Dell changed the Windows laptop market in a single stroke with the launch of the updated XPS 13 back in 2015, ushering in the world of the InfinityEdge display, and moving the entire industry forward. We were fortunate enough to get a chance to check out the precursor to the new XPS 13 back in November, with a review of the XPS 13 2-in-1. Dell had chosen not to rest on their laurels, and the 2-in-1 proved to be one of the best notebooks around if you needed a compact and powerful convertible laptop. Today we are evaluating the traditional clamshell version of the XPS 13, and while it offers many of the same features and design touches, it does so in a more familiar form factor that many customers are going to prefer.

For the 2020 refresh, Dell has made the refreshing move to taller displays, as we saw with the XPS 13 2-in-1. As a result the XPS 13 uses 13.4-inch display panel with a 16:10 aspect ratio, offering more vertical space for getting work done, and some convenient padding to place controls when watching 16:9 content. The larger display fits into a chassis that is actually 2% smaller than the outgoing design, with the new XPS 13 offering a 91.5% screen to body ratio.

This is actually the second time that Dell has refreshed the XPS 13 within the last year. The company previously updated the XPS 13 in August 2019 to use Intel's 10th generation Core processors, but presumably due to limited supply of Intel’s then-new Ice Lake platform, Dell opted to launch that iteration with Comet Lake-U processors. And under more normal circumstances we would have expected Dell to stick with an annual cadence – and thus Comet Lake – for an entire year. Instead, to some surprise, Dell gave the XPS 13 a further mid-generation refresh, launching the Ice Lake-based XPS 13 9300 model that we are reviewing today, and bringing the clamshell XPS 13 to parity with the 2-in-1 version.

The switch from Comet Lake to Ice Lake, in turn, is a significant one. it means the XPS 13 gets Intel’s new Sunny Cove CPU architecture, as well as the much-improved Gen 11 graphics. Dell offers Core i3, i5, and i7 models, with the Core i3 and i5 offering G1 graphics, meaning 32 Execution Units (EUs), and the top-tier Core i7-1065G7 featuring the full 64 EUs on the GPU side. Just as a comparison, the Comet Lake-U only offered 24 EUs of Gen 9.5 graphics, so even the base Ice Lake models still offer a 33% larger (and much newer) GPU than the outgoing models.

The move to Ice Lake also brings some badly-needed LPDDR4X support, which in turn means a 32 GB maximum memory option in the XPS 13 9300, up from 16 GB previously. Although Dell still lists a paltry 4 GB option on their specifications sheet, a quick look at the site shows that, at least in the USA, it appears that 8 GB is the new minimum, and that is a welcome change. Offering just 4 GB of RAM in a premium Ultrabook was always a poor choice, even if it did allow Dell to hit a slightly lower price bracket. On the storage front there is more good news, with 256 GB the new minimum, with up to 2 TB available, and all drives are PCIe x4 NVMe offerings.

Specifications of the Dell XPS 13 9300-Series
  General Specifications
As Tested: Core i7-1065G7 / 16GB / 512GB / 1920x1200
LCD Diagonal 13.4-inch
Resolution 1920×1200 3840×2400
Brightness 500 cd/m² 500 cd/m²
Contrast Ratio 1800:1 1500:1
Color Gamut 100% sRGB 100% sRGB
90% P3
Features Dolby Vision Dolby Vision
Touch Support with or without touch Yes
Protective Glass Corning Gorilla Glass 6 in case of touch-enabled model
CPU Intel Core i3 1005G1 (4MB cache, up to 3.4GHz)
Intel Quad Core i5 1035G1 (6MB cache, up to 3.6GHz)
Intel Quad Core i7 1065G7 (8MB cache, up to 3.9GHz)
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics
Intel Iris Plus Graphics
RAM 4 - 32 GB LPDDR4X-3733 DRAM (soldered/onboard)
Storage 256 GB PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD
512 GB PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD
1 TB PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD
2 TB PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD
Wireless Killer AX1650 Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.0 (based on Intel's silicon)
Killer AX500 Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.0 (based on Qualcomm's silicon)
USB 3.1 2 × TB 3/USB Gen 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
3.0 -
Thunderbolt 2 × TB 3 (for data, charging, DP displays)
Cameras Front 720p HD webcam
Other I/O Microphone, 2 stereo speakers, audio jack
Battery 52 Wh | 45 W AC Adapter (USB Type-C)
Dimensions Width 295.7 mm | 11.64 inches
  Depth 198.7 mm | 7.82 inches
  Thickness 14.8 mm | 0.58 inches
Weight non-touch 1.2 kilograms | 2.64 pounds
touch-enabled 1.27 kilograms | 2.8 pounds
Launch Price Starting at $999.99

Dell has gone all-in on USB-C with the new XPS 13, with one port on each side of the notebook. Both feature Thunderbolt 3 with 4 lanes, as well as power delivery for charging. The lack of a Type-A port may inconvenience some, but Dell does include an adapter in the box to assist. Wireless is the Killer AX1650, which based on the latest Intel AX200 wireless adapter – and with Intel purchasing Killer this partnership seems like it is not going anywhere.

If you read our review of the 2-in-1 version of this laptop, you will undoubtedly notice a lot of similarities. As they are from the same product line, that is not an accident: Dell has now refreshed their entire XPS series of laptops with a similar design philosophy. Let’s take a peek at what is new.

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  • Deicidium369 - Friday, July 17, 2020 - link

    I agree. OEMs will build what their customers want. I just don't see people clamoring for an AMD over an Intel
  • Korguz - Friday, July 17, 2020 - link

    of course you dont, cause you can only see intel, no matter what.
  • vladx - Saturday, July 18, 2020 - link

    No we can certainly see AMD with how they fail time and time again to launch reliable products and platforms.
  • Korguz - Saturday, July 18, 2020 - link

    seems your god intel seems to be failing quite a lot the last few years.
  • vladx - Saturday, July 18, 2020 - link

    Sorry that you're so butthurt that you try to mock others, Intel sells best because they are very reliable unlike AMD.
  • Korguz - Saturday, July 18, 2020 - link

    sorry you are butthurt cause your god intel has screwed up so bad the last few years, and that you blind to see anything else.
  • rhysiam - Thursday, July 16, 2020 - link

    Oh come on, this cherry picked "17%" claim again? See my post above. The very review you are commenting on shows highly threaded workloads pushing to AMD's advantage in the 34% to 79% range, depending on the specific workload. That is **not** "virtually matching"... and the 4700U is **not** the top Renoir.
  • Deicidium369 - Friday, July 17, 2020 - link

    "Summing up the performance metrics, the Intel Core i7-1165G7 has a lead of up to 20% in single-core performance tests while featuring a 10% clock speed advantage over the Ryzen 7 4800U (4.2 GHz vs 4.7 GHz). In multi-core tests, the Ryzen 7 4800U is 17% faster but that is despite the AMD chip having twice the number of cores and threads. But that's the fastest score for the chip with Linux OS which tends to offer higher scores. Compared to a Ryzen 7 4800U on Windows OS, the Core i7-1165G7 leads by up to 35% in single-core while being just 6% slower than its 8 core & 16 thread competitor."

    34% higher performance in single core - slightly higher clock, but not 34% higher clocks - that's a nice IPC gain.

    Not seeing the 34 to 79% AMD advantage in multicore. I am seeing the multicore being between 17% slower and 6% slower depending on the OS - with 8 cores & 16 threads vs 4 cores and 8 threads.

    Just so we are working from the same materials.
  • Korguz - Friday, July 17, 2020 - link

    yea, wccftech is a trust worthy source, arent they mostly a rumor/BS site ?
  • Spunjji - Monday, July 20, 2020 - link

    WCCFTech were running with rumours that Zen 2 would hit ~5Ghz for months before it was released, so yeah, I'd say their record isn't particularly reliable.

    Their comments section is also notoriously full of trolls and jackasses...

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