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Dell XPS 13 9310 Review: An Ultra Portable Review Still Beyond Windows 10

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Last year, ZDNet reviewed Dell’s mid-2020 version of the 13.4-inch XPS 13a Shine (9/10, “excellent”) and needed all the combinations of design, features, performance, battery life, and ease of use. Select as the best laptop for your Knowledge Worker. How to improve it? The latest 9310 model does not make any fundamental changes, just updates the Intel Core processor to the latest 11th generation (Tiger Lake) and adds a variant with a 3.5K OLED touchscreen.

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

The XPS 13 9310 is still a great ultra-portable, but of course there are many competitors in the 13-inch space, not only from Windows-based rivals, especially the Lenovo and HP, but also from Apple’s M1-based MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. Also.

Dell XPS 13 9310: Powered by 11th Generation Intel Core Processor and Iris Xe Graphics.

Image: Dell Design

By design, the XPS 13 9310 looks similar to last year’s model, but with a compact footprint (295.7mm wide, 198.7mm deep) and a slim profile (14.8mm back, tapering to the front). Weights continue to range from 1.2kg for non-touch models to 1.27kg for variants with touch screens.

My review unit featured a silver aluminum chassis and a black carbon fiber composite that surrounds the keyboard and touchpad. It has a woven finish, is attractive, comfortable to the touch and durable. There is a second color option. The outside is “frost” and the inside is arctic white.

There are only a few criticisms about the design of the XPS13. It’s a little tricky to open. It’s not a good idea to buy between the lid and the keyboard section with your fingers, especially because the front keyboard section doesn’t have a dent (as you’d see on a MacBook, for example), and the hinges are particularly solid (as it should be). It Is difficult. Other than that, it’s stylish, compact, and has excellent build quality.

Features Top ZDNET Review

As mentioned above, the main change in the XPS 9310 is the upgrade to the 11th Generation (Tiger Lake) core processor with integrated Iris Xe graphics. In the US, preconfigured variants with Core i3-1115G4, Core i5-1135G7, or Core i7-1185G7 processors are available, starting at $ 949 (Core i3, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, FHD + non-touch display). $ 1,799 (Core i7, 16GB RAM), 512GB SSD, UHD + IPS touch screen). Different configurations offer different customization options for screens (touch, non-touch, IPS, OLED) and SSDs (up to 2TB), but RAM does not exceed 16GB.

UK prices will increase from 1,064 (tax included) for Core i5 models with 8GB RAM, 512GB SSDs and FHD + non-touch IPS displays to 1,949 for Core i7, 32GB RAM and 1TB SSDs. And UHD + IPS touch screen. To complicate matters, my review unit ran on an aCore i7-1165G7, which doesn’t seem to be currently available in the UK or US.

The screen has a minimal bezel (hence Dell’s InfinityEdge brand), and as a result, the screen-to-body ratio is claimed to be 91.5%, but in our measurements it’s (still impressive) 88.7%. The 720p webcam on the top bezel supports Windows Hello facial recognition, but unlike some competitors, it doesn’t have a privacy shutter. Biometrics are also available via a fingerprint reader integrated into the power button in the upper right corner of the keyboard.

The smallest bezel InfinityEdge screen is available in FHD + (1920 x 1200), 3.5K (3456 x 2160, OLED) or 4K + / UHD + (3840 x 2400) resolutions.

Image: Dell

My review unit had a 4K + / UHD + (3840 x 2400 pixels, 338ppi), the highest resolution display available. Protected by Gorilla Glass 6, the IPS touchscreen offers a maximum brightness of 500 nits, is DisplayHDR 400 certified, and supports 100% of the sRGB color gamut and 90% of the DCI-P3. Despite the anti-reflective coating, it’s reasonably shiny, but in home office tests, it was perfectly suitable even near windows at a brightness setting of 60%, so it suffers from reflections. It was never done. The 13.4 inch screen isn’t big, but its 16:10 aspect ratio is a bit deeper when working with documents and spreadsheets compared to “consumer” 16: 9 devices. .. However, it is not about three times. For example, two screens like those found on Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4.

You can’t expect the ultra-portable to be overloaded with ports and slots, but the XPS 13 9310 has a fairly minimal choice if it’s the latest choice. It has two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports, one on each side (both charging a 52Wh battery), a MicroSD card slot on the left, and a 3.5mm combo audio I / O jack. Wireless connections include Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 and Bluetooth 5.1, but without mobile broadband options.

performance

My Core i7-1165G7 / 16GB RAM / 512GB SSD review unit is common, especially when running typical knowledge worker workloads such as document creation / editing, spreadsheets, photo editing, etc. I felt good with the use. Graphics performance with Intel’s integrated Iris Xe graphics was also appreciated, and the previous generation Iris Plus graphics were clearly improved.

However, the CPU performance measured by the cross-platform Geekbench 5 benchmark does not match Apple’s paced M1 SoC, lagging behind by 18% for single-core scores and 57% for multi-core scores.

Chart: ZDNet

The XPS 13 gives better results in the Cinemabench R15OpenGL test, which improves Iris Xe graphics to 101 fps compared to the 85 fps on the M1 MacBook Air. However, keep in mind that the MacBook Air was running this test using Rosetta 2 translation, not as a native M1 app.

Chart: ZDNet

I switched to PCMark 10 to get a complete picture of the performance of the XPS 13 9310. PCMark 10 provides overall scores along with auxiliary scores for different types of workloads. Basics (app launch, web browsing, video conferencing), productivity (writing, spreadsheets, photo editing) and digital content creation (video editing, rendering, visualization). Here are the XPS 13 scores and the scores that PCMark recommends as “good” scores.

Chart: ZDNet

Dell’s Ultra Portable clearly exceeds the recommendations in all categories, making it a particularly suitable platform for knowledge workers. It can handle applications that require some graphics, but power users and creators have to look elsewhere.

Battery life

Based on the Core i7-1065G7 with 4K + / UHD + screen, the battery life of the previous generation XPS 13 was about 12.5 hours for mainstream productivity workloads.

See: Windows 10 Start Menu Hacking (TechRepublic Premium)

A combination of PCMark 10’s regular workloads, idle time with Wi-Fi on, and several combinations of media streaming recorded a battery life of just under 9 hours. The screen brightness was set to 50% and the default power plan (“Dell”) was applied. With a high resolution display, depending on what you’re doing, the battery can last all day, but that’s only a small amount. If this is an issue, we recommend that you consider a model with a lower resolution FHD + (1920 x 1200) screen.

The XPS 13’s backlit keyboard has a fine feel and positive action. Notice the power / fingerprint reader button in the upper right corner.

Image: Dell Usability

Considering performance and battery life, the usability of a laptop depends heavily on the screen, keyboard, and port placement. Described the 4K + / UHD + IPS touch screen with high resolution and minimum bezel. It’s fun to work with, but the same is true for keyboards.

The keyboard is backlit and can be toggled with Fn row keys for high quality feel and responsive action without being too loud. Lenovo ThinkPad keyboards are used to receiving praiseworthy praise, which is awesome. Laptop keyboard layouts always have some annoying aspects, at least until you get used to them. Here, the location of the power / fingerprint sensor may be in the upper right corner. It is on the left edge of one space of the Delete key. The touchpad is reasonably sized and has good functionality.

Laptop speakers used to be like a retrofit, but nothing more. A good audio subsystem is essential for modern available laptops, as more remote workers spend more time on video calls and need to relax with streaming media during downtime. The XPS 13 9310 provides enough volume for a compact chassis, but the bass isn’t necessarily rich compared to a system with a loud physical volume to work with. The bundledMaxxAudio Prosoftware is an audio subsystem. Provides control to get the most out of.

XPS 13: White is also available.

Image: Dell Conclusion

Dell’s XPS 13 has long been regarded as ultra-portable. The Intel Evo branded 9310 version, which is based on the 11th generation (Tiger Lake) core processor, is no exception. However, it is not perfect. There is a trade-off between screen resolution and battery life, CPU performance is overtaken by Apple’s M1 SoC, and there are one or two minor usability glitches.

However, overall, the Dell XPS 13 9310, like its predecessor, has received “excellent” recommendations from ZDNet.

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