Dell XPS 13 Review (Late 2020): Greatness and Refinement

Dell XPS 13 Review (Late 2020): Greatness and Refinement

Here is an easy review. Today, we look at the XPS 13 9310, Dell’s best 13-inch ultraportable laptop in its class. It is identical to Dell XPS 13 9300, That I checked again in April, In all ways, except one: it has the new 11th Generation Intel Tiger Lake processors.

The new XPS 13 starts at $ 999.99. The Base model Includes Core i3-1115G4, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage, integrated Intel UHD graphics, and a 1920 x 1200 non-touch screen. But the most exciting feature of the Tiger Lake line is Intel’s new Iris Xe integrated graphics . Models containing those drawings start from $ 1,099.99 ($ ​​1,077.99 as currently listed) It includes a quad-core Core i5 1135G7 or i7-1165G7 processor. You can climb to prof $ 2,499.99 Model With 32GB RAM, 2TB storage, and a 3840 x 2400 touchscreen I have tested a Configuration, $ 1,649.99 (Listed at $ 1616.99 as of this writing), which includes 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.

The XPS 13 is familiar with an all-new chip.

If you haven’t read my review of the XPS 13 9300 earlier this year, Go ahead and do it now Because everything that I said about the exterior of this device applies here as well. TL; DR: It’s really good. The case is CNC machined aluminum, the logo is stainless steel, and the screen is Corning Gorilla Glass 6; Palm cushions are woven glass fibers with a unique texture. It’s shiny, sturdy and the best build quality you’ll find in a laptop. It’s portable, too (2.8 pounds, 0.58 inches thick). The speakers are adequate, the keyboard is fast and comfortable, and the touchpad is smooth and easy to click. Another advantage is the 16:10 screen with a screen-to-body ratio of 91.5 percent, which gives you more vertical space than most consumer laptops (which is 16: 9). You will notice the difference.

Two major aspects: the port selection is meh (two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4, headphone jack, microSD reader), and the 2.25mm 720p web camera is not great, providing a blurry and blurry picture. It also does not include a privacy shutter or a key-lock.

As I said, check out our 9030 review if you want to read about the laptop exterior in more detail. What we’re focusing on here is the performance of the new processor and whether the 1165G7 (and its Xe graphics) represent an improvement over the Ice Lake generation. The answer is yes. But she isn’t particularly stressed or enthusiastic.

Dell XPS 13 Rear Left Corner.

It comes with a USB-C to USB-A adapter.

It’s also one of the first systems to be verified with Intel’s new Evo program. By awarding the laptop the Evo badge, Intel claims to certify that it delivers a number of benchmarks for slim and light “premium” laptops – Tiger Lake, Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi 6 processors, all-day battery life, fast charging, fast boot time. And perhaps most importantly, solid performance in the real world.

In daily missions, 1165G7 was definitely measured. It’s never inundated by legions of Chrome tabs and apps, and occasional Spotify, YouTubing, and Zoom calls – no lags or lags. I never heard the fans spin during daily use and I never felt any heat either. If you use this configuration for work or school, you shouldn’t experience any performance issues.

I saw a slight improvement in my content creation as well. The 9310 took 10 minutes 43 seconds to complete our realistic media test, which includes exporting a 5-minute 33-second 4K video in Adobe Premiere Pro. This is slightly faster than any laptop with Ice Lake CPUs and built-in graphics to get the job done. The MacBook Pro 13 with Iris Plus took 11 minutes 26 seconds, while the Surface Laptop 3 took just over 15. It’s also better than what we’ve seen from the other 1165G7 systems. Asus ZenBook 14 It was about a minute slower.

Dell XPS 13 is backward, left tilted.

Choose Core i3, Core i5, or Core i7.

Here’s the thing: When it comes to productivity, this XPS is fine. It’s a slight increase over its predecessor (and I’d be very worried if it wasn’t). On the other hand, the 9300 (and other Ice Lake systems) was really good. The difference in Chrome tab loading speed and Premiere Pro export time isn’t devastating enough that I can see that it makes a difference in the life of an average XPS 13 user. If you already own a similar Ice Lake system or are considering purchasing one to cut costs, I won’t urge you to upgrade.

Dell XPS 13 unlocked, front view.

Content and media creators can choose a 4K 3840 x 2400 display.

People who might be worth upgrading are those who want to play some light games. In titles with lighter textures (just the ones you want to play on a laptop like this one), the XPS 13 did a significantly better job than its predecessor. It averaged 111 fps Legg missile The maximum setting without dipping is less than 100; The 9300 put out 70 fps with a minimum of 41. The 9310 also won League of Legends, Its average is 205 fps while its predecessor averaged 160 seconds. (Of course, the XPS 13 is only 60Hz, so your experience in these games won’t change. You’ll see 60 frames per second on either device.) And it outperformed its predecessor. Note and observe, Average at 48 frames per second on Ultra settings to Average 9300’s low 40 seconds – a 10 percent increase.

More good news for Intel: These results also put Tiger Lake slightly ahead of AMD’s competitors when it comes to gaming. The IdeaPad Slim 7, With AMD’s Ryzen 7 4800U octa-core, averaging 46 fps at the same level Note and observe Settings. (You won’t really notice a difference that small while you’re actually playing.)

Unfortunately, the demand for 1080p games is still out of reach for this device. Noisy 9310 through Shadow Tomb Raider At 22 fps. This is a respectable increase from Ice Lake XPS, which averages 17 frames per second on the same title, but you really can’t play the game (at its original resolution) on either device. So, while Tiger Lake will give you a better experience with some of your titles, it will likely not expand the range of games you can play. (We expect gaming performance to improve over time.)

I think this form factor is also close to the limits of what can cool off. During my gaming session, the CPU hit 100 ° C in a few points and spent a lot of time in the ’90s. (The keyboard was warm the whole time but not exactly comfortable.) That’s way hotter than I’d like to see, and I’m concerned that if Dell continues with that design and Intel chipsets don’t achieve major efficiency gains, the XPS 13 will hit the wall when it comes to performance. .

Dell XPS 13 rear, left tilted.

Built-in non-replaceable 52WH battery. RAM is also soldered.

Finally, the battery life was a pleasant surprise. I got nine hours and 15 minutes with the XPS as my primary business driver at around 200 cd / m2 of brightness. This time does not top this category, but it does mean that this should comfortably last you an entire work day or school day. The caveat is that I’ve run into all of the different battery-saving things – Windows Battery Saver Profile, Dell Battery Extender, Intel Display Power Saver, etc. When I try a Windows Better Performance profile with the Battery Extender turned off, expect approximately six hours. I didn’t notice a difference in performance between these two scenarios when I was just doing office work and streaming so I recommend you do the battery-saving stuff if you want juice throughout the day.

This XPS has a performance advantage over what we’ve seen so far in 2020. The Tiger Lake processor is a respectable step forward, especially in graphics performance. People who work with graphics and video will likely find the augmentation more beneficial. For anyone else using the XPS 13 mostly for school and office tasks, both Ice Lake and Tiger Lake systems should be fine – an upgrade isn’t necessary. Obviously, gaming performance varies greatly by title – players may see big teams or they may see very little. But if you’re mostly playing lighter fare that Ice Lake has already been torn apart (and that’s probably the case for a good group of folks playing the XPS 13), you won’t see the improvement on this screen.

Overall, the XPS 13 is still an excellent laptop. It’s still one of the best you can buy. But I’m not as surprised as I was at the start of this year, because the competition is creeping up. Zenbooks, Swifts, Yogas, Envys and Specters have all made strides in design, build, neat features, and performance this year – and there are ARM-based Macbooks on the way. There are quite a few releases on the horizon that look more and more like the XPS 13.

This is the best laptop of 2020 with the fewest compromises and the least risks. But Dell will need to stay creative if it is to keep XPS ahead of the lineup in 2021.

Photography by Monica Chen / The Verge

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