Dell XPS 13 (2019) Review: A Refined 6-Core Ultrabook

Dell XPS 13 (2019) 7390: Performance Summary and Conclusions

Performance Summary: Overall, the new Dell XPS 13 7390 performed very well on CPU-intensive tests. With workloads that can utilize all six cores to their fullest, Dell's newest ultraportable represents the cream of the crop. It easily bested any 8th-generation system with just four cores, and more often than not came out ahead of the Ice Lake equipped system. The XPS 13 7390 also did a nice job on lightly-threaded workloads thanks to its sky-high maximum turbo speeds with Intel's Comet Lake CPU on board. Storage is another strong suit thanks to its NVMe PCIe x4 SSD. Battery life was also strong, lasting more than six full hours on our test. 

xps 13 7390 with charger

Where the XPS 13 fell down a but is in terms of graphics performance, through no fault of Dell's. We've been reviewing notebooks based on Intel's Gen9 graphics architecture for years, and it shows. We'd have really liked to see this system come with some sort of improved graphics processor, but we understand why a more powerful discrete GPU solution isn't offered in a thin-and-light machines like this one. Fortunately that's the only performance caveat we were compelled to point out. 

There is a whole lot to like in the latest Dell XPS 13. The system's diminutive size coupled with a gorgeous 4K touch-enabled display make for a very portable package with a display that's easy on the eyes. Intel's 10th-generation Comet Lake CPUs have lots of horsepower thanks to six cores and Hyper Threading. Our review unit had plenty of RAM and primary storage, and they both performed admirably. Being able to upgrade primary storage down the road is definitely nice too. 

The overall design of the XPS 13 hasn't been updated much, but it's a really good looking system that ticks almost all the right boxes. In particular, we like that it's not going to draw a lot of eyes with gaudy logos. The silver-and-black default finish has been around for a while, and the premium carbon fiber and aluminum body are both lightweight and sturdy. If you do want some more bling, the rose gold and arctic white finishes should attract a lot of attention with their woven fiberglass bodies. 

If we're picking nits (and we have to), graphics performance is a bit of letdown with such a powerful processor inside. While that's always true of an integrated graphics processor, Intel's next-gen graphics tech in the Core i7-1065G7 left us wanting for more here. Fan noise was also a little troublesome, but it required a very heavy load outside the scope of most ultraportables. Under a normal load, the fans spun up but were unobtrusive. It's also a little unfortunate we can't upgrade the RAM later on, but LPDDR3 doesn't grow on SO-DIMMs, and the motherboard is so compact as to eliminate the possibility anyway.

Despite that small list of shortcomings, the Dell XPS 13 gets you an awful lot of PC for the buck. Our test unit had that six-core Core i7-10710U processor, 16GB of LPDDR3-2133 memory, a 512GB SSD powering a gorgeous, bright 4K IPS touch-enabled display. There's tons of extras here, too, like the latest Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth support, a decent HD webcam and microphone array, and good audio for having such small laptop speakers. 

The good news is you don't have to break the bank to bring an XPS 13 home. Pricing starts at $999, which gets you a Core i3 processor, 4 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD with a non-touch 1080p IPS display. Upgrades add up, but considering the display and performance, our test unit's configuration is pretty reasonable at $1,699. When compared with Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon and especially against a MacBook Pro (both of which are still using 8th-gen CPU tech), the XPS 13 is a good value. 

Summed up, the Dell XPS 13 7390 is a premium laptop in every way, from its understated industrial design and razer-sharp 4K IPS touch-enabled display to its excellent performance. While we really miss Dell's Ice Lake processor options from the 2-in-1 version, we're still confident in bestowing this machine a HotHardware Recommended award.

  • 6-core 10th Gen Intel processor in a 15W TDP
  • Sleek industrial design and light weight
  • Excellent InfinityEdge 4K IPS display with multi-touch support
  • Remarkable CPU performance
  • Great battery life
  • Premium materials and build quality
  • Middling graphics performance
  • Fan noise when the CPU is under heavy load
  • No USB-A ports
  • Higher end configurations are pricey

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