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Dell XPS 13 9310 Review: Premium Windows Laptop Experience At Hefty Cost
Dell is one of the few computer manufacturing brands that make laptops for all segments, starting from entry-level models to high-end gaming machines under the Alienware branding. The XPS lineup of laptops from Dell is known to offer thin-and-light form factor and best-in-class performance. Dell recently updated the XPS 13 and the XPS 15 with the 11th Gen Tiger Lake Intel processors.
- Ultra premium design
- Light and compact
- 4K touch display
Is the latest Dell XPS 13 9310 any better than the Apple MacBook, given it costs over Rs. 2,22,000 in India? I have been testing the Dell XPS 13 9310 with the Intel Core i7-1185G7 with 1TB SSD and 16GB LPDDR4x RAM and here is our full review.
Dell XPS 13 9310 Specifications
- CPU: Intel Core i7-1185G7
- Display: 13.4-inch IPS 3840 x 2400, 60Hz
- GPU: Intel Iris Xe
- Memory: 16GB LPDDR4x
- Storage: 1TB PCIe SSD
- Battery: Up to 8 hours (claimed)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
Dell XPS 13 9310 Design: Thinner And Lighter
For the XPS 13's design, Dell has followed Apple's lead with a metal body and a slim profile design. The XPS 13 does resemble the MacBook 13 from the outside. However, on the insider (when you open the lid) it has a few things that are not seen on other machines, giving this device a unique character. The laptop just weighs 1.2KG and has a slim profile, making it easy to carry around.
There is an LED light at the middle portion of the laptop, which indicates the battery life of the laptop. The LED turns to white if the laptop is charging and it turns orange if the battery percent dips to less than 20 percent. A simple but very useful feature and due to the massive size of the LED, it is also very easy to find out about the battery life even from a distance.
The XPS 13 just has two USB Type-C ports, and either of them can be used for charging and there is a microSD card too, which should have been a full-sized SD card slot. This means, while charging the laptop, you are just left with a single USB Type-C port.
Unlike Apple, Dell does include a USB Type-C to USB-A dongle in the retail package, which does solve this problem to an extent. However, I felt that the XPS 13 should have come with at least a single USB Type-A port, to connect peripherals like a mouse or an external keyboard.
One thing that slightly irked me on the XPS 13 is the body flex. If you are using this laptop on your lap without placing it on a table, then there is a high chance that you might activate the click on the mouse, especially if you put more pressure on either the left or the right side of the palm rest. I happened to experience the same while using this laptop on a bed. However, this won't be an issue if you use the laptop on a flat surface like a table.
If we look at the design of the Dell XPS 13 9310, there is nothing exceptional but it is one of the most practical thin-and-light laptops and the company has been perfecting this formula for the last few years. Given the laptop supports touch input, I just want Dell to make the display rotatable in the next iteration. Just like Apple, the Dell XPS 13 9310 is one of the most practically designed laptops, which has a lot of ports to get this slim form factor.
Dell XPS 13 9310 Display: One Of The Best On A Laptop
A good display on a gaming laptop should have a high refresh rate, while a good display on an ultrabook should have high resolution. The Dell XPS 13 9310 does the same and offers a 13-inch edge-to-edge UHD 4K display with a peak brightness of 500 nits and touch input support. The Dell XPS 13 9310 has one of the best displays on a laptop that I have tested so far. Do note that, there is also a base model of the XPS 13 with a 1080p resolution display, which costs much lesser than the XPS 13 with 4K display.
The display on the XPS 13 is sharp, color-accurate, supports touch input, and also supports HDR, making it a great screen to watch shows on platforms like Netflix and Prime Video. Again, you can also stream native HDR videos from YouTube on the Dell XPS 13 9310 at 4K resolution. It is Dolby Vision and VESA DisplayHDR 400 certified, making it one of the best HDR displays on a laptop.
The Dell XPS 13 9310 also has some of the thinnest bezels that I have seen on a laptop. Despite having thinner bezels, the brand has managed to incorporate a 720p web camera at the top of the screen, and we expect no less than that on a laptop that costs over Rs. 2,00,000. The Dell XPS 13 9310 offers the best display experience and it is also one of the highlights of this notebook.
If you prioritize a high-resolution color-accurate display over other things, then, the Dell XPS 13 9310 will not disappoint you. Do note that, by default, HDR will be turned off and it has to be turned on manually. Besides, you can only use HDR on the Dell XPS 13 9310 when the charger is connected to the laptop, as HDR mode increases the brightness, which consumes a lot of power.
Honestly, if the XPS 13 had a display that's anything less, it would have been hard to justify that premium price tag. This is also a good display for video editing. However, due to the CPU and GPU limitations, you won't get a smooth 4K video editing. However, the laptop should be able to manage light photos and 1080p video editing without any issue.
Dell XPS 13 9310 Keyboard And Trackpad: Pleasant Typing Experience
The XPS 13 has a full-sized keyboard without the Numpad with shallow travel keys. At first, I was not a huge fan of this keyboard, as I always fancied laptops with good key travel. However, after a few days of usage, this keyboard has grown on me. Despite having a low key-travel, it does offer good keystroke, offering a pleasant typing experience. The keys are white in color, and it is best to turn off the backlight in the daytime for better key visibility.
The top row of the keyboard has function keys to control volume, brightness, and the key on the top right corner is a power button with a fingerprint sensor. Also note that the XPS 13 does support IR camera-based face unlock, and one can use either of these features for authentication.
There isn't much to say about the trackpad on the XPS 13, it is accurate in tracking the cursor movements. However, I felt that the trackpad is a bit too small. Especially when compared to the Apple MacBook or even the Dell XPS 15 or the Dell XPS 17, which offers a much larger trackpad. Again, if you apply a bit of pressure on either side, the trackpad will register it for a click, which is a bit annoying, especially while using this device on a not flat surface.
Dell XPS 13 9310 Camera And Sound: Loud And Clear
It is now understood that the display on the Dell XPS 13 9310 is great. What about the sound? Again, no surprises here, as the Dell XPS 13 9310 is definitely one of the best-sounding 13-inch laptops in the market. The sound is not just loud, but it is clear and one can easily watch a movie or listen to music while working without connecting an external speaker or headphone.
The XPS 13 has a 720p web camera at the top, similar to the majority of laptops, and should work well for tasks like a video conference. In well-lit conditions, the web camera does offer good picture quality. However, we would have loved to see at least a 1080p web camera on this, as a 720p picture on a 4K display does look a lot pixelated.
Dell XPS 13 9310 Performance: Performance Certified By Intel Evo
The Dell XPS 9310 is powered by one of the most powerful processors - the Intel Core i7-1185G7, which is a quad-core eight-thread processor offering a base clock speed of 1.2GHz and a max boost speed of 4.8GHz. A single core can attain this frequency using Intel Turbo Boost Technology. This is an SoC, as it also comes with Intel Iris Xe graphics, which uses onboard RAM as video memory.
This is an 11th Gen Tiger Lake processor based on 10nm SuperFin technology, which is power efficient when compared to 10th Gen 14nm processors from Intel. Just like clock speed, the TDP of this processor can also be configured from 12W to 28W, offering more control over the performance and battery life. The laptop comes with 16GB LPDDR4x RAM with 4267MHz clock speed.
This is also an Intel EVO-certified laptop. A device has to offer features like WiFi6, all-day battery life, Thunderbolt 4, and faster wakeup to get this EVO certification. In terms of premium ultrabook standards, the Dell XPS 13 9310 has everything that one might ask from a laptop of this class.
Coming to the benchmarks, the laptop scored 563.5 points on a single thread and 2921.1 points on multi-thread performance. Similarly, on Geekbench 5, the device scored 1522 points on single-core and 5361 points on multi-core CPU performance. Lastly, on Cinebench R23, the laptop scored 1398 points on single-core and 3841 points on multi-core CPU performance.
To give you some context, the Dell XPS 13 9310 outperforms devices like the Asus ZenBook Duo, powered by the Intel Core i7-1165G7 on both single-core and multi-core CPU performance.
When it comes to real-world usage, the Dell XPS 14 9310 handled almost every task without breaking a sweat. My regular use case involves opening around 20 browsers on chrome with slack, the thunderbird app, and a VPN app. Even with all these apps opened in the background, the device didn't show any sort of lag whatsoever.
Dell XPS 13 9310 Battery Life: Average Battery Life
If you want a laptop with all-day battery life, then you might have to choose the Dell XPS 13 9310 with a 1080p display, which is rated to offer 14 hours of battery life. On our unit with a 4K display, the company claims to offer eight hours of battery life.
In our usage, we were able to get around five to six hours of battery life without any issue. On top of that, the laptop uses a USB Type-C port for charging, and the same charger can be used to charge most Android smartphones or any other device with support for USB PD charging.
If you are a heavy user, then you might have to charge this device at least once before the end of the day. Doing that should not be an issue, as the laptop ships with a 45W charger, which quickly charges the 52Whr battery in less than two hours.
The Dell XPS 13 9310 is a laptop that wants nothing but the best, especially for those who want a MacBook Pro-like device but with native Windows OS. This is a downright premium laptop that also ships with Windows 10 Pro OS. Again, all this comes at a price, which makes it one of the most expensive thin-and-light laptops and it might not be for everyone who just wants a bang-for-buck performance.
Again, you won't be able to justify the price of this laptop by just looking at the specs sheet alone. However, if you look at the product as a whole and the computing experience it offers, there are only a few laptops that come close to the Dell XPS 13 9310. If are ready to spend a little extra for that additional polished experience? Go for the Dell XPS 18 9310.