Dell XPS 13 9310 review: Still the Windows 10 ultraportable to beat Review

Victoria D. Doty

Very last 12 months ZDNet gave the mid-2020 version of Dell’s 13.4-inch XPS 13 a glowing (nine/10, ‘Outstanding’) assessment, and chose it as the best laptop for expertise workers requiring an all-round mix of structure, attributes, overall performance, battery everyday living and usability. How to make improvements to on that? The most up-to-date 9310 model will […]

Very last 12 months ZDNet gave the mid-2020 version of Dell’s 13.4-inch XPS 13 a glowing (nine/10, ‘Outstanding’) assessment, and chose it as the best laptop for expertise workers requiring an all-round mix of structure, attributes, overall performance, battery everyday living and usability. How to make improvements to on that? The most up-to-date 9310 model will not make any radical modifications, simply updating the Intel Core processors to the most up-to-date 11th-generation (Tiger Lake) and including a variant with a 3.5K OLED touchscreen. 

We seemed at a Core i7 model with a 4K+/UHD+ IPS touchscreen, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. 

The XPS 13 9310 remains an superb ultraportable, but of course there is certainly lots of competition in the 13-inch house — not only from Windows-centered rivals, notably from Lenovo and HP, but also from Apple’s M1-centered MacBook Professional and MacBook Air. 

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Dell XPS 13 9310: Now with eleven-generation Intel Core processors and Iris Xe Graphics.


Photos: Dell

Design 

Style and design-smart, the XPS13 9310 appears to be like identical to final year’s model, with a compact footprint (295.7mm wide by 198.7mm deep) and a slim profile (fourteen.8mm at the again, tapering towards the entrance). The excess weight, as prior to, ranges from one.2kg for non-contact versions up to one.27kg for variants with a touchscreen. 

My assessment unit had a silver aluminium chassis and a black carbon fibre composite materials bordering the keyboard and touchpad. This has a woven finish and is interesting, tactile and durable. There is a next colour choice: ‘Frost’ on the outdoors, arctic white on the inside of. 

I have only a slight criticism of the XPS13’s structure, which is that it’s a little bit awkward to open. There is no indent on the keyboard section at the entrance (as you find on a MacBook, for case in point), so it’s challenging to get a order concerning the lid and keyboard sections with your finger – in particular as the hinges are good (as they should really be). Normally, it’s trendy and compact, and the establish high-quality is superb. 

Features 

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As observed above, the main transform in the XPS 9310 is the enhance to 11th-generation (Tiger Lake) Core processors with integrated Iris Xe Graphics. In the US you can get preconfigured variants with Core i3-1115G4, Core i5-1135G7 or Core i7-1185G7 processors, setting up at $949 (Core i3, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, FHD+ non-contact screen) and climbing to $one,799 (Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, UHD+ IPS touchscreen). Unique configurations supply various customisation options for the monitor (contact, non-contact, IPS, OLED) and SSD (up to 2TB), but RAM will not go above 16GB. 

In the United kingdom, price ranges get started at £1,064 (inc. VAT) for a Core i5 model with 8GB RAM, a 512GB SSD and an FHD+ non-contact IPS screen, climbing to £1,949 with a Core i7, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and a UHD+ IPS touchscreen. My assessment unit, just to be awkward, ran on a Core i7-1165G7, which no longer seems to be out there in either the United kingdom or the US. 

The monitor has small bezels (that’s why Dell’s InfinityEdge branding), ensuing in a claimed monitor-to-physique ratio of 91.five% — although our measurement puts it at (a however-spectacular) 88.7%. The 720p webcam, which sits in the major bezel, supports Windows Howdy facial recognition but, unlike some rivals, will not have a privateness shutter. Biometric authentication is also out there via the fingerprint reader, which is integrated into the power button in the major proper corner of the keyboard. 

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The small-bezel InfinityEdge monitor arrives in FHD+ (1920 x 1200), 3.5K (3456 x 2160, OLED) or 4K+/UHD+ (3840 x 2400) resolutions.


Impression: Dell

My assessment unit had the best-resolution screen out there — 4K+/UHD+ (3840 by 2400 pixels, 338ppi). The IPS touchscreen, which is guarded by Gorilla Glass six, presents 500 nits highest brightness, is qualified for DisplayHDR four hundred, and supports one hundred% of the sRGB colour gamut and ninety% of DCI-P3. Even with an anti-reflective coating, it’s reasonably shiny, but I wasn’t troubled by reflections throughout screening in my property business office, where a sixty% brightness environment was beautifully suitable, even in the vicinity of a window. While the 13.4-inch monitor just isn’t big, its 16:10 component ratio presents some added depth in contrast to a ‘consumer’ 16:nine machine when you’re functioning with files or spreadsheets — even though not as significantly as a 3:2 monitor, as identified on Microsoft’s Surface Laptop computer 4, for case in point. 

You never count on an ultraportable to be overburdened with ports and slots, but even so, the XPS 13 9310 has a relatively small – if up-to-date – collection: two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports, one particular on each aspect (either of which can demand the 52Wh battery), a MicroSD card slot on the remaining aspect and a 3.5mm combo audio in/out jack. For wi-fi connection, there’s Killer Wi-Fi six AX1650 and Bluetooth five.one, but no cell broadband choice. 

Performance 

My Core i7-1165G7/16GB RAM/512GB SSD assessment unit felt snappy in basic use, in particular when managing usual expertise-employee workloads this kind of as doc generation/editing, spreadsheets and photograph editing. Graphics overall performance, driven by Intel’s integrated Iris Xe Graphics, was creditable way too, and a distinctive enhancement on the Iris Moreover Graphics in the former-generation model. 

Even so, CPU overall performance, as calculated by the cross-platform Geekbench 5 benchmark, will not match Apple’s tempo-environment M1 SoC, lagging 18% powering on solitary-core and 57% powering on multi-core scores. 

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Chart: ZDNet

The XPS 13 acquits by itself better in the Cinebench R15 OpenGL examination, where its Iris Xe Graphics propel it to 101fps in contrast to the M1 MacBook Air’s 85fps. Bear in brain, however, that the MacBook Air was managing this examination using Rosetta 2 translation alternatively than as a native M1 application. 

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Chart: ZDNet  

To get an in general photograph of the XPS 13 9310’s overall performance, we turned to PCMark 10, which provides an in general rating together with subsidiary scores for various sorts of workload — Necessities (application get started-up, world-wide-web searching, video conferencing), Productiveness (crafting, spreadsheets, photograph editing) and Electronic Content material Generation (video editing, rendering & visualisation). In this article are the XPS 13’s scores together with those that PCMark recommends as a ‘good’ rating: 

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Chart: ZDNet  

Dell’s ultraportable evidently exceeds the advice in all groups, earning it a specifically acceptable platform for expertise workers. It will deal with reasonably graphically demanding programs way too, but power consumers and creators will want to glimpse in other places. 

Battery life 

Battery everyday living for the former-generation XPS 13, centered on a Core i7-1065G7 with a 4K+/UHD+ monitor, arrived in at about twelve.five several hours on a diet plan of mainstream productiveness workloads. 

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With a related mix of workloads – periodic runs of PCMark 10, some idle time with Wi-Fi on, and some media streaming – we recorded battery everyday living of just less than 9 several hours. Screen brightness was set at 50% and the default power plan (‘Dell’) was applied. All-day battery everyday living could be attainable with the higher-resolution screen, relying on what you’re carrying out, but only just. If this is a problem, you could want to glimpse at a model with a lessen-resolution FHD+ (1920 x 1200) monitor.

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The XPS 13’s backlit keyboard has a higher-high-quality come to feel and a constructive motion. Observe the power/fingerprint reader button in the major proper corner.


Impression: Dell

Usability 

When overall performance and battery everyday living are taken treatment of, a laptop’s usability mainly revolves around its monitor and keyboard, and the placement of its ports. We have included the higher-resolution, small-bezel 4K+/UHD+ IPS touchscreen, which is a enjoyment to work with, and significantly the exact can be stated of the keyboard. 

The keyboard is backlit, toggled via a essential in the Fn row, and has a higher-high-quality come to feel and a responsive motion, without the need of currently being way too loud in operation. We are made use of to heaping deserved praise on Lenovo’s ThinkPad keyboards, but this is up there with the very best of them. There will normally be some aspects of a laptop’s essential structure that irritate persons, at the very least until finally they get made use of to it in this article it could be the locale of the power/fingerprint sensor in the major proper corner, which edges the Delete essential one particular house to the remaining. The touchpad is a decent dimensions, and operates perfectly way too. 

Laptop computer speakers made use of to be some thing of an afterthought, but no extra. With extra distant workers shelling out time on video calls, and needing to take it easy with streaming media throughout downtime, a excellent audio subsystem is a have to for a usable laptop these times. The XPS 13 9310 provides lots of volume offered the compact chassis, even though bass is inevitably a lot less abundant in contrast to techniques with extra bodily volume to work with. The bundled MaxxAudio Pro software presents you the controls to make the most of the audio subsystem. 

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XPS 13: Also out there in white.


Impression: Dell

Conclusions 

Dell’s XPS 13 has long been a remarkably regarded ultraportable, and the Intel Evo-branded 9310 model, centered on eleven-generation (Tiger Lake) Core processors, is no various. It can be not ideal, however: there is certainly a trade-off to be designed concerning monitor resolution and battery everyday living, CPU overall performance has been overtaken by Apple’s M1 SoC, and there are one particular or two slight usability niggles.

Overall, however, the Dell XPS 13 9310, like its predecessor, gets an ‘Outstanding’ advice from ZDNet.

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