Dell XPS 13 9310 review: Still fantastic but now with OLED

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The Dell XPS 13 is one of our favorite laptops available today. It’s won several awards from us and deservedly so. So when Dell asked if we wanted to take the new Dell XPS 13 9310 for a spin, well, we didn’t say no.

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

Although what we’re reviewing here is essentially the same as the last XPS 13 review, we still wanted to look at the key distinguishing feature of the Dell XPS 13 9310, and that is the OLED display. Most of this review is going to be verbatim from our previous review.

That’s because everything remains the same as the 9300 model, except for the display and a bump in CPU. This is really a review that will only really update the display section. So let’s check out this OLED-packed Dell XPS 13 9310.

Specifications

The Dell XPS 13 9310 sent to us has the following features and specifications:

  • Processor: 11th Generation Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor (12MB Cache, up to 4.8 GHz)
  • GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  • RAM: 16GB 4267MHz LPDDR4x
  • SSD: 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe
  • Display: 13.4″ UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit Display
  • Connectivity: Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650, 2 x 2, Bluetooth 5.0
  • Audio: Waves MaxxAudio Pro
  • Battery: 4-Cell Battery, 52 Whr
  • Keyboard: Backlit
  • I/O
    • 2x Thunderbolt 3 [(DisplayPort / Power Delivery) (4 lanes of PCI Express Gen 3)]
    • 3.5mm Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack
    • microSD card reader
  • Dimensions
    • Height: 0.58″ (14.8mm)
    • Width: 11.64″ (295.7 mm)
    • Depth: 7.82″ (198.7 mm)
    • Weight: 2.64 lbs (1.2 kg) for non-touch; 2.8 lbs (1.27 kg) for touch

What’s In The Box

  • 2020 Dell XPS 13 9300
  • USB-C to USB-A dongle
  • Power cable and adapter
  • Documentation and Warranty

Design

The ultraportable category of PCs tends to produce some impossibly small, thin, and light laptops, and the Dell XPS 13 9310 is the king. I would say, if you didn’t know better, you could mistake this laptop for a toy. Not that it’s cheap or poorly made, mind you, it’s just so small it seems ridiculous.

Most of this machine is made of aluminum, with the keyboard deck constructed of carbon fiber, which gives it a clean and sleek appearance. Our review unit came in the white variant (there is an upcharge for that), but you can get it in silver as well with the black keyboard. I would recommend the white version simply because fingerprints are better hidden than on black.

There are some plastic and rubber materials used on this laptop, but they are also high-quality and well made. Don’t let the toy-like appearance fool you, as this laptop is very well made, and everything feels premium throughout.

The familiar Dell logo is emblazoned dead-center on the lid, its normal and deserved place. The bottom of the laptop doesn’t have much to write home about other than the vents and long rubber feet that keep the Dell XPS 13 9310 planted in place.

Along the right side of the XPS 13 is one of the Thunderbolt 3/USB Type-C ports and the headphone/microphone jack. Along the left side of the XPS 13 are the other Thunderbolt 3/USB Type-C ports. Both ports are power delivery so that you can plug the laptop in on either side. Rounding out the ports on the left is a microSD card slot.

Open the Dell XPS 13 9310 up, and you’re greeted by that carbon fiber deck and full-size chiclet keyboard. The keyboard is comfortable to type on, and it feels pretty natural. It took me some time to get used to the small footprint on my lap, but it wasn’t too difficult to do.

The glass trackpad is fantastic and has great sensitivity and gesture control; Windows laptop trackpads keep getting better. The display is also here; more on that in the next section. The bezels around the display are silly thin, and barely there. Dell made the right choice by moving the webcam back up to the top and removing the much-maligned chin cam.

Overall, just like the LCD version, the Dell XPS 13 9310 is a really beautifully designed ultraportable. It’s insanely thin, crazy light, and sleekly designed.

Dell XPS 13 9310
OLED display outdoors

Display

So this is where the biggest difference lies with the Dell XPS 13 9310, the display. Dell also offers FHD+ and 4K display options over the OLED, but you’re not here for those.

In my XPS 9300 review, I mention that a 4K display is unnecessary and will use more battery; the same can be said about an OLED display. Still, the reason the OLED display exists is that users want it. For those who care more about battery life than the display, the Dell XPS 9310 is probably not for you.

This display is even more vibrant and bright than the 9300’s display, and that makes sense since OLED displays tend to have a deeper color reproduction. While the 9300 had nice blacks, the 9310 gives you that deep midnight black.

The 500-nit brightness is also very nice outdoors and in bright lighting. That is one area this display has over the FHD+ display; it is much better in bright conditions. Viewing angles are great; off-axis viewing by someone next to you is excellent.

The panel on our Dell XPS 13 9310 was also touch-enabled. Touch worked great here, no complaints at all. Responsiveness was spot on and accuracy was on point. I don’t use touch screens all that much, but I do test them quickly. What I generally look for is how quickly my touch is registered and if the display is grabbing the right point of touch. I’m happy to say that this panel has no issues with touch.

One area I do think such a display doesn’t make sense is its resolution. Out of the box, the 9310 comes set to 300% zoom. This is because seeing text on a high-resolution display at its highest resolution is almost impossible.

What these displays are superb for is photo and video editing as well as watching movies. I have found when I am doing normal work; I have to have the display zoomed in. But damn, things do look absolutely amazing when you use this for photos and video.

Overall, the OLED display isn’t necessary for the average user. This display is meant for those who edit photo and video and meant for those who want amazing picture quality when watching movies. I am not saying don’t get it. What I am saying is, know your needs before considering it. You may not need it and find it’s overkill. But if you know you need this, then it is an amazing panel on an amazing laptop.

Dell XPS 13 9310
Size comparison between Dell XPS 13 9310 and 2018 15″ MacBook Pro

Software/Ecosystem

Windows 10 is what ships with the Dell XPS 13 9310, and there’s not much to say about it at all. There have been a few improvements to Windows 10 over the years, but they’re all subtle and not much to talk about.

Although, one notable mention here is that Windows Hello using the webcam works flawlessly on this device. For whatever reason, Windows Hello on other devices (except the 9300) I’ve used didn’t work 100% of the time, but it has never missed a beat on this laptop.

With Windows 11 coming soon, we will have more to say on future laptop reviews about the software. For now, there isn’t much new about Windows 10.

There isn’t a whole lot in terms of bloatware, just the normal stuff that Dell includes. There is nothing that affects the performance of the laptop. Overall, the software experience is good here.

Performance

There are several ways you can configure the Dell XPS 13 9310, and here’s what came inside ours:

  • Processor: 11th Generation Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor (12MB Cache, up to 4.8 GHz)
  • GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  • RAM: 16GB 4267MHz LPDDR4x
  • SSD: 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe

This configuration is more than enough for basic web browsing, word processing, and consuming entertainment. This configuration was also great for light photo editing as I used both Affinity Photo and ON1 Raw while using this machine. I didn’t do any heavy photo editing but could have multiple images open at once while working on them. The fans did kick on every so often while processing images, but everything moved along just fine.

If you’re planning on any heavy photo or video editing, then the integrated Iris Xe graphics probably won’t be great for you. But, I think the majority of users will be satisfied with the performance of this laptop.

The Dell XPS 13 9310 breezed through everyday tasks like web browsing, Word documents, and light photo editing. The performance will depend highly on how you spec the laptop; ours was outfitted with a good balance.

Overall, the performance was great, and I had no complaints about how this laptop handled what I threw at it. I will say, as configured, this is not a pro laptop, but it could be useful as a light and portable editing machine for pros.

Dell XPS 13 9310
Speakers are bottom mounted

Speakers/Sound

The speakers and sound on the Dell XPS 13 9310 are okay. They are a slight upgrade to the 9300, at least on our configuration. But by no means is this blow-your-socks-off sound because the speakers are mounted on the bottom. But, Dell did at least direct these speakers outward, so they actually fire to the sides. Depending on where you set the laptop, this design actually helps the sound tremendously.

Setting the XPS 13 on your lap, the sound gets slightly muffled, but there is a clear difference between these speakers and others directly on the bottom.

Overall, the sound isn’t earth-shattering here. It works. It’s slightly trebly, but it works. I wouldn’t say you will enjoy the sound from a blockbuster movie on these speakers, but for YouTube, podcasts, and even some music playback, they work just fine.

Camera

The Dell XPS 13 9310 sports a basic 720p webcam. Nothing much to talk about there. Most laptop webcams are 720p, including Apple’s insanely expensive Macs. What we can talk about is the fact that Dell moved the camera to the top bezel and got rid of the chin cam action that they had done previously. That is most welcomed, and I think many people will appreciate that.

Overall, this is a basic 720p webcam with nothing much to be thrilled about as it will serve your basic needs using Zoom, Skype, and other video conferencing apps.

Battery Life

While you would expect the OLED display would drain the battery much faster than an LCD, that’s not the case here. This little bugger really performs well. I have gone a day and a half, under light usage (light web browsing, email, Word docs, etc.), without having to charge it.

Even with throwing in light photo editing and watching hours of YouTube videos in the background, I could still get a full day of battery from this guy. I was very impressed with the performance of the battery on the XPS 13. I think most people will be happy with what this battery can do.

It is worth noting; battery life is highly subjective and dependent on how you use the device, what configuration you have (4k panels will drain more battery and LCDsless), and your power settings. I do things that may differ greatly from how you do things, so keep that in mind.

Overall, I’d say the Dell XPS 13 9310 is fantastic on battery, and the majority of people will be super happy.

Price/Value

The Dell XPS 13 9310 sent to us was configured at a price just below US$1600. You can add more RAM and a bigger SSD, and other features that could bring the laptop upwards of US$2,000. The XPS 13 is well worth the money, and you don’t have to get the OLED display, but if you want it, it is worth it.

Wrap Up

The Dell XPS 13 9310 is just as good as the versions without the OLED. If you want to save some cash, you can skip the OLED and get the base display; it’s great as well. But, if you have money to burn, buying the XPS 13 with OLED is a no-brainer.

*We use revenue-generating affiliate links and may earn a commission for purchases made using them. Read more on our disclaimer page.

Last Updated on July 15, 2021.

Dell XPS 13 9310

US$1,549

Design

10.0/10

Display

10.0/10

Software/Ecosystem

9.5/10

Performance

10.0/10

Speakers/Sound

9.0/10

Camera

9.5/10

Battery Life

9.5/10

Price/Value

9.5/10

Nailed it

  • Small, light, and portable
  • Great build quality
  • 11th Gen Core i7 performs fantastically
  • Decent speakers, even though they are bottom mounted
  • Great battery life for such a small ultraportable
  • OLED display is amazing

Needs work

  • Speakers are bottom mounted
  • The small footprint takes some getting used to
  • Limited ports
  • May be pricey for some
Dell XPS 13 9310 FI Techaeris
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