The best Dell XPS 13

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The best Dell XPS 13
8.5

£1,475.00

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The best Dell XPS 13
The best Dell XPS 13
£1,475.00

ALL THE DELL XPS MODELS EXPLAINED

There are three Dell XPS 13 models to choose from at the moment:

XPS 13 2-in-1 7390: A fresh start The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 was a complete redesign. As a convertible, it can function as a laptop as well as a tablet, or in A-frame “tent” mode for presentations.

When the XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 debuted in the fall of 2019, it was the first laptop based on Intel’s most advanced 10th-gen, 10nm Ice Lake CPUs, and it was the poster child for the Intel’s lofty Project Athena aspirations too.

Besides the 360-degree design, it has pen support, a 16:10 aspect ratio screen, advanced copper vapor chamber cooling, and a new MagLev 2 keyboard. It also made a few hard choices to achieve its thin profile, such as a soldered-in permanent SSD. The laptop has been one of the fastest Ice Lake laptops.

XPS 13 7390: Moving to a six-core CPU The Dell XPS 13 7390 is essentially an internal upgrade of the previous XPS 13 9380 remember, the model numbers make no sense), but it was still a major change as it moved to Intel’s 6-core Core i7-10710U CPU over the previous model’s 8th-gen quad-core Core i7 The XPS 13 7390 offers the fastest multi-core CPU performance, but its graphics are nothing special

Dell XPS 13 9300: Shiny and new The Dell XPS 13 9300 (yes, it really went from 9380 to 7380 to 9300) is the latest iteration of the famed XPS 13, bringing the bezel-less look of the XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 to a traditional clamshell laptop. Like the XPS 13 2-in-1 7390, it uses the 10th-gen Core i7-1065G7—a step forward in generation but for some, a step backward to quad-core when its predecessor offered up to a six-core part.

Three ways they’re basically the same: weight, ports, networking

Because these models are closely related, there are some criteria you don’t need to worry about much, because they’re basically the same. If weight matters to you, the XPS 13 9300 is the technical winner at 2.65 pounds—2.8 with the optional touchscreen. The older XPS 13 7390 comes in second at 2.7 pounds, and the XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 is third at 2.9 pounds (thanks to the beefed-up hinges and glass touchscreen required of a convertible laptop).
Obviously, we’re talking about a few ounces. When it comes to connectivity, the XPS 13 models focus on the future. The XPS 13 7390 gives you the most, with its two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a USB-C port, and a microSD port.
The other XPS 13 laptops simply lack the USB-C port. Obviously, we all wish there were an old fashioned square USB-A port, but none of them have that. All three laptops use Intel Wi-Fi 6 hardware, also known as 802.11ax.

WHICH XPS 13 IS THE MOST VERSATILE

For most people, a traditional clamshell laptop does 90 percent of what they want, and all three of these laptops can do the job. Not everyone will like the XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 because of its Mag Lev 2 keyboard, with its thin, low-travel design. Still, that XPS 13 2-in-1 is the only one of the three that offers a tablet mode with pen support (though it doesn’t include the pen). Its touch display means you don’t have to get to the trackpad or keyboard either. All three XPS 13’s are excellent laptops, but the XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 is the most versatile of the three.

WHICH XPS 13 HAS THE BEST SCREEN

Among the three XPS 13 models here, there’s a key difference that we want to point out here: the aspect ratio of the screen. The older XPS 13 7390 features a 1920×1080-resolution panel, which uses the very common aspect ratio of 16:9. The XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 and the XPS 13 9300 feature a 1920×1200-resolution screen and a slightly taller 16:10
aspect ratio

Dell takes advantage of that aspect ratio and nearly eliminates the bezel on both the 16:10 laptops. The result is a stunning look and more usable space. We prefer the taller aspect ratio, as it gives us a little more space for our work. Both the XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 and XPS 13 9300 also feature Sharp IPS panels that can hit a very bright 500 nits, and EyeSafe technology, which reduces blue light emissions without that horrible brown tint look other panels offer.

The XPS 13 7390’s screen is fine, but the 16:10, 1920×1200, 500-nit panels in the XPS 13 7390 and the XPS 13 9300 take home the win.

WHICH BUDGET XPS 13 IS THE BEST

While most of our performance analysis looks at the higher-end configurations, we do have advice for those shopping on a budget. We compared the three cheapest configurations of the XPS 13 and found the best deal to be the XPS 13 7390. You get a quad-core Core i5-10210U, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD.

The runner-up in budget configuration is the XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 Just understand the compromises, starting with a step back in performance to a dual-core Core i3-1005G1 and anemic G1 graphics. The 4GB of RAM is tight today, too. The most expensive “budget” model is the XPS 13 9300 you get a quad-core Core i5-1035G1 with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. The G1 graphics is nothing special, but if all you’re doing is browsing the web, using Microsoft Office, and using Zoom video, most of these will work just fine. Note that Zoom video conferencing requires a quad-core CPU with Hyper-Threading to do its nifty virtual background.

8.5 Total Score
WHICH XPS 13 IS THE MOST VERSATILE

For most people, a traditional clamshell laptop does 90 percent of what they want, and all three of these laptops can do the job. Not everyone will like the XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 because of its Mag Lev 2 keyboard, with its thin, low-travel design. Still, that XPS 13 2-in-1 is the only one of the three that offers a tablet mode with pen support (though it doesn’t include the pen). Its touch display means you don’t have to get to the trackpad or keyboard either. All three XPS 13’s are excellent laptops, but the XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 is the most versatile of the three.

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