Dell XPS 13 (9380) 2019 Review: So Close To Perfection
Dell XPS 13 (9380): Review Summary And Final Analysis
As configured, the Dell XPS 13 (9380) we received commands a premium price point, and in return it delivers best-in-class performance. It led the way in several of our benchmarks, including PCMark 10 and Geekbench 4, and did so while running cool and quiet. That latter characteristic extends beyond the impressive collection of hardware, consisting of an Intel Core i7-8650U CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB PCIe SSD, and speaks to Dell's engineering prowess. Assembling a high-end laptop is one thing, but keeping temps and noise in check, while running at top speed and within the confines of its sleek, svelte chassis, is quite another.
If you didn't skip straight to the conclusion, you probably have a good idea what our verdict is going to be. Either way, let's get right to the point—the new Dell XPS 13 (9380) for 2019 sets the bar for laptop design in almost every area. Achieving absolute perfection is not really possible, but Dell gave it a spirited run and got a lot of things right, not the least of which is the repositioning of the webcam. It's finally back at the top where it belongs, and Dell did not have to resort to using a chunky bezel to get it up there. So, no more having to trim those nose hairs before firing up a video chat. Small victories, small victories...
Then there is the excellent InfnityEdge display. Boasting a 4K resolution and HDR support, we continue to be enamored by the XPS 13's IGZO IPS touch panel, which is rivaled only by OLED displays in overall image quality. It's bright and vibrant with exceptionally thin bezels all around. Our only minor gripe is that even though it offers plenty of brightness for everyday content, it doesn't offer full HDR compliant output like some other manufacturers do in this class of ultrabook currently. That's a very minor quibble though, because photos and videos in general look gorgeous on the XPS 13 and its color saturation, contrast and pop are still impressive.
Compared to last year's model, the XPS 13 (9380) is an incremental upgrade, and not an overhaul. That's not a bad thing though. Dell refreshed the hardware, infusing the latest version with Whiskey Lake, and stuck with the same excellent design. One thing that is different, though, is the new Frost White color option, to go along with Rose Gold and Platinum Silver. Both the Frost White and Rose Gold sport an Alpine White interior that is even brighter than last year's model, and we think it looks brilliant.
The new Dell XPS 13 (9380) is fast, quiet, and beautiful. It also commands a premium, as configured for our review of course. It retails for $2,449.99 when choosing the same hardware options as our review model, putting it out of reach for value-conscious buyers. However, you can knock that price down closer to $2,000 by slashing the storage in half (to 512GB) and going with Windows 10 Home instead of Pro. Pricing for the series starts at $899.99 for an FHD config (non-touch with 8th Gen Core i3 and less storage and RAM), so you can still bring a new model home on a tighter budget as well, just obviously with less bells and whistles.
Save for the disappointing step back in battery life for the 4K display model we tested, which Dell might very well improve with a firmware update, the new Dell XPS 13 (9380) is the thin and light laptop to beat right now.