Dell XPS 13 Reviewby Brett Howse on February 19, 2015 9:00 AM EST
- Posted in
- XPS 13
Dell launched the 2015 version of their XPS 13 at CES in January, and it made a big impression because of something that was very small. The first thing you see when you look at the XPS 13 is how small the bezels are around the display. At 5.2 mm, they are easily the thinnest display bezels on any laptop made today. Dell claims the XPS 13 is a 13 inch display in the chassis of an 11 inch notebook, and while they have made that claim before, for 2015, it would be hard to argue with them. But the XPS 13 is more than just a display, and Dell has outfitted it with some very modern hardware to give us our first look at an Ultrabook based on the just launched Intel 5th Generation processors, Broadwell-U.
At CES, Dell also told me that the new XPS 13 would have great battery life, with the company claiming that it would get up to fifteen hours. That claim seems hard to believe, with our battery life test topped at just a hair under ten hours by the current leader, the MacBook Air 13. However, this will be our first look at a laptop running on the new 14 nm process from Intel, so we can get a chance to see just how power efficient the new processors are.
Dell is offering quite an arrangement of options as well, allowing the new XPS 13 to fit into a lot more budgets than some of the other premium notebooks around. The base model comes with the Intel Core i3-5010U processor, but if you need more speed you can upgrade to the i5-5200U or i7-5500U. All of the storage options are solid state drives, which is great to see. The base is 128GB, and optional upgrades are to 256GB or 512GB. Memory choices are dual-channel 4GB DDR3L-RS-1600, or a dual-channel 8GB option.
We received two models for testing, with the first being a Core i5-5200U with the 1920x1080 non-touch display, 4GB of memory, and a 128GB SSD, which lists for $900. The second model is the Core i5-5200U, with 2x4GB of memory, a 256GB SSD, and the 3200x1800 touch display. This model lists at $1400.
Update: Originally I had listed the 4 GB model as single channel, but it is actually 2 x 2 GB for dual channel. Sorry for the mistake.
|Dell XPS 13 9343 Specifications|
|Processor||Intel Core i3-5010U
(Dual-core + HT 2.1GHz 3MB L3 14nm 15W TDP)
Intel Core i5-5200U - model tested
(Dual-core + HT 2.2-2.7GHz 3MB L3 14nm 15W TDP)
Intel Core i7-5500U
(Dual-core + HT 2.4-3.0GHz, 4MB L3, 14nm, 15W TDP)
|Memory||2 x 2GB or 2 x 4GB DDR3L-RS-1600
(Dual Channel 8GB Max)
|Graphics||Intel HD 5500
(23 EUs at 300-900MHz on Core i3)
(24 EUs at 300-900MHz on Core i5)
(24 EUs at 300-950MHz on Core i7)
|Display||13.3" Anti-Glare IPS 16:9 FHD (1920x1080)
(Sharp 1420 Panel)
13.3" Glossy IPS 16:9 QHD+ (3200x1800) IGZO2
(Sharp 1421 Panel with Corning Gorilla Glass NBT and Touchscreen)
|Storage||128GB/256GB/512GB SSD (Samsung PM851 M.2 2280)|
|Networking||Dell Wireless 1560 plus Bluetooth 4.0 - model tested
(2x2:2 802.11ac 867Mbps capable Broadcom)
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 plus Bluetooth 4.0
(2x2:2 802.11ac 867Mbps capable)
Intel Dual Band Wireless-N 7265 plus Bluetooth 4.0
(2x2:2 802.11n 300Mbps capable)
Stereo Speakers professionally tuned with Waves MaxxAudio Pro 1w x 2
45W Max AC Adapter
|Front Side||Charge Light|
|Left Side||Headset Jack
1 x USB 3.0 with PowerShare
1 x mini DisplayPort
AC Power Connection
|Right Side||Noble Lock Slot
1 x USB 3.0 with PowerShare
SD Card Slot
|Operating System||Windows 8.1 64-bit|
|Dimensions||11.98" x 7.88" x 0.33-0.6" (WxDxH)
(304mm x 200mm x 9-15mm)
|Weight||2.6 lbs (1.18kg) Non-Touch
2.8 lbs (1.27kg) Touch
|Extras||720p HD Webcam
|Pricing||$800 (i3, 4GB, 128GB, FHD)
$900 (i5, 4GB, 128GB, FHD) - model tested
$1000 (i5, 8GB, 128GB, FHD)
$1300 (i5, 8GB 128GB, QHD+)
$1400 (i5, 8GB, 256GB, QHD+) - model tested
$1600 (i7, 8GB, 256GB, QHD+)
$1900 (i7, 8GB, 512GB, QHD+)
The display has some choices as well. The base model comes with a 13.3 inch 1920x1080 IPS display, with a matte finish, and no touch capabilities. This is still a respectable 165 pixels per inch, and is a good option to keep the costs down. The upgraded display is quite the upgrade. Dell has worked with Sharp to outfit the XPS 13 with an optional 3200x1800 resolution IGZO panel, which features Corning Gorilla Glass NBT over the top, along with ten-point multitouch. This works out to 272 pixels per inch, and the IGZO panel is a full RGB stripe.
There are a couple of other options as well, such as a range of wireless adapters, with the Dell 1560 outfitted on the review laptops that we received. This is a Broadcom wireless adapter, with 802.11ac support. Some of the options, like the 512GB drive, are only available with the top CPU and upgraded display. Dell does offer some degree of flexibility when ordering, but not all options are available for all devices.
Dell has crafted a fine looking laptop, with some new parts from Intel and Sharp paving the way. On paper this is a great start, so let's get into the finer details.
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rstuart - Friday, February 20, 2015 - linkFinally laptop's are catching up to their tablet cousins in battery life and display. One feature the article doesn't mention but I really miss with laptops is Access Point mode for the wireless card. The Intel card in particular is poor - no AP mode, 1 radio so it can't do both 2.4 and 5 GHz at the same time, can't handle multiple SSID's. I would really like to see more detail on the WiFi components.
kevith - Friday, February 20, 2015 - link47 dB?! No thanks.
Dr_Orgo - Friday, February 20, 2015 - linkMy laptop (Gigabyte p34g) runs at 47-48 dB under full load as well. It's noticeably quite loud. I don't find it distracting while gaming as I'm engaged. It definitely wouldn't want to do video/photo editing with fans that loud though.
tipoo - Friday, February 20, 2015 - link" we have 24 execution units, compared to only 20 on Haswell-U."
Isn't it 40 on the HD Graphics 5000, which is in Haswell-U? That's why I was confused about how a 24EU part at a lower boost clock does better than the old 40EU part at a higher boost, even with Broadwells new GPU features.
Brett Howse - Friday, February 20, 2015 - linkThis is not the Iris or HD 6000 version of Broadwell-U, so it compares to HD 4400/4600 more directly, which had 20 EUs. HD 6000 has 48 EUs, but I don't know a single laptop using it yet.
tipoo - Friday, February 20, 2015 - linkUnderstandable, I'm curious what's making it perform better than the 40EU part though. I know a lot of that die space was used for running at a lower base clock to save power, but it had a higher turbo than the 5500 as well as near double the EUs, so the 5500 with less EUs and lower clocked performing better is what confused me.
lefty2 - Friday, February 20, 2015 - linkThis seems to be the first Broadwell-U review done by AnandTech. It's a pity you didn't compare performance with Kaveri laptops
Brett Howse - Friday, February 20, 2015 - linkWe have not had any Kaveri laptops in for review unfortunately. The only one in Bench is a prototype, so not all testing was done on it, but here's a comparison on what we have:
lefty2 - Friday, February 20, 2015 - linkThanks. At least that's something anyway ;)
Brett Howse - Friday, February 20, 2015 - linkDon't forget though that's a 35w Kaveri vs 15w i5.