Which Dell XPS 13 should you buy?

Best answer: Out of the three XPS 13 versions that Dell currently offers, the 9370 likely makes the most sense for a lot of people due to a combination of performance, price, and features. The latest 9380, however, does offer 8th Gen Intel Whiskey Lake processors for those who want the best performance possible, as well as a webcam that's back above the display where many believe it belongs.

Who should buy the Dell XPS 13 9360?

Dell and Microsoft still offer some XPS 13 9360 models available in the classic silver finish with black carbon fiber palmrest (rose gold is now harder to find), and while this aging model is slightly larger than the 9370 and 9380 (the new XPS 13s are about 24 percent smaller), it's still a 13.3-inch notebook fit into a chassis normally suited for an 11-inch device.

There's no 4K display option here like the newer models have; instead, you can choose between 1080p non-touch and 1800p touch, the latter understandably costing a few hundred dollars more. Bezel here is about 23 percent larger than on the 9370 and 9380, but still nowhere near as large as with other notebooks. If you need the brightest display possible, know that the 9360 hits about 350 nits whereas newer models hit about 400 nits.

Below and to the left of the display is a standard front-facing HD webcam with no IR capabilities. It's a sore point for many XPS owners, as the angle points up your nose when video conferencing. Only the latest 9380 has moved the webcam back above the display where many believe it belongs.

However, what the XPS 13 9360 does have is an older selection of ports, including two USB-A 3.0, one Thunderbolt 3 (with 2x lanes PCIe), an SD card reader, and a 3.5 mm audio jack. Compared to newer models, you shouldn't need as many dongles or docks to connect your legacy accessories, although there's not a lot of future-proofing here.

XPS 13 9360 models with 8th Gen Kaby Lake R Intel Core i5-8250U and Core i7-8550U processors (CPU) are still readily available, though getting anything more than 8GB of RAM and 256GB of solid-state storage can be tough. Luckily, these laptops can be upgraded after purchase. As for battery life, you can expect to get about 12 or 13 hours with a 1080p configuration.

So who exactly should buy the XPS 13 9360? Anyone who doesn't mind the webcam placement or who doesn't mind not having the smallest version with the thinnest bezel can get a solid deal here. Dell offers a 1080p non-touch version with Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256 GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD) for about $1,127, while Microsoft has an 1800p touch version with otherwise similar specs for about $1,299.

Aged nicely

Dell XPS 13 9360

Not quite as refined but still great

As long as you're not concerned with getting the smallest body, the thinnest bezel, or a 4K display option, the XPS 13 9360 remains a nice package that can be had with more features for less money than the more modern models.

Who should buy the Dell XPS 13 9370?

The XPS 13 9370 brought some significant changes over the 9360, including a smaller and lighter body, thinner bezel, and a rose gold finish complete with alpine white fiber palmrests alongside the silver and black option. It also has improved thermals to keep everything cooler, resulting in better prolonged performance and all-day battery life that hits about 11 hours with a 1080p display.

The front-facing webcam is coupled with an IR camera for facial recognition through Windows Hello and has been moved to the middle of the laptop, but it's still below the display. A fingerprint reader, which is optional and now harder to find on the XPS 13 9360, comes built into the power button on most 9370 models.

Ports have been updated, with two Thunderbolt 3 (each with 4x lanes PCIe), one USB-C 3.1, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5 mm audio jack. Gone are USB-A ports for legacy devices, but the improved performance through the two Thunderbolt 3 ports makes it easy to connect external displays and even external graphics (eGPU).

You can still get a non-touch 1080p versions of the XPS 13 9370, but instead of 1800p touch displays, you have the option of upgrading to 4K touch. As for CPUs, you get the same 8th Gen Kaby Lake R Intel Core i5-8250U or Core i7-8550U options as with the 9360, but you can go as low as 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD if you don't plan on many intensive tasks (and want to save money). At Dell, you can find storage options up to 512GB, with Amazon offering models with up to a 1TB PCIe SSD. Need more? RAM and SSD can be upgraded after purchase, just like with the 9360.

So who exactly should buy the XPS 13 9370? Considering not much is different compared to the 9380 other than a minor CPU refresh (Kaby Lake R to Whiskey Lake) and webcam placement, most people will get all they need here. XPS 13 9370 and 9380 Core i5 models with nearly identical specs have about a $100 price difference, and you might soon find some better deals on the older models as Dell makes room for the 9380.

Great for most

Dell XPS 13 9370

An outstanding Ultrabook with modern design

If you're not concerned about the latest Whiskey Lake Intel CPUs or a webcam located above the display, the XPS 13 9370 is a great choice with nearly identical design to the 9380 that can generally be found for less money.

Who should buy the Dell XPS 13 9380?

Dell's 2018 refresh of the XPS 13 brings us the 9380, a laptop that's nearly identical to the 9370 save for IR webcam placement and some internal hardware. You can still choose between platinum silver and rose gold color options respectively with black and white fiber palmrests, you still get a thin and light chassis, and you still get that sweet slim bezel.

There are plenty of configuration options available straight from Dell, starting with 1080p non-touch model with a Core i3-8145U CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB PCIe SSD. If you don't need strong performance, this model will save you hundreds at about $882. Scaling up, for about $2,558 you can get a 4K touch model with an Intel Core i7-8565U CPU, 1 GB of RAM, and a 2TB PCIe SSD.

So who exactly should buy the XPS 13 9380? If you're coming in fresh to the XPS 13 lineup and need a specific configuration, you're likely going to have a much better time finding it with the 9380, including a Core i3 version. If you're also concerned with the best performance possible, Whiskey Lake CPUs edge out the Kaby Lake R CPUs found in the 9360 and 9370. If you do a ton of video conferencing and don't feel like toting around a separate camera, the webcam above the display might be enough alone to sell you on this laptop.

Latest model

Dell XPS 13 9380

Different CPU options and a webcam above the display

It's probably not worth upgrading to an XPS 13 9380 if you have a 9370 or even 9360, but those coming into the XPS lineup fresh can get here the version closest to perfection thanks to proper camera placement and powerful 8th Gen Intel CPU options.

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