Dell XPS 9350-4007SLV Review

Dell XPS 9350-4007SLV Review

Dell XPS 9350-4007SLV Review

 

The Dell XPS9350-4007SLV is an ultraportable laptop that offers both power and prestige, sporting a sturdy build and a gorgeous QHD+ touchscreen and the latest USB-C and Thunderbolt support.

It sports a slim and light body, and battery life is damn good. Not anymore! The new iteration of the 13.3-inch Dell XPS9350-4007SLV Touchscreen is an ultraportable laptop that gives you the bragging rights and performance to match its looks. The sleek build and brilliant QHD+ touch screen carry over from last year’s Dell XPS 13 Touch model, but to spice things up, it adds a sixth-generation Intel Core i5 processor and the first USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3 support we’ve seen on a laptop. It is our new Editors’ Choice for high-end ultraportable laptops.

 

 

Summary of Key Specifications:

  • CPU: Intel® Core™ i5-6200U 2.3 GHz
  • GPU: Integrated Intel® HD 5500 1080p
  • Chipset: Intel Core i5-6200U (6th Gen)
  • RAM: 8 GB SDRAM
  • Storage: 256 GB SSD
  • Display: 13.3″ (33.78 cm) display, 3200 x 1800
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs
  • OS: Windows 10 Home
  • Webcam: VGA/HDWebcam
  • Wifi: Dual-band 802.11 b/g/n or 802.11 ac
  • Bluetooth: Built-in Bluetooth™ V4.1
  • Audio: Built-in Speakers And Microphone
  • Battery: 56 W AC Adapter W 4-Cell Li-lon
  • Ports: Microphone-in/Headphone-out jack, USB 2.0 ports, HDMI

 

Build and Design:

Overall Score: 7.5/10

 

On the new XPS 13 Touch, you can talk of a beautiful screen in a tiny space. The system is constructed from machined aluminum, clad in a bright-silver top lid and carbon fiber on its palm rest. It has the same dimensions as last year’s Dell XPS 13 Touch model, measuring 0.6 by 12 by 8 inches (HWD), although it is lightly heavier (1.6 ounces to be specific) at 2.8 pounds.

The system is weightier and slightly thicker than the LG gram 14Z950, which weighs 2.08 pound and measures 0.5 by 12.8 by 8.9 inches, although its keyboard and lid have a sturdier feel, with none of the noticeable flex that is distinct in the LG laptop.

Most Apple users will feel the burn, though, in the XPS 13’s panel. For a 13.3-inch screen, a QHD+ (3,200-by-1,800) resolution is nothing short of excellent. The system features a near-invisible bezel that greatly minimizes distractions, whether you’re working on large spreadsheets or watching movies on Netflix. From what we’ve seen so far, the bezel design and higher-resolution display certainly outshines rivals like the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the Lenovo LaVie 360, both of which appear a bit dated in comparison. However, Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 P20W-CST3N02 has a higher-resolution display (at 3,840 by 2,160), but that convertible-hybrid laptop’s other features are less impressive.

The touch screen is very responsive and the full-size, chiclet-style keyboard and one-piece touchpad are comfortable to use. The keyboard deck is solid with no flex; key travel and overall feel are top notch. The keys are backlit, as you’d expect on a premium system. Multitouch gestures are supported on the wide touchpad, if you don’t want to use the touch screen.

Features:

Overall Score: 7.5/10

It is now clear that the MacBook Air has lost its luster, considering that Thunderbolt upgrades usually appear first on Apple machines like the latest MacBook Pro, but now we have the same in a Windows PC. This means that you can connect the system to Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C devices natively, and it will also interface with a DisplayPort monitor, HDMI-equipped displays, Thunderbolt (1 or 2), and USB (2.0 or 3.0) devices with an adapter.

Dell offers a pocket adapter (bought separately) that connects USB-C to Ethernet, HDMI, USB 3.0, and VGA, as well as a desktop Thunderbolt 3 dock, for which pricing has not been confirmed. Other ports include Power (USB-C isn’t used for charging on this laptop), a headset jack, a USB 3.0 port on the left side, and an SD card reader and another USB 3.0 port on the right side. For wireless connectivity, there’s dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

Keyboard and Trackpad:

Overall Score: 8/10

 

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, the XPS 13’s edge-to-edge keyboard is sporting larger keycaps — 9% larger to be exact. Despite the bigger size, the keys are still well-spaced and none of them were downsized to make room. I also like the backlighting that is bright enough for me to make out every key character in a darkened room.

Typing on the keys proved to be a comfortable experience, although I prefer a bit more feedback. Still, I reached 71 words per minute on the 10FastFingers typing test, which is slightly above my 70-wpm average.

My fingers glided effortlessly over the glass Precision touchpad. At 4.4 x 2.6 inches, the touchpad is 17% larger than previous iterations, giving me extra room to navigate web pages. Performing Windows 10 gestures such as pinch-zoom and three-finger swipe were seamless in execution. The bottom corners of the touchpad delivered firm, clicky feedback.

 

Display:

Overall Score: 8/10

 

When you first look at the XPS 13, it’s what you don’t see that you’ll notice before anything else. This marks the first time Dell has ditched all the bezels, including the bottom chin. But Dell didn’t just ditch the thick bottom bezel, it managed to shrink the other three bezels even further, with the side bezels measuring 0.15 and 0.2 inches, respectively, and the bottom bezel slimming down to only 0.18 inches.

In the wake of those barely there bezels, you get a 13.4-inch, 1920 x 1200 touch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio. The panel is 6.8% larger than its predecessor. Somehow Dell managed to give consumers even more visual real estate in a 12.8-inch chassis — all while keeping the webcam smack-dab in the center of the top bezel.

However, Dell’s CinemaColor utility adds a pop of color by adjusting saturation , contrast and white balance via a number of presets (Movie, Evening, Sports and Animation). And if that’s not enough, the laptop also has Dolby Vision to enhance the HDR.

The XPS 13 made up for the slight color deficiency with an average brightness of 417 nits. The notebook easily outshone the 357-nit average and the competition. The MacBook Pro was a close second with 408 nits with the Spectre x360 (369 nits), the Surface Laptop 3 (348 nits) and the Prestige 14 (269 nits) right behind.

 

Performance:

Overall Score: 7.5/10

Our review unit was outfitted with a sixth-generation Intel Core i5-6200U processor with Intel HD Graphics 520. In case you need more processing power, you have the alternative of the Dell XPS9350-5340SLV, which is the same model, only that it comes with an Intel Core i7 processor. In our tests, the XPS 13 returned a good score of 2,450 points on the PCMark 8 Work Conventional test, which is slightly lower than competing systems like the Lenovo HZ550 or the Toshiba Satellite Radius 12. However, on multimedia tests the system eschewed the competition, although it didn’t match the MacBook Air 13-inch’s multimedia scores.

The Dell XPS9350-4007SLV comes with 8GB of memory and a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD). That’s plenty of space for many home users who stream music and videos instead of storing them locally. As a ritual, we had to test its gaming potential. 3D gaming performance in our tests was bad news for gamers. Honestly, that was expected since the integrated Intel HD 520 graphics card is not designed for gaming.

A surprise from a premium laptop, as most competing laptops come with some sort of dedicated graphics engines. With the Dell XPS 15, you really need to keep the settings down and tone the resolution to less than 1920×1080 in order to get smooth frame rates. For instance, we managed ~30FPS on GTA 5 at conservative settings and 720p resolution. Not exactly something hardcore gamers are willing to spend money on, but should suffice for a casual gaming sessions in-between work hours.

Security:

Overall Score: 7.5/10

The XPS 13 has an embedded Fingerprint Reader in the power button for easy login using Windows Hello. It’s a nice, easy way to add an extra layer of security. I do wish Dell had found a way to either add a physical shutter for the webcam or an electronic kill switch. Having to use a piece of tape mars the beauty of those barely there bezels.

Third-party apps include Killer Control Center, which lets you set network bandwidth priority. The laptop also comes with a 20GB of free Dropbox storage for a year. There is, of course, some Windows 10 bloatware such as Netflix, Farm Heroes Saga and Candy Crush Saga. The Dell XPS 13 ships with a one-year hardware warranty with onsite and in-Home service after remote diagnosis.

 

Durability:

Overall Score: 7.5/10

Dell bundled a solid suite of useful branded software with the XPS 13. Dell Power Manager lets you manage power consumption via preset profiles to extend battery life or to squeeze every bit of performance out of the system. Customer Connect is your conduit to a Dell technician if you need system assistance. Digital Delivery keeps track of all your software downloads and restores them after a system wipe or crash.

The company recently updated Dell Mobile Connect so it now plays nice with the iPhone. Now everyone can swap images, documents and videos seamlessly between your smartphone and laptop.

 

Webcam:

Overall Score: 7.5/10

Dell still has one of the smallest integrated webcams in the industry. The 0.1-inch, 720p webcam does a great job capturing color. My warm brown complexion was spot-on in my test shots as was my snow-white sweater. The detail, however, was a mixed bag, with the shooter showing off my sweater’s knit pattern, but making my locks look like long, blurry blobs.

 

Audio:

Overall Score: 7.5/10

This is a great case of big things and small packages. Despite having bottom-mounted speakers, the XPS 13 delivered loud, relatively clean audio. Megan Thee Stallion’s braggadocious flow on “Savage” easily filled my smallish living and dining rooms.

The Waves MaxxAudio Pro software helped provide that pop of bass most laptops this size usually lack. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not going to replace a good pair of headphones or external speakers, but the XPS 13 is fine for watching movies or an impromptu dance party.

 

Graphics:

Overall Score: 8/10

 

The Intel Iris Plus GPU inside the XPS 13 isn’t really designed to handle hard-core gaming, but it works in a pinch. The laptop produced 59 frames per minute (fps) on the Dirt 3 gaming benchmark. That’s just below the 60-fps average, but still higher than the MacBook Pro (38 fps), the Intel Iris Plus GPU-equipped Surface Laptop 3 and the Spectre x360, all of which notched 47 fps. The Prestige, with its Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q GPU, hit 150 fps.

 

Ports:

Overall Score: 7.5/10

 

This is a short section, because the XPS 13 is short on ports. The svelte stunner has a Thunderbolt 3 port on the right with a headset jack. On the left, you’ll find another Thunderbolt 3 port and a microSD slot. That’s it, so if you’re planning on using a mouse or external hard drive, you’re going to need to invest in a USB Type-C.

 

Battery:

Overall Score: 7.5/10

Perhaps the most important feature in a laptop today is battery life. In our tests, the Dell XPS 13 lasted 9 hours 6 minutes, outlasting systems like the older Dell XPS 13 Touch (7:40), the Lenovo HZ550 (7:40), only behind the Apple MacBook Air (14:10); meaning you’re safe if you need a Windows 10 PC.

The laptop lasted a whopping 12 hours and 39 minutes on the test, which consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. The XPS 13 easily outclassed the 8:47 premium laptop average, as well as the Prestige 14 (9:49), the Surface Laptop 3 (9:17) and the MacBook Pro (8:41).

 

Pros & Cons

 

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Attractive, Premium Chassis

  • Powerful Performance

  • No Bezels Whatsoever

  • Excellent Battery Life

Cons
  • Lacks Legacy Ports

  • Keyboard Is Slightly Compressed

  • Weird Placement For Camera

 

 

Conclusion:

n the end, the Dell XPS9350-4007SLV is one of those machines you should consider as you shop around. It packs a sleek, stylish build, a drool-worthy screen, and performance to match its looks. Although there are more compact 11- and 12-inch ultraportables out there, they make concessions for their smaller size, such as a lower-resolution screen, shorter battery life, fewer I/O ports, or a smaller keyboard.

The XPS 13 Touch is only slightly larger, but retains a full roster of features. It’s also lighter and slimmer than the Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch, and sports a sharper display and more storage. That said, the Dell XPS 13 Touch is our Editors’ Choice for high-end ultraportable laptops. If Windows isn’t your OS of choice, however, then the 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro is a fine alternative.

Author’s Personal Verdict:

Smaller, sleeker and sporting the tiniest bezels on all sides, the new Dell XPS 13 shows that Dell still knows how to push the envelope without going too far. It’s an exercise in patient restraint, improving the notebook in a bunch of small ways that add up to a big leap for the system.

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