Dell XPS 13 Review Late 2015: Refreshed With Skylake

Power Consumption & Battery Life

In order to explore real-time power consumption with Skylake, we turned to CPUID's HWMonitor tool. HWMonitor actually records a number of useful parameters, but for our purposes we will focus on total Package Power consumption.

xps13 hwmonitor stats
HWMonitor readings while idle

With HWMonitor open, we switched to battery power and ran through a couple of our benchmarks before letting the notebook idle.  We pushed power consumption to a peak 13.99W, with an average of 12.5W or so consumed while under load.  As for idling, the package hovers just around 0.75W and fluctuates between the minimum of 0.52W and about 0.9W. With a 56kWh battery, this translates to hours of battery life, even under load.

Batter Life Testing
BEP and Web Browsing

In order to explore what all those power measurements translate to we run two very different tests.  The first, Battery Eater Pro, is a worst case scenario as it hammers the CPU, GPU, memory and storage over and over until the battery is depleted.  In our second test, we load up a webpage and let it refresh every few minutes while we record how long the system can hold out on battery power.  For both tests we set screen brightness to 50%, turn on Quiet Hours to suppress the notification system, and enable battery saver at 20% with the backlight adjustment setting disabled. Let's see how it stacks up.

xps13 battery eater pro

xps13 web browsing battery

Battery Eater Pro initially looks like not much has changed between generations.  In truth though, remember that the Skylake CPU is doing a good deal more work than its Broadwell counterpart because it is a faster overall CPU. Unfortunately, this didn't carry over in the web browsing test.  Battery life is certainly still solid, with over six hours of use, but it just doesn't live up to the previous generation's nearly 8 and a half hours.  That said, this test is not purely scientific and it is impossible to control all variables. Display brightness and the number of pixels lit up with this display are significantly higher than many notebook products in the market. In fact, you might find you can turn down the display brightness on the XPS 13 and still achieve a comfortable viewing experience. We have also seen a few BIOS updates during our testing, so Dell could still be tuning things further here. It is an area where we might expect to see improvements with future updates.

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