Best 13 Inch Dell XPS 13 9310 Laptop Review 2021

Dell XPS 13 9310

The new Dell XPS 13 9310 is one of the best 13-inch laptops I've ever used. Let me show you what it's all about and why I would actually use this machine in this review. This is the new 11th generation model, and mine has the highest-i7-1185 G7 tiger lake processor with 16 gigs of ram and a 1TB SSD.

Design / Size & Weight

The Dell XPS 13 9310 is made from CNC aluminum, so the build quality feels excellent despite the smaller size. The lid is silver, while the interior of mine is a black carbon fiber composite, but there's also a white version that uses glass fiber for the finish, which feels different. Mine weighed under 1.3kg or 2.8 pounds, then just 1.5kg or 3.3 pounds all up with the small 45-watt type-C charger.

Screen Dell XPS 13 9310

It's quite small and portable as a 13.4-inch machine at less than 0.6 inches or 1.5 centimeters thick. The 13.4-inch touchscreen looks great. It's using a 16 by ten aspect ratio, which means there's more vertical space when compared to most alternative options, and this just allows the screen to take up more of the available space with a 91.5 percent screen to body ratio. There are 1080p, and 4K screen options that are only the 4K panels offer talks support which is what I've got here.

It's a gorilla glass six, so it's got a glossy reflective so fingerprint will show up from touch screen use you can use this model into tablet mode. However, there is also a 2 in 1 version of the Dell XPS 13 9310 that does support that if you're after it. The 4K screen offers a good color gamut with a good contrast ratio and excellent color accuracy after calibration. Brightness was greater, getting to around 500 nits maxed out. Backlight bleed was extremely minor in this worst-case example, but this will vary between panels and laptops.

Camera Test Dell XPS 13 9310

By default, the keyboard only stays lit up for 10 seconds, but you can modify this in the bios with separate times for AC and battery power. Speaking of the BIOS, as is typically the case with dell XPS 13 9310 laptops, we've got many configuration options that can be changed.

There are many of these toggles that are also available through software too. The keys don’t feel small despite the small 13-inch size the keyboard has one millimeter of key trouble but to keypresses have a subtle clicky feeling to them which I liked.

The typing sounds to give you an idea of what to expect. The power button is right next to the delete and backspace keys, and an accidental press will put the machine to sleep, so you might want to change the default behavior in windows. The key is blank as it doubles as a fingerprint scanner, and I found it to work fast and accurately. It clicks down anywhere and just feels nice to use, and it's a bit larger compared to the lost generation fingerprints show up on the black finish but want too hard to clean with a microfiber cloth, and I expect the white finish to be much better in this regard, though would probably show dirt easier.

Input / Output Part

There are 2 Type-C thunderbolts with four ports, one on either side of the machine and a micro SD card slot on the left, and a 3.5-millimeter audio combo Jack on the right. Both Type-C ports can be used as display port outputs, and both can be used to charge the machine. It also came with the USB Type-C to type-A. Adapter in the box so you can use your old devices as nothing on the back, while the front has a small light off indicating charge level and was completely smooth within no indent for your finger,

which did make it a little difficult to open up the times depending on the angle it was still possible to open with one finger despite the lighter weight it felt pretty well balanced it also powers on by default when you open the lid which I think is a good feature has chances all you want to use it when you open a keyboard and screen flex will both on the lower side again good build quality for a small machine.

Internals Dell XPS 13 9310

The bottom is clean with just some subtle air intake vents towards the back. However, only the area directly above the intake fans is clear for air flor. Despite the smaller size and lighter weight, the rubber feet did a good job of preventing him from moving around on my desk. Getting inside requires taking out 8 TR5 screws. After moving those, I just pride the bottom panel off with the tools linked in the below button. Once inside, we have got the battery down the front and a single and M2 storage slot just above that covered by the metal heat shield.

Speakers Dell XPS 13 9310

The speakers underneath on the left and right sides I thought they sounded great at lower volumes with some base for the small size there was some distortion at higher levels and latencymon results weren't that great.

Battery Dell XPS 13 9310

The Dell XPS 13 9310 is powered by a 52-watt battery which Dell says is not user-replaceable. It lasted for a bit more than 6000 my YouTube playback test, similar to many of the laptops with similar batteries, but at the same time, they're all those like the MSI perstage 14 with the same CPU and battery size that was going for 10:00 hours. The dell power manager software also lets you adjust the battery charge level to help prolong battery lifespan.

Dell Software & Thermal

Let's check out the thermals next, air comes in the bottom and is exhausted out of the rear vents that are hidden below the screen. The dell power manager software also lets you pick between 4 different performance modes, optimized which is default cool quiet and ultra-performance. The processor was cool at idle than one under CPU stress test using Aida64 to represent a worst-case heavy workload we are seeing 70°C as a maximum.

The color mode does what it says on the box and runs cooler than other available performance modes. These are the clock speeds for the same tests just shown. The cool mode only seems to be cool because the performance is being limited. I thought it might just instead run the fan faster, but that wasn't the case. The cool mode appears to limit the processor TDP to 10 watts, while the other modes all have the same 15-watt long-term power limit.

It could, of course, boost higher than this, but it's worth noting that this is a fair bit behind the full 28 watt limit of the i7-1185 G7 personal self. How CPU-only performance looks with the different modes in use single core was about the same regardless of the performance profile though there was a lot of difference in multi-core here the best ultra-performance more did the best, but the default optimized modes wasn't far behind.

The R23 score compares to other laptops, so both single and multiple scores are lower when compared to all of the other tiger lake laptops that I've tested. This wasn't too surprising as dell tends to prefer cool and quieter as opposed to maximum performance. The performance changes on battery power, so very similar results to running will be plugged in, meaning you shouldn't be sacrificing CPU power running unplugged.

At idle, the keyboard was cool in the quiet mode. Most laptops are around 30°C for contacts with the CPU stress test running. It gets to the mid-forties in the some talk. So just a little warm, the default optimized mode was fairly similar that not too much difference in the highest alter performance mode either but let's have a listen to fan noise. It sounded completely silent to me at all idle in quiet mode. Even with the CPU stress test running, it was hardly much louder. It was again only slightly louder with the default optimized mode, while the cool mode was slightly lower.

Content Creation Testing

I've also tested some content creator work towards an adobe premiere was tested with the Puget systems benchmark, and the Dell XPS 13 9310 was offering the lowest score I've had though this is the first time I've tested the system with just Intel Xe graphics here.

Adobe Photoshop is heavily dependent on personal performance, and as we've seen before, the 11th generation like processor does quite well in single-threaded performance, and this is why it is scoring higher than thicker, more powerful laptops here.

The one terabyte NVme M2 SSD was doing well for the reads. The right speed was low; comparatively, the micro SD card slot was basically maxing out my V90 card, and the cut click sends and since most of the way into the chassis.

Linux Testing

Linux support is something that dell has [censored] for years. You can even purchase the developer edition of the XPS 13 with the UBUNTU 20 preloaded. I only just briefly booted a live CD but found the keyboard lighting screen brightness touchscreen touchpad wifi speakers and camera to all work fine for updated pricing check the links in the below button. As prices will change over time, plus there are many different specs you can choose from in terms of screen storage, CPU, and memory at the time of recording. The Dell XPS 13 9310 starts up at 1000 US dollars for the entry-level i3 model with eight gigs of memory and 256 gig SSD that occurs right up to $2300 for the top and model with the highest processor and maxed out memory and storage, with of course options in between.

Here in Australia, it's starting for the $2000 AUD dollar while the exact configuration I've tested here is over 3000 then over $4000 for the maxed spec. I could easily see myself using this laptop when travel was an option again. I do already have a small 12.5 inch Xiaomi air for short trips, but it is missing a lot of the nice to have features at a cheaper price. The Dell XPS 13 9310 build quality just feels excellent. The screen looks great, and it just works well, but this doesn't cost come at a higher cost.

There's not as much the sustained CPU performance in the long-term workloads compared to most all the Intel 11th generation tiger lake machines that I have used.


I don't know about you, but with a small machine like this, I'm not exactly smashing the process of with multi-core workloads like blender or something anyway. If that is what you're all about, though, then you probably be looking at a Ryzen based option with 6 to 8 cores personally. For me, a small machine like this is ideal for trouble, so I don't think those four lower-power cores are going to cause me any issues.

The battery life wasn't that great when compared to those other Ryzen models or even all the Intel models for that model. Another downside is the lack of discrete graphics 13-inch gaming laptops do exist with GTX 1650 graphics. These include the Asus X13 and Razor blade stealth 13 granted both of those can cost more than this depending on the configuration, but if you do need discrete graphics power either for content creation will say gaming, then those would be a better choice than the Dell XPS 13 9310.

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