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Dell XPS 13 (9310) with 3.5K OLED review: Beauty is gained, but battery dips in this nearly perfect laptop

Dell has given its flagship XPS 13 a new optional 3.5K OLED display. While a stunner, you do lose on battery, but that's OK for some.

Xps 13 9310 Oled
(Image: © Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Dell has been pushing boundaries for years now with the XPS 13, XPS 15, and XPS 17. These were the first laptops to use the InfinityEdge display with micro bezels, which started a trend amongst all high-end laptops. For 2020, Dell redesigned the XPS 13 (9300), and it now mirrors its convertible sibling, the XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390), one of our highest-rated laptops to date.

Dell is notorious for not radically revising its laptops for years, but in mid-2021, the company did add a few more options for the XPS 13 for new buyers. New is the slightly faster Intel Core i7-1185G7, in addition to the earlier i7-1165G7 we reviewed in October 2020. But, more intriguingly, is the new 3.5K (3456 x 2160) Samsung OLED screen (full HD and IPS 3.5K are still available too).

But with OLED comes tradeoffs, and that includes battery performance. Nonetheless, XPS 13 (9310) is easily the best 13-inch laptop on the market right now and a contender for the best Dell laptop money can buy. With a jaw-dropping design, outstanding display options, improved keyboard, and notably superior performance, there is nothing wrong with it. Indeed, the new 11th Gen Intel chips make it substantially better than before.

Because of that, the XPS 13 (9310) has earned the rare five out of five stars for this review.

Standard choices

Dell XPS 13 (9310) specs and features

Xps 13 9310 Oled

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Dell lets you buy the XPS 13 (9310) directly, or you can customize your order with specific specs.

For the processor, there are four choices: Intel i3-1115G4 (4.10 GHz), i5-1135G7 (4.20 GHz), i7-1165G7 (4.7 GHz), and even the i7-1185G7 (4.8GHz). Note, only the Core i5 and Core i7s have the powerful Intel Iris Xe for GPU, while the Core i3 version relies on slightly weaker Intel UHD Graphics.

RAM ranges from 8GB to 32GB of on-board (soldered) LPDDR4x, now clocked at 4,267MHz instead of 3,733MHz. Storage varies from 256GB to 2TB PCIe NVMe solid-state drive (SSD). The SSD is user upgradable.

Dell offers a set of display types depending on want, need, and budget. While all are 13.4-inch 16:10, users can pick between full HD, non-touch with anti-glare, full HD with touch and anti-reflective, 3.5K touch, anti-reflective. And now for 2021, 3.5K OLED display, also with touch and an anti-reflective coating.

The non-OLED screens support 500+ nits of brightness and Dolby Vision, while the 4K model is VESA certified for DisplayHDR 400. The touch versions also have Corning Gorilla Glass 6 for scratch protection.

CategoryXPS 13 (9300)
OSWindows 10 Home or Pro
Ubuntu 18.04
Display13.4-inches (16:10)
Full HD, non-touch, anti-glare (matte)
Full HD, touch, anti-reflective
4K, touch, anti-reflective
4K OLED, touch, anti-reflective
Dolby Vision, 500 nits
Processor11th Gen Intel Core
i3-1115G4 (4.10 GHz)
i5-1135G7 (4.20 GHz)
i7-1165G7 (4.70 GHz)
i7-1185G7 (4.80GHz)
GraphicsIntel UHD (i3)
Intel Iris Xe (i5, i7)
Memory8, 16, or 32GB LPDDR4X (4267MHz)
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB PCIe NVMe SSD
Expandable storagemicroSD
Front cameraHD 720P (top bezel)
SecurityWindows Hello IR camera (face)
Windows Hello fingerprint (power button)
ConnectivityKiller Wi-Fi 6 AX1650s
Bluetooth 5.1
Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX500-DBS
Ports2x Thunderbolt 4
1x 3.5mm headphone
Type-C to Type-A converter included
Audio2x 2.5W (4W peak) stereo
DimensionsHeight: 14.8mm (0.58") x Width: 295.7mm (11.64") x Depth: 198.7mm (7.82")
Weight1.2kg (2.64lbs.) for non-touch
1.27 kg (2.8 lbs.) for touch
ColorsCNC machined aluminum (outer)
Black carbon fiber (interior)
Arctic white woven glass fiber (interior)

All models come with Killer Wireless with Wi-Fi 6 technology (Killer AX1650s) and Bluetooth 5.1.

Ports are minimal, with just two USB Type-C that support Thunderbolt 4 (DisplayPort and Power Delivery, at 4X), which is a change from the XPS 13 (9300) with Thunderbolt 3.

There is still a microSD reader, as well as a combo headphone microphone jack.

Dell includes a Type-C to Type-A adapter in the box, along with a compact 45-watt wall travel charger with cable extension and folding prongs. Both accessories match the XPS 13's colorway, which is a nice touch.

Pricing starts at $950 for the base Core i3 model with 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and full HD non-touch. You can max out the XPS 13 at an eye-watering $2,609 with 4K touch, 2TB storage, 32GB of RAM, and a Core i7 with Windows 10 Pro.

My first review unit (October 2020) was configured in arctic white with a Core i7-1165G7, 16GB, 512GB of storage, full HD with touch, and an anti-reflective display. The original cost was $1,700 but is now down to $1,430. However, the 16GB of RAM option is now only available for the higher-end Core i7 found below.

For July 2021, our review unit featured revised specs. It is configured with an arctic white colorway, a new Core i7-1185G7, 16GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, and the new OLED 3.5K touch display. The total price comes in at $1,568.

Dell still charges an extra $50 for the frost exterior/arctic white interior option on lower-end models, but it doesn't seem to change the price on some models. Likewise, the regular 4K IPS display is an extra $200, whereas the newer 4K OLED option is an additional $250 over the full HD with touch option.

Eye candy

Dell XPS 13 (9310) display and web camera

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

In 2021, it is safe to say that all premium Ultrabooks have incredibly good displays, but Dell's Sharp IGZO partnership still takes the crown. And maybe the only thing better is Samsung's OLED technology.

The Dell XPS 13, super-thin bezels, and 4K OLED is a beautiful combo.

The 16:10 display aspect is an excellent addition. For too long, the XPS 13 was just too narrow of a laptop due to the tight 16:9 InfinityEdge design. Following last year's 2-in-1 revamp, Dell is now bringing 16:10 to all its XPS line, and Dell deserves applause. This display is now taller, and it shows significantly more information while also looking better.

The full HD touch display here is terrific. Color accuracy is remarkably high with 100% sRGB, 79% AdobeRGB, and an impressive 79% DCI-P3.

Brightness ranges from 62 nits at zero percent (up from 30 nits) brightness to a very satisfying 569 nights of peak brightness (down from 614), making it one of the best and brightest displays on a PC Ultrabook. There is an auto-brightness sensor that I found to be perfectly tuned and not overly aggressive. Calibration is also mostly on point, though the XPS 13 9310 was blue/cooler than the 9300.

Turning to the new OLED panel (made by Samsung instead of Sharp) and it is stunning. This display option is a much higher resolution at 3456 x 2160, which Dell calls 3.5K and is effectively "4K." The color gamut drops a bit from the full HD IPS with 97% sRGB, 72% AdobeRGB, and 72% DCI-P3.

Peak brightness for OLED is also lower at just 390 nits instead of 569 with full HD IPS, although it can bottom out at just 5 nits instead of 62 making OLED better for night use.

I appreciate Dell's use of an anti-reflective coating. While users can opt for a true matte (non-touch) display, anti-reflective is non-matte while retaining color vibrancy and contrast without causing eye strain. Other companies are dabbling with this technology, but Dell does it best right now.

The XPS 13 (9310) is the best-looking laptop available. Period.

With four-sided edge-to-edge InfinityEdge glass, the XPS 13 (9310) is very even and symmetrical.

Dell has squeezed in Windows Hello IR to that 720P web camera. It works very well with dual IR lenses, but users can also use the power button's fingerprint reader. That fingerprint reader is not "single sign-on," meaning you must press it once to power on and a second time to log into Windows 10. I'd prefer to have the choice in BIOS to enable such a feature.

The 720P camera is terrible and years behind Microsoft's Surface web camera or those found on a smartphone. Still, the top bezel placement and IR cameras were the right choices here.

The keyboard is so good

Dell XPS 13 (9310) keyboard, trackpad, and audio

Dell Xps 13 9310 Keyboard

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Dell's keyboard on the XPS 13 was getting stale with small chicklet keys and was not very satisfying to use compared to options from Microsoft, HP, and Lenovo. Luckily, the XPS 13 (9300) and (9310) have a new, redesigned keyboard, and it is superb. The key caps are nine percent larger than the 2019 model, and you notice it. The keys are easy to hit, have adequate travel, and feel very even. Two-stage backlighting works well, too, even on the white keyboard (at least in a dark room; with lights on, the contrast is indiscernible).

Notably, Dell did not use its second-generation MagLev keyboard found in the 2-in-1 XPS 13. While I enjoy MagLev, it is still a bit divisive due to the shallow typing experience. The XPS 13's keys are normal scissor-switches with no adjustment curve to learn.

Dell Xps 13 9300 Speakers

Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

This trackpad is also the best Dell has ever done. It is 17 percent larger than the 2019 XPS 13, which is directly attributable to that new 16:10 display (since it lets Dell have a more massive keyboard deck). The trackpad uses Microsoft Precision drivers, is glass, smooth, and had no false reading or scrolling errors.

The XPS 13 (9310) has dual 2.5-watt speakers (four-watt peak), a bump from the two-watt speakers of the XPS 13 2-in-1. While the speakers are on the laptop's lower edge, the experience is very satisfying when combined with the Dell CinemaSound 2.0 and Waves MaxxAudio Pro software tweaks. The audio is loud, clear, and has functional resonance. Simply put, these are outstanding speakers.

Finally, dual far-field microphones are found on the top edge of the display, which was satisfactory for VoIP calls on Skype and other teleconferencing software.

11th Gen is huge

Dell XPS 13 (9310) power, benchmarks, and battery

Xps 13 9310 Oled

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Let's talk performance with that 11th Gen Intel Core i7, Iris Xe graphics, and Intel Evo badge. The short version is it's much more powerful and it gets much better battery life.

The i7-1165G7 is a very impressive processor, partially because it is clocked higher, jumping from 3.9GHz to 4.7GHz. It makes a massive difference as Geekbench scores went up by 200 points for single-core and more than 600 points for multi-core. If you want more power, Dell even has the i7-1185G7 (4.8GHz), which we have also benchmarked for comparison.

Ten hours of battery life is easily achievable with 11th Gen Intel even with a Core i7.

On 3DMark Night Raid, which also uses the GPU, the XPS 13 with i7-1165G7 garnered 15,207, which trounces the average score of 9,408 for a typical 2020-2021 office laptop — a 31 percent difference. The 15-inch Surface Book 3 with an i7 and GTX 1660 Ti Max Q GPU could only eke out 9,448 for comparison on the same test. Throw in the faster i7-1185G7 and Night Raid bumps from 15,207 to 15,348.

Perhaps the best part of this processor and graphics bump, however, is the fact that heat and battery life are not severely impacted. Indeed, the XPS 13 (9310) felt quieter and cooler than ever. That's likely attributable to Intel's aggressive Evo certification. Intel Evo is the second iteration of Project Athena, but more formalized. To meet the criteria, the laptop needs to have a touch display, Wi-Fi 6, 11th Gen Core i5 or i7, Xe graphics, far-field microphones, Thunderbolt 4, and a big focus on battery life.

After a fifteen-minute stress test, peak temperatures were 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 degrees C) on the top keyboard deck, while the bottom was typically cooler at approximately 93 degrees Fahrenheit (34 degrees C). These temperatures were run under Dell's extreme ultra-performance setting, meaning "optimized" should yield lower temperatures. These results are within the normal range for an Ultrabook.

The dual-fan setup is incredibly quiet, with only a faint whirring noise under load.

Dell also lets you control performance with various power settings, including optimized, quiet, cool, and ultra-performance using Dell Power Manager. Under optimized (default), the laptop will thermally throttle after around 10 minutes of sustained load. However, it never gets to a point where the computer begins to stutter or have severe limitations.

On 3DMark's Time Spy Stress Test, the XPS 13 earned a passing grade of 99 percent frames-per-second stability (run under ultra-performance). Considering this laptop is meant for office and productivity work, not so much gaming or 4K video editing, the performance and thermal management are excellent.

Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

Dell tends to use whatever SSDs it can get from suppliers, and, in the past, they have ranged from Intel, Samsung, KIOXIA, and others. Which one you get is a draw, but you can always upgrade it yourself. My review unit uses a Micron 2300 (512GB), and it outperformed the XPS 13 9300's Intel Pro 7600p getting 3,200 MB/s for sequential read and a fabulous 2,971 MB/s for write, which more than doubled the 9300's SSD.

Coil whine fluctuates from minimal to non-existent, with higher power and performance modes affecting the outcome. It is undoubtedly better than the XPS 13 2-in-1 (9310), which has a more severe coil whine.

Using the Windows 10 battery report, the XPS 13 (9310) with full HD display averaged over ten hours of real-world usage from the 52WHr battery. That means, on some occasions, the XPS 13 would hit 14 hours; on other days, around 7.5 hours, likely depending on workload and display brightness. This change significantly improved over the Intel 10th Gen-based XPS 13 (9300).

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Turning to synthetic tests like PCMark 10's Modern Office, which loops between Microsoft Office Win32 apps, web, and video calls, the XPS 13 yielded a staggering 13 hours and 45 minutes with 0 percent of the battery left and display brightness fixed at 30 percent. That beats the XPS 13 (9300) with the same settings by over three hours, which is a massive change.

But that new 3.5K OLED display takes a big hit on the battery! Whereas the full HD model (with the slightly slower i7-1165G7) ranks near the top with 13 hours and 45 minutes on the same test, the 4K OLED model (with slightly faster i7-1185G7) eeked out just 9 hours and 14 minutes. That's still very good and, for many, "all-day," but between the resolution increase and OLED use, there is a clear tradeoff with longevity.

Intel's 11th Gen Core processors and Evo certification is no joke. These are substantial and significant improvements over battery life and overall performance, unlike anything I have seen from Intel in years.

Looking at the competition

Dell XPS 13 (9310) Alternatives

Hp Spectre X360 14 Hero

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

HP's popular Spectre x360 13t is the most logical alternative to the XPS 13. It starts at the same $999 for similar specs (including 11th Gen Intel now), but you're getting a proper 2-in-1 convertible laptop with an included pen. You get more color options (silver, black, or blue), and you sometimes can configure it with 4G LTE. There's a reason why we called the Spectre x360 13t the best value for a premium Ultrabook. The only downside to the Spectre is the cramped 16:9 aspect ratio.

HP also has the new Spectre x360 14, which gets a highly-desirable taller 3:2 aspect display and features specs very comparable to the Dell XPS 13. If you don't mind bumping up your screen size a bit, this Spectre is a great alternative.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 is also a strong option (see our comparison). Still, you don't get nearly as many bells and whistles, including a fingerprint reader, microSD reader, Thunderbolt 4, or an anti-reflective display. Regardless, the Surface Laptop 4's staggering amount of configuration options across both its 13 and 15-inch models (including AMD 4000 Series CPUs) make it an attractive choice for folks who want to customize every spec. Indeed, in our testing the same i7-1185G7 processor can at times beat Intel's implementation.

Razer's Razer Book 13 is also in play, and it takes a big swing at Dell's crown. It competes with the XPS 13 in every way, including a similar 16:10 display, but it has more ports, including full HDMI and a full USB Type-A port. It also has top firing amped THX speakers. However, the device is more expensive overall, and also weighs a little more.

Finally, if everything about the XPS 13 appeals to you except the size (it's too small), the XPS 15 and XPS 17 take the same design and put in much more processing power with larger displays. Both are excellent.

For even more ideas, be sure to check out our Best Ultrabooks 2021 guide to see what else we recommend and why.

A near-flawless device

Dell XPS 13 (9310) is the best 13-inch Ultrabook

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Who it's for

  • If you want the best 13-inch Windows Ultrabook
  • If you're a student, business user, or anyone who wants a great PC
  • If you want the latest specs
  • If you prefer thin bezels and a great office productivity device
  • If you like the MacBook Pro but wish it ran Windows and had a touch screen

Who it isn't for

  • If you want to do serious gaming (without streaming)
  • You want a 2-in-1 convertible with inking
  • You want 4G LTE or 5G
  • You need a lot of ports, but hate dongles

While not much has changed from my earlier review (and conclusion) of the XPS 13 (9300), the new XPS 13 (9310) benefits greatly from those new 11th Gen Core processors.

The jump from 10th Gen to 11th Gen has resulted in a very discernable performance improvement even on day-to-day tasks like using Microsoft Edge, firing up Microsoft Office, or using Adobe Photoshop. This laptop really does seem faster. Battery life is also significantly improved with a 26 percent bump, gaining multiple hours in battery longevity.

Dell Xps 13 9310 Ports

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

If you want the best, you need this XPS 13 (9310).

There are no significant blind spots with the XPS 13 (9310). Sure, we can always ask for more ports or lament losing Type-A, but it's been four years since Apple famously went all Type-C in its MacBook Pro line, and it's about time the industry moves on already.

Unlike HP, Dell still hasn't added optional 4G LTE, which has been more bullish on it. But even here, this is a niche concern that most people won't be bothered with (though it'd still be great to have).

Display, audio, typing, trackpad, comfort, looks, and performance all earn strong marks across the board. On appearance alone, the XPS 13 is the most beautiful looking laptop available today.

Perhaps the weakest area is the webcam. While 720P is better than nothing, camera quality has never mattered more with the shift to work/study-from-home. I'd like to see Dell keep the same micro cam setup here but put in some serious R&D to make it higher quality.

Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

Dell includes some excellent software with the XPS 13. While Microsoft's Your Phone is an outstanding option for using an Android phone with your PC, Dell's Mobile Connect software can do more things, and it now works with iPhone, too. While the screen-mirroring with an iPhone is hacky, the ability to take calls and send SMS messages from your PC works flawlessly with Apple's hardware. No other PC maker can claim that.

Dell also ships a trifecta of multimedia-tuned apps with CinemaSound (Waves MaxxAudio Pro tuning), CinemaColor (custom color profiles), and CinemaStream (prioritized video streaming). They all enhance movie watching and add substantial value to the XPS 13.

Unless you're really hooked on black and silver, for purchasing recommendations, go for the arctic white ($50 more). It not only feels better, but it won't smudge with hand grease after a few weeks of usage. You'll be the envy of your coffee shop.

Intel 11th Gen and Evo make a huge impact on performance and battery.

While the Core i7 model is terrific, if you're buying this for productivity and everyday computing, save some money and go for the quad-core Core i5 (and get slightly more battery life). Storage should be adequate at 256GB (you can always upgrade later), and the full HD with touch is the display nearly all people should buy.

Most people will also be OK with 8GB of RAM, but you can get 16GB for just $100 more. Such a configuration for the Dell XPS 13 runs a modest $1,200 for 8GB of RAM (and $1,300 for 16GB). That's cheaper than this spring's (XPS 13 9300) by about $200 and is the sweet spot for most people.

What about that 4K OLED choice? It is simply amazing looking. The benefit of OLED is blacks are really, truly black, and the colors just ooze with dynamic contrast, much more so than IPS. The higher-resolution 3456 x 2160 also looks nicer than the full HD for obvious reasons. But when you go 4K OLED, you give up the nearly record-breaking battery life of full HD (plus some color accuracy and peak brightness.

For a specific demographic, though, running 4K OLED is the way to go, and once you see it in person, it is hard to go back to IPS. But the bottom line is full HD, 4K IPS, or 4K OLED all look terrific. There is no wrong choice, just personal preference and priorities.

Overall, the Dell XPS 13 (9310) is the pinnacle of 13-inch, non-convertible Ultrabooks. HP, Lenovo, and Microsoft all have worthy competitor laptops, but Dell has the fewest compromises and issues right now. There's no question it should be at the top of your list, too. If you want the best, you need this XPS 13.

Review Changelog, July 2021

This article was originally published in October 2020. It was updated in July 2021 with the following changes:

  • Added info about the new 3.5K OLED display.
  • Added new photos.
  • Revised benchmarks with new Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor.
  • Revised specs with Killer AX1650s module and Bluetooth 5.1 (up from 5.0).
  • Added more benchmarks and laptop comparisons.
  • Added color gamut and brightness info about 3.5K OLED.
  • Added new battery benchmarks with an OLED display and Core i7-1185G7 processor.
  • Updated pricing and configuration options.
  • Revised Surface Laptop 4 (13.5) as an alternative.
  • Revised intro, performance, and conclusion sections based on new data.
Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • Your article states "ITS PERFECT", then very next sentence says "close to being perfect". Can't have any cons, unless it's aestethics, to be perfect. I can live with those cons tho.
  • "Can't have any cons, unless it's aestethics, to be perfect. "
    My review, my rules. The things I point out as "cons" are just nitpicking, not flaws with the hardware e.g. issues with keyboard, audio, display, value, etc. Cons that count against a score of a laptop are flaws, problems not desires. I didn't ding points for LTE because it is simply not a major consumer feature, it's something I'd prefer, but not something that is a flaw. 98% of 13-inch consumer Ultrabooks do not have it as an option either and Dell flat-out told me they don't sell (especially in the US), which I believe. Even "mild thermal throttling" I'll remove as every Ultrabook has that and Dell's is certainly no worse than most. So, I stand by everything I wrote and the score. The reason is simple: there's no better 13-inch, non-convertible laptop on the market. Period.
  • I swapped my SurfaceGo for a Surface GO with LTE, I have NEVER used it. LTE doesn't seem to be a very useful option to most U.S. users. If there was an easier way that I could get a data only sim from my cell provider, then I might use it but I 100% agree, it just isn't that useful.
  • "My review, my rules" Not a defense for contradicting yourself.
  • But I haven't contradicted myself, so your point is irrelevant. I didn't take away points for not having LTE because no other consumer 13-inch laptops have LTE either. Not Apple, Microsoft, Lenovo, etc. I deduct points for flaws, or things that don't work well, problems with the device like a bad trackpad, poor speakers, a subpar display, LTE that fails to connect, no Windows Hello. This isn't hard. The funny thing is, I can just delete "no LTE" from the cons list. I have no issues if it makes your feel better?
  • LTE is a feature that few people think they'll use. But once they start using it, it's hard to go back to a device without it. The instant connectivity without messing around with hotspots is a game changer, especially if you travel a lot or do work from client sites.
  • No more wretched 16:9 screen, that's all I needed to hear! What's with the mirrored image (2nd from top)? :)
  • Moving to a Surface aspect ratio was a big deal for me. It really is way better than 16x9. 16:10 is halway there - probably would be good enough for me.
  • I was considering a Surface Book 3 until I saw that it's still shipping with a glare-enabled display.
  • Great review. Can't say I'm surprised. We've seen the evolution of these ultrabooks over the past few years and the trend on everything, except maybe the keyboard, was good. HP and others included. Great for us consumers. We decided on a Surface Pro 3 13" for us - there was a big discount last month, and it uses Surface Connect so we could use our old dock - but the future looks bright either way.
  • I'm guessing that you meant "Surface Laptop 3" rather than "Surface Pro 3".
  • Oh yeah, thanks JM.
  • Would buy this over any Surface product, it's the complete laptop with those thunderbolt 3 ports...
  • Surface USB-C ports can do pretty much everything a thunderbolt port can do. Both can do dual 4K@60hz external monitors. I'm not sure which implementation of thunderbolt they've used here but it most likely is faster than the USB3.1G2 that Surface uses. However, their Surflink connector (magnet connection) offers faster speeds that USB3.1G2. Also the Surface Link connector is a joy to connect - put the plug near the oport and it just sucks it in and will disconnect if accidentally pulled. The USB-C/Thunderbolt connector will wear out after a year of constant use and become loose. Plus it's not magnetic. Personally, I would take the Surface Laptop 3 over this.
  • So I love the Surface Connect port and connector for exactly the reason you mention: It's a no-brainer to connect and disconnect. Awesome! But I think the Surface Dock is limited to 2x4K@30. Not a big deal for me - I may never have two 4k monitors, let alone running at 60Hz - but YMMV.
  • I have last years 2 in 1 and it is an absolute beast. 10+ hours of battery life (HD version), 16:10 screen, runs nice and quiet, and has zero problems other than the ones Microsoft always adds in every single one of their software updates.
  • Ordered essentially the same thing last week only with the core i5. I had to do a chat with Dell to get it built to my specs since they don't offer the i5, 16GB ram, 512GB HD screen with touch. Only issue is I won't see it until May most likely. Looking forward to it. Great article BTW.
  • Is there coil wine? Past xps13 models have this flaw
  • I specifically say there's no coil whine two times in the review ;)
  • Thanks for the awesome review! Dell is the only OEM I feel that truly gets what it means to make premium PC products, to make a real actual person feel happy with using their product and not just have it be the result of whatever no name model is available to rebadge or the results of a disconnected committee deciding what aspects to cheap out on to get a bonus at the expense of product quality. This feels especially true after Dell's response and adaptation (and furthering) of Surface design ideas (which was always Microsoft's intent). I have a Surface Book and am quite happy with it, but I'll probably be looking at Dell's XPS offerings when I go to replace it. And for my home music studio, it's Alienware Aurora with quiet water cooled Core i9 all day every day. Coming from Mac a few years ago, trying to source PC replacements for my devices was initially very frustrating because it was a game of compromises. I'm happy someone suggested Dells to me and I'm happy to see they're still kicking ass and taking names!
  • Interesting take. "This feels especially true after Dell's response and adaptation (and furthering) of Surface design ideas (which was always Microsoft's intent). " I've never owned a Dell (well, not in the past 15 years :-D) - what design cues did they take from Surface? And yes, that's exactly the stated purpose of the Surface lineup, isn't it? (Aside: You should have seen my old Dell laptop from college. It had the heft and the fan noise of a high-end gaming laptop today. And it was so expensive ...)
  • Haha, yeah, I owned a beige Dell tower back in the late 90s, and it was serviceable but never really great and definitely loud. I suppose my appreciation for the brand grew when Michael Dell took the company private and spent time and resources making great products as opposed to making normal, cheap, expected, and boring products. As far as design ideas that Dell took from Surface and expanded on, the most immediate I saw were attention to the quality of displays. Previously, it was really only Macs that had beautiful displays. Then Surface came out and went against the fold of pushing cheap displays for beautiful functional ones albeit at a higher more premium price. Afterwards Dell became known and is still known for having some of the best displays in the industry. Other Surface aspects Dell took on were materials used in construction (where as before every laptop keyboard felt like several layers of cheap plastic with tons of flex), servicing several form factors well (the Dell XPS 2-in-1s are amazing. I've never owned one, but I know plenty that have and have also owned Surface devices), and a trend towards premium from affordable. Don't get me wrong, I like that PCs are affordable compared to Macs, but back in the day PC OEMs went way too far in the affordable direction. Nasty 768p screens with narrow viewing angles, 5400rpm HDDs standard, absolute bare minimum RAM, no real attention to thermal considerations, a metric ton of bundleware, cheap flimsy material vs. premium lightweight metals, etc. Now days you can easily source a PC as far towards the premium end of the spectrum as you want and it wasn't until the Surface line that OEMs were willing to invest in this particular tier. I purchased an HP Envy circa 2013 when I was still waist deep in everything Apple and it completely turned me off of the PC Windows ecosystem and experience, it was just so different from the Dell experience I later found. The sad thing is that I feel a lot of people's view of Dell still reflects their old iteration of business goals. EDIT: Forgot to add an example where Dell pushed beyond with improvements after being inspired by Surface level quality: Their infinite displays. Both PC and tablet makers seemed to be perfectly happy with thick bezels before Dell made improvements there. Now Dell is setting trends.
  • Awesome! Thanks for the nice read. I can just picture your old Dell tower ... and hear it ...
  • Windows laptops in general changed a lot over the years. While Dell XPS is one of most premium windows laptops, even a new Envy has overal a good screen, metal build, good performance (especially their amd variant). Heck even a new Pavilion 2-1 has a quite fancy design (though mediocre device if you push it). I fully agree with you that XPS was a trendsetter with the small bezels.
  • Why didn't you compare it with a similar Surface Laptop 3 with the same processor? The Laptop 3 and Pro 7 also offers an option with the I7-1065-G7 but you opted to compare it to the I5 variant. This article would have been much more useful if you compare Apples to Apples - err, well Windows to Windows.
  • Wanna go buy me a Surface Laptop 3 13.5 with a Core i7? Also, it's a moot point. If you think the biggest differentiator between the XPS 13 with i7 and Laptop 3 with i7 is going to be performance, you're really missing the point of these laptops and what makes one better. But sure, to humor you, I added those scores (well, the 15-inch version, as I don't have a 13.5 with an i7). Nothing changes though regarding my recommendations and review.
  • You don't have to diminish/lessen my request of asking you to compare two similar devices with the same processor/specs, especially when it appears the Surface device performs FASTER than the Dell and that you actually had one available to test. Also the 15" Laptop has to process more pixels than the 13.5" so the performance boost would show to be even better with the 13.5" Laptop. I still profess that the Surface Laptop 3 is better in many ways - and would think that you should change the list above to show Surface testing better in benchmarks... as it currently sits the Laptop 3 shows in 3rd place, when it actually performs number 1. But thank you for this review, it's very informative and love seeing the XPS step up. I love seeing all Windows devices push the envelope of what's possible. Also, one of the main differentiators are the ports.... I would argue that the Surface Link connection is superior to Thunderbolt. Maybe not in raw throughput but rather in flexibility and convenience. Both connections support dual 4K monitors at 60Hz. Thunderbolt may have faster raw throughput on specs, but how relevant is that in every day use? I would rather have a Surface Link connection that is magnetic that gives every feature that thunderbolt has but with a minor downgrade in overall speed. It's like saying I would rather have a Ford Mustang over a Ferrari because it has more HP.
  • Sorry, didn't mean to be snippy just thought it was funny. If I don't include numbers it's usually either because I don't have that laptop to test, or it's not that relevant. I usually don't rank the numbers either, as it's just a huge PITA. While yes, the Laptop 3 is very performant I'm just going to say these slight number changes in benches don't make/break the laptop or decide a winner, not in Ultrabooks. They're all basically the same. These things matter more for workstations/15-inch/gaming laptops where people are doing very intensive tasks like 4K video rendering, compiling, heavy Excel work, or playing hardcore video games. There you're talking minutes in difference in completing a task. On an Ultrabook, opening Office, a website or email? It all feels the same. It's also not just about CPU speeds. For instances, XPS 13 has faster RAM and SSD speeds, which matters too for the overall experience. I'd rather have a very fast SSD than a slightly faster CPU. re: Surface Connect vs TB3, that's a personal choice, but I'll say for most consumers looking to buy a laptop TB3 is a more valid concern than Connect. Being able to use an eGPU, or TB3 exernal drives is a big selling point for some (Dell has TB3 docks, and SSD drive).
  • Dan, how's the wake from standby time? Dell's have been really slow at waking from standby/sleep, have they fixed that? Also, what about battery drain during sleep? FYI the 2nd photo from the top is flipped/mirrored, I can't stop seeing it! :P
  • "Dan, how's the wake from standby time? Dell's have been really slow at waking from standby/sleep, have they fixed that? "
    Good question as Dell's have been quite slow. So, from hibernate it's about 12-13 seconds from the moment you open the lid until Hello kicks in. That's a huge improvement from previous Dell machines. Now, if it's in just standby it's basically completely instant. Default time to hibernate is just 30 minutes, which means the "12 seconds" experience will likely be the norm, unless you change it to longer (which, of course, you are free to do). It's a pretty aggressive hibernate setting. Overall, I'm quite happy with the experience and I assume some of the Project Athena stuff helped here.
  • Thanks that is good to hear, I always use hibernate on my laptops.
  • Does Dell usually have sales on these shortly after releasing like Lenovo does? Probably going to buy one and just trying to see if I should wait a month or if that price is what it is for a while. I know this seems funny but Lenovo almost always has a sale of like 10% off within a month of release
  • Nevermind I just noticed this machine came out 3 months ago. I guess you just got a unit to review. Probably going to buy one of these this weekend, thanks for the review. BTW currently I have a Surface Laptop i5 (original one) which I like allot. Before that I always had ThinkPad laptops, last one was the x1 gen 3 which I loved, it was the best laptop ever if money is no issue. Would love the new x1 extreme but I can't justify the price.
  • Nice, good luck! The x1 extreme has some great specs, but it's not my favorite overall design. I do get the appeal though of ThinkPads, so that's more on me.
  • The fact it doesn't have Ryzen 4000 in it will have to make it a no from me
  • So when will the new 2n1 be released.
    Or when will SurfaceBook 3 be here!
  • Yeah, a mentioned above the 2-in-1 is still too new, or, another way of putting it is there is no other chipset/hardware refresh it could get right now as it launched with the 1st 10th Gen Intel chip.
  • ... Dan, I agree a lot with your comments.
    But I've been comfortably using 2-in-1 laptops for 8 years now so I don't think the concept is new anymore.
  • Daniel, screen brightness is critical to me as I do some work outdoors. I have not been able to get a good idea of the actual brightness level for the 4K version. Do you have any idea? thanks.
  • They are all HDR400, so 500+ nits is what you should expect. The full HD version hit 600 nits, for reference.
  • Daniel, does this ultrabook supports an external GPU like a Razer Core X or something alike?
  • It does. TB4 works wonderful for eGPUs.
  • Would it replace your Pro X if it had LTE?
  • It could. I still really enjoy the Pro X's form factor, however as it has pen support. A better question would be if the XPS 13 (9310) 2-in-1 had LTE could it replace my Pro X. Same answer.
  • $999 for an i3.... Isn't the entry level M1 MacBook Air also $999?
  • it's getting a little bit tough to get excited about any new Intel based laptop update after the M1 announcement and seeing what it can do. :/
  • If you want/need the Apple ecosystem and are fine with not having Windows, get the MacBook Air. If you need Windows, want Windows Hello IR, get the XPS 13 🤷‍♂️ (M1 MacBooks can't run BootCamp, so no Windows at all). MacBooks account for 7% of laptop sales. You buy what you need. XPS 13 primarily competes against other Windows laptops, not so much Apple. I'll also note, on the extreme end, you can configure the XPS 13 with up to 32GB of RAM. The M1 MacBooks are currently limited to just 16GB.
  • I'd rather get the $999 MBA and run Windows 10 emulation on it. Early benchmarks for Windows 10 on M1 Mac suggests better performance than 15W 11th-Gen Intel laptops like the XPS 13.
    MacOS, MacBook's superior hardware AND Windows 10? Sign me up.
  • Something seems off here. $1,700 for a 1080p 13-inch laptop? That's strange, and is a few hundred dollars more than the XPS 13 models I priced out last year. I'm trying to remember what the specs were then, but the display couldn't have been any worse than 1080p. 79% coverage of Adobe RGB or DCI P3 isn't very good in 2020, so I'm confused why Daniel would gush over such specs. It wouldn't have been very good even in 2018. Well, I guess with a 1080p display it might not matter as much, since creatives aren't going to buy a 1080p laptop at this point in history. I'd be more interested to know about the 4K display, so I wish Daniel had reviewed that. It seems like the market at this point presents a lot of options in the $1,700 range that are much better than the 1080p XPS 13 config Daniel reviewed. For that price, you can get 4K, and not just junky 4K but a higher quality 4K display, with similar silicon internals. And real USB ports. I think it's still far too early for PC makers to eliminate Type-A USB ports. I'd wait until 2023 or so, when USB-C is much more common in thumb drives and peripherals.
  • "Something seems off here. $1,700 for a 1080p 13-inch laptop? That's strange, and is a few hundred dollars more than the XPS 13 models I priced out last year. I'm trying to remember what the specs were then, but the display couldn't have been any worse than 1080p."
    Nope, in fact the price dropped by $50 from the model this spring. It's 16GB, 512GB and a Core i7. If you get it in silver, it's $1,650. Laptops with similar specs: Razer Book 13: Only 256GB storage, 16GB, full HD = $1,600 Laptop 3: Only 256GB, 16GB, 2K display, older chip/no TB4 = $1,600 HP Spectre x360 13t all same specs = $1,300 (which is why we say HP is the best value) HP Spectre x360 14 16GB, 512, and WUXGA+ (1920 x 1280) = $1,550 MacBook Pro 13 (M1): 16gb, 512GB = $1,700 (no touch screen, or 4K option) Dell's prices DO run higher than HP, but that's always been the case. But Dell's prices are not extreme.
    "79% coverage of Adobe RGB or DCI P3 isn't very good in 2020, so I'm confused why Daniel would gush over such specs."
    Complete nonsense. Because, compared other laptops in this range, it is good. Can you name a 13-inch Windows laptop with better DCI-P3/AdobeRGB? You don't see higher levels there until you hit 15-inch and 17-inch laptop sizes. Here are the recipets: Spectre x360 13t: 78% AdobeRGB, 81% DCI-P3 Razer Blade Stealth (FHD): 74% Adobe RGB Surface Pro 7: 73% AdobeRGB, 72% DCI-P3 Laptop 3: 72% AdobeRGB, 75% DCI-P3 Surface Book 3 (15): 72% AdobeRGB, 72% DCI-P3 ⚠ XPS 15: 100% Adobe RGB, 94% DCI P3 ⚠ LG Gram 17: 75% AdobeRGB, 78% DCI-P3 ⚠ XPS 17: 100% AdobeRGB, 97% DCI-P3 ⚠ ⚠ Razer Blade Pro 17: 100% sRGB, 95% DCI-P3 ⚠ That said, I concede that testing the XPS 13's 4K model's display quality would be noteworthy. I'll see about getting a model to look at.
    "It seems like the market at this point presents a lot of options in the $1,700 range that are much better than the 1080p XPS 13 config Daniel reviewed."
    There are a lot of options and I have used all of them. My opinion and take if I had to pick just one, regardless of price, it's the XPS 13 or XPS 13 2-in-1. I stand firm in my recommendations.
  • After the big M1 dust up it seems that the 11th gen core i5/i7 with Iris Xe and EVO silicon is a big step forward for the x86 universe but is still lagging behind Apple, something that can also be said about Qualcomm. Still, the XPS (9310)
  • Apple M1 no doubt is impressive. That said, considering who this laptop is for, I'm not convinced in day-to-day usage it makes all that much of a difference. Another way of saying that is, when you use the XPS 13, there is really no point where you are using it where you think "damn, this is slow and sluggish." Things can always be faster, but there is also diminishing returns. That said, I'm glad M1 is kicking butt. It means Intel, Qualcomm, and AMD have to work harder. Of course, no matter how good M1 is I just can't switch to macOS (not even for job reasons, I have aa few MacBooks, I just can't get used to it/does nothing special for me).
  • Sorry for the incomplete original comment; while typing it, it disappeared on me leaving me to think it didn't post only to find out this morning it had. Where I was headed in the original comment is to say exactly what you did, "That said, considering who this laptop is for, I'm not convinced in day-to-day usage it makes all that much of a difference." If one is using a device to process video files or compile code, tasks that can use a large amount of resources for extended periods of time, much of the raw computational M1 power is wasted while you go get a cup of coffee. The 11th gen Intel CPU with EVO, compared to M1 is rather incremental but it is a good incremental especially because of the Xe graphics. When evaluating computing devices getting overly focused on the specification list, generally speaking, tends to miss the larger effect of the overall design. This perspective is really hammered home with the current XPS laptops. Everything, from size, to displays, to materials, and all the other great engineering choices add up to a series of laptops that sit at the pinnacle of laptop design and execution. The Surface products exhibit this same characteristic. I use a Surface Pro 7 with an i5 for all kinds of tasks from Photoshop to reading your reviews and I have found the sum of its whole to be a fantastic bit of kit - spec list, we don't need no spec list. Same can be said for the XPS 13. As for Macs, like you, my brain is wired for the logic of Windows; for me Windows 10 lights up my endorphins nicely. If Apple products did that for me, I would have bought into that eco system a few decades ago. And don't get me started on the location of the title bar buttons in Mac OS - putting them on the left end of the title bar is wrong, the endorphins are located on the right end of the title bar. Finally, the M1 CPU is a thing and points out how much work Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm have to do to catch up with that engineering marvel. I can imagine that Microsoft is asking Qualcomm a few "well..." type questions about now. The M1 lays out starkly the promise and possibility of ARM CPUs and at the same time makes clear how much work Qualcomm has ahead of them. As usual, nice review. Thank you.
  • Despite my glowing recommendation for the x360 14 with EVO, I feel most of the discussion of the M1 is missing the mark because it is only one-half of the equation. The other is MacOS (Big Sur) - the silicon and OS are tightly tuned , something that MS and the chip manufacturers can't replicate because of the numerous OEM's out there building Windows systems. The Surface line has proven this in spades - you would think the one line that would "just work" doesn't - sometimes they don't even get their own upgrades first. You can talk all you want about unified memory; large cache pools; writing to metal; etc. but when you control EVERYTHING from the CPU to peripheral chips to the OS, you have a distinct advantage.
  • Yeah but that also has an downside for Mac, namely there is no competition on MacOS while with Windows as a consumer I can pick the device that suits me most. And you cannot have it both, pick your poison so to say (lack of optimization vs lack of choice).
  • After Apple M1 the only reason to buy a latop like this, or Hp Spectre or Lenovo Think Pad or MSFT Surface, is Windows. Other than that it makes no sense to spend money to get it. And I can not figure out how this fact could change in the future. Apple simply destroyed any competition. Sad but true.
  • I'd say it's more complicated than that. For instance, if you buy an i5 model and are happy with the performance/battery life/experience, why is making it even faster going to change things? Few people use a 10th or 11th Gen i5 or i7 and think "this is slow, and a terrible experience." Intel-based systems also still do better for business and enterprise support, something Apple doesn't even try to compete with. But yes, Windows is the reason you buy this PC or any other. There's a reason Macs make up only 7 percent of laptop sales. It's not the performance, it's the OS that matters. No matter how fast you make a Mac, if you need Windows it doesn't change anything (new M1 Macs don't do Bootcamp, so no Windows at all). There's also things like touchscreen support, wanting a 4K display, wanting 32GB of RAM, etc. that even the MacBook Pro 13 can't compete on. Add the XPS 13 2-in-1 with 11th Gen (review coming soon) and you get a convertible PC with pen and inking support - again, something that a MacBook Pro can't do. If CPU performance were the ONLY thing that mattered, you'd all be buying ONLY AMD laptops and there'd be no market for Core i3.
  • Dan, I agree with you. But the treat Apple brought to Windows ecosystem is huge. Windows is leader in enterprise business, and probably it will not be affected in the medium term. But in consumer's one it is all another story. The gap in battery life with performances that match or even Intel top CPU is amazing. Yes Mac have no touch screen, but that could just be a matter of time before Apple decides to change to adopt it. I own Surface products because they had top quality manufacturing and performance equal to best in class laptops, Apple included. I use them with MSFT 365 and they are wonderful. They run Windows, but they could run any other OS and for my usage it would be the same, MSFT 365 works with any OS and so the other programs I use. In two/three years time, when I will have to updated my HW, if the situation will be like now, I do not see any reason to prefer a Windows laptop to a Mac. In my opinion Apple made a move that changed completely the competive scenario in top end PC, until the CPU were the same for Mac and OEM there was no particular reason to prefer Apple, unless you were a fan or you just needed MCos, but now it is completely different. Though time ahead for Surface products and top products of OEM. PS: I miss your comments on twitter.
  • I'm going to call your bluff and say the MB/MBP with M1 will sell very well but won't make much of a dent in overall laptop sales industry wide. I don't think consumers are going to switch a laptop OS just because of a faster chip. I just don't. Apple doesn't sell just 7 percent of all laptops because they were perceived as slow or had terrible battery. Just the opposite. Indeed, MacBook Pros have had MORE powerful 28W chips than Windows Ultrabooks for YEARS. They've always been great laptops, yet it hasn't mattered much as their share of the laptop market has been consistently flat over the last few years. Many people buy MB for the creative apps. That is their strength. That is still true with M1, even more so. But that's a limited segment of the laptop market e.g. it's not convertible, tablet, gaming, enterprise, workstation, or benefits from heavy pricing competition. The most widely sold laptops are actually in the $600-$800 range. Premium laptops get all the hype/attention, but they don't sell nearly as much as mid-range. A MacBook Pro is not the same market as Elitebook, ThinkPad, or Inspiron.
  • ARM and the M1 is not just about raw performance. saw this on The Verge today: "I’m a lawyer. 3-4 days a week, I’m in court all day. Most of the time there are power sockets but a lot of the time there isn’t. Particularly so at the moment where we’re social distancing in the courtroom! My 15" MBP 2018 would just get me through a 7 hour day in court, if I charged it at lunchtime. On a number of occasions, I have nearly run out of battery and the anxiety is horrendous. So many people are in the same boat. Today was my first day, in court with my new, base MacBook Air. It is an absolute dream performance wise. One of the documents I have to refer to all the time is a 2500 page PDF of civil procedure. My MBP stuttered and choked on it. The MacBook works perfectly. In court today from 9am-4pm, no charging. Have just got back home and I still have 68% battery… Worth every penny." Posted on Nov 19, 2020 | 1:05 PM
  • Right, but did you not see the battery benchmarks I posted in this review? 13 hours and 45 minutes on synthetic (3 hours more than same laptop with 10th) and 10 hours on average with a Core i7 and a touch screen. MKBHD noted in his review he got 10 hours out of the MacBook Pro with M1. What am I missing here? Sure, you can argue M1 is going to be faster, but I'm not sure how that translates for lawyer tasks when you consider Windows vs macOS. Again, I'm not convinced the laptop market will shift dramatically in Apple's favor anytime soon. Maybe 2-4 percent points over the next few years assuming Intel/AMD/Qualcomm do nothing? So, like 90 percent of laptops sales are still Windows? That case you cite proves my point: He was a MacBook Pro users who ... upgraded to a MacBook Pro. That's most of Apple's user base. They have a tough time converting people from PC to Mac, just like we don't see much bleed between Android and iOS. And for now, M1 does nothing if you want a computer that's a convertible and supports inking. Or a laptop that has 4G/5G built in. Or you game. Or you need smartcard support. Some of those are solvable by Apple, but for now, they are reasons why people don't buy macs. And it's not like Intel/AMD/Qualcomm can just be written off here, either. Look what AMD did in the last 3 years to Intel.
  • This review has got me thinking about the new M1 benchmarks. All the ones I've seen thus far have compared the new M1 processor against the equivalent Mac Intel version. However, all the Mac Intel machines are running previous gen CPUs. in the case of the Mac Mini, this is an 8th Gen CPU. Looking at the benchmark comparison table in this review shows how much Intel has improved from 8-11th Gen in terms of performance. And it seems the battery life has massively improved too. From the benchmarks for this laptop, when comparing processors of the same period (ie 11th gen Intel vs Apple M1) then Apple isn't so massively ahead of Intel after all (imo). And I agree, Windows machines offer a lot of other functions and features that Apple choose to not support (as of this moment).
  • ok Daniel, you've got me to reconsider. :) guess I'm just super annoyed lately with my 2019 HP Spectre x360 (10th gen i7) 13" 4K OLED and its 4.5 hour battery life. :/
  • I had the x360 13 with same specs (and 1tb drive) and routinely got 6 hours on battery. The new x360 14 and now close to 8 on average (MS 365; Adobe Acrobat Pro DC; OneNote; Outlook; Chrome with 3-4 times most of the time). I think for a windows ultrabook with the OLED load, that's really not bad.
  • Interesting. I'll point to the reviews on BestBuy (where I bought mine last December) and they to almost a one are getting under 5 hours with the 4K OLED. I wonder how you managed to stretch it to 6? I think the old Edge (non-Chromium) was better with the battery. Definitely was getting a bit more time when I first got it, but never much over 5.
  • Good points, I take them. I hope MSFT, OEMS, AMD, Intel and Qualcomm will deliver products equal or better than Apple M1 Macs respect to battery consumption and performance.
  • One thing to remember is that this is not the first time the Apple performance hype train has come along. I'm old enough to remember the late 90's when Apple fanboys were talking about how Macs were so powerful they were technically supercomputers that were restricted from export by the US government. Apple has the best marketing team in the known universe.
  • Even back in the PowerPC days, Apple computers were faster than almost all PCs. The problem was you were stuck with System 7. It's the same situation now, M1 Macs are incredibly fast but you're stuck with MacOS.
  • The threat is not "huge". It represents a surprisingly large CPU spec bump, but one that, putting the hype aside, is not a revolution in performance especially given the performance we are seeing in 10th- and 11th-gen Intel. It's not "completely different". And the gap, such that it is, will close soon enough. If course this is about Apple, so the myth will live on.
  • I am going to agree with Daniel here. Especially with the latest Ryzen cpu's we already have so good performance and battery life that I suspect M1 will feel incremental instead of day night difference. Also Spectre has pen support, macbooks do not which is a dealbreaker for some.
  • Any idea how the 13" performs with Lightroom? The 17" seems heavier than I thought, but that's possibly because I'm normally using a Surface Laptop or X1C5; it's not too much heavier than my work T480 with dual batteries.
  • Hard to say except that the performance here with the new Xe graphics is very satisfying to use. Using Lightroom should be very doable. The Xe graphics are about 6% faster than NVIDIA MX330, for reference. It's no slouch.
  • Daniel - check out that x360-14 as soon as you can. I've had mine for two weeks and it runs circles around my late 2019 13T - AND - as of 11/19/20 it is selling at Best Buy for $1299 with 3000x2000 OLED, i7-1165, 16gb ram, 1tb ssd (32gb Optane), two TB4 and one USB-A port...
  • Nice to hear! Yeah, I'll reach out to HP soon, but AFAIK, they haven't set up a review program yet for that one (which is good, as I have like 2-3 other HP laptops to review lol). But it is one I'm very interested in.
  • Great review. Love how thorough you always are. Looking forward to the Razer Book, Spectre x360 14, and X1 Nano reviews. I don't think it's gonna be a one-sided race like earlier this year. I think those laptops can give the XPS 13 a very serious run for the money.
  • Hi Daniel, I wonder if the battery life improves with 9310 4K screen model. I read some experience regarding the 4K screen drain the battery significantly for 9300 model (
  • A dozen real-world hours of battery life? Jesus. But no, Apple M1 is magic and will mainstream laptops.
  • Mainstream laptops? Laptops have been over half the market since around 2001 and I believe own around 2/3 of the market today.
  • That was a joke.
  • M1 air will destroy this in any task and with a better screen it represents a far better value.
  • ANY task??? ANY??!! How about running windows 10.... I'll wait.
  • It actually does. If you run Windows 10 on Arm virtualized on a M1 MacBook you get more than 1.700 points in Geekbench Single-Core, and more than 7.000 in Multi-Core. Both numbers are significantly higher than what this Dell achieves natively in the performance benchmarks above. Happy to help you with your question. You are welcome. ;)
  • Macbooks never were good bang for buck though. So while M1 might be a better cpu, you pay extra for macbook brand (even compared to xps).
  • It is better performance per watt but if Dell already can cram out 13 hours out of an 13 inch laptop with surprisingly good performance we are already at a point where most people will not see the difference (at least not noticeably). Kind of like with phones. And as soon as x86 chips (AMD probably first) reach 5nm (or the equivalent for Intel) the difference will be even smaller.
  • Hey Dan, what about review of new Inspiron 7306 (2-1)?
  • Today was a sad day for me, but one I hope leads to a brighter future. I've pulled my last two apps from the Microsoft Store, after 5 years, and have asked Microsoft to remove my developer account. Why? The M1 MacBook Air. Tim Cook proved to me with his "one more thing" event that he's committed to native developers. Satya can take his blessed Azure and well... (you fill in the blank). Even if I one day build a bloody PWA, there's no way I'm hosting it on Azure. 😉
  • Not sure what this has to do with a Dell laptop review. Enjoy your new M1 mac. Nothing special, nothing great etc.
  • If you're going to recycle/refresh these articles you should probably be sure the information is accurate. The Dell Precision 5550 doesn't have the camera below the screen, I don't think it has had it located there for a few hardware generations.
  • Has Dell reliability and customer support improved over the past 5-10 years? Their products have definitely gotten more enticing in the past few years, but when all things equal I've leaned toward MS because of customer service and what not.
  • PSA: The base model $999 M1 MacBook Air is now capable of virtualizing x86 Windows 10 with near-perfect emulation, and an early benchmark absolutely CRUSHES the Intel Core-U and AMD Ryzen-U laptops running native x86, both on AC and Battery Power. R.I.P Windows Ultrabooks. 😂🤣🤣
  • But Windows got an advantage , it always had
    Great Compatibility with all old and new Softwares and tools So if one day , WIndows 10 on ARM achieves Great Compatibility for x86 and x64 apps
    I will buy M1 Macbook and run Windows 10 ARM on parallels , It would be perfect XD APPLE NAILED IT , i agree
  • Other than fanboy posts on social media, what do you use your laptop for again? Will Facebook really load that much faster?
  • But benchmarks are everything! Actually, they're not, and I'm happily typing this while trying to do work on a Surface Pro X that everyone takes a dump on because of its benchmark scores.
  • So the update gives us Core i7-1185G7, 16GB/512GB, OLED UHD screen with touch, for about $1600 ... and still with 9 hours of battery life? That's ... pretty tempting. I'm not in the market for a clamshell but this would be at the top of my list if I were.
  • Yeah, when I did the pricing even I was surprised at what you get at that price. It's all quality stuff.
  • All the M1 fanboy posts seem to be missing a big point: M1 machines only run MacOS so your workflow has to cater to that. Running a Windows 10 VM doesn't count because most users won't do that. Anyway, Dell should offer a 3K or 4K LCD display for users who want high ppi without the battery life and longevity trade-offs of OLED. After using Surface Pros for years, I find it almost impossible to use a 13" laptop with just 1080p.
  • That's how I feel as someone with a MBP with M1. Great hardware, but without Windows, it's just not something I find myself using. (It also depends on what you are doing; if you use the M1 as just a regular laptop there are diminishing returns on how "awesome" it is).
  • I feel the same about 1080. I used to think UHD was overkill but with 9 hrs of battery life that's a different story. "3K" sounds like the sweet spot though.
  • The Surface Pro 7, X, Laptop and Surface Book LCD screens are all around 3K and they still get decent battery life. 4K on a 13" screen is overkill because individual pixels are already invisible at 3K or above 250 ppi. My old original Surface Go had a 216 ppi screen that also had pixels that couldn't be discerned at typical viewing distances.
  • "Windows 10 VM doesn't count because most users won't do that." I hate to break it to you, I know at least 20 people who recently switched over and got their first MacBooks. 3 of them are my family members. They use Parallels to access certain Windows 10 software exclusive to Windows, and I assume that's what the rest of the world is doing as well. Dell's making good laptops, but the $899 MacBook Air just blows every other "clamshell ultrabook" out of the water. Unless Dell invests in the money, talent, and time that Apple did over the past 20 years, they're not going to be competitive in this specific market anytime soon.
  • It is very hard for Windows OEM compete with Apple in high end ultra book market. With M1 Apple gained a substantial competitive edge and I think it will not lose it anytime soon