In 2019, Dell gently renews its flagship ultraportable, the XPS 13. In the program of the new iteration: new camera, updated processor and new version at a more affordable price. Here is our complete test.
For many years, the Dell XPS 13 has been one of our favorites among ultraportables. While the competition multiplies the good references, including Huawei, or Asus, Dell is satisfied here with a smooth renewal, aimed at correcting criticisms made about his machine. Enough to continue to offer a good competitive product in 2019? This is what we will see.
|Characteristics||Dell XPS 13 (2019)||Dell XPS 13 (2018)|
|Screen||13.3 inches IPS InfinityEdge Full HD or UHD 4K||13.3 inches IPS InfinityEdge Full HD or UHD 4K|
|Processor||Intel Core i3-8145U or Intel Core i5-8265U or Intel Core i7-8565U||Intel Core i5-8250U or Intel Core i7-8550U|
|Graphics chip||Intel UHD Graphics 620||Intel UHD Graphics 620|
|RAM||4, 8 or 16 GB LPDDR3||8 or 16 GB LPDDR3|
|Storage||128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB or 2 TB on PCIe SSD||256 GB, 512 GB or 1 TB on PCIe SSD|
|Connectors||2 USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 (DisplayPort and Power Delivery), 1 USB Type-C USB 3.1 (DisplayPort and Power Delivery), 1 micro SD player, 1 jack||2 USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 (DisplayPort and power supply), 1 USB Type-C USB 3.1 (DisplayPort and power supply), 1 micro SD player, 1 jack|
|biometrics||impression reader||Face recognition and fingerprint reader|
|Wireless||Wi-Fi 5 (Killer 1435 802.11 b / g / n / ac 2×2)||Wi-Fi 5 (Killer 1435 802.11 b / g / n / ac 2×2)|
|Drums||52 Wh||52 Wh|
|Dimensions||302 mm x 199 mm x 7.8-11.6 mm||302 mm x 199 mm x 7.8-11.6 mm|
|Weight||1.23 kg||1.21 kg|
|Price||from 1100 euros||from 1300 euros|
This test was conducted with a product loaned by the brand.
At first glance, it's hard to find a difference between this new Dell XPS 13 and previous iterations. The chassis takes the exact same dimensions and the weight changes by 20 grams. We keep a mixture of aluminum for the case and a coating inside the machine, around the keyboard, fiberglass woven for light colors (frost or pink gold), or carbon fiber, for the color black.
The biggest change is in the other part, around the screen. Finish the Windows Hello compatible camera located just above the keyboard, and return a small camera, this time placed naturally above the screen. Dell corrects here one of the main criticisms made to his machine since the arrival of the borderless, the camera will film your face instead of your nostrils. We regret to lose the excellent unlocking facial recognition for this reason. Especially when Asus manages to reunite, natural location, face recognition camera and screen borderless with his Zenbook 13 (2018) which we liked very much.
Keyboard and touchpad
Dell did not really change the keyboard and the touchpad. We would like the mark to apply to its keyboard the same reflection as on its screen, by pulling on the surface to the edges of the frame. There, we can only see the lost place on the left, as on the right. However, the keyboard is very nice, with a subtle resistance in the race rather welcome.
The touchpad would also have gained more width, even if it is still very pleasant to handle. We have no problem using it for web browsing.
The new Dell XPS 13 keeps the same connectivity. So we have three USB Type-C ports, a micro SD card slot and a 3.5 mm jack. The three USB Type-C ports can be used to charge the machine, or connect an external display, but only two of them benefit from the Thunderbolt 3, as long as the last port is a classic USB 3.1.
Note that Dell continues to provide a small USB Type-C to USB-A adapter, which makes it possible to connect its conventional peripherals quite easily and cheaply. A small USB dock is recommended for sedentary use of the machine.
Dell equips its XPS 13 2019 with a new 13-inch LCD panel manufactured by AU Optronics, with always thin edges. The configuration tested here uses a full HD matte and non-touch screen. There is also a glossy 4K UHD version with a touch surface.
The American manufacturer has always accustomed us to excellence with its high-end machines and this XPS 13 is no exception. The slab displays a maximum brightness of 377 cd / m² for a contrast of 1408: 1, they are a little low scores in absolute, but as the display is matte, it is not too subject to glare. In addition, the screen is pretty well calibrated by default, with a level of blue measured slightly higher than expected. The average color temperature (6900 K) is very close to the 6500 K expected to match the reality.
We have tested the Windows 10 version of the machine, but it should be noted that Dell offers an Ubuntu version aimed specifically at developers. For our part, it is therefore Windows 10 1809 that equips the machine by default, the latest version dated the output of the device.
We would have liked to say that Dell took the recipe that was its success by offering a Windows without much supplement, with only some home software to better manage the machine, or connect with his smartphone. Unfortunately, the brand has decided to partner with McAfee, which preinstalls its antivirus solution in trial version, and especially displays unwanted advertisements to push to purchase the full version.
On a machine as high-end, sold over 1000 euros, it's a shame to see a brand resort to this kind of practice. Microsoft's antivirus solution is perfect by default and adding a version of McAfee is only there to make a little more profit from selling the machine.
The fingerprint reader
Dell has therefore ignored face recognition with this new model. It's a shame, because it is a very effective solution on PC since we always face in front of the machine to unlock. Fortunately, we still have the Windows Hello compatible fingerprint reader, located at the power button.
The recording of the finger by Windows 10 is done without problem, and the identification is each time very fast and without error. Nothing to say about this solution, now completely controlled by manufacturers.
The tested configuration
This new iteration of the Dell XPS 13 takes advantage of the latest generation of Intel processor. Our configuration is equipped with an Intel Core i7-8565U processor with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. This processor is based on the Whiskey Lake architecture, a small revision of KabyLake and yet another iteration of Intel's 14nm technology. This generation is differentiated mainly by a higher maximum frequency and the integration of a chipset with 16 lines PCI Express (cons 12 before), which allows to have the Thunderbolt 3 with 4 lines PCIe 3.
A powerful machine
In use, I did not experience any slowdown and the machine was able to track my use at work including many tabs and light photo processing. With the performance test, Cinebench R15, the PC gets a score of 653 cb, against 578 cb for the Dell XPS 13 (2018) is a 13% increase in performance.
It is therefore a machine that should meet the needs of office-based or web-based professional use, while remaining light on audio, photo or video editing tasks. The machine is pretty good at maintaining its performance over time thanks to its fairly efficient ventilation. On the other hand, the latter is anything but discreet and we can notice the noise of the machine in open space.
The Dell XPS 13 does not include a dedicated graphics chip, so you have to settle for the Intel UHD 620 chip that comes with the processor. With this one, do not hope to run greedy games. Overwatch, although well optimized, runs with difficulty at 50 fps in native resolution with all parameters at a minimum, with frequent drops of fluidity as soon as the action increases in intensity.
The PC does not fare better with Fortnite Battle Royale, a game there too not very greedy compared to other popular games. In full screen, with a native definition, and the parameters to a minimum, the game runs between 40 and 50 frames per second, but this rate collapses when there is action which obviously affects the game experience .
The Dell XPS 13 9380 incorporates a battery of 52 Wh. In use, I was able to use the computer for 7 hours before it dropped to 20% and trigger the power save mode. My use here mainly includes web browsing with a dozen tabs on Chrome, writing, and a little editing on Affinity Photo. This is a very good result that puts the XPS 13 in the top of the ultraportable basket on the market.
The USB Type-C charger delivers 45W power in Power Delivery. The user of a market standard is always a good point, it means that it will be very simple to use an alternative charger, or to borrow the charger from another machine.
Price and availability
The new Dell XPS 13 is offered from 1099 euros, a price decrease compared to the previous generation with the addition of a configuration with Intel Core i3, 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of SSD storage.
The version tested in this article is officially marketed at 1499 euros, but it can be found at 1275 euros.