Dell XPS 13 vs HP Spectre x360 (2020)

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Winner
HP - Spectre x360 2-in-1 15.6" 4K Ultra HD Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 16GB Memory - 512GB SSD - HP Finish In Dark Ash Silver, Sandblasted Finish
Best Price
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 – 13.5" Touch-Screen – Intel Core i5 - 8GB Memory - 128GB Solid State Drive (Latest Model) – Platinum with Alcantara
Model
Spectre x360
XPS 13
Test Result
Test Result 9.6/10 Excellent July 2020
Test Result 9.3/10 Very good July 2020
Manufacturer
HP
Dell
RAM
16 GB
8 GB
CPU
Intel® Core i7-8565U
Intel Core i5-10210U
Graphics Card
NVIDIA GeForce MX150
Intel UHD Graphics
Storage Capacity
512GB SSD
256GB SSD
Battery Time
Value for money
Weight
0.77 lbs
2.7 lbs
Pros
  • Best Performance for multi-tasking and heavy programs
  • Very light weight
  • Great Battery life
  • Very quiet and fast in everyday life
  • Very good display
  • Simple and modern design
Cons
  • More expensive than XPS 13
  • Throttles under extreme load
Winner
HP - Spectre x360 2-in-1 15.6" 4K Ultra HD Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 16GB Memory - 512GB SSD - HP Finish In Dark Ash Silver, Sandblasted Finish
Model
Spectre x360
Test Result
Test Result 9.6/10 Excellent July 2020
Manufacturer
HP
RAM
16 GB
CPU
Intel® Core i7-8565U
Graphics Card
NVIDIA GeForce MX150
Storage Capacity
512GB SSD
Battery Time
Value for money
Weight
0.77 lbs
Pros
  • Best Performance for multi-tasking and heavy programs
  • Very light weight
  • Great Battery life
Cons
  • More expensive than XPS 13
Best Price
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 – 13.5" Touch-Screen – Intel Core i5 - 8GB Memory - 128GB Solid State Drive (Latest Model) – Platinum with Alcantara
Model
XPS 13
Test Result
Test Result 9.3/10 Very good July 2020
Manufacturer
Dell
RAM
8 GB
CPU
Intel Core i5-10210U
Graphics Card
Intel UHD Graphics
Storage Capacity
256GB SSD
Battery Time
Value for money
Weight
2.7 lbs
Pros
  • Very quiet and fast in everyday life
  • Very good display
  • Simple and modern design
Cons
  • Throttles under extreme load

We tested and compared the HP Spectre x360 versus Dell XPS 13 in terms of Performance, Display Quality, Price, Portability, Battery life & more.

Above you can see the Ranking with the results of the test and below you will find the in-depth reports of the two office Laptops.

Ranking First: HP Spectre x360

HP spectre x360 review


Pros

  • Best Performance for multi-tasking and heavy programs
  • Low weight
  • Great Battery life

Cons

  • More expensive than XPS 13

Compact display giant. The HP Spectre X360 13 is a particularly light and compact 13-inch convertible. A real eye-catcher: the UHD OLED display used in the test device. Further highlights, such as the housing quality, emissions or interface equipment, complete the extremely attractive overall package.

HP’s Spectre X360 13 “manages to accommodate a multitude of exciting functions and features in a 2.64 lbs light 13-inch housing. Depending on the configuration, you can even find a high-resolution 4k UHD OLED display or an LTE modem.

Always on board now are processors from Intel’s Ice Lake family, which should further improve not only the computing power but also the graphics performance compared to the previous generation.

The HP Spectre X360 13-aw0030ng tester features Intel’s Core i7-1065G7 with Intel Iris Plus Graphics, 16 GB RAM, a 1 TB solid-state drive and a 4k UHD OLED display. The price is about $1600 at the time of testing.

Design & Ports / Interfaces

In the test, the metal housing of the Convertible presents itself at an exclusive premium level, not only visually but also in terms of processing. The flat housing enchants with filigree and perfectly joined edges, high-quality operating elements and a very stable housing construction.

HP spectre x360 back view

With the appropriate application of force, hardly anything can be twisted, dented or otherwise deformed. The 360-degree display hinges hold the screen very well in position, regardless of the angle.

Of course, you have to do without separate maintenance flaps in the 8 mm flat base unit. Most components, including the RAM and WiFi module, are soldered. Only the WWAN module (if installed) and the M.2 PCIe drive are plugged in according to the Hardware & Maintenance Guide.

Before replacing, repairing or upgrading the drive yourself, you should inform yourself about the valid warranty conditions.

For appropriate clothing when travelling, HP includes a well-fitting imitation leather sleeve with the Spectre X360 13. This weighs about 150 g, is kept in timeless black and should provide a certain amount of protection against environmental influences when travelling. There is also a storage/transport loop for the active stylus.

Despite the slim side line, HP manages to integrate a multitude of welcome interfaces into the convertible case. Aside from two feature-rich Thunderbolt 3 ports, you’ll also find a MicroSD memory card reader and a 3.5 mm jack audio jack.

Thanks to the smart folding mechanism, similar to the one you’ll find from time to time on LAN connections, HP even gets a full-fledged USB 3.1 Gen.1 Type A installed. The laptop is powered by one of the two Thunderbolt 3, which are also available for connecting external displays.

HP spectre x360 ports

A mini docking station is included in the test configuration as a practical addition, which at least provides HDMI and two additional USB type-A interfaces. The power supply unit for the power supply can also be connected here so that the second Thunderbolt 3 can be used for other tasks without any problems.

The test device comes with Intel’s Wi-Fi 6 AX201 and Bluetooth 5.2 for wireless connectivity.

The LTE modem Intel XMM 7560 LTE-Advanced Pro (Cat16) with 4 antennas can also be integrated, but this is missing from the test configuration. According to the Hardware & Maintenance Guide, the slot required for the WWAN module is also only available in configurations with a WWAN module. The antennas required for this should therefore only be found in such models.

Otherwise, the HP Spectre X360 13 can still show a fingerprint reader and an infrared camera for face recognition. Instead of a mechanical sliding cover, HP integrates an on/off switch for the camera on the right side of the case. A mechanical cover solution would probably have had difficulty finding room in the narrow display frame.

Sound

Although the speakers used in the HP Spectre X360 13 are associated with Bang & Olufsen, the result is that they produce only satisfactory sound characteristics. Midrange and bass are present, but are somewhat pushed into the background by a height-heavy tuning. The maximum volume produces a comparatively lean sound pressure level of 66.0 dB(A). At high volume settings the slightest rattling can be heard.

HP spectre x360 closed view

The test device is obviously not sufficiently equipped for real-time audio tasks. After only 90 seconds of test time, the tool shows latency mons of 3,760 µs.

This can cause quality losses like synchronization errors, dropouts or sound crackling. Improved drivers or a BIOS update could help here.

Keyboard & Touchpad / Gestures

The keyboard takes up almost the entire width of the housing of input devices and can therefore offer most keys in the normal 19 mm grid. With a short stroke, well defined pressure point and quiet stroke noise, it should also be able to convince demanding frequent writers quickly. The key mat lies firmly on the keyboard and doesn’t yield during normal writing.

The vertical arrow keys are, as so often, impractically squeezed into one line, the keyboard labeling turns out weak in contrast due to the silver-colored keys, and in brighter working environments the keyboard illumination even impairs its recognizability.

 HP Spectre x360 keyboard lit up

The convertible’s on/off switch is almost spectacularly placed in the back left corner and proves to be extremely practical there. Due to the flattened corners, the button is easily accessible from all convertible modes. Similarly, you quickly get used to the functions housed in the F-key bar and the on/off switch for the webcam positioned on the side.

The 110 x 55 mm click pad has good gliding properties and accepts input reliably. As usual, functions and gestures can be adjusted to personal needs via the Windows settings.

The test configuration features the OLED display with capacitive touch surface and integrated digitizer. An active stylus with integrated battery is included with the test device. It is charged via a USB type C socket.

For finger input, as well as for the image display as a whole, it is recommended to set the scaling to 200 % or even 225 %. Then symbols, icons and text lines can be hit quite reliably. For more filigree, artistic or typical pen tasks, the stylus with its significantly narrower tip is of course predestined. Both methods work very precisely at the edges and right into the corners.

In mobile mode, owners of the test configuration can store the stylus in the supplied case. Apart from that, the Convertible does not offer an integrated storage compartment as an always-always-at-hand solution.

Display

HP lists its Spectre X360 13, apart from different case colors and WWAN equipment, basically with 5 different display variants.

HP Spectre x360 design night

Unfortunately, HP’s data sheets and product information seem to be flawed in essential points in view of the concrete configuration. The test device HP Spectre X360 13-aw0030ng is awarded a FullHD-IPS display according to the data sheet. However, a UHD OLED panel is actually built in. Before buying, you should therefore confirm which display type you can really expect.

The test device has a UHD OLED panel from Samsung. This is provided with a smooth surface and subjectively also with an anti-reflection coating. In comparison to previously tested notebook displays, the degree of reflection is in the range of highly reflective panels.

Whether or not this is the model with anti-reflective coating according to HP’s definition could not be clarified by the editorial deadline. Edit 20.05.2020: According to HP, the test device’s screen is an anti-reflective panel.

HP Spectre x360 back view

The maximum brightness reaches 384 cd/m² in the regular test procedure with full white screen content. If the white portion is reduced to 10% (rest black), then the OLED panel delivers 478 cd/m². The illumination is extremely even at 97%. Cloud formations or halos of light cannot be detected in the extremely rich black image.

As usual, the brightness can be adjusted via the predefined brightness levels or percentage precisely in the Windows display settings. For example, brightness level 7 delivers 205 cd/m² and brightness level 6 delivers 159 cd/m². In brightness levels 0 to 6, PWM with a frequency of 250 Hz is used.

In theory, OLED displays achieve a black level of 0, which in turn results in infinitely high contrast. In the AdobeRGB color space, this is also confirmed by the measurement. In the sRGB color space, the spectrophotometer certifies a black value of 0.276 cd/m², which is probably due to the profile stored by HP. The calculated contrast here is 1.391:1.

HP tries to get the color representation of the color-strong display under control with the HP Display Control tool. This tool allows you to select predefined color spaces in addition to the native display. DCI-P3, AdobeRGB, sRGB and Standard are available for selection in addition to the native display capabilities. HP stores corresponding profiles, but they suffer from a not quite correct white point in the test device.

The bottom line is that the entirety of the displayable colors is indeed trimmed to the respective color space, but the color accuracy remains behind the possibilities.

HP Spectre x360 office setup

In the AdobeRGB colour space, the average DeltaE 2000 is 3 (deviation from ideal, limit at 3, the less the better) and the maximum DeltaE 2000 is 5.6 (deviation from ideal, limit at 5, the less the better). In the sRGB colour space, the average DeltaE 2000 is 3.3 and the maximum DeltaE 2000 is 4.9. In both cases, the limits for colour fidelity are torn close.

Creating your own profiles did not work with the test device. Optimizing the profiles stored by HP is apparently not possible.

Edit 19.05.2020: According to HP, every display is individually calibrated and measured in the factory. The goal is not to exceed a DeltaE of 2. Editor’s note: This obviously didn’t work in this test sample.

Performance

The HP Spectre X360 13 is available with the two Ice Lake CPUs Intel Core i7-1065G7 or Intel Core i5-1035G4. Dedicated graphics solutions are not offered. Consequently, either the Intel Iris Plus 940 Graphics with 64 execution units (Intel Core i7) or with 48 execution units (Intel Core i5) is responsible for the graphics output.

The soldered-on RAM varies between 8 GB DDR4-3200 and 16 GB DDR4-3200 depending on the model. The mass memory is always installed in the form of an M.2 PCIe module and can provide a gross capacity of up to 2 TB depending on the configuration.

HP Spectre x360 gaming benchmarks performance

The test device is equipped with an Intel Core i7-1065G7, 16 GB RAM in dual channel mode and Intel’s Optane Memory H10 with 1,032 GB.

The Intel Core i7-1065G7 has 4 computing cores, can process up to 8 threads simultaneously and reaches a clock rate of up to 3.9 GHz.

In the test, the CPU’s coordination with high performance at short load phases is pleasing. In the Cinebench R15 single thread test the configuration scores 182 points and in the multi-thread test 793 points. Especially the multi-thread performance can shine here and even top the already good result of the Dell XPS 13 9300.

The cooling system only attracts attention after about 3:20 minutes in continuous load phases. After that the fan turns continuously and HWinfo shows a CPU package consumption of 14 to 17 watts. In the Geekbench CPU stress test, the results fluctuate between about 11,000 and 12,000 points according to the consumption. This basic characteristic does not change in the further course. The tester scores 11,374 points in the 49th run and 12,116 points again in the 50th run.

HP Spectre x360 performance video editing

The Intel Iris Plus Graphics 940 (G7, 64 EUs) counts among the most powerful processor graphics units currently available. For example, it is able to drive 5k displays (5,120 x 3,200 pixels) at 60 Hz, accelerate video conversions via Intel Quick Sync Video and play high-resolution videos smoothly.

Although the 3D performance here is significantly better than, for example, with Intel UHD Graphics of the Comet Lake generation, dedicated graphics solutions should still be used for demanding 3D games or complex 3D CAD tasks.

For example, HP Spectre achieved 7.137 points in the test in 3DMark Night Raid and 42 fps in Unigine Heaven Basic. Thus, this solution places itself clearly behind the Dell XPS 13 9300 (G7, 64 EUs) and only just in front of the Acer Swift SF313-52-52AS (G4, 48 EUs).

HP relies on Intel’s Optane Memory H10 in the test device. A 32 GB Optane 3D XPoint cache is combined with 1 TB 3D NAND solid state memory in this drive. The latter essentially corresponds to the Intel SSD 660p.

The idea behind it: Frequently used data is stored in the 3D XPoint cache, which can be read faster thanks to low latency and should ultimately ensure optimised system performance. In the still relatively virgin test device, there are no obvious advantages to be seen in QD1 or QD32 transfer tests.

This also explains the low transfer rates. The transfer rates promised by Intel of 2,400 MB/s in reading and 1,800 MB/s in writing are by far not achieved by the test device.

The maximum achieved 1,590 MB/s in reading and 1,508 MB/s in writing at least provide a subjectively fast feeling of speed, which doesn’t cause any restrictions in practice.

HP Spectre x360 design view

Edit 25.05.2020: The Optane module can be activated via the Intel Optane Memory and Storage Management. After that, significantly faster read rates can be reported. The test device manages up to 2,712 MB/s. In return, however, the write speed is reduced to about 1,400 MB/s.

Noise & temperature levels / Power consumption

HP’s Convertible X360 13 works very quietly overall and realizes this advantage without having to generate too high case temperatures.

Many tasks like word processing, internet surfing, video playback or even short conversions can be performed silently by the test device. Even during load-intensive computing phases, the fan remains motionless for up to 3:20 minutes. Only then does it generate a sound pressure level of 33.1 dB(A) up to 39.7 dB(A).

The test device did not generate high-frequency or other disturbing background noise.

After a good hour of full load, the surface between keyboard and display unit heats up to just 41.8 °C. On the underside it reaches up to 46.6 °C in places. Both rates are still far from a possibly critical range and shouldn’t cause any restrictions in practical use.

HP Spectre x360 performance

The HP Spectre X360 13-aw0030ng’s power consumption ranges between 2.7 watts (idle, display off) and 48.1 watts (Geekbench stress test, maximum display brightness, high performance profile).

The UHD OLED display presents itself as a relatively large power consumer, which already claims 3.3 watts for itself in idle with minimum brightness. A further 3.5 watts are added at maximum brightness, which results in a total consumption of a whopping 6.8 watts. This has a negative effect on the battery life, especially in less load-intensive scenarios.

The power supply is specified with a nominal power of 65 watts and thus still has sufficient reserves.

Battery life

The 60-Wh rechargeable battery used in the housing has a reasonable capacity for this class of devices. A large part of the base unit’s interior volume is therefore occupied by the battery. The test device still manages to achieve satisfactory battery runtimes despite the display’s high consumption.

HP Spectre x360 keyboard setup

The video playback lasts 8:11 hours with adjusted settings (205 cd/m², balanced profile), the PCMark 10 Battery Test 5:25 hours and WiFi TV streaming 5:20 hours. That’s not enough for whole workdays, but at least for a well usable network independence.

The 65 watt adapter needs 2:15 hours for recharging (5 % – 100 %) the 60 Wh battery. After a little more than an hour, 74% is already available again.

Verdict

The HP Spectre X360 13-aw0030ng presents itself in the test as the HP Spectre X360 13-aw0030ngPremium Convertible in top form. Merely the average battery life and the reflective display surface demand a bit of willingness to compromise from the prospective buyer.

Otherwise, there’s almost nothing to criticize in the test configuration. The outstanding case cram full of HP with all kinds of functions and thus creates an extremely broadly set up multifunctional tool. Highlights are for example Thunderbolt 3, a fast MicroSD memory card reader, the mini dock or the multi-touch screen with integrated digitizer and stylus.

The performance fits well with the product orientation and can easily handle a variety of conceivable application scenarios. The fact that HP doesn’t lose sight of the heat and noise development here speaks for the successful overall concept.

A special feature of the test device is the great UHD OLED display. On the one hand, it limits somewhat with its relatively high power consumption and the reflective surface. On the other hand, it impresses with a perfect black, a wide colour spectrum and particularly high dot density.

The unbridled color spectrum of the OLED panel is tamed by HP’s Display Control and trimmed down to predetermined color spaces. The fact that the white point or one or the other color value doesn’t quite match the target specifications should be easily forgiven by most users in view of the other advantages.

The bottom line is that HP has put together an extremely attractive total package with the Spectre X360 13-aw0030ng.

Thanks to the extensive equipment and the two-year manufacturer’s warranty, the pricing turns out pleasantly fair compared to many a competitor, which is why the HP Spectre x360 is ranking first vs Dell XPS 13.

Ranking Second: Dell XPS 13

Dell XPS 13 review


Pros

  • Very quiet and fast in everyday life
  • Very good display
  • Simple and modern design

Cons

  • Throttles under extreme load

In January, Dell refreshed the XPS 13 for the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and gave it a completely redesigned case in addition to a hardware change to the new Ice Lake processors. This comes up with even slimmer display edges, while the panel is now in 16:10 format.

The series remains true to its typical design line. This Hardwareluxx article shows how the flagship model with Core i7-1065G7, 16 GB LPDDR4X memory, fast PCI Express SSD and UHD+ display including touchscreen performs in practice.

Dell XPS 13 design white

The Dell XPS 13 is sometimes one of the most popular ultrabook devices of the last few years and is constantly updated by the manufacturer to introduce new hardware components.

Whilst the changes last year were rather minor, this year’s new edition, which was only announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas at the beginning of the year, has undergone major changes and thus more than just simple model updates.

Design

Thus, the 2020 edition comes up with a 16:10 display format, whose edges have become a good bit narrower in comparison to its predecessor, especially towards the bottom. In addition, there is an almost borderless keyboard with larger keycaps, as well as one or two changes in the connectivity, which we’ll look at in more detail in the course of this review.

Dell XPS 13 display

However, the new Dell XPS 13 9300 also remains true to the usual design structure and relies on a compact and silver-gray or white metal case, which tapers to the front and thus constantly loses height.

Under the hood there are the new Ice Lake U models of the tenth core generation, fast and above all economical LPDDR4X RAM and a high-performance NVMe SSD. The display measures 13.4 inches in its diagonal and offers at least 1,920 x 1,200 pixels, but is also available with a high-resolution UHD+ panel including touch function for an additional charge.

In any case, you can count on a particularly bright display with 500 nits and HDR400 certification as well as GorillaGlass 6. Together with a 52 Wh battery, this promises runtimes of up to 18 hours.

The entry-level version with Intel Core i5-1035G1, 8 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD as well as FHD+ panel is currently available with Windows 10 Home from about $1100.

Optically, the Dell XPS 13 remains true to itself in the 2020 version and focuses on a timeless, modern and above all simple design. The 13 incher is offered in two different color variants. Once in a silver-black version, as in our test model, and once in a completely white version in which the display lid isn’t made of anodized aluminum but of white fiberglass.

The area of the top case in our variant, on the other hand, is kept in a matte black finish, whose pattern is slightly reminiscent of the carbon effects of a sports car and on top of that has been slightly rubberized.

In opposition to the predecessor, especially the screen edges have become narrower, especially in terms of the distance between the actual display and the base unit, but also the keys have become a bit larger, so that the keyboard now fills the top case almost completely and without margins.

All in all, the Dell XPS 13 9300 has a size of 296 x 199 x 14.8 mm and a total weight of 2.80 lbs. This makes it clearly one of the lightest and most compact ultrabook devices on the market. In practice, the overall height seems even lower because the case is wedge-shaped and thus becomes a bit flatter towards the front.

Dell XPS 13 back view

There are actually only air inlets at the sides and bottom. There is no maintenance flap – if you want to replace the 13 incher’s mass memory, you’ll have to remove the entire bottom side. However, at least the RAM is soldered and thus not exchangeable anyway.

The Dell XPS 13 9300 plays right at the top of the top league in terms of manufacturing quality. Thanks to the high-quality material selection, the case is extremely stable despite its compact design.

We couldn’t find any creaking noises on the display hinges, as well as a too light torsional stiffness, so that the display doesn’t wobble annoyingly in case of vibrations, such as for example in a train or plane.

Nevertheless, the 13 incher can be opened with only one hand without any problems. Thanks to the rubberized surface, no annoying fingerprints are left behind, which are only found in the touchpad area and of course on the touchscreen itself.

Ports

As already in the last model variants, Dell exclusively relies on USB type C ports in its XPS 13. However, in opposition to last year’s model variant, one of the three ports has fallen victim to the red pen.

The new 2020 edition only has two of these interfaces, whereby both understand the fast and flexible Thunderbolt 3 protocol and thus not only promise high data transfer rates of up to 40 Gbps, but also enable video output via adapters.

Dell XPS 13 ports

However, since the Dell XPS 13 is also loaded via type C, there is only one free interface available in network operation; an adapter to type A is at least included by Dell. Only a 3.5 mm jack socket for connecting headphones and a microSD card reader are left.

In terms of connection variety, the Dell XPS 13 9300 unfortunately takes a small step backwards. Wireless communication is provided by fast WiFi 6, and a Bluetooth module is also integrated.

Keyboard & Touchpad

Like its predecessor, Dell also relies on a simple chiclet keyboard with a short stroke and crisp feedback in its XPS 13 9300. Overall, it allows very fast and accurate typing, which isn’t only due to the standard layout, but also because the keys have become a bit larger in generational comparison, with which the keyboard now extends over the entire base unit and hardly leaves any edges to the sides. A separate number pad is of course still not available due to the lack of space.

However, the power button is a bit of an adjustment, as it has now been integrated directly into the layout in the upper line next to the DEL key. It comes with a fingerprint sensor for this.

Dell XPS 13 keyboard

The keyboard also has an LED backlight for especially bright and dark environments. It is adjustable in two brightness levels and relies exclusively on white LEDs. The key labeling is very easy to read and the illumination is quite even.

For the touchpad, Dell relies on a 111 x 65 mm large and glass surface, which has been slightly roughened, for its new XPS 13. It implements multi-touch gestures quickly and precisely, but this only applies to the middle area, because towards the edges and corners, the accuracy of the mouse replacement unfortunately decreases a bit, or even comes to a halt for a short time every now and then.

There are no separate mouse buttons for the left and right mouse click. Dell uses a click pad, which you have to press comparatively hard to release, but you are rewarded with a loud clicking noise.

Display

As it is appropriate for an expensive ultrabook notebook, Dell places a lot of value on a high-quality display in its XPS 13. This should not only achieve brightness values of over 500 nits, but also have high contrast values due to the HDR400 certification.

Dell XPS 13 display view

It should also remain very stable and scratch-resistant thanks to GorillaGlass 6. Concerning the measured values, we can partially confirm this in our measurements. The Sharp panel achieves a contrast ratio of 888:1 and brightness values of over 500 cd/m².

We measured up to 501 cd/m² at the peak, whereby the illumination could be better overall, as there are up to 81 cd/m² between the brightest and darkest values. The IPS screen gets steadily darker, especially towards the edges. The homogeneity is just under 84%.

But the colour reproduction is impressive, because with an average value of 6,748 K for all nine quadrants, only real professionals from the photo and film industry have to readjust. The too cool color temperatures and blue-tinted values that we often measured don’t exist in the Dell XPS 13 9300.

Additionally, there is the comfortable 16:10 image format and a high resolution of 3.840 x 2.400 pixels, as well as of course the touch function, with which the input can also be done with a finger tab or even with a corresponding pen.

Dell XPS 13 color variants

However, the Dell XPS 13 9300 is also available without a touch display and only with FHD+ resolution of 1,920 x 1,200 pixels. Dell relies on a viewing angle stable IPS panel, which is noticeable due to its narrow screen edges, but isn’t completely anti-glare.

Dell nevertheless promises low reflections for its Infinity Edge display. This is certainly true thanks to the high brightness rates.

Software

Dell gives its XPS 13 9300 numerous software tools on the way. The Dell Power Manager serves as a central point of contact for all important system settings of the 13 incher.

Thus, not only can the battery’s status be read out and its charge supply be controlled, but also the performance and temperature profile of the hardware can be influenced.

By default, the profile is set to “Optimized”, which should represent a perfect mix of performance and volume. Although the cooling performance and thus the noise increases in ultra performance mode, we couldn’t really get more performance out of the Intel Core i7-1065G7.

Dell XPS 13 software

In the battery extender, the Power Manager lowers the CPU performance, reduces the display brightness to 20%, sets the sound to mute and the keyboard’s backlight, which should further increase the Dell XPS 13’s runtimes in emergency situations.

Of course, Dell has also installed a tool that allows you to download and install all available driver and software updates with just a few clicks.

Dell Cinema Color can also be used to adjust the color rendering of the display in several pre-defined profiles, while Mobile Connect promises seamless integration of the smartphone, for example to be able to accept calls directly from the notebook. The new graphics control room of the integrated Intel graphics, which enables numerous video settings, is also included.

Overall, Dell keeps away from unnecessary software tools or even bloatware. Only a demo version of Microsoft 365 is pre-installed.

Temperature levels

With an overall height of only 14.8 mm at the top, there isn’t much space left for a thick cooling of the hardware. In fact, the Intel Core i7-1065G7 reaches very high temperatures of up to 100°C in practice. This is one of the highest rates we have ever measured for an Ultrabook processor.

Dell XPS 13 keyboard

However, the Dell XPS 13 9300 only reaches this value for a short time and regulates both voltage and clock rate after a few seconds, whereby the temperature levels off at just under 86 °C.

The clock rate drops to 800 MHz at its peak, whereby the Ice Lake CPU already throttles down, because the clock rate should be at least 1.3 GHz as standard. As usual, we demand everything from the cooling in this test and simulate the absolute worst case scenario with Prime95 and Furmark.

However, the high temperatures inside are hardly noticeable on the surface. We measured up to 39 and 38 °C at the peak: Once in the first quadrant on the base unit’s upper side and once in the second quadrant on the bottom.

Generally, the Dell XPS 13 gets a bit warmer in the keyboard area than on the bottom, which is usually the other way around in many other notebooks in this price and performance category.

However, the differences are very small with an average of about 34.0 and 34.5 °C, respectively. In normal office use the peak values fall back to just under 32 °C, which means that the case cools down comparatively quickly. On average, the surface temperatures in our test sample are between 27 and 27.5 °C, whereby the bottom is the warmer area.

The Dell XPS 13 9300 remains comparatively quiet despite the high temperatures. In idle and normal office mode, the fans even turn off completely for a time until a certain temperature level is reached, whereby the hardware is kept passively and thus completely silent on temperature.

Dell XPS 13 closed view

If the hardware is loaded and the cooling switches on, a noise level of a very good 41.6 dB(A) is achieved, in the worst case peak values of up to 47.1 dB(A). The latter can’t really be called quiet, but it is far from the ultra loud gaming bolides of the high-end class.

Battery life

In terms of runtimes, the Dell XPS 13 9300 lasts relatively long thanks to the economical hardware and the 52 Wh strong battery. In normal office mode, the screen only turns black after 644 minutes and thus after more than 10.5 hours.

This is far from the 18 hours promised by Dell, but as always, we tested with a display brightness of 120 cd/m² as well as with enabled backlight and WiFi and Bluetooth module.

Moreover, the model variant with a Core i5 CPU and FHD+ screen should remain a bit more economical. If the processor is put more under load, then it’s already over after about 205 minutes and thus after not quite 3.5 hours.

Dell XPS 13 display design

The battery is charged via an external 45 W power supply via USB type C. It’s fully operational again after a bit more than two hours, which takes comparatively long. Then the 13 incher gets by with an economical 7.8 to 48.2 W.

Verdict

The Dell XPS 13 9300 remains a solid and high-quality workhorse on the go even after its re-release at the beginning of the year. Thanks to the Intel Core i7-1065G7 and especially thanks to the very fast NVMe-SSD, the 13 incher offers more than enough computing power on the go.

In addition, the extremely bright display and good color reproduction make it possible to work comfortably on the move and in bright environments. The 16:10 format and the high native resolution of 3,840 x 2,400 pixels as well as the touchscreen also contribute to this.

Despite the compact design and the very light weight, the workmanship is on a very high level, the design is noble and simple at the same time, the rubberized surface in the base unit area improves the grip.

However, there isn’t much room for cooling, because under extreme full load, which we simulate using Prime95 and Furmark, the Ice Lake CPU gets very hot and throttled, which can be at the expense of performance. In return, the noise level always remains at an acceptable level. One of the biggest points of criticism is the variety of connections.

Two USB type C sockets, both of which can handle Thunderbolt 3, are simply too few, especially in mains operation, when the 13 incher is supplied with stationary power, because then only one of the interfaces remains free. At least Dell supplies a type A adapter and integrates a microSD card reader.

Thanks to the efficient hardware components, the battery life of 3.5 to 10.5 hours per battery charge is otherwise correct. The rest of the equipment with LED backlight, WiFi 6, fingerprint sensor and microSD card reader further sensibly round off the total package of the 13 incher, which is just 14.8 mm high and weighs 2.80 lbs.

Overall, the Dell XPS 13 9300 is a very good ultrabook, but it also has its price: Dell wants $1100 for our flagship model, which once again made the series more expensive in a generational comparison, which is why the better performing HP Spectre x360 is ranking first vs Dell XPS 13.


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