Dell XPS 13 (9310)

Dell, as we all know, has been pushing the boundaries of the laptop industry for many years with its XPS collection. Almost all of the prior XPS laptops have earned rave ratings from us and other enthusiasts for quite some time.

These laptops continue to dazzle us with their attractive designs, amazing screens, great performance, and other features. However, we use and assess newer models of these XPS laptops every year to see how much they have changed.

Is the new Dell XPS 13 9310 the greatest 13-inch Ultrabook available? Is it the gold standard in this thin and light laptop category? Let’s find out in our comprehensive assessment.

Specifications for the Dell XPS 13 9310

Despite its small size, the Dell XPS 13 9310 packs a punch in terms of specs. The Intel Core i7-1185G7 is a power-efficient quad-core CPU developed for Ultrabooks. The 13.40-inch 4K UDH+ display with a 16:10 aspect ratio appears to be the showpiece of the laptop. Before we get into the details of this laptop, let’s take a short glance at its specifications. –

  • Intel Core i7-1185G7 quad-core CPU has a base clock frequency of 3.0GHz and a turbo frequency of 4.8GHz.
  • Intel Iris Xe Graphics with 96EUs.
  • 16GB LPDDR4 2133MHz RAM
  • 1TB PCIe GEN3 x4 NVMe SSD storage
  • Display: A 13.40-inch UHD+ 16:10 touchscreen display. The Dell SDC414F monitor supports HDR and 60Hz.

Performance of the Dell XPS 13 9310

As previously stated, the Dell XPS 13 9310 is powered by an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1185G7 CPU. It is a quad-core CPU from the Tiger Lake-U generation (UP3).

This one features 8 cores and Hyperthreading capabilities, which means that many threads may operate on each core for optimal performance. At the time of its launch, the Core i7-1185G7 was the fastest model in the series, with a base speed of 3.0GHz and a turbo frequency of 4.8GHz.

The Dell XPS 13 9310 also has an EVO logo, which indicates that it will be extremely fast in day-to-day tasks, including boot times. So, how does the Dell XPS 13 9310 perform in practise?

On this laptop, I performed the standard set of benchmarks to evaluate how it compared to other laptops in its category. Starting with PCMark 10, the laptop scored 4755, which is somewhat higher than the average score for this CPU on other laptops.

It’s worth noting that the CPU is rated for a maximum TDP of 28 Watt, so it won’t outperform the ones found in, say, a gaming laptop or other standard laptops. However, it performs admirably on this laptop and produces the promised results.

The laptop scored 1405 points in Cinebench R20. I found that the CPU clock rates fluctuated a lot when doing these CPU-centric tests. This might be related to Dell’s Dynamic Power Policy, which solves throttling concerns in newer laptops.

It allows the CPU to operate near to its throttling temperature without really reaching it. This kind of behaviour will only be evident if you pay close attention to the figures, and I don’t believe it will have a significant impact on day-to-day performance.

When playing games, for example, you may notice that the frame rates fluctuate at times. I’d say it’s sufficient to be noted in testing, but you probably won’t notice any serious concerns. Instead of throttling, the CPU will be permitted to hit its turbo frequency more frequently.

I was able to plot the Core Clock Speeds graph while performing the Cinebench R20 test, and you can see how the Dynamic Power Policy strives to maintain the core clocks up near the conclusion of the test as the CPU began to throttle.

That kind of clock speed variability is rarely observed on other laptops or even desktops, since they tend to shut down entirely once they reach throttling temperatures.

As a result, It outperforms previous year’s Dell XPS 13, which was powered by an Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor. We achieved superior results across the board on all benchmark tests, indicating that the new 11th Gen CPU is significantly improving the laptop’s performance.

The results I obtained on this laptop were likewise equivalent to those obtained from a gaming laptop equipped with an H-series CPU. Here’s a brief Cinebench test comparison graph to give you an idea of how the CPU performs –

Moving on to the GPU, the laptop is equipped with Intel Iris Xe graphics, which is common in these ultra-thin computers. When compared to prior workstations, the transition from the older Iris Plus to the Iris Xe on the Tiger Lake platform has a substantial influence on graphics performance.

In 3DMark’s series of application tests, the Dell XPS 13 with Intel Iris Xe graphics outperformed some of the other slim and laptops we’ve evaluated here at Digit.

The Dell XPS 13 received a score of 1,444 in 3DMark’s TimeSpy test, whereas I received a score of 10,274 in the Sky Diver test. It outperforms the HP ProBook Aero G7 notebook, which had a Radeon RX Vega 6 GPU.

Despite the lack of a dedicated GPU, gaming isn’t entirely out of the question here. However, I don’t advocate playing intensive AAA titles on this laptop because its small chassis lacks a sophisticated cooling system, and you may experience a significant performance loss.

Playing lighter titles like as Dota 2 and CS:GO is certainly viable, but you may want to stick to short bursts of gaming rather than going for extended periods, which puts more strain on the system. When it comes to gaming on thin and light ultrabooks like the Dell XPS 13, it’s important to keep your expectations in control.

Thermal Performance of the Dell XPS 13 9310

Thermals are always a concern for thin and light ultrabooks, especially when it comes to a high-performance CPU certified for a maximum TDP of 28 Watt. It also doesn’t help that there is no sophisticated cooling system within the chassis.

According to Dell, the XPS 13 has two fans and a single heat pipe with a single evaporator and dual condenser to ensure steady performance. Is this, however, truly beneficial?

The Dell XPS 13, like the previous models we reviewed, runs pretty hot. I wouldn’t say the thermal management is bad, but the bottom panel will grow hot as soon as you load the laptop and open a few of Google Chrome tabs. During the stress testing, the entire chassis began to feel warm to the touch.

Switching the thermal option to “Ultra Performance” activates the fans, although they aren’t very noisy. In fact, you won’t be able to hear them, but they do an excellent job of keeping the temps stable.

With this setting enabled, the CPU will not throttle as much, and there will be no serious performance difficulties. The clock speeds are well-maintained, and temperatures seldom exceed the allowed limits.

Because the GPU is not a separate chip, the same may be argued. I’d want to note out that thermal throttling isn’t uncommon in these thin and light laptops, particularly in the XPS family due to the thinness of the chassis. However, the Dell Dynamic Power Policy, as I mentioned previously, will ensure smooth and dependable performance.

If you continue to execute resource-intensive applications, the laptop’s chassis will reach temperatures of up to 50°C and will feel warm to the touch. However, unless you undertake stress testing over a lengthy period of time, the laptop will function optimally.

Day-to-day workloads will not be too taxing on the CPU or GPU. Every year, it’s fantastic to see the new Dell XPS 13 putting up strong numbers on the performance board to keep the competition high.

I also put the 1TB PCIe GEN3 x4 NVMe SSD inside the Dell XPS 13 through its paces. Dell employs storage systems from a variety of manufacturers, including Intel, Samsung, and KIOXIA. The drive in my evaluation device is a Western Digital SN730 with read speeds of up to 3,400 MB/s.

In the CrystalDiskMark test, I was able to get a sequential read-write performance of 3396.91 MB/s and a write speed of 3095.03 MB/s. This one appears to be speedier than a few other SSD units from Micron, Intel, and others.

Display on the Dell XPS 13 9310

The item I received for evaluation has a 13.4-inch 4K UHD+ display (3840×2400). It’s a Dell InfinityEdge touch display with a brightness of 500 nits. According to Dell, this 16:10 panel is very colour accurate and has an anti-reflective and anti-smudge coating.

Before drawing any conclusions, I decided to do my own tests with the SepctraCal C6 HDR2000 colorimeter. I was pleasantly delighted by the display’s performance after conducting the typical battery of tests on it. The Dell XPS 13 boasts without a doubt one of the greatest screens I’ve ever seen on a laptop.

According to Color Volume research, this display covers 100% of the sRGB colour space and 81% of the DCI-P3 colour space. That is consistent with Dell’s comments concerning the display. The volume extends farther into the red, yellow, and green regions, as expected from a DCI-P3 compliant screen.

I also recorded an average colour adjusted temperature of 6987, indicating that the colours are colder with a little blue bias. The display also boasts a 1546:1 contrast ratio, which is rather outstanding.

It also has an extremely accurate colour display, with a peak luminance of 481 cd/m2. The black luminance was measured at 0.311 cd/m2, one of the lowest I’ve seen. The display has an average DeltaE value of 1.8, with a maximum DeltaE value of 3.4, according to the ColorChecker study report.

Those are good statistics, and they demonstrate that almost all colours are extremely accurate. From dark to light colours, encompassing all skin tones, everything seems really accurate.

This essentially implies that it is an excellent panel for consuming any type of material. It’s also an excellent display for content makers, albeit the associated technology may prevent you from performing intensive picture and video editing chores.

Because these figures were recorded on the display right out of the box, no manual colour calibration is required. I’d think that’s rather commendable.

The one thing I don’t like about the display is that it’s glossy, which means it’ll accumulate fingerprints and will be difficult to watch outside, especially in bright sunshine. The reported peak brightness value will not change the fact that it will be exceedingly reflecting outside, making it difficult to use.

Battery Life Test for the Dell XPS 13 9310

All Dell XPS 13 9310 models include a 53WHr battery that is integrated into the chassis and is not user-replaceable. A 45W AC adapter is included to charge the laptop using either of the two USB Type-C ports. The battery life is fully dependent on the brightness settings and the type of job that you are undertaking, as is customary.

In PCMark 10’s Modern Office test, the Dell XPS 13 lasted little over 8 hours, or 480 minutes. Lowering the brightness further increases the number of hours, and it can potentially reach up to 13 hours on the same test.

I am confident that the OLED version of the laptop, which has yet to arrive in India, would have a substantially longer battery life, particularly with deeper colour schemes.

In real-world use, you should be able to achieve around 6-7 hours of use at roughly 75% brightness. If you’re really attempting to crunch the figures, I propose you reduce the brightness settings wherever feasible and even go to 1080p resolution.

When it comes to battery life, the Dell XPS 13 9310 continues to be renowned, and I don’t believe leaving your charger at home is a smart idea if you’re using this laptop. Keep this in mind.

Dell XPS 13 9310: Keyboard, Trackpad, and Input/Output

It’s been a terrific pleasure to use the XPS PCs for typing ever since Dell chose to transition to a new keyboard. The keyboard on this specific laptop is also rather decent, with easy-to-hit keys. They have ample travel and are pleasant to the touch. In case you’re wondering, it’s a chicklet-style keyboard with two-stage backlighting.

The Dell XPS 13 9310’s trackpad is also excellent. There’s not a lot of area to work with as the chassis just doesn’t allow that, but the sensation of using it is pretty enjoyable. It’s a smooth glass surface on which your fingers will just glide through easily. It also features Microsoft’s Precision drivers, so the tracking and gestures work really well.

Moving on to the IO, there are just two Thunderbolt 4 ports (one on each side), both of which enable DisplayPort and Power Delivery. This model also has a microSD card reader and a 3.5mm headphone connector. Some may be bothered by the lack of ports, but having fewer ports on a tiny chassis like this is no longer unusual.

Aside from that, Dell includes a Type C to USB Type-A converter in the package, which will come in useful if you aren’t used to working with only two ports.

Design and Build Quality of the Dell XPS 13 9310

The Dell XPS 13 9310 is one of the most visually appealing computers in the ultra-portable laptop market, and the Dell XPS 13 9310 is no exception. It’s still as lovely as a picture, and the Frost White finish appears to be very high-end.

Even when closed, the laptop appears attractive from the sides thanks to the bevelled edges. There’s a gleaming Dell logo on the lid and no additional branding on the chassis.

When you open the lid, you’re greeted by that stunning display and the woven glass fibre keyboard deck. Even though the palm rest is quite small due to the keyboard taking up the most of the deck, resting your hand on the woven glass fibre while typing feels very pleasant.

This touchscreen edition weights 1.27Kg, making it one of the lightest laptops you’ll ever use. It’s a little machine that will easily fit into a backpack or sleeve.

It’s a tad slimmer and lighter than the new MacBook Air M1, so you know what to expect here. Overall, I’d say that using the Dell XPS 13 on a daily basis will give you the impression that you’re looking at and handling a good computer. With their design and build quality, only a few Windows laptops can make you feel that way, and Dell’s XPS lineup continues to be an exception.

The Dell XPS 13 has twin 2.5W stereo speakers on the bottom edge. Despite their less-than-ideal location, they are fairly loud and provide good audio. You may improve the audio quality even further by using the Dell CinemaSound 2.0 and Waves MaxxAudio Pro software that comes pre-installed on the laptop.

You also have far-field microphones on the top edge of the display, which provides adequate output for Zoom and Google Meet chats.

Verdict

The Dell XPS 13 9310 is still one of the greatest 13-inch Ultrabooks money can buy. The newer model also benefits considerably from the new 11th Gen Core CPU, and it outperforms last year’s XPS 13 with a 10th Gen processor, as demonstrated in the performance section above.

It’s a noticeable performance boost that adds value to an already excellent ultrabook. The battery life is still hit-or-miss, but this isn’t a problem unique to the XPS 13.

Yes, you may complain about the camera quality, the lack of port options, and the absence of 4G LTE connectivity, but the benefits of having a stunning display, outstanding build quality, a nice keyboard and trackpad, and so on outweigh those disadvantages.

I also recommend looking at the Core i5 model of this laptop if you want to save money while still getting everything else.

Overall, I’d say the Dell XPS 13 9310 is still the gold standard in the 13-inch Ultrabook market. Alternative laptops from Microsoft, HP, Lenovo, and others are available on the market, but I’ve outlined enough benefits in this review to make this notebook a no-brainer.

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