Dell New XPS 13 9300 13.4-inch Review


Dell New XPS 13 9300 13.4-inch

Dell New XPS 13 9300 13.4-inch Review

When it comes to ultra-portable laptops, few machines can rival Dell’s powerful and iconic XPS series. Ever since it was introduced in 2015, the XPS 13 has managed to combine three essential factors for modern laptop users: great performance, plenty of battery life, and a stylish, lightweight design.

This year’s refresh elevates these aspects and features even more internal power, a better-than-ever display, and a revamped keyboard and trackpad. So, is it worth purchasing? The short answer: Absolutely.

Release Date and Pricing

Dell officially launched this new XPS 13 in January 2020, dubbed the “9300” version. It replaced the “9380” and “7390 2-in-1” models from the previous year. As far as pricing, the XPS 13 starts at $1,199 for a standard core i5/8GB RAM/256GB SSD configuration.

The more expensive $1,749 features a core i7/16GB/512GB as well as an FHD touch display, while the ultimate $1,999$ model comes with 1TB of storage and a dazzling 4K UHD touch display.

Design

The Dell XPS 13 is a true marvel of engineering, as much on the inside as on the outside. The laptop’s body is made of professional-grade aluminum for a smooth, high-quality finish.

The result is an attractive design that inspires sturdiness and durability. It has slightly shrunk in size compared to its predecessors, at 29.6 x 19.9 x 1.48 cm, weighing in at 1.2kg (non-touch display) and 1.27kg (touch display); an ideal form factor for users who want a super light and compact device to take on the go.

In terms of I/O, the Dell now has the two instead of three Thunderbolt-3 USB-C ports located on either side, a 3.5mm headphone jack, along with a microSD card reader.

The absence of a conventional USB-A port can prove quite limiting for some users, yet Dell has thoughtfully included an adapter in the box (besides, there wouldn’t have been any space for it with such a thin profile.) Still, the port selection is nothing exceptional. Lastly, the choice of color is between an elegant alpine white or a sleek silver-and-black carbon fiber edition.

Display

The XPS line’s displays are some, if not the best on the portable laptops market. The 9300 boasts a captivating 13.4-inch InfinityEdge anti-reflective display with a 1,920 x 1,200 native pixel resolution, a new 16:10 ratio, and 500 nits.

It’s a beautifully bright and colorful display that sets the bar high for its competitors (MacBooks, Microsoft Surface Laptop/Surface Book, HP Spectre x360), both in terms of visual sharpness and bezels. In fact, what strikes about the XPS 13 are its micro-thin borders and 91.5% screen-to-body ratio, which make for an incredibly immersive viewing experience.

For the display itself, we’re offered an entry-level FHD non-touch screen, a FHD touch screen, or a 4K UHD touch display (3,840 x 2,400). Although it’s a nice-have, a 4K display on such a small laptop is quite frankly overkill; a highly-priced and battery-draining addition for marginal improvement. To somehow alleviate this, all models come with a convenient built-in ambient light sensor for dynamic brightness adjustment. Overall, a phenomenal display.

Keyboard and Trackpad

The quality and “feel” of a keyboard is often a determining factor when it comes to choosing a laptop. With the XPS 13, there’s little to be disappointed about in that department. Dell has upgraded its 9300 version to include an edge-to-edge backlit keyboard with slightly larger keys (+9%) for an incredibly comfortable and intuitive typing experience.

The keys are decently spaced and offer plenty of travel, a must for writers, bloggers, and creatives. The power button doubles as a fingerprint reader for secure authentication. As far as the trackpad, it’s also grown a little in size (+17%), with a glass surface that guarantees precise and very responsive feedback.


Camera and Sound

XPS fans should be overjoyed with the 9300 model, seeing as the webcam is back in its rightful place (i.e. on top of the display, rather than hiding under an F-key). While it’s nothing groundbreaking in quality and sharpness, the 720p HD camera is perfectly sufficient for Zoom or Skype video conferencing and supports Windows Hello face recognition.

The integrated microphone is serviceable at best. When it comes to the stereo speakers located on the undersides, they are potent, but sound rather lackluster and fall behind those found on Apple or Microsoft laptops. 

Performance Specs

As one would expect, the XPS 13 9300 is a genuine powerhouse. Even at the lowest specs, it will prove an especially reliable and versatile machine for most users. The laptops come equipped with a sophisticated i5 or i7 quad-core 10th Generation Intel chip, both references in the industry.

Coupled with 8, 16, or even a customizable 32GB of RAM memory, navigating, multitasking, and operating heavy software becomes a breeze. The standard versions come with 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB or SSD storage, customizable up to 2TB (the microSD slot also allows for expandable storage).

Speed and responsiveness are simply excellent, from web browsing and productivity apps to advanced video editing. In terms of graphics, the XPS 13 lineup features an Intel Iris Plus GPU, which will prove ideal for all sorts of visual-based tasks, including gaming at lower quality settings.

Lastly, all 9300 versions are equipped with Windows 10 (Home or Pro), Killer WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 for ultimate connectivity, but sadly, no embarked 4G LTE option. In a nutshell, high performances all around.

Battery Life

Unsurprisingly, exceptional battery life is yet another staple of the XPS series, and the 9300 lineup has been quite generous in that regard. In fact, moderate users who opted for the FHD display will reap a generous 12 to 13 hours of autonomy; this places the XPS way above the category’s average of 8 to 9 hours.

By contrast, given the higher brightness and pixel density, owners of the 4K display model will hardly exceed that category average. At the end of the day, autonomy will largely depend on individual usage, internal settings, and charging habits.

Final Verdict

Ultimately, while the Dell XPS 13 9300 may not be a revolutionary upgrade for owners of the last or second last generation, it will prove a superb, all-in-one package for those seeking a portable, stylish, durable, and outstandingly powerful laptop.


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Updated 2 years ago