$1,303 for a brand-new Tiger Lake XPS 13 at 1,079 Euros? This not only sounds intriguing, but it also is. We examined Dell’s budget-friendly Dell XPS 13 9305. The primary distinction: The XPS 13 9310 has an almost borderless 16:10 display, while the more affordable 9305 has a 16:9 screen. In exchange, the 9305 is somewhat lighter and one millimeter wider and thicker. A 52 Wh battery and two Thunderbolt 4 ports are included with both models. The 9305 also includes a second USB-C port.
In this review, we’ll focus on the model with the Intel Core i5-1135G7, a matte 1080p display, 8 GB of RAM, and a 512 GB SSD. Should the competition, which offers devices priced between 1,200 and 1,600 Euros ($1,449 and $1,932) like the MateBook X and the Spectre X360 13, prepare for conflict?
Dell XPS 13 9305
|Processor:||Intel Core i5-1135G7|
|GPU:||Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 80EUs,|
|Display:||13.30 inch, FHD 1920 x 1080|
|RAM:||8 GB RAM|
|Hard Drive:||512 GB – Samsung PM9A1 MZVL2512HCJQ,|
|Dimensions:||11.89 x 7.83 x 0.63 inches|
pros and cons
- Colorful, Bright display
- Decent Performance
- Decent Audio & Speakers
- Fingerprint Sensor
- RAM and WLAN are soldered and not upgradeable
- Below Average gaming Performance
- There is no shutter for Webcam
Dell XPS 13 9305 Review
We were able to obtain the most basic model, which has a 1080p semi-matte display and costs 1,000 Euros ($1,207). (non-touch). The panel is manufactured Sharp, like before. The average brightness decreases from 479 to 446 candelas as compared to the 16:10 display of the 9310. This is not noticeable; a center screen brightness of just around 500 cd/m2 is still an excellent performance. On battery power, the maximum brightness is just 420 cd/m2, which is not the case with the 9310 (Full HD/4K).
The brightness dispersion has also gotten worse at the same time. At the upper left, we only measure 390 cd/m2, which is almost 100 cd/m2 less than in the screen’s middle. As a result, from 92% and 84% (9310 Full HD and 9310 4K, respectively) to 77%, the brightness distribution decreases. Possible causes of the variations include manufacturing tolerances for panels. From 1,696:1 (9310 4K) or 1,430:1 (9310 Full HD), the contrast decreases to 1,215:1.
Comparing the display to an OLED panel enables us to objectively confirm that the colors still appear vivid enough. The Delta E values are fairly respectable right out of the box: When compared to the 9310 panels, the grayscale and color resolutions are superior at 2.3 and 2.5, respectively.
After calibration using a spectrophotometer, the Delta E value for colors decreases to a bright 1.0, which the 9310 is unable to attain. The panel appears to have great calibration capabilities.
With a rate of 97%, the sRGB color space is virtually entirely filled. 62% of the color space AdobeRGB is covered. The remaining three percentage points don’t matter in practice, even when doing work that requires a lot of images, even though these numbers are a little lower than those of the sibling models.
To lessen brightness, the panel uses PWM, but it does so at a reasonable frequency of 996 Hz. Users that are extremely sensitive shouldn’t pick anything up here. Furthermore, PWM only activates at 20% brightness and lower, which is a situation that may be avoided.
In summary, the Sharp SHP14AE is slightly superior to the Sharp LQ134N1-equipped 9310 since it has a lower Delta E right out of the box. All measurements did not use Dell CinemaColor.
Although not entirely, the semi-matte surface greatly reduces reflections when used outside. You can work outside as long as you stay out of direct sunlight because the effect is still significant compared to reflecting panels. The default setting for battery power brightness is 418 cd/m2, although it appears that this restriction can be removed in the BIOS. However, in our situation, increasing the brightness to 100% had no impact; the battery brightness stayed at 418 cd/m2.
Design & Built
Early in 2020, Dell released the XPS 13 9300, which was the first model to feature the 16:10 aspect ratio. As a result, we now have a 16:9 version; there have been no additional visual improvements. Additionally, Platinum Silver is the only color choice, which is also true for the 9310, at least based on what we can currently see in Dell’s web store. We were reviewing a white XPS 13 9310 at the moment.
The Dell XPS 13 9305 is somewhat wider and one millimeter thicker than the 9310. Because of this, it has a footprint that is quite comparable to the HP Spectre x360 13 and weighs a lot the same.
Dell XPS 13 9305’s speakers are identical to those of the 9310 model. Under the palm rest, on the right and left sides, there is a small gap on each side where they are situated.
The mids and highs are not overly missing and are rather evenly distributed. Even some bass is provided by the speakers, and the compact casing produces an impressive amount of “oomph.” The maker is able to incorporate the chassis’s loudness into the sound production. The sound output is hardly ever stopped by anything, not even covering the speaker apertures.
The Max Audio Pro tool offers several audio improvements as usual. Using Waves Nx, we can produce a surround sound effect. For this, the webcam scans the location of the head, and depending on whether we are standing to the left or right of the webcam, voices or noises are then either louder or softer on the headphones. This creates the illusion of surround sound.
Instead of being adjacent to the camera, the microphone is at the front along the edge of the palm rest. Speech is captured in our test recording clearly and without any background noise. The speaker shouldn’t be moved farther from the laptop though, as doing so makes the recording instantly softer but the background noise stays minimal.
Keypad & Touchpad
The keystroke is quite difficult, in our opinion. In addition, the middle of the keyboard surface gives somewhat under pressure. It is possible to type swiftly thanks to the forceful stroke, and the distinct pressure point offers useful feedback. You might still think the stroke is too soft if you are used to desktop keyboards, even mechanical ones. However, by laptop standards, the stiffness is really good.
The matte surface of the keys has the propensity to feel slick. The keys also don’t have a rubber coating.
The BIOS allows you to permanently enable or disable the keyboard backlight as well as change its duration in steps. When the keyboard or trackpad is used in automatic mode, the backlight automatically restarts.
The distance traveled by the trackpad from the bottom to virtually the center is relatively short. However, because the pressure point is visible and audibly distinct, we receive positive comments.
The Dell XPS 13 9305 has two brand-new CPUs at its disposal in the Tiger Lake Core i5-1135G7 and Core i7-1165G7. Both have Intel Iris Xe iGPUs, the i5 having one with 80 EUs and the i7 having one with 96 EUs. Each quad-core processor has a 28-watt TDP. Depending on the hardware selected, the storage & RAM configuration also varies.
The quad-core Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor utilized in this article is from Intel’s Tiger Lake generation. Although its clock rates range from 2.4 to 4.2 GHz, the performance offered will ultimately depend on the set TDP and the cooling system. The 9305 is set up by Dell with a PL2 of 60 watts and a PL1 of 15 watts, which means that the i5-1135G7 can potentially operate at its peak capability.
The CPU displays increasing starting values that always reset and start to ramp up again after hitting a peak during our Cinebench R15 endurance test. Similar behaviors are displayed by the 9310 i7, however, it begins with a high rate that is never again attained. The 9305 permits some performance to go unused because it is obviously more conservative at the start of a load period. The ThinkPad L13 Yoga demonstrates the versatility of the Intel Core i5-1135G7. It begins with a higher score, but then, on average, it falls behind (605 instead of 650). Since Ryzen CPUs outperform Tiger Lake ones, this is no longer noteworthy. Consider the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7-14ARE as an illustration.
The Dell XPS 13 9305 can only take fourth place in our test field in the PCMark 10 system performance testing. The absolute difference is only 1% to 2%, thus this is irrelevant. The disparities are even greater in the subcategories, where the Ryzen 7 4800U and Tiger Lake Core i7 are superior in terms of Digital Content Creation and Productivity.
Gaming & Graphics
The XPS 13 9305’s internal GPU, the Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7, has 80 EUs and is in charge of rendering picture material. It benefits from a multi-channel arrangement like the one found here and shares memory with the CPU. Xe Graphics G7 80EUs in the 9305 outperforms the Xe Graphics G7 96EUs in the 9310 i7 in the benchmarks, but not in 3DMark 11. The maximum performance mode for Dell was turned on.
The integrated GPU performs admirably in 3DMark, with results that are 5–25% higher than the discrete GeForce MX450 or 60% higher than the Iris Plus G7 featured in the XPS 13 9300. Users shouldn’t anticipate frame rates that are 5% to 25% faster than those of a GeForce MX350/MX450 laptop because it turns out that these synthetic findings don’t convert well to real-world gaming performance.
For instance, playing Final Fantasy 15 and The Witcher 3 on our Dell XPS 13 9305 is by no means faster than playing them on a laptop with the MX450.
One additional connector, a USB Type-C port with DisplayPort, is available on the 9305. There are three Type-C ports as a result, and both TB4 types are located on the left side (without DisplayPort). The 9310 has two TB4 ports with DisplayPort, one on the left and one on the right.
Only the quickest card readers in our tests reached 180 MB/s, indicating that the SD performance is quite good. Internally, they probably operate at USB 3.1 rates. Additionally, inserted microSD cards stick out from the case by less than 2 mm. For our tests, we used a 128 GB Angelbird SD card AV PRO UHS-II V60.
Wi-Fi 6 & Bluetooth 5.1 can be used to connect wirelessly with the XPS. With our Netgear Nighthawk AX12 reference router, WLAN speeds can reach an average of 1,492 Mb/s for receiving data, while an average of 940 Mb/s for sending data is only adequate for the center of our test field.
Dell continues to employ a 0.9 MP low-resolution webcam, like many other manufacturers (720p). As a result, the image quality is poor, and even in well-lit environments, features appear hazy. The photographs have numerous artifacts, and the color reproduction is subpar with a low Delta E value of 16 to 30. The competition, however, doesn’t approach the topic in a more professional manner and also falls behind in terms of detail sharpness and color correctness.
A USB-C to USB-A adaptor, which is still available with the 9310, is not included in the package. Whichever of the three you select, a 65-watt power adapter delivers electricity to a Type-C connector (Power Delivery).
The battery life of the Dell XPS 13 9305 exceeds 9 hours in our real-world Wi-Fi test. This indicates that the 9305’s 56 Wh battery may not be as effective as the 9310 or 9300 models. With more powerful batteries than Apple, Lenovo, Huawei, and HP, 9 hours is also the worst result in the comparative area.
In a situation where you might need full light outside, we ran the Wi-Fi test with maximum brightness. Here, battery life is much shorter at 5:30 hours.
Due to the presence of ExpressCharge, the battery may be fully charged in just 1.5 hours. The Adaptive mode is available in Dell’s Power Manager and can be used to minimize battery utilization (slow charging is preferable): The system will now adjust charging in accordance with regular battery usage, so things will change if you frequently use the device plugged in as opposed to frequently using it in mobile mode.
In the BIOS, there are options for TFT brightness and keyboard illumination. For instance, it is possible to limit the maximum brightness when using battery power, which is also the case by default. However, choosing 100% to disable the brightness reduction had no impact on our test device.
You can customize the keyboard backlight on battery power to never turn off by setting the timeout between 5 seconds and 15 minutes.
Does the Dell XPS 13 9305 provide a lot of features at a reasonable price? Yes, and for that reason, we have no hesitation in endorsing it. Since the vibrant, bright display already exhibits colors well out of the box, calibration is scarcely necessary. Both the casing and the input devices are of the same high caliber as the 9310.
The performance of the Tiger Lake Core i5 is employed to the fullest extent feasible, and Turbo is used for about one and a half minutes. The performance then swings in waves, but it always returns to a high level. This behavior was also seen in the Tiger Lake Core i7 model, despite its stronger starting phase. Despite all of this, even on the equivalent Dell performance mode, the system never really gets noisy.
RAM, however, cannot be upgraded, although the M.2 SSD can. Users ought to be made aware of this at the time of purchase. It was unreasonable to anticipate an upgrade for the 720p webcam’s pixelated quality from a cheap XPS. But this is actually unfortunate because in 2021 the shoddy 08/15 webcam just doesn’t cut it.
We can unequivocally advocate purchasing the Dell XPS 13 9305. No rival in this performance class has a subnotebook that is as flawless and razor-thin for less than 1,100 Euros ($1,335).