Dell XPS 13 9370 (2018) Review: Spun Glass, Killer Looks And Speed

Dell XPS 13 9370 - Battery Life, Acoustics And Thermals (Updated)

In the following benchmarks we employ two very different battery life tests, Battery Eater Pro and a custom 1080p HD video loop test developed in-house, to prove out battery life with our test group of machines. In all tests, Windows 10 Quiet Hours has been enabled and the displays are calibrated with lux meters on pure white screens to as close to 115 lux as possible. For the average laptop this is somewhere between a 40 - 60% brightness setting. Since laptop displays significantly affect power consumption and battery life, it's important to ensure a level playing field with respect to brightness of the display for battery testing. However, since many laptop displays vary in brightness at each respective setting in Windows, this calibration with the meter is critical to ensure all displays are set to as near identical brightness as possible before testing.

Battery Life - How We Test:

Our custom HotHardware video loop test takes a 1080p HD video with a 16Kbps bit rate and loops it repeatedly, with 1 minute break intervals in between. A timer log file increments minutes of up-time every minute -- along with the grand total -- before system shutdown is stored in the log. This is a lighter-duty test that is still a bit more strenuous than many office productivity tasks, but it's not nearly a taxing as the load Battery Eater puts on a system.

hh battery test xps 13 2018 rev2

The XPS 13 (9370) configuration we had on hand finished in the upper third of the systems we tested, which is a fairly strong result when you consider the system's configuration. Not only was our test rig packing a true, quad-core Intel Core i7, which put up some of the best benchmark scores we've seen from an ultrabook to date, but it's got a full 4K (3840x2160) resolution multi-touch display and a slightly smaller battery than the late-2017 model, for a slightly lighter weigh-in number of just 2.68 pounds. Undoubtedly, a 1080p variant of the machine would likely score even better in this test. Watch this space as we are hoping to update these numbers with the empirical data to prove this out.

Update - 1/4/2018 - 10:16PM: This page has been updated to reflect battery life testing results for the Dell XPS (9370) 2018 model with a 1080p non-touch display and Intel Core i5-8250U quad-core processor. As you can see, this model of the new XPS 13 offers even better up-time of over 8.5 hours of HD video playback utilizing the VLC video player. We will be updating our Battery Eater tests as well, shortly.

Battery Eater Pro wears systems down more quickly by placing a heavy load on all subsystems, including processor, graphics, memory and even some minor file transfers to storage. This is truly a worst-case test that will give you a sense of how a machine will hold up under heavy strain, like when gaming or under taxing, continuous content creation workloads, for example.

bep xps 13 2018 update

The new XPS 13 moved up a couple of rungs in the Battery Eater Pro test. What's most surprising, is that even with additional CPU cores and a higher resolution display, the new XPS 13 is able to offer more battery life than previous-generation ultrabooks, with less than the half of the CPU resources and only 1080p resolution displays.

Update - 1/6/2018 - 1:20PM: We've now updated the Battery Eater test with Dell's new XPS 13 1080p display-based model. It's now our top machine lasting over three and a half hours in this battery beat-down, worst-case benchmark. 

XPS 13 (2018) Acoustics & Thermals

Noise output was not a concern with the new XPS 13. Under normal working conditions, tooling around with office-type applications or browsing the web, the system's fans rarely spin up to audible levels. And when they do spin up with these lighter-duty workloads, the noise output and pitch of the fans is relatively low and unobtrusive. Under a sustained, heavy load, the fans in the new XPS 13 will kick into a higher gear and they are more audible over the drone of a typical office environment, but we would not consider this machine loud by any means.

dell xps 13 white heat keyboard

dell xps 13 white heat bottom

Thermals with the new XPS 13 aren't a concern either. To produce these heat maps, we looped the multi-threaded Cinenech R15 benchmark continuously and recorded the skin temperatures with an infrared thermometer. The warmest part of the machine was the upper-left quadrant of the keyboard (which corresponds to the lower-left quadrant of the underside), but even then it was only 103°F, which is just barely warm to the touch. The wrist rest and touch-pad area remain relatively cool, as does the front-half of the underside of the machine. Dell put a major focus on its cooling solution with this latest iteration of the XPS 13, and it has clearly paid off -- not only in terms of absolute performance, which our benchmarks have shown, but in the thermal and acoustic characteristics of the machine as well.

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