connectivity is as up to date as possible.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends
So, does Tiger Lake make the XPS 13 a faster laptop? The answer, of course, is yes, it does. How much faster? That’s the more important question.
Starting with Geekbench 5, the Core i7-1165G7-equipped XPS 13 scored 1,540 in the single-core test and 5,432 in the multi-core test. That compares to the Ivy Lake Core i7-1065G7 version at 1,329 and 4,862. So, that’s a meaningful jump. The Spectre x360 13, with its Core i7-1065G7, managed just 1,164 and 3,981, making it significantly slower. Note that you can use HP’s Command Center utility to engage Performance mode, and that makes a difference in the Spectre x360 13’s performance. HP was a bit conservative in tuning the thermals to make sure the 2-in-1 remains cool and quiet.
Stepping up to our Handbrake test that encodes a 420MB video as H.265, the Tiger Lake XPS 13 took just over three minutes to complete the test using the older version of Handbrake that we used to test the Ivy Lake XPS 13, which required just eight more seconds. Switch to Dell’s performance mode and you shave 10 seconds off the Tiger Lake’s score. The Spectre x360 13 took a whopping 5.86 minutes in its normal mode and 3.9 minutes in its Performance mode. When we examine the Tiger Lake XPS 13’s results on the newer version of Handbrake, it’s faster than 10th-gen CPUs.
For example, while the XPS 13 required 3.35 minutes to complete the process in this version, the Surface Book 3 13 with the Core i7-1065G7 required almost four minutes. The XPS 13 also beat out some other Tiger Lake laptops, such as the Asus ZenBook 14 UX425EA, which required four minutes in its normal mode and 30 more seconds in its Performance mode compared to the XPS 13 in its Performance mode, where it finished in just over three minutes. The Acer Swift 5 was just three seconds slower in normal mode than the XPS 13 in Performance mode (the Acer utility’s Performance mode actually made things slower). To summarize: The Tiger Lake XPS 13 was fast in our Handbrake test, but not the fastest and not that much faster than the Ivy Lake version.
I also ran Cinebench 20 on the Tiger Lake XPS 13, which we didn’t run on the previous version. Here, it scored 518 in single-core mode and 1,921 in multi-core mode (the increase was marginal in Performance mode). That’s a bit behind the Acer Swift 5 that managed 542 and 2,091, which is behind only the faster Intel reference laptop that we tested with the higher-clocked Core i7-1185G7. But the XPS 13 was much faster than the ZenBook 14 UX425EA that hit 498 and 1,766 in Performance mode — and that’s despite the ZenBook’s thicker chassis and thus theoretically better thermals.
In short, the Tiger Lake XPS 13 is absolutely a step up in performance, albeit not enough that it’s worth upgrading if you’re happy with the performance of your Ivy Lake XPS 13. If you’re choosing from among current Tiger Lake laptops, though, the XPS 13’s performance is good enough that you won’t give up speed just to get the laptop’s awesome design.
Of course, we should mention gaming, because here’s one area where the Tiger Lake model does outclass its Ivy Lake predecessor. The addition of Intel Iris Xe graphics did make a difference in 3DMark Time Spy, for example, where the new XPS 13 score 1,589 compared to the old XPS 13 at 968. That’s not quite twice the performance, but it’s close. The XPS 13 9310 wouldn’t run Civilization VI, for some reason, crashing immediately after the splash screen. When Dell gets this worked out, you should expect about 50 frames per second in 1080p and medium graphics, and that’s where you should play that title. I did run Fortnite and managed 29 frames per second (FPS) at high graphics (in Performance mode), which was a bit less than the Acer Swift 5 that managed 31 FPS. We didn’t bother testing the Iris Plus GPU in this game because, frankly, the results wouldn’t have been playable. Note that the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 with an Nvidia GeForce MX350 discrete GPU hit 37 FPS, meaning that the Intel Iris Xe is approaching entry-level GPU speeds.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends
One of the biggest changes to this iteration of the XPS 13, both the Ivy Lake and Tiger Lake versions, was the transition to a 16:10 aspect ratio display from the usual 16:9. The value of such a move ends up being three-fold. First, you get a taller display that shows more information with less scrolling, albeit with the trade-off of a bit of letterboxing in video. Second, you can fill an entire display with actual screen real estate and leave little, if any, of a chin underneath. Third, if you do it right, you can increase the amount of palm rest, which is always a good thing.
In the case of the XPS 13, all of those things are true. As I’ve used it, I’ve enjoyed the taller display, just as I did when I used Microsoft’s Surface devices with their even taller 3:2 aspect ratio. Is it a deal-breaker for me? Not really — the difference isn’t huge. Certainly, the XPS 13 enjoys the smallest bezels you’ll find, and that includes the chin, which is just as small as the other three sides. And third, the XPS 13 does have bigger palm rests and a slightly larger touchpad, both of which are very welcome changes.
My review unit was equipped with the Full HD+ display (1,920 x 1,200), which was a bit of a disappointment to me given my preference for high resolutions. I’ve also found most Full HD (or so) displays to have significantly lower quality than the 4K displays that companies like Dell put in their laptops. So, I wasn’t expecting the best news from my colorimeter.
As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised. To begin with, the display is very bright at 458 nits, approaching the display’s 500-nit rating. Also, its contrast ratio is high at 1350:1. That’s much better than most Full HD displays you’ll find, such as the Acer Swift 5’s 14-inch Full HD display that comes in at 327 nits and a 950:1 contrast ratio. I won’t compare it to the Spectre x360 13, because the version we reviewed used an OLED display that frankly blows the Dell’s display out of the water.
Color support was average for a premium Full HD display. The panel covered 98% of sRGB and 75% of AdobeRGB, both of which are good scores but don’t approach the better 4K displays you can buy. For example, select the XPS 13 4K display and you’ll likely get something north of 90% of AdobeRGB, which will make creative professionals happy. Color accuracy was good at a DeltaE of 1.36 — less than 1.0 can’t be distinguished with the human eye and is the standard for professional displays.
In real-life use, the display was a pleasure. The brightness and contrast made black text jump off the page, which is incredibly important to me as a writer. I found the colors natural and more than vibrant enough, but then again, I don’t edit photos and video — if you do, then the 4K display will make you happier. Finally, watching Netflix was a great experience thanks to Dolby Vision support, which continues to provide the best HDR experience in a laptop.
Audio was also a nice surprise, with plenty of volume from the downward-firing speakers and no distortion. Mids and highs were fine, and there was even a touch of bass. You won’t use the internal speakers for sharing Netflix with friends, but it suffices for solo sessions.
Keyboard and touchpad
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends
Dell mashed a keyboard with larger keycaps and better key spacing into the new XPS 13, and kept the same amount of travel as with the older keyboard. I liked it better for those reasons alone. But I also loved the switches, which provided a snappy feel and comfortable bottoming action. Finally, another Windows 10 keyboard catches up with HP’s Spectre keyboard as my favorite — it’s a virtual tie. Only Apple’s Magic Keyboard on its latest MacBooks is better.
The touchpad is also a bit larger and has a comfortable glass covering. Its buttons click more quietly than before, and like all Microsoft Precision touchpads, it is responsive and precise. There’s also a touch display, which like all touch panels today, worked well and made me happy (I hate non-touch displays after getting so used to tapping and swiping on the display).
Windows 10 Hello support is provided by two methods. First, there’s a fingerprint reader built into the (unlabeled, weirdly enough) power button on the upper-right of the keyboard. It was fast and responsive, and I do prefer fingerprint readers built into the power button. Second, there’s a very slim infrared camera assembly built into the tiny bezel above the display, and it was perfectly reliable in recognizing my face.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends
There’s one area where the Tiger Lake XPS 13 falls behind its Ivy Lake predecessor: Battery life. I can’t account for why — I haven’t concluded that Tiger Lake has poor battery life, but then again, our database of 11th-gen machines remains quite small. In any event, although the XPS 13 9310 has the same battery capacity as the 9300, namely 52 watt-hours, the 9310 fell considerably behind on the tests we could run.
To begin with, just like with every other Tiger Lake laptop I’ve tested, the XPS 13 wouldn’t complete the Basemark web benchmark test that is our most demanding. Instead, I ran PCMark 10’s Gaming battery test that stresses the CPU and GPU and saw almost four hours of longevity. The Acer Swift 5, the other Tiger Lake machine I’ve tested with PCMark, only lasted for just under two hours. So, the XPS 13 beats out at least one Tiger Lake rival when it’s being stressed.
Moving on to our web benchmark, which serves as our best guess of productivity battery life, the Tiger Lake XPS 13 lasted for 8. 5 hours. That approaches Intel’s Evo certification requirement of nine hours of real-life battery life, and with the right mix of tasks, you might just get there. The Ivy Lake XPS 13 lasted for 11.5 hours, and the Acer Swift 5 fell behind the XPS 13 9310 by 35 minutes.
Next, I ran the XPS 13 through our video-looping test that plays a Full HD Avengers trailer until the battery runs out. It lasted for 12 hours, well behind the Ivy Lake XPS 13’s 14.3 hours and ahead of the Swift 5’s 11.5 hours. I won’t bother including the Spectre x360 13 in this comparison — it’s OLED display is incredibly power-hungry, and it couldn’t keep up with these Full HD laptops.
Ultimately, the XPS 13 9310 will likely get you through a full day’s work, and it’s close to meeting Intel’s nine-hour Evo certification requirement. If you push the CPU and/or GPU, you’ll get less, as always, but for general productivity tasks, I’m rating battery life as good but not great.
The Dell XPS 13 9310 with Tiger Lake remains the best laptop you can buy, despite the drop in battery life. It’s just as good as its predecessor in terms of its design, input options, and overall usability while being slightly faster.
It’s not the cheapest laptop around, and as we noted in the XPS 13 9300 review, you can find some great alternatives while spending under $1,000. But if you’re looking for a clamshell 13-inch laptop, then the XPS 13 9310 is really your best choice.
Are there any alternatives?
The HP Spectre x360 13 remains a strong competitor to the XPS 13, and it’s now available with Tiger Lake in the same diminutive and striking package. You’ll also save several hundred dollars over the equivalent XPS 13. You can also consider the Spectre x360 14, which uses an even more productivity-friendly 3:2 aspect ratio for its display and equips Tiger Lake components, all for about the same price as the XPS 13.
We’ve recommended the MacBook Air as an alternative, but that’s complicated now by Apple’s migration to its own Apple Silicon M1 CPU that completely changes the game. We’ll be reviewing that soon, so hang tight to see if it’s a viable alternative to the XPS 13.
Finally, Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3 is a laptop to consider given its similar price, weight, and thickness. It uses the 3:2 aspect ratio and so is more productivity friendly. And it’s a great-looking laptop to boot.
How long will it last?
The XPS 13 9310 has an impressive build quality that evokes confidence in years of faithful service, and its components are up to date and should be able to keep things humming. The one-year warranty is industry standard and disappointing as usual, but you can always buy an extended warranty if you’re worried about long-term coverage.
Should you buy it?
Yes. The XPS 13 9310 remains the best laptop around.
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Dell XPS 13 Overview (Model 9310 Late 2022-2023)
- Dell XPS 13 Pricing and Configurations
- Design Dell XPS 13
- Dell XPS 13 Security
- Dell XPS 13 ports
- Dell XPS 13 Display
- Dell XPS 13 Audio System
- Dell XPS 13 keyboard and touchpad
- Performance Dell XPS 13
- Dell XPS 13 Graphics
- Dell XPS 13 battery life
- Dell XPS 13 Heat
- Dell XPS 13 Webcam
- Dell XPS 13 Software and Warranty
- Bottom line
Specifications Dell XPS 13
Price: $ 1,649
Processor: Intel Core i7-1165g7
GPU: INTEL IRIS XE
Baran: 16 Gigabaite 9001 Storage 512 GB
4″ 1920 x 1200
Size: 11. 6 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 2.8 lbs
What you get if you install one of the new Intel processors Tiger Lake in Dell XPS 13? Even tougher. The $1,649 laptop retains everything we loved about this year’s previous model, such as a smaller bezel, four-sided InfinityEdge bezels, and a larger keyboard. But this update includes an 11th Gen Intel Tiger Lake processor and a host of promised features, including improved CPU and graphics performance, and longer battery life. You also get Thunderbolt 4 and Wi-Fi 6.
But does Tiger Lake live up to the hype? Yes and no. Yes, because you can play certain AAA games on the integrated GPU, albeit at low settings. And yes, in many cases the overall performance is also top notch. Battery life even exceeds the new Intel Evo standards by two hours. But the lack of outdated ports and the somewhat dim display are a spoonful of otherwise pretty spotlessly clean ointment. Regardless, the Dell XPS 13 is one of the best laptops on the market.
Dell XPS 13 Pricing and Configurations
Dell XPS 13 latest base model $999 with 1.7GHz Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD , Intel UHD Graphics, and a 13.4-inch 1920 x 1200 non-touch processor. The $1,099 version upgrades you to a 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor and Intel Iris Xe Graphics.
My test unit is $1,649 and offers a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor, double the RAM and storage, and adds a touchscreen. The $2,499 model gets you 32GB of RAM, a 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, and a 3840 x 2400-pixel touchpad.
Design Dell XPS 13
The look of the XPS 13 is the color of a thin layer of frozen condensation before sunrise, giving way to a crisp winter day — or Frost White, as the company likes to call it. The premium anodized aluminum chassis cover is adorned with a centered, high-gloss silver Dell logo.
The company wisely decided to keep the double coil joint. This makes opening the laptop with one hand incredibly easy. And anything that allows me to enjoy the purest white interior of a laptop is a plus for my book. Like other Frost White models, the latest version of the XPS 13 features Arctic White’s patented stain- and fade-resistant fiberglass weave on the keyboard. Most of the palm rest is occupied by a massive glass touchpad. The white backlit keyboard waits until your hands are used.
At 2.8 pounds, the 11.6″ x 7.8″ x 0.6″ XPS 13 is the tricky side. The Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA (11.9 x 8 x 0.5 inches) weighs just 2.5 pounds, while the HP Specter x360 (12.1 x 7.7 x 0.7 inches) weighs 2.7 pounds. Only the 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro (12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches) is heavier at 3.1 pounds.
Dell XPS 13 Security
The XPS 13’s power button hides an integrated fingerprint reader that allows you to easily log in with Windows Hello. This is a nice and easy way to add an extra layer of security. However, I need Dell to crack either the physical shutter or the webcam’s kill switch.
Ports Dell XPS 13
Like most modern versions of the XPS 13, this is a laptop with few ports. But thanks to Tiger Lake, it has received a few improvements. You’ll find a Thunderbolt 4 port on both sides of the system, a headset jack on the right, and a microSD card slot on the left. And while Dell has kindly provided a USB-C to USB-A adapter, the need for a USB Type-C dock becomes even more pressing.
Dell XPS 13 Display
Look Mom, no bezels! No faceplates as far as the eye can see. Dell once again flaunts its design prowess with a four-sided InfinityEdge display. Eliminating the thick bottom chin allowed Dell to accommodate a 13.4-inch, 19-inch glossy touchscreen.20 x 1200 pixels in 11.6″ chassis. And all this while keeping the webcam in the correct position (above the display).
After watching the trailer for Fly Like a Girl, I was really impressed by the vibrant colors, especially the orange blouse one of the interviewees was wearing. It really drew attention, especially in the contrast of her mahogany skin. The details were clean enough that I could easily see the delicate filigree along the front of the blouse.
I was surprised that the XPS 13 only showed 69.4% DCI-P3 color gamut. The result is way below the premium laptop average of 83.6%, meaning the MacBook, Specter, and ZenBook are much brighter at 80.9%, 77.4%, and 76.1%, respectively.
But when we measured screen brightness, the XPS 13 retaliated, averaging 469 nits. That was enough to beat the 382 category average, as well as the ZenBook 13 (370 nits) and Specter (369 nits). However, the MacBook Pro was slightly brighter at 485 nits.
Dell has included its CinemaColor software that adjusts gamma, white point and saturation depending on what you are watching (movies, sports and animation) or in low light conditions (evening).
10-point capacitive touchpad with quick response and agility keeps up with my Paint frenzy.
Dell XPS 13 Audio System
Never underestimate the little guy. Dell got over my distaste for bottom speakers somewhat by placing them on the sides of the system. The location ensures they don’t get muffled when I use the XPS 13 on my lap. The result was an ultraportable laptop that delivered powerful sound, not big enough to fill the top floor of my duplex, but big enough to take care of my small living and dining room.
The drum kit on Frank Ocean’s «Super Rich Kids» was nice and crisp, and the chord-like «Bennie And The Jets» was clean. Other than Ocean’s disappointed vocals, the synth parts of the track really stood out, as did the horns. However, there was a slight distortion as the backing vocals came into harmony. Not enough to put you off, mind you, but enough to be noticeable.
The XPS 13 comes preloaded with Waves MaxxAudio Pro, with over 20 presets for optimal listening experience. It covers a range of genres from rock to R&B, you just need to tweak the settings from time to time.
Keyboard and touchpad Dell XPS 13
Big keys, small laptop. Dell increased the size of the keys by 9%, making the message easier for anyone to read, even those with sausage thumbs. Despite their size, the island-style keys are well spaced and provide a solid, springy response. I hit my typical 70 wpm on the 10fastfingers typing test.
The 2.5″ x 4.4″ glass touchpad provided a smooth and fast response when navigating the web or performing Windows 10 multi-touch gestures.
Performance Dell XPS 13
It’s Tiger Lake, listen to it roar! Intel’s third 10nm chip is built on the new Willow Lake architecture, a chip layout designed to improve power efficiency and performance. Using the new Intel SuperFin process, the company has successfully introduced higher clock speeds that Intel claims will result in a 20% performance boost.
Combined with 16 GB of RAM, the 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor in the XPS 13 performs well. I had 30 Google Chrome tabs, some running various Google docs and spreadsheets, others streaming Twitch and YouTube, and some running Tweetdeck. XPS 13 continued to work without interruptions and freezes.
The laptop also performed well in our synthetic tests. For example, it scored 5,254 on our Geekbench 5.0 overall performance test. It outperformed the premium laptop and Specter (Core i7-1065G7 processor) average of 4074, as well as the MacBook Pro (4399, Core i5 processor) and ZenBook 13 (5084, Core i7-1165G7 processor).
The XPS 13 failed in the handbrake test, taking 18 minutes and 22 seconds to transcode 4K video to 1080p, slightly slower than average 18:19. The ZenBook 13 showed the time at 17:51, while the MacBook Pro showed the time at 12:43. However, the XPS 13’s timing was still faster than the Specter’s 21:13.
When we ran the Puget Photoshop test, which runs 21 different Photoshop tasks three times per run, the XPS 13 scored 588, beating the MacBook Pro’s score of 569. This, however, is not enough to beat the ZenBook 13’s score of 742.
XPS 13 M.2 PCIe NVMe 512 GB SSD file transfer test duplicated 4. 97 GB of media files at 729.3 MB per second. This result is just below the category average of 749.9 Mbps, but was much faster than Specter’s (M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD) 312.2 Mbps. However, the ZenBook 13 (SSD M.2 PCIe 3.0) was the fastest at 966.8 Mbps. The
XPS 13 fared better when we bumped the workload to 25GB, delivering 806.2Mbps and completely outperforming the ZenBook 13 (583.6Mbps) and the category average (572.8Mbps).
Dell XPS 13 Graphics
The introduction of Tiger Lake also marks the arrival of Intel’s new integrated graphics processor, the Intel Iris Xe. With this new component, Intel promises that gamers will be able to play more games at 1080p resolution by doubling the performance of the previous generation chip. I tested this by playing Control.
I led a Bureau member to a downed ally, fending off waves of Hiss along the way, telepathically throwing objects at 34fps on low settings at 1920 x 1200. The game was still playable on Medium, but there was some stuttering at 23 fps. The game became completely unplayable on High as the frame rate dropped to 15fps.
In Sid Meyer’s Civilization VI benchmark, the XPS 13 hit 55 fps, cutting the premium laptop average of 28 fps. The ZenBook 13 (Intel Iris Xe) and MacBook Pro (Intel Iris Graphics) didn’t come close anywhere with scores of 21 and 18 fps, respectively.
In the 3DMark Night Raid test, the XPS 13 scored 12,593, beating the Specter 6,226 and 8,010 for the category average.
Dell XPS 13 Battery Life
The new 11th generation processors not only provide better performance and graphics, but also longer battery life — at least that’s the plan. Tiger Lake brings with it the Intel Evo, the second phase of the company’s Project Athena initiative. Evo contains a number of notebook requirements for Intel certification. One of them is at least 9hours of battery life for 1080p systems.
The Dell XPS 13 lasted 11 hours and 7 minutes in ReviewsExpert.net’s battery test, which consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. It beat the premium laptop average of 9:50 as well as the 10:21 MacBook Pro. The Specter showed the time at 13:19 and the Tiger Lake powered ZenBook 13 shut down at 13:47.
Dell XPS 13 heat
To test the cooling capabilities of the Dell XPS 13, we watched a 15-minute full-screen video and measured certain points on the laptop. The touchpad had a temperature of 81 degrees Fahrenheit, and the middle part of the keyboard was 89degrees. The undercarriage of the laptop heats up to 101 degrees.
Dell XPS 13 Webcam
The 0.1-inch 720p webcam is one of the smallest in the world. Despite his midget size, the shooter takes decent photos. What impressed me the most was how well it captures color, as evidenced by my pink, purple and blue braided locks. Even though it’s grainy, I still saw detail in my braids and the fabric in my sweater pattern. However, if you’re looking for sharper images, you might want to consider getting an external webcam.
Dell XPS 13 Software and Warranty
Dell has bundled a robust set of helpful proprietary software with the XPS 13. Dell Power Manager allows you to manage your power consumption with predefined profiles to extend battery life or get the most out of system performance. Customer Connect is your channel to a Dell technician should you need system assistance. Digital Delivery tracks all your software downloads and restores them after a system cleanup or crash.
The company recently updated Dell Mobile Connect so it works great with iPhone. Now everyone can easily share images, documents and videos between their smartphone and laptop.
Third party applications include Killer Control Center which allows you to prioritize network bandwidth. The laptop also comes with 20GB of free Dropbox storage for a year. There are, of course, some Windows 10 malware such as Netflix, Hidden City: Hidden Object Adventure, and Solitaire.
The Dell XPS 13 comes with a one-year hardware warranty, including on-site and home service after remote diagnostics. See how Dell is faring in our annual special reports: Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brands.