The latest iteration of Dell’s popular 13-inch laptop has not just a “Plus” sister model, but also a redesigned chassis with fewer ports.Today, we’ll look at the XPS 13 9315’s entry-level variant. It is unlikely to set any records with an i5-1230U, only 8 GB of RAM, and a 256-GB SSD. Because simplicity is trendy, Intel’s Alder Lake-U CPUs are the sole possibilities, and they match the general concept of the “simple” Dell XPS 13. While this CPU lineup has lower peak and sustained performance, it is extremely energy-efficient due to the huge number of E cores. As a consequence, our test device surpasses the 15-hour barrier in our Wi-Fi test at a lower brightness.
Price and Availability
The 2022 Dell XPS 13 9315 is currently available to buy from Dell’s online store for 999 USD. The Plus variant is available at $1199 USD.
Case – Sleek and Robust
Despite previously favouring sharp edges, things are a little more round this time. The bottom plate has a small curvature and all corners are rounded. With the exception of two type-C connectors, cutting practically all ports allows for a basic design language that is highly resistant to twisting. Although there is some cracking when attempting to spin the base unit from the corners, it seems substantial and robust. The keyboard region is rigid and does not move when pressed. The palm rests, which are rock solid, are the same.
The hinges are sturdy, and they are magnetically kept closed. The lid is difficult to open since there is nothing on the edge to assist you grab it and it flawlessly transitions into the base unit. However, after securing a little space, it is feasible to open the laptop with one hand. During this time, the substantial base keeps the gadget on the table.
The webcam does not have a mechanical or electric shutter accessible through the Fn key. There is a hotkey for the microphone. At the very least, a white LED next to the camera plainly indicates when it is recording. The 1280 x 720 pixel resolution is nothing to write home about – poor quality and severe picture noise even in daylight.
On the Dell XPS 13, there are two authentication methods: Inside the power button is a fingerprint sensor as well as a dual-sensor camera with infrared capabilities. Users can choose face recognition from the Windows settings. When the current user is not there, the laptop can log out automatically if requested. When you come back from lunch, Windows Hello immediately logs you back in.
Accessories and Maintenance
A USB-C-to-USB-A adaptor, an audio dongle for 3.5mm devices, and a 45-watt AC adapter with a fixed type-C connection are included in the box. The type-C connection on the Plus model’s 65-watt AC adapter is modular.
The bottom plate is held in place by six Torx screws (T5) and is simple to remove. The internals appear to be well-organised, and the only maintenance option is to clean the fan. Because the Micron SSD is soldered, it cannot be replaced! In contrast, the M.2-2280 SSD in the XPS 13 Plus may be replaced, but the RAM and Wi-Fi modules remain fixed.
The keyboard stays identical from the 2021 XPS 13, both in terms of feel and layout. It spans the whole width of the base unit, and while the up and down arrow buttons are small, they have haptic indications on them. The secondary layer of the F keys can be utilised for standard functions. It may be switched to permanently by pressing Esc+Fn, which is useful if you don’t use the F1-F12 buttons anyhow. The keys provide firm input that is almost too firm.
The clickpad’s flat surface creates slow, silent clicks. In the upper third of the touchpad, travel is modest and scarcely visible. The slightly recessed pad, which supports the standard two-finger gesture controls, enables a quick workflow. Although it is rather huge (12.7 cm (5 in) diagonally, it is no longer uncommon. Between the palm rests, the clickpad is exactly centred. The mouse replacement cannot be turned off with the Fn key as it is not present.
Our XPS 9315 has the regular Sharp 1920 x 1200 pixel display with the LQ134N1 IPS screen, which has some backlight bleed towards the top edge while showing a totally black image at maximum brightness. Although the average brightness is good, it falls short of the manufacturer’s advertised 500 nits (measured only up to 466 nits). The Plus version’s 4K panel (Sharp LQ134R1) is somewhat brighter (473 nits on average), but it mostly provides better contrast. 1165:1 instead of 1764:1 makes the Plus’s 4K panel the clear winner.
The XPS 13’s CPU is based on the Alder Lake-M processor (9W U series) and has two performance (P cores) and eight efficiency cores (E cores). Because only the P cores offer hyper-threading, 12 threads can be executed at the same time. The P cores run from 1 to 4.4 GHz, while the E cores run at 0.7 to 3.3 GHz. Although an i7-1250U (4.7 GHz) processor is available for the non-Plus XPS model, this does not affect its low-performance nature. If you want the most performance out of your new XPS, there is no way around the XPS 13 Plus, which only has an Alder Lake-P CPU (Core i5-1240P, Core i7-1260P) with 4 performance and 8 efficiency cores.
The Dell XPS 13 with Alder Lake-U flexes its biceps in our Wi-Fi test, lasting over 15 hours at a decreased brightness (150 nits). Even at full brightness, it completes the test in 10:22 hours, which is very surprising given the XPS’s extremely high maximum brightness (406 nits, slightly lower while on battery). Unlike the Plus, the standard XPS notebook has a 51-Wh battery rather than a 55-Wh battery. The Battery Eater load test runs for an abnormally long period at full brightness, which is not surprising given the SoC’s poor performance.