Dell XPS 13 (9380) 2019 Review: So Close To Perfection

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Dell XPS 13 (9380): Key Updates Bring Us Closer To The Perfect Laptop

Dell XPS 13 9380 2019 HotHardware Review
The thing about striving for perfection is that it is not truly attainable, and you can drive yourself mad trying to get there. Be that as it may, Dell has come closer than most with its premium line of XPS 13 laptops, which in our experience are some of the finest thin and light notebooks available, both in terms of their beautiful design, as well as all-around performance. The same is certainly true of Dell's latest refresh for 2019, which attempts to refine Dell's award winning 13-inch laptop platform even further.

Dell XPS 13 Lid Angled

Looking back at the 2018 model, which we bestowed a well-earned Editor's Choice award, Dell did not leave itself a whole lot of room for improvement. It was stunning then and it remains a stunning laptop now. As such, the Dell XPS 13 9380 for 2019 is not a drastic departure in design over last year's model, though it does sport some key (and welcomed) upgrades. Chief among them is a re-positioning of the webcam, which as it turns out, was not a simple thing to do (more on that later).

This year's model also gains a new Frost White color option. It is one of two premium color choices (Rose Gold being the other), with an Alpine White interior that is whiter and brighter than its predecessor. Quite frankly, this is the best looking XPS 13 we have seen to date, and that is saying something.

On the performance side, Dell boldly bills this year's model as the most powerful 13-inch laptop in its class. The infusion of Whiskey Lake, Intel's latest generation of low power mobile processors, enables that claim. For this review, Dell sent us its top model outfitted with an 8th generation Intel Core-i7 8565U processor, a quad-core, eight-thread chip that can boost to 4.6GHz under heavy workloads.

Dell XPS 13 Open Angled

Pricing starts at a reasonable $899.99, though our decked out configuration runs the tab up to $2,449.99. Here's what it comes configured with...

Dell 2019 XPS 13 (9380)
Specifications & Features
Processor 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U Quad-Core (1.8GHz-4.6GHz, 8MB SmartCache)
Display
13.3" UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) InfinityEdge Touch
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 620
Memory
16GB LPDDR3-2133
Storage
1TB PCIe 3.0 x4 solid state drive
Audio Stereo speakers integrated multi array microphone
Ethernet N/A
Wireless Connectivity
Killer 1435 802.11ac (2x2) Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.2, Miracast capable
Interface
Left: 2 x Thunderbolt 3 (USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C) w/ power delivery and DisplayPort, Noble lock slot
Right: USB-C 3.1 w/ power delivery and DisplayPort, microSD card slot, 3.5mm headset jack
Webcam
HD (720p) w/ 4 array digital microphone
Operating System
Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Battery 52WHr  (built-in)
Dimensions 11.9 x 7.8 x 0.3-0.46 inches (302 x 199 x 7.8-11.6 mm)
Weight
2.7 lbs (1.23 kg)
Manufacturer Warranty
1-year limited
Pricing Starting At $899.99, As tested, $2,449.99


Dell's Justin Lyles, VP of Consumer Design Talks Dell XPS 13 (9380)

Obviously this setup of the new XPS 13 9380 is not cheap as configured, though it is also not short on bells and whistles either. Our unit has notable upgrade options on board, like a 4K Ultra HD resolution touch display with incredibly thin bezels, 16GB of system memory, and a spacious 1-terabyte solid state drive that shuttles data over PCIe via an NVMe interface (as opposed to a slower SATA-based drive).

For this particular configuration, you can get the price down closer to two grand by opting for a 512GB PCIe SSD and Windows 10 Home instead of Pro, but you will still need a healthy bank roll to to play in the upper echelon. Is it worth the asking price? Let's have a look...

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