The Dell XPS 13 has been regarded as one of the best Windows notebook for years, particularly if you wanted the perfect blend of slimness, style and performance. One can even argue that it is the best ultrabook that one should buy today, even though the term ultrabooks is no longer in vogue, the XPS 13 simply ticks off the checklist because it offers an excellent display, powerful hardware options along with decent keyboard and battery life. Best of all, the company packs all of this in a device that is no bigger than 12-inches, and is genuinely more compact than most other 13-inch laptops. We already saw an XPS 13 refresh earlier this year, but now we have a late 2019 model update. First of all, there is a change in the model number. I know this might not seem very important but the company has decided to call the late-2019 model as the 7390 instead of 9390. This was probably done to align with the new XPS 15 model nomenclature.
Okay, let’s get down to business. The XPS 13 7390 was announced back in August (along with a 2-in-1 variant) and was recently launched in India. Dell hasn’t messed around with the overall design language and the new model looks similar to the previous-gen, which is probably a good move. You get the same aluminum chassis on the outside with a textured keyboard deck and a stunning display with super slim bezels. Dell has also managed to bring the webcam back up and claims that it is the smallest camera they have ever put on a laptop. Of course, the innards have been updated with the latest Intel 10th-gen Comet Lake processor options along with some improved battery life. And that’s about it.
No honestly, compared to the early-2019 model, this new variant only has an update to the processor. So let’s first talk about that shall we.
Dell is offering the option of a Core i5-10210U processor, or the Core i7-10510U which is the one we were sent to test. So what we are looking at is a quad-core processor with base clock speeds of 1.8GHz which can go up to 4.9GHz. This sounds pretty good in itself, but there is also the option of the Core i7-10710U making it the only 13-inch laptop to rock a six-core processor. While I still need to confirm whether the six-core processor is available in India, it is quite remarkable how Dell is pushing the boundaries. Having said that, I have my doubts as to how long the processor can maintain the boosted clock speeds, considering the tiny chassis of the XPS 13.
In fact, the quad-core Core i7 option that I reviewed made quite a bit of fan noise. That’s probably because Dell has configured it with a 15W TDP, which restricts the power, thereby increase in heat, which would eventually lead to a drop in performance. The notebook does come with Dell’s new GORE thermal insulation, which is said to provide thermal conductivity levels lower than air along with dual fans and heat pipes. Temperatures are maintained well, and for the most part, I found the laptop running cool.
You get 8GB of RAM on the Core-i5 variant and double the amount on the Core-i7 version. The 512GB M.2 SSD storage remains the same on both the options. This hardware combo then makes it perfect for everyday workloads including multiple Chrome tabs, Photoshop editing and even light video rendering.
Then there is the usual, good stuff that Dell has been doing over the years. The 4K display looks gorgeous, has really slim bezels and for the ones complaining about the webcam placement, it is now where it should be. Even the keyboard and trackpad feel intuitive and responsive.
It seems that Dell doesn’t want anything for us to complain about.
But wait, it still comes with a microSD card slot! This is probably something that has bugged me for years, but I don’t understand why would anyone not want an SD card slot and give more importance to a microSD card. I really don’t want to have a lengthy rant, so let’s just leave it at that.
So like I was saying, the InfinityEdge display is still around where the company is offering the option of either 1080p or 4K resolution. It supports Dell Cinema, which automatically enhances the overall contrast and saturation when you are watching video content. There is support for HDR and Dolby Vision as well. I’ve always loved the colours Dell offers on its displays and I didn’t face any issues with the brightness or viewing angles either.
In terms of port selection, you still get three USB Type-C ports that can be used for charging as well as connect up to two displays via Thunderbolt 3. Apart from that, there is only the headphone-microphone combo jack and the microSD card slot. Dell continues to include the quick battery indicator button with four LED lights, which is probably the most under-rated yet useful feature that is not seen on modern notebooks anymore.
Last but not least, battery life. Now the company claims that you can squeeze out up to 21 hours while typing or other low-resource tasks on full HD resolution. That’s a tall claim to be honest as I got about 8.5-9 hours of web browsing with 75 percent screen brightness and at a reduced resolution of 1080p. Pushing up the brightness or resolution cuts that time further. So overall, the battery is better but not as good as Dell claims.
I would be lying if I said that I am not a fan of the XPS 13. I still rock my four-generation old XPS 13 9350, and I hardly have any complaints. The latest model is not a giant leap from the one that launched earlier this year, or the one that was launched last year. Dell is playing safe and only updating the things that matter. If you are looking for a solid 13-inch Windows machine that is not going anywhere for at least three years, this is the one you get. Want to upgrade from an older XPS 13? I would say only do so if you own anything before the 9350 model which was rocking the 6th-gen Intel processors.
This doesn’t come cheap though. As of now, Dell is selling it at a starting price of Rs 99,890 going up to Rs 1,46,690 which isn’t very far off from the superior XPS 15. Other options that you can look for are the new Apple MacBook Air or the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2.