The Dell XPS 13, over the years, has not seen much change in design, with the last two versions being virtually identical in construction and design. This year, however, Dell has pushed the envelope of what could really mean thin and light. The Dell XPS 13 9300 (Dell needs a really good model name scheme) is definitely a visual departure from the machine of the past. It has got a remarkably different design and is a host of 10th generation Intel Core i7 processors and other hardware and software features that make the XPS 13 a rather lucrative device. But does it live up to the moniker? Is it worth the price tag? Here’s what we found.
Dell XPS 13 Specification
Processor: Intel Core i7-1065G7
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Storage: 1TB NVMe
Display: 4K IPS
Dell XPS 13 performance
We have the Dell XPS 13 supposedly the highest-end variant for review, an Intel Core I7-1065G7, 16GB DDR4 memory soldered to the motherboard and a 1TB SK Hynix NVMe drive. Of these three components, the system is primarily designed to run at maximum speed, as long as your expectations are consistent with what this type of hardware can do. Don’t expect to be able to edit heavy-duty photos or videos, but if you want to edit something in Adobe Lightroom (not Lightroom Classic), you should turn it off.
Our tests are split into artificial and real-world tests, which Dell XPS 13 does wonderfully. In terms of synthetic benchmarks, XPS 13 is ahead of ZenBook 14 UX425 and Lenovo Yoga C940, both powered by the same Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor in virtually every synthetic benchmark. In real-world use, the XPS 13 shines again. Juggling between multiple doc files, an Excel file with 5 million data points, and a 1.2 GB PPT file. At the same time, Firefox was running with a very generous 28 tabs running in the background. At no time is the system slow. An example of Adobe Lightroom slows down a bit overall, but helps eliminate the problem with PowerPoint and Excel, allowing me to edit my 24-megapixel RAW files shot on the Sony A7 III relatively easily. During all this time, the keyboard had very little warmth, regardless of whether the XPS 13 was running on battery or AC power. It has to be said that now that the normal ambient temperature has dropped, we hope the system thermals will get better.
Overall, the Dell XPS 13 is a machine designed to be used in your day-to-day life without any worries or complaints.
Dell XPS 13 display
The Dell XPS 13 that we got for review is equipped with a 4K panel. 16:10 is gone for the Dell display, which gives an effective resolution of 3840×2400. The display supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision content playback and, as such, is capable of striking maximum brightness up to 400nits. On paper, the display is spectacular.
Analyzing the color properties of the panel using Xrite i1Display Pro, we conclude that the Dell XPS 13’s panel is well-calibrated out of the box, however, one more calibration significantly reduces the DeltaE levels. The panel is capable of accurately reproducing 100 percent sRGB color space and 89.8 percent DCI-P3 color space, making it great for proving color-sensitive work and viewing HDR content. The uniformity of the panel according to our test was also good in this panel, showing slight deviation.
The Dell XPS 13’s display is 4K and shiny, two things that aren’t too desirable, to be honest. 4K resolution on a display This size is basically useless. In resolution, with scaling set to 100 percent, fortunately it takes about a week to read or find something and scroll across the screen using the trackpad. To get a better visual experience, you either need to set the scaling to 250 percent or you need to set a more manageable 1920×1080 resolution. Bad news enough. The good news is that despite having a glossy display, the XPS 13’s panel can handle reflections quite well. Thanks to the maximum brightness of 400 nits, the day-to-day use of the laptop is a breeze. You will not be hindered much by the reflection of the surroundings.
The biggest draw for this display is the four-sided narrow bezel. The timing controller for the Dell display has been re-engineered and the back bezel has been able to reduce the thickness of the bottom bezel. Dell’s engineering team has really pushed itself on this, as not only are the XPS 13’s bezels the narrowest in the XPS, the webcam has also returned to its normal position. In fact, in addition to the webcam, Dell has also been able to pack IR sensors into the top bezel, enabling face recognition as part of Windows Hello.
Lastly, the display is touch-enabled and the touch works well. No random skips or jolts when scrolling through long pages or large datasheets. Although touch isn’t really my thing, if you prefer to navigate Windows using the touch interface, this panel will let you do it without any hassle.
Dell XPS 13 Battery Life
The most important thing about thin and light laptops is their battery life. The XPS 13 lasted 8 hours and 22 minutes in our PCMark10 battery life test, which is significantly less than the 12 hours or less of the Lenovo Yoga C940. However, the XPS 13 easily uses about 10 hours a day for me, including review writing, storytelling, researching things online, and resizing photos on the WhatsApp web, and of course, streaming music almost all day. On Bluetooth. Occasionally there was a YouTube video or a mix of the two. Given all this use, 9-10 hours is quite difficult.
The battery life of the Dell XPS 13 isn’t the only great thing about batteries. Dell’s Power Management app offers a wonderful number of options that not only extend the battery life of your laptop but also the settings that will extend the physical life of your battery. You can set the laptop to run out of battery and start charging as soon as it reaches a certain percentage even though it has been plugged in all day. The charge can be turned off automatically when the battery reaches a percentage, which you can set yourself.
Dell XPS 13 keyboard, trackpad and I / O
In addition to its display, one of the most enjoyable things about the XPS 13 is the keyboard. While the Lenovo Yoga C940 has a great keyboard, the XPS 13 has a beat. XPS 13 offers quite a wide range of keycaps. All keycaps are generously sized, not just letters. Keystrokes are short but hard, providing great response and fast typing experience. The display doubles the function keys as the control required for brightness, volume and keyboard lighting (which is white, 2-stage lighting). Honestly, you will get used to this keyboard and its layout very quickly. It took me 3 days to get used to it. The power button on the top right blends well with the keys in terms of shape and feel, but also doubles as a fingerprint sensor. This sensor works very fast and very well, unlocking the machine in less than a split second.
The XPS 13’s trackpad is a bit smaller, especially on other machines like the MacBook Air. Despite the small-ish size, it is certainly very usable. The smooth glass surface allows your fingers to glide over it, and the trackpad translates that motion to the cursor very effectively.
One area that XPS leaves room for complaints is I / O. All you get is two Thunderbolt 3.0 ports on either side, a microSD card slot and a 3.5mm headphone / microphone jack. One Thunderbolt 3.0 port is used when you plug in the charging cable and the other will be taken by the accessory whatever you plug into it. Our Sandisk Extreme Pro SSD was always plugged in, leaving no port blank to plug in a card reader to transfer photos and videos from our camera to XPS. The lack of a port is definitely something you will feel, so getting a dongle is probably a good idea if your work is mostly mobile. If you are a desk-jockey, a Thunderbolt 3.0 port would be a good investment.
Dell XPS 13 build and design
This year the Dell XPS 13 looks different from its predecessors. The back of the laptop has an angular cut that fits the hinge. The overall thickness is low and obviously, when it is open, the laptop almost feels like you might be able to snap it. Anyway, good luck doing that. Dell is a variant of white and uses woven glass fiber for a solid single block of aluminum. When opening, there is no flex on the keyboard island, even if you try to bend it forcibly. When closed, it is hard rock. Neither half shows any flex or game. The top has a smooth finish that feels really nice to the touch when the glass fiber woven on the keyboard island provides enough friction to protect your wrist from slipping recklessly when you type hard on this machine. The Dell XPS 13 is a masterclass on how to build a premium laptop and there are no two ways about it.
The Dell XPS 13 is an incredibly slim laptop that packs a lot of power. A 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor with 16B DDR4 memory, 1TB SSD and of course a gorgeous display capable of playing HDR10 and Dolby Vision-enabled content. The battery life of this item is great and the number of utilities in the Dell packs really allows you to make the best of it. Without compromising on rock-solid build quality, Dell has finally updated the design of the laptop to make it stand out from previous models. The fingerprint sensor works just as fast as the facial recognition hardware packed in an impossibly thin top bezel. The Dell XPS 13 is definitely expensive, but you’re paying for a laptop that’s close to form and functionality.