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Dell XPS 13 9310 Review: Tiger Lake perfects perfection

Dell XPS 13 9310 Assessment: Tiger Lake perfects perfection

Dell XPS 13 9310 Assessment: Tiger Lake perfects perfection

“The XPS 13 9310 with Tiger Lake is not a lot sooner than the Ivy Lake model that it’s going to compel you to improve, but it surely solidifies the XPS 13 as the very best there’s.”

  • Streamlined design
  • Tiny bezels throughout
  • 16:10 show provides to productiveness
  • Keyboard and touchpad are bigger and wonderful
  • Strong productiveness efficiency
  • Connectivity is proscribed
  • Battery life has been downgraded

I’ve reviewed a number of laptops for Digital Traits over the past a number of years, and it’s been nice. However there’s been a gaping gap in my expertise — I’d by no means had the chance to evaluate a Dell XPS laptop computer, which had been fairly the frustration. Think about my pleasure, then, once I was assigned the Tiger Lake refresh of the Dell XPS 13 to evaluate.

I used to be despatched a reasonably high-end, $1,550 configuration of the XPS 13 9310 — the bottom value 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.Four-inch Full HD show in Dell’s new 16:10 facet ratio. I do know my editor, Luke Larsen, loves the XPS 13 and has persistently rated it the very best laptop computer available on the market. I puzzled: Would I really feel the identical?


Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

OK, after spending a while with the brand new XPS 13, I get it. The most recent variations actually are well-designed laptops. I say this as a result of I hadn’t had an opportunity to spend a lot time with one till my evaluate unit arrived, and whereas I belief Luke to carry out an intensive and correct evaluate, it’s the uncommon laptop computer that I imagine deserves the right rating he assigned to the final model.

From a design perspective, it’s completely proportioned, and it has simply sufficient aesthetic parts combined in to raise its in any other case easy design. Severely, in comparison with the HP Spectre x360 13 (the XPS 13’s strongest competitor, in my view) with its gem-cut design and standout coloration schemes, the XPS 13 appears downright streamlined. Whereas I like the HP, and in reality think about it one among my favorites, I can respect what Dell has finished with the XPS 13 as nicely. There’s not an pointless line or angle wherever on the laptop computer’s chassis — it simply seems to be proper. My evaluate unit is the arctic white mannequin, with a woven glass fiber palm relaxation that’s not solely comfy however seems to be nice. The brand new aluminum striping alongside the edges provides somewhat aptitude, and the tiny bezels — which wrap all the best way across the show due to the 16:10 facet ratio — are as fashionable as you may get.

And, sure, the construct high quality is great. The laptop computer feels identical to a premium laptop computer ought to — though it’s manufactured from totally different supplies, like glass and steel and glass fiber, it’s all been in some way fused into one cohesive entire. There’s no bending, twisting, or flexing wherever. Different laptops can boast the identical, such because the Spectre x360 13 and aggressive Asus laptops, however there’s little question that the XPS 13 is firmly ensconced among the many better of the bunch. That features you, MacBook Professional.

Dell additionally put some additional effort into making certain sturdiness, together with by double-dipping the aspect aluminum within the anodizing course of so that you simply received’t be scratching the floor each time you plug in a peripheral. And the hinge opens simply with one hand after which tightens up at simply the proper second to carry the show firmly in place.

In comparison with the earlier XPS 13 (not the final model however the one earlier than it), the laptop computer is thinner at zero.58 inches in comparison with zero.62 inches, which is considerably thinner than the Spectre x360 13’s zero.67 inches. It’s the tiniest bit heavier than the sooner era at 2.eight kilos versus 2.7 kilos, and the Spectre x360 13 tops them each at 2.88 kilos. Frankly, these are minute variations, and in the event you maintain the XPS 13 subsequent to the Spectre x360 13. you’ll discover it simply the tiniest bit deeper and the slightest bit much less huge. So far as real-life use goes, they’re primarily similar in how tiny they really feel whenever you’re carrying them round and utilizing them in your lap.

I’ll fault the XPS 13 a bit for its connectivity, which includes simply two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt Four help (within the Tiger Lake manifestation) and a microSD card reader. The Spectre x360 13 additionally offers you two Thunderbolt Four ports (in its most up-to-date iteration), in addition to a USB-A three.1 port to your legacy units. Ensure you carry across the included USB-C to USB-A dongle that Dell tosses within the field. After all, there’s additionally Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 available to verify your wi-fi connectivity is as updated as doable.


Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

So, does Tiger Lake make the XPS 13 a sooner laptop computer? The reply, after all, is sure, it does. How a lot sooner? That’s the extra vital query.

Beginning with Geekbench 5, the Core i7-1165G7-equipped XPS 13 scored 1,540 within the single-core take a look at and 5,432 within the multi-core take a look at. That compares to the Ivy Lake Core i7-1065G7 model at 1,329 and Four,862. So, that’s a significant leap. The Spectre x360 13, with its Core i7-1065G7, managed simply 1,164 and three,981, making it considerably slower. Observe that you should utilize HP’s Command Middle utility to have interaction Efficiency mode, and that makes a distinction within the Spectre x360 13’s efficiency. HP was a bit conservative in tuning the thermals to verify the 2-in-1 stays cool and quiet.

Stepping as much as our Handbrake take a look at that encodes a 420MB video as H.265, the Tiger Lake XPS 13 took simply over three minutes to finish the take a look at utilizing the older model of Handbrake that we used to check the Ivy Lake XPS 13, which required simply eight extra seconds. Swap to Dell’s efficiency mode and also you shave 10 seconds off the Tiger Lake’s rating. The Spectre x360 13 took a whopping 5.86 minutes in its regular mode and three.9 minutes in its Efficiency mode. Once we study the Tiger Lake XPS 13’s outcomes on the newer model of Handbrake, it’s sooner than 10th-gen CPUs.

For instance, whereas the XPS 13 required three.35 minutes to finish the method on this model, the Floor Ebook three 13 with the Core i7-1065G7 required virtually 4 minutes. The XPS 13 additionally beat out another Tiger Lake laptops, such because the Asus ZenBook 14 UX425EA, which required 4 minutes in its regular mode and 30 extra seconds in its Efficiency mode in comparison with the XPS 13 in its Efficiency mode, the place it completed in simply over three minutes. The Acer Swift 5 was simply three seconds slower in regular mode than the XPS 13 in Efficiency mode (the Acer utility’s Efficiency mode really made issues slower). To summarize: The Tiger Lake XPS 13 was quick in our Handbrake take a look at, however not the quickest and never that a lot sooner than the Ivy Lake model.

I additionally ran Cinebench 20 on the Tiger Lake XPS 13, which we didn’t run on the earlier model. Right here, it scored 518 in single-core mode and 1,921 in multi-core mode (the rise was marginal in Efficiency mode). That’s a bit behind the Acer Swift 5 that managed 542 and a couple of,091, which is behind solely the sooner Intel reference laptop computer that we examined with the higher-clocked Core i7-1185G7. However the XPS 13 was a lot sooner than the ZenBook 14 UX425EA that hit 498 and 1,766 in Efficiency mode — and that’s regardless of the ZenBook’s thicker chassis and thus theoretically higher thermals.

In brief, the Tiger Lake XPS 13 is totally a step up in efficiency, albeit not sufficient that it’s value upgrading in the event you’re pleased with the efficiency of your Ivy Lake XPS 13. If you happen to’re selecting from amongst present Tiger Lake laptops, although, the XPS 13’s efficiency is nice sufficient that you simply received’t surrender pace simply to get the laptop computer’s superior design.


Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

One of many greatest modifications to this iteration of the XPS 13, each the Ivy Lake and Tiger Lake variations, was the transition to a 16:10 facet ratio show from the same old 16:9. The worth of such a transfer finally ends up being three-fold. First, you get a taller show that reveals extra info with much less scrolling, albeit with the trade-off of a little bit of letterboxing in video. Second, you possibly can fill a complete show with precise display actual property and go away little, if any, of a chin beneath. Third, in the event you do it proper, you possibly can enhance the quantity of palm relaxation, which is at all times factor.

Within the case of the XPS 13, all of these issues are true. As I’ve used it, I’ve loved the taller show, simply as I did once I used Microsoft’s Floor units with their even taller three:2 facet ratio. Is it a deal-breaker for me? Not likely — the distinction isn’t large. Actually, the XPS 13 enjoys the smallest bezels you’ll discover, and that features the chin, which is simply as small as the opposite three sides. And third, the XPS 13 does have larger palm rests and a barely bigger touchpad, each of that are very welcome modifications.

My evaluate unit was geared up with the Full HD+ show (1,920 x 1,200), which was a little bit of a disappointment to me given my choice for prime resolutions. I’ve additionally discovered most Full HD (or so) shows to have considerably decrease high quality than the 4K shows that firms like Dell put of their laptops. So, I wasn’t anticipating the very best information from my colorimeter.

Because it seems, I used to be pleasantly shocked. To start with, the show may be very vivid at 458 nits, approaching the show’s 500-nit ranking. Additionally, its distinction ratio is excessive at 1350:1. That’s a lot better than most Full HD shows you’ll discover, such because the Acer Swift 5’s 14-inch Full HD show that is available in at 327 nits and a 950:1 distinction ratio. I received’t examine it to the Spectre x360 13, as a result of the model we reviewed used an OLED show that frankly blows the Dell’s show out of the water.

Coloration help was common for a premium Full HD show. The panel lined 98% of sRGB and 75% of AdobeRGB, each of that are good scores however don’t strategy the higher 4K shows you should buy. For instance, choose the XPS 13 4K show and also you’ll possible get one thing north of 90% of AdobeRGB, which is able to make artistic professionals pleased. Coloration accuracy was good at a DeltaE of 1.36 — lower than 1.zero can’t be distinguished with the human eye and is the usual for skilled shows.

In real-life use, the show was a pleasure. The brightness and distinction made black textual content leap off the web page, which is extremely vital to me as a author. I discovered the colours pure and greater than vibrant sufficient, however then once more, I don’t edit photographs and video — in the event you do, then the 4K show will make you happier. Lastly, watching Netflix was an important expertise due to Dolby Imaginative and prescient help, which continues to supply the very best HDR expertise in a laptop computer.

Audio was additionally a pleasant shock, with loads of quantity from the downward-firing audio system and no distortion. Mids and highs had been high-quality, and there was even a contact of bass. You received’t use the interior audio system for sharing Netflix with associates, but it surely suffices for solo classes.

Keyboard and touchpad

Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

Dell mashed a keyboard with bigger keycaps and higher key spacing into the brand new XPS 13, and saved the identical quantity of journey as with the older keyboard. I preferred it higher for these causes alone. However I additionally cherished the switches, which supplied a handy guide a rough really feel and cozy bottoming motion. Lastly, one other Home windows 10 keyboard catches up with HP’s Spectre keyboard as my favourite — it’s a digital tie. Solely Apple’s Magic Keyboard on its newest MacBooks is healthier.

The touchpad can be a bit bigger and has a snug glass masking. Its buttons click on extra quietly than earlier than, and like all Microsoft Precision touchpads, it’s responsive and exact. There’s additionally a contact show, which like all contact panels right now, labored nicely and made me pleased (I hate non-touch shows after getting so used to tapping and swiping on the show).

Home windows 10 Howdy help is supplied by two strategies. First, there’s a fingerprint reader constructed into the (unlabeled, weirdly sufficient) energy button on the upper-right of the keyboard. It was quick and responsive, and I do desire fingerprint readers constructed into the facility button. Second, there’s a really slim infrared digital camera meeting constructed into the tiny bezel above the show, and it was completely dependable in recognizing my face.

Battery life

Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

There’s one space the place 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, however then once more, our database of 11th-gen machines stays fairly small. In any occasion, though the XPS 13 9310 has the identical battery capability because the 9300, particularly 52 watt-hours, the 9310 fell significantly behind on the assessments we might run.

To start with, identical to with each different Tiger Lake laptop computer I’ve examined, the XPS 13 wouldn’t full the Basemark net benchmark take a look at that’s our most demanding. As an alternative, I ran PCMark 10’s Gaming battery take a look at that stresses the CPU and GPU and noticed virtually 4 hours of longevity. The Acer Swift 5, the opposite Tiger Lake machine I’ve examined with PCMark, solely lasted for slightly below two hours. So, the XPS 13 beats out at the very least one Tiger Lake rival when it’s being burdened.

Shifting on to our net benchmark, which serves as our greatest guess of productiveness battery life, the Tiger Lake XPS 13 lasted for eight.5 hours. That approaches Intel’s Evo certification requirement of 9 hours of real-life battery life, and with the right combination of duties, you may simply 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.

Subsequent, I ran the XPS 13 by our video-looping take a look at that performs a Full HD Avengers trailer till the battery runs out. It lasted for 12 hours, nicely behind the Ivy Lake XPS 13’s 14.three hours and forward of the Swift 5’s 11.5 hours. I received’t hassle together with the Spectre x360 13 on this comparability — it’s OLED show is extremely power-hungry, and it couldn’t sustain with these Full HD laptops.

In the end, the XPS 13 9310 will possible get you thru a full day’s work, and it’s near assembly Intel’s nine-hour Evo certification requirement. If you happen to push the CPU and/or GPU, you’ll get much less, as at all times, however for basic productiveness duties, I’m ranking battery life nearly as good however not nice.

Our take

The Dell XPS 13 9310 with Tiger Lake stays the very best laptop computer you should buy, regardless of the drop in battery life. It’s simply nearly as good as its predecessor when it comes to its design, enter choices, and general usability whereas being barely sooner.

It’s not the most affordable laptop computer round, and as we famous within the XPS 13 9300 evaluate, yow will discover some nice alternate options whereas spending beneath $1,000. However in the event you’re on the lookout for a clamshell 13-inch laptop computer, then the XPS 13 9310 is admittedly your most suitable option.

Are there any alternate options?

The HP Spectre x360 13 stays a powerful competitor to the XPS 13, and it’s now accessible with Tiger Lake in the identical diminutive and putting package deal. You’ll additionally save a number of hundred over the equal XPS 13. You may as well think about the Spectre x360 14, which makes use of an much more productivity-friendly three:2 facet ratio for its show and equips Tiger Lake parts, all for about the identical value because the XPS 13.

We’ve beneficial the MacBook Air instead, however that’s difficult now by Apple’s migration to its personal Apple Silicon M1 CPU that fully modifications the sport. We’ll be reviewing that quickly, so hold tight to see if it’s a viable various to the XPS 13.

Lastly, Microsoft’s Floor Laptop computer three is a laptop computer to think about given its related value, weight, and thickness. It makes use of the three:2 facet ratio and so is extra productiveness pleasant. And it’s a great-looking laptop computer besides.

How lengthy will it final?

The XPS 13 9310 has a powerful construct high quality that evokes confidence in years of trustworthy service, and its parts are updated and will be capable to maintain issues buzzing. The one-year guarantee is business commonplace and disappointing as typical, however you possibly can at all times purchase an prolonged guarantee in the event you’re fearful about long-term protection.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure. The XPS 13 9310 stays the very best laptop computer round.

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