Dell XPS 13 9310 Laptop Review

About Dell XPS 13 9310

Dell’s XPS 13 series is relatively compact at just .58 inches thick. Its 13.4-inch display, now in a slightly taller 16:10 aspect ratio, comes in full high definition (FHD)+ (1920 x 1200) and ultra-high definition (UHD)+ (3840 x 2400) resolutions but doesn't rotate like the screen on the 2-in-1 version of the XPS. If you choose the lower resolution, you can select a non-touchscreen version that makes the laptop marginally lighter (2.64 pounds vs. 2.8 pounds) but eliminates support for Windows 10 touch controls, which reduce battery life.

A 720p webcam hides at the top of the exceptionally small bezel around the screen, while the backlit keyboard runs almost the full width of the laptop. Inside, you have a choice of Intel 11th-generation i3, i5 or i7 processors, 8 to 32 gigabytes (GB) of memory, and solid state (SSD) hard drives that come in 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 terabyte (TB), or 2 TB sizes. Dell says the laptop will run just over 14 hours with an FHD+ screen and a bit over 8 hours with a UHD+ display.

The XPS 13 includes the latest Wi-Fi 6 wireless networking and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity for peripherals. On the downside, it offers relatively few connection points for peripherals – just two USB-C ports (one of that you will need at some point to charge the laptop), a microSD card reader, and a headphone jack.

Dell XPS 13 9310

Dell’s XPS 13 Windows laptop series has been a staple of best-laptops reviews for several years, thanks to its compact size, light weight, and strong battery life. The new XPS 13, introduced in 2020, adds an 11th-generation Intel processor, a slightly taller screen, and updated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. As before, you can customize your purchase extensively on Dell’s website by choosing screen resolutions, processor speeds, memory, and solid-state hard drive sizes. Unlike many other Windows laptops (including a separate Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 line), this series doesn't feature a screen that rotates all the way around for tablet-style use.

Dell XPS 13 9310

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Dell XPS 13 9310 Review

Ranked #1 in Best Laptops of 2021

Ranked #1 in Best Laptops for College of 2021

The XPS 13 finished first in our list of the Best Laptops of 2021 and first in our list of the Best Laptops for College of 2021. Reviewers consistently point to its compact size, light weight, and long battery life – three standout virtues in any laptop. Reviewers also commend recent XPS 13 design refinements, such as repositioning the webcam to the top of the display and changing the screen’s aspect ratio from the standard 16:9 to 16:10, which allows you to see another few lines in a document. The webcam supports Microsoft’s Windows Hello biometric authentication, and Dell also incorporates a fingerprint reader into the power button.

Reviewers have been less positive about the XPS 13’s limited input and output possibilities. With just two USB-C ports, one of which may be occupied by the laptop’s chargers, it’s as constrained as Apple’s MacBook Air. Unlike the Air, however, the XPS 13 also includes a microSD card slot that can ease transferring photos from digital cameras. Dell also includes a USB-A adapter in the box for people with USB-A peripherals.

Is the Dell XPS 13 Right for Me?

Best for those who:

✓ Are looking for the lightest possible Windows laptop

✓ Want lots of option for configuring processor, memory, and storage

✓ Rarely plug in peripherals like flash drives

Not recommended for those who:

- Want a computer that can be folded for use as a tablet

- Have a sizable collection of external gadgets to plug in

The XPS 13 may be a good match if you need a capable, lightweight laptop, and don't need to connect multiple gadgets regularly. On the other hand, replacing a desktop computer or a more expandable laptop with an XPS 13 will likely leave you unplugging and plugging in cables frequently.

This version of the XPS 13 also opts out of the popular trend of two-in-one laptop designs, in which the screen hinge allows you to rotate the display all the way back to use it as a large Windows tablet. (Dell sells a separate 2-in-1 version of the XPS 13 for that market.) The XPS 13 also has only USB-C ports. This will be a hassle if you often plug in peripherals, especially if they're the older USB-A type, although Dell includes a single USB-C to USB-A adapter in the box.

Dell’s online-only business model may be another issue for buyers looking to inspect a laptop in person before buying it. Then again, this lets shoppers customize their laptop far more than they could if they bought them in a physical store.

Other Products Offered By Dell

Best Dell Laptops

Dell, founded in 1984 by Michael Dell out of his dorm room at the University of Texas at Austin, offers a full line of desktop and laptop Windows PCs. While it has a reputation for catering to business customers, Dell also sells two lines of computers optimized for gamers.

The new XPS 13 series stands as Dell’s smallest and lightest laptop option, although you can also choose from XPS models with 15 and even 17-in. displays. A separate 2-in-1 series of XPS models caters to shoppers looking for laptops that they can fold up and use as touchscreen tablets.

Shoppers with tighter budgets will want to look at Dell’s Inspiron line of laptops, with prices starting below $300. For gamers, Dell offers Alienware and G-Series laptops that feature larger screens and more powerful graphics hardware.

How Much Does the Dell XPS 13 9310 Cost?

Dell offers multiple configurations of the XPS 13 on its website, each of which can be further customized in terms of processor, the particular version of Windows 10 (Home or Pro), memory, storage, display, and finish.

The cheapest configuration listed – with an Intel i3 chip, Windows 10 Home, 8 GB of memory, a 256 GB SSD, a non-touch FHD+ screen, and the cheaper “platinum silver” finish – retails for $881.99. The most expensive – including an Intel i7 processor, Window 10 Home, 32 GB of memory, a 2 TB SSD, platinum silver, and a UHD+ touchscreen – goes for $1,984.49. Expect to pay a little more than that for Windows 10 Pro and the “arctic white” finish.

Dell prices component upgrades fairly reasonably. For example, going from 8 to 16 GB of memory costs just $88, while stepping up from a 512 GB SSD to a 1 TB model adds only $132. The UHD+ screen does tack on $264 compared to the FHD+ touchscreen, however.

How to Buy a Dell XPS 13 9310

Dell made its reputation by selling direct to customers, but if you don’t want to custom-configure a Dell laptop, you can buy one off the shelf at such retailers as Amazon, Best Buy, and Costco. Whether you buy one online or in a brick-and-mortar store, the basics of computer shopping still apply.

1. Decide on your requirements: Determine how fast of a processor and how much memory and storage you’ll need – not just today, but in two or three years. Because you can’t upgrade any of this after purchase, it makes sense to buy more than you might need at the moment.

2. Price out a configuration: Either on Dell’s website or when looking over the inventory at a retailer, see what your desired specifications will cost and decide which items are worth more to you. At a third-party reseller, you’re limited to whatever configurations are in stock. On the other hand, Dell's website offers a remarkable amount of flexibility, although your choice may delay the ship date. The company's rewards program may also be worth considering.

3. Buy it: Either take the laptop home from a third-party retailer or have it shipped home, or submit your order on Dell’s site and wait for it to arrive.

Dell XPS 13 9310 FAQ

What Is the Dell Warranty?

Dell offers a standard one-year warranty on its computers, which includes a year of “premium support.” You can extend that when you buy a laptop through its site; an extra year of full support costs $88, with two extra years going for about $150. Dell also sells “accidental damage service” as a separate item, with one year of coverage for such computing calamities as spilling a drink on the laptop or dropping it costing $52.

How do I contact Dell’s customer service?

Dell offers customer support over the phone (a toll-free line staffed 24/7), e-mail, and live chat. If those avenues don’t yield a resolution, you can also try tweeting to Dell’s @DellCares account.

Can a Dell XPS 13 9310 be upgraded?

The XPS 13 isn't designed to be user-upgradable in the way a traditional desktop PC is. But reports on the iFixit website indicate that numerous components can be replaced with a bit of effort, although this will void the warranty. iFixit's “repairability assessment,” last updated in 2019, gives this series a score of 7 out of 10, which is high for any laptop, but especially one this compact.

Dell XPS 13 vs. the Competition

Which Is Better: the Dell XPS 13 or the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 8th Generation?

The X1 Carbon addresses many of the XPS 13’s weaker spots. For instance, it’s much more flexible about peripherals, thanks to it including USB-A ports and an HDMI output in addition to two USB-C ports. Lenovo also offers some thoughtful privacy options that Dell doesn't, such as a built-in shutter for the webcam. But the X1 can be substantially more expensive depending on what sales Lenovo may or may not be running. And according to many reviewers, Dell’s laptop provides notably better battery life.

Which Is Better: the Dell XPS 13 or the Apple MacBook Air?

The XPS 13 is often mentioned as Dell’s attempt to counter Apple’s thin-and-light laptop. The two are similar in some ways, such as the fact that they offer just two USB-C ports. If you want to max out storage and memory, Dell offers a much better bargain next to the pricing on Apple’s upgrades. But in terms of battery life and performance, Apple’s new M1 processor soundly beats the Intel chips in the XPS 13. Apple also offers better in-person service options if you’re close enough to one of its retail stores. For many shoppers, however, specs and features won’t matter as much as the operating system: If you want to run macOS, you need the MacBook Air.

Which Is Better: the Dell XPS 13 or the HP Spectre x360?

The Dell and the HP both cost and weigh about the same, but the Spectre is a much more flexible machine; it includes more USB ports (and not just USB-C ports that will require adapters to be used with older devices) and has a 2-in-1 convertible design. The Dell is a bit thinner and lighter, however, and reviewers report that it offers somewhat better battery life. Privacy-minded shoppers should also consider the Spectre x360’s cutoff switches for its webcam and microphone and optional Sure View screen protection, which limits the display’s visibility from the side.


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