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Dell XPS 13 9310 OLED laptop review: the best just got better

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Dell has added a new display option for its popular XPS 13 laptop. The latest Dell XPS 13 9310 now comes with a gorgeous OLED display and an 11th Gen Intel i7 processor that delivers serious performance, all wrapped up in a clean and elegant design. It’s a premium killer suit for those who want power and a great look on the go.

Dell XPS 13 9310 OLED review: pricing and availability

The Dell XPS 13 9310 launched in May 2021, starting at $ 949.99 / £ 849 direct from Dell. However, the OLED screen version, with a 13.4-inch 3.5k OLED (3456×2160) starts from $ 1,599.99 / £ 1,549. That’s $ 50 / £ 50 more than the 4K display option.

Dell XPS 13 2021

(Image credit: Dell)

Dell XPS 13 9310 OLED review: screen and design

Let’s start with the biggest novelty of the 2021 XPS 13: the beautiful OLED display. This 13.4-inch screen has a resolution of 3456 by 2160 pixels, just a touch under 4K. While the standard 4K LED display costs $ 50 / £ 50 less, we suggest OLED is the way to go. That’s because this thing is really gorgeous, with deep, dark blacks and vivid, vivid colors popping out of the screen. Watch Dolby Vision HDR content on Netflix and you won’t miss a few pixels. It is also slightly larger than the previous model, measuring 13.4 inches diagonally, 0.1 inch taller than the previous one. It might not seem like a big difference, but the laptop case itself isn’t bigger, so there’s a much smaller border around the screen.

The screen is also quite bright: I measured a maximum brightness of 343 candelas per square meter (cd / m2). This is a little less than some LED screens, which can measure 400 to 500 cd / m2. This means it’s not as easy to see in direct sunlight, but it’s more than sufficient for most uses: sitting outside on a sunny day, the screen was still fairly visible against glare when it was on. sitting in the shade.

This screen is wrapped in the same sleek and clean casing as previous XPS models, all measuring just under 0.6 inches (14.8mm) thick when closed. It weighs just over 2.8 lbs (1.27 kg), so it’s also very portable. My review unit was in the attractive Frost White finish, which includes a woven carbon fiber palm rest alongside the large touchpad. Overall, it looks gorgeous, a sleek little device that fits everything you probably need in a small space.

My only complaint is the lack of connectivity: there is a single Thunderbolt 4 port on each side of the case, a micro-SD card slot and a headphone jack. There are no USB A ports, no HDMI output, and no wired Ethernet. A USB-C to USB 3.1 converter is included, but that doesn’t really solve the problem of not being able to connect multiple devices at once. Dell’s solution for this is the DA310 Mobile USB-C Adapter, which includes two USB-A ports, an additional USB-C port, DisplayPort, VGA and Gigabit Ethernet. The lack of an HDMI connection for connecting to an HDTV is a rather odd choice, but DisplayPort to HDMI adapters are widely available. This adapter also goes through power, so you can charge the laptop while connecting to the outside world.

Although the XPS 13 lacks a bit of physical connections, it’s fine for wireless connections: it supports Wi-Fi 6 (with a 2×2 antenna) and Bluetooth 5.1 to connect to the internet and wireless headphones, etc.

Dell XPS 13 2021

(Image credit: Dell)

Dell XPS 13 9310 OLED review: Performance

All 11th Gen Intel processors also include updated Intel Xe graphics (except the i3 which uses UHD graphics), but these don’t come close to the performance of modern separate GPUs. If you’ve been dreaming of playing 3D games in the near-4K native resolution, you don’t need to wake up right away. The XPS 13 could pretty much handle games like GTA V at 1080P resolution, but performance below 30fps was neither smooth nor enjoyable. Still, the performance is more than good enough for less demanding, non-FPV shooter games: I could play Rimworld in high resolution without the game slowing down or slowing down.

The 11th gen Intel i7 1185G7 processor and 16GB of RAM in my test unit offered a lot of processing power to tap into. What it does: It achieved a very respectable PC Mark 10 score of 5115, a significant jump from the previous generation XPS 13 score of 4241. This translates to fast work on the road in office applications and with numerical calculation: this computer is going through a large spreadsheet without breaking a sweat. It should even handle tasks like simple video editing without a hitch.

Models with an OLED display only offer this selection of processor and memory, however other models may offer less power. The base level of the XPS 13 uses an i3 processor with 8GB of RAM which would run much slower.

Dell XPS 13 2021

(Image credit: Dell)

Dell XPS 13 9310 OLED review: Battery life

Battery life for small laptops is often an issue because there is a limit to the amount of battery you can fit into a small case. Dell seems to have struck a good balance here, however: I was able to continue watching videos for six hours and fourteen minutes with the brightness set to what you would need for watching movies in a well-lit room (around 200 Cd / m2). ). That’s long enough for a few movies and a little work on a flight, or for a decent binge-watching session.

One cool thing to note here is that lowering the screen brightness can extend battery life. On standard LED screens, the brightness is determined by the backlight. Even though the screen displays a dark screen, the LED backlight is still on, consuming power. With OLED screens like this, light is produced by the display layer itself, so when viewing a dark screen, no light is produced. So if you are looking to extend battery life, it may be helpful to turn off HDR and turn down the backlight, as the screen consumes less power when the brightness is lower and the screen is dimmed. darker. When I retested the battery life with the brightness set to the lowest setting, the battery life was extended to 7 hours and 2 minutes. The display was rather dark (around 4.2 Cd / m2), but it’s worth remembering if you’re on a night flight and can’t sleep: turn down the brightness and watch dark gothic movies to increase the light. ‘battery life.

Dell XPS 13 2021

(Image credit: Dell)

Dell XPS 13 9310 OLED test: verdict

The 2021 XPS 13 is an act of class: a laptop that combines power and portability in a sleek package. The OLED screen is the icing on the cake: 4K HDR movies and TV shows look stunning, with vivid colors and deep, textured blacks that really make a well-shot movie pop off the screen.

It looks great and performs well, but the price tag is up to par. While there are plenty of models under $ 1,000 that perform almost as well with a decent display, if you want your work or movies to look the best on a beautifully designed laptop, the XPS 13 is still the go-to. better.

Dell XPS 13 9310 OLED Review: Also consider

There are many alternatives to the XPS 13. The main option is probably the Apple Macbook Pro, which was recently upgraded to the M1 processor. A comparable 13-inch Macbook Pro will set you back around $ 1,499 but doesn’t offer an OLED display and only comes with 8GB of memory – adding an additional 8GB increases the price by $ 200.

If you really want the OLED display, the HP Specter X360 has a 14-inch 3k OLED as well as an 11th gen i7 processor for a price similar to the Dell XPS. The 15-inch Lenovo X1 Extreme Gen 3 also has the option of upgrading to an OLED display, although it only offers 10th generation processors and costs considerably more than the XPS 13 for an equivalent specification. However, it manages to integrate a few additional connections, with a USB 3.1 port and an HDMI output.


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