Dell XPS 13 specs test: does the king of ultraportables make it to the 10th generation Core?

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This is Dell XPS 13 image 2

We have (almost) started the year with Dell XPS 13, it is normal to end it with him. The Dell XPS 13 Specs, our benchmark ultraportable, is coming back to us in a new version, with a whole new technical platform.

Brief History and Details of Dell XPS 13

At the very beginning of this year 2020, we had the leisure to experience the 2019 vintage of the Dell XPS 13. At the end of our test, the king of ultraportable Windows PCs seemed set to keep his crown. We are now in December and none of these 2019 competitors has yet managed to defeat him.

It is rumored that the XPS 13 may well evolve again at CES 2020, as it has been doing for a few years now. But, pending the opening of the Las Vegas show and a potential announcement, Dell has chosen to migrate its racehorse to the latest Intel platform to date, that of the tenth generation.

We therefore asked him for a new model to see for ourselves whether the adoption of the new series of blue chips had gone well. The Texan manufacturer sent us one, very high-end, equipped with a 4K panel (ouch), a good processor (Core i7, nice) and enough memory and SSD to justify its price in 1930 euros.

This is Dell XPS 13 image

Brief History

You may have understood by reading our brief introduction, it is not for us here to redo a full test of the machine. Just from the technical part. Also, for all the information relating to the connection, the finish, the advantages and disadvantages that we had identified, we refer you to our test at the beginning of the year (link in introduction). All our remarks remain valid since the case has not moved a bit.

However, compared to the machine in early 2019 which was equipped with an FHD panel, the one we have here has a 4K touch screen. A detail that is important and which, as we will see right away, is not at all the type of panel to choose if you want to fall for the Dell XPS 13.

4K doesn’t work for it

We are convinced that UHD is not a relevant choice. But manufacturers continue to use his services. It is the screen definition that “throws”, but which, objectively, is useless on an ultraportable PC. Even less when it is in conventional format (understand “non-hybrid”).

On a 13.3-inch diagonal panel, 4K is beautiful, but it is not functional. You must increase the Windows display scale to 150% (minimum) for readability to become acceptable. An artificial magnification which, in addition, can be more or less well digested by the software or the fonts used in the menus …

And if the 4K screens used were all of excellent quality, the pill could pass, but this is clearly not the case. And unfortunately, the Dell XPS 13 at the end of 2019 is not really spoiled in this matter.

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We measured an average maximum brightness of 407 cd / m2 with a peak at 431 cd / m2 in the upper right corner of the panel. By cumulating the data obtained on our last tests, we arrive at a median value of 392 cd / m2, the Dell is therefore positioned a little above the average, but is not necessary.

Dell XPS 13 Spec Details

The contrast ratio amounts to 1567: 1, a very good value which positions the machine among the best in the category. In terms of homogeneity, we therefore arrive at a value of 0.022 which is rather good. There are no light leaks, no ghosting, and no areas where blacks and whites alike are tinged with gray.

On the other hand, when we measure the fidelity of colors, it is a disaster. The 4K screen chosen by Dell becomes our benchmark for the worst deltaE ever measured: 5.15! The accuracy of the colors is therefore excessively poor, the temperature never drops below the 7600K bar with peaks at 8000K per moment.

Red, blue and green have very high values ​​and the first two are the worst pupils. Some blue hues are – in fact – purple. Or, conversely, completely gone. As soon as one widens the range of colors, cyan clearly atomizes magentas and yellows. In short, a beautiful colorimetric cacophony that clearly disappointed us.

Titanic autonomy is no longer relevant

Side effect of the presence of such a touch screen on the machine, consumption – and therefore autonomy – is impacted. We compared the values obtained between the version at the start of the year – in Full HD – and this one in 4K:

Consumption:
Standby: 5.4 watts versus 9.9 watts
In absolute stress: 48 versus 48.6 watts

Autonomy:
We have created a graph with several other machines of the same ilk to be discovered below.

This is Dell XPS 13 Autonomy

Animated autonomy graph in full screen

The new Dell XPS 13 is in midnight blue, on the far left of each graph. It’s the cold shower. It is not doing as well as the previous generation, it is even downright. The results converted to hour / minute format, this gives us 5.52 hours in video streaming and 6.52 hours in versatile autonomy for this end-of-year vintage, while the first vintage offered, respectively, more than 8 and 12 hours. autonomy.


Impossible to say that only the screen is responsible … but its definition clearly gives a hard time to the graphics controller integrated into the Intel processor. A ready-made transition to tackle performance developments.

Engraving fine design, slightly increasing frequencies

The tenth generation processor present in the Dell XPS 13 is not engraved in 10 nm like that of the Surface Laptop 3 and XPS 13 2-in-1. It has kept the same engraving finesse as the 8th generation, that is to say, the 14 nm (+++ according to the nomenclature devoted).

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The four hyperthreaded cores of the Core i7-10510U are clocked at 1.8 GHz and in single-core use, the speed of 4.9 GHz (against 4.6 GHz on the 8565U) can be reached. Another difference compared to generation 8, the memory bandwidth goes from 37.5 to 41.66 GB / s, a gain which will be felt mainly with the use of DDR4 and not LPDDR3L as it is. case on our Dell.

Appearing in midnight blue in the graph below, the new Core i7-10510U processor offers almost the same benefits as its cousin, the previous Core i7-8565U, while the latter was only supported by 8 GB of memory in the Dell XPS 13 of early 2019 (against, here, 16 GB of soldered DDR3L). Inglorious, but again, the 4K screen is certainly no stranger to the thing.

Gaming Details and HD

However, to run all the daily apps, no problem. For photo editing or editing of Full HD video sequences, it will also work. The 512 GB SSD is perfectly capable of hosting several programs, even large ones, in addition to your data.

For the 3D game full of last generation polygons, on the other hand, do not count on this processor at all. If we rely on the Intel technical reference site, the integrated graphics did not change at all between the 8th generation and the 10th generation engraved in 14 nm. On the graph below, the Dell is in purple, the edition of the beginning of the year in dark green and the figures speak for themselves. Players, go your way!

CPU Details

In the radius of disappointments, we must also mention the throttling of the processor. Yes, the Core i7-10510U is forced to lower its speed to much lower levels to avoid heat stroke. By simulating intense activity on the CPU and GPU, the frequency goes from 3.3 GHz to 1 GHz in less than a minute and then oscillates between 1 and 1.4 GHz all the rest of the time (20 min in all) . However, ventilation does not spare its effort to evacuate all the calories.

In full activity, we noted 36.6 dB or 1.6 dB more than the previous unit passed between our hands and it is for the good of the configuration. Indeed, in terms of thermics, we noted 44 ° C under the laptop – against 49.1 ° C – proof that it does not make noise (only) for pleasure.

PROs

+ The finish
+ The very good keyboard
+ The bright and contrasting screen

CONs

– 4K not available in this laptop
– The color is not fair
– Throttle processor
– The high price given the defects

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