Dell XPS 13 2-In-1 (2019) Review: A Near-Perfect Intel 10th Gen Laptop

Dell XPS 13 7390: Storage, CPU, General Productivity Benchmarks

For the first time in recent memory, our test subject is equipped with something other than an 8th-generation Whiskey Lake processor. For quite a while now we've been looking at Core i5-8250U or Core i7-8665U test results, and notebooks have had a hard time distinguishing themselves from one another from a performance perspective. This is the first notebook on the market with Intel's 10nm CPUs, and we'll see if the long wait for Ice Lake has been worthwhile. Let's dive in.

ATTO Disk Benchmark
Peak Sequential Storage Throughput

Dell has equipped the XPS 13 7390 with NVMe Toshiba 512 GB SSD. Along with Samsung, Toshiba makes some of the fastest solid-state storage around. Let's see how this system handles it.

chart atto disk

Much like other systems with 512 GB SSDs that have made their way through our offices, the primary storage in the XPS 13 7390 is pretty darn fast. In absolute terms, it doesn't quite keep up with the Samsung PM981a drives we saw in flagship ultrabooks from Lenovo or HP, but in typical use cases we don't think anybody will notice the difference. The system reads data at over 2 GB per second and writes it a little bit more than a full gigabyte per second. That's speedy no matter how you slice it, and the system boots extremely quickly with this integrated solid state storage. No problems here, so let's move on.

Speedometer Web Application Benchmark
Browser Performance

We recently moved on to's Speedometer test, which takes a holistic look at web application performance. This test automatically loads and runs several sample webapps from using the most popular web development frameworks around, including React, Angular, Ember.js, and even vanilla JavaScript. This test is a better example of how systems cope with real web applications, as opposed to a pure JavaScript compute test like JetStream. All tests were performed using the latest version of Chrome. 

chart speedometer

Right out of the gate, and despite the apparent CPU clock speed deficiency, Dell's XPS 13 7390 is the single fastest quad-core notebook we've tested in Speedometer. This system absolutely tore through the test, and the only PC that edged it out–the XPS 15 7590–uses a 45 watt Core i9-9980HK CPU. The margin of victory over Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th-gen was only around 8%, but that edge persisted through several runs. 

Cinebench R15 and R20
3D Rendering Performance
Cinebench R15 is a 3D rendering benchmark that tests both the CPU and GPU engines in the processor. Cinebench is developed by Maxon, which is better known for its Cinema 4D software employed in professional 3D rendering and animation studios. We use both of Cinebench’s integrated tests for CPU and GPU.

chart cinebench r15

Much like Speedometer, the XPS 13 7390 eclipsed all other PCs with integrated graphics by a few percentage points. Again, this PC is the single-fastest quad-core notebook we've tested in Cinebench R15. More impressive is the graphics score, which came in at just under 73 frames per second. This is around 45% faster than any of the systems with Intel's UHD 620 graphics, and within arm's length of HP's Zbook 14u G6 with AMD workstation-class Polaris graphics. We're off to a great start here.

The latest version of Maxon's rendering benchmark, Cinebench R20, takes longer to complete, so this is a better test of the XPS 13 7390's cooling system. This release also drops the OpenGL test, making Cinebench a pure CPU test this time. We tested both single-threaded and multi-threaded performance. 

chart cinebench r20

As a purely CPU-focused benchmark, Cinebench R20 separates pretty clearly between classes of CPUs. The Core i5s generally trail the Core i7s, which then receive a good thump from the Core i9 behemoth at the top. Interesting to note that the Core 7-1065G7's win isn't entirely clean among ultraportable CPUs, since it cedes the single-threaded crown to Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon. The Core i7-8665U's victory is short-lived, though, because when it comes to all four cores, the Ice Lake CPU dominated its predecessor by more than 15%. This CPU is pretty darn fast, folks.

Geekbench 4
Single and Multi-Core Performance
Geekbench 4 is a cross-platform benchmark that simulates real world processing workloads in image processing and particle physics scenarios. We tested the notebooks featured here in Geekbench's single and multi-core workloads.
chart geekbench4

From a single-core perspective, the Core i7-1065G7 in the XPS 13 7390 did well on Geekbench, but it wasn't really a world-beater. However, in multi-threaded loads it again makes the best of its situation, beating all other quad CPUs by around 8%. It seems like Ice Lake is doing a better job of getting the most out of its 15 watt TDP when all of the cores are working their hardest. 

PCMark 10
Productivity and System-level Benchmarking
PCMark 10 uses a mix of real-world applications and simulated workloads to establish how well a given system performs productivity tasks, including image and video editing, web browsing, and OpenOffice document editing.  While these scores appear to be all over the place, the systems are sorted by their overall PCMark score, which is the third (gray) bar in each cluster. 
chart pcmark 10

The only systems in our list which Dell's new convertible trails all have discrete graphics. Since PCMark puts whatever GPU a system uses to work, this is no small feat. The combination of the Sunnycove CPU architecture plus Iris Plus graphics even places the XPS 13 7390 ahead of systems with low-end discrete MX150 and Quadro 620 graphics. The previous integrated graphics champion, which itself is an earlier iteration of an XPS 13, trails in the Digital Content Creation test by nearly 20%. That should give us a pretty good indication of how much improvement we see in the new 11th-generation graphics when we get to graphics-focused benchmarks. 

Speaking of graphics, and while the XPS 13 7390 isn't a gaming machine, we're going to take a look at what road warriors can expect from the comfort of their hotel rooms next.

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