Dell XPS 13 9315 review: The “One” in 13″ ultra-portable Windows laptops

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Earlier this year, I reviewed the Dell XPS 13 Plus, which I called the most fantastic 13″ laptop of 2022. My assessment still holds, but given the price of the 13 Plus, it’s not a laptop everyone will want to spend money on. This is why the Dell XPS 13 9315 exists.

Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

The Dell XPS 13 9315 still holds many of the great attributes of the Dell XPS 13 Plus but at a more accessible price point. Starting at $999, it is $300 less than the 13 Plus but offers nearly the same experience minus the new keyboard and trackpad. The Dell XPS 13 9315 is the “One” most users will feel the most comfortable buying. So let’s jump right into the full review.

Specifications

The Dell XPS 13 9315 sent to us has the following features and specifications:

  • Processor: 12th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-1230U (12 MB cache, 10 cores, 12 threads, up to 4.40 GHz Turbo)
  • Operating System: Windows 11 Home
  • GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  • RAM: 16 GB, LPDDR5, 5200 MHz, integrated, dual-channel
  • SSD: 512GB PCIe NVMe x2 Solid State Drive Onboard
  • Display: 13.4″, FHD+ 1920 x 1200, 60Hz, Touch, Anti-Reflect, 500 nit, InfinityEdge
  • Connectivity: Intel® Killer™ Wi-Fi 6E 1675 (AX211) 2×2 + Bluetooth 5.2 Wireless Card
  • Audio: Dual stereo speakers (tweeter + woofer), Realtek ALC1319D, 2 W x 2 = 4 W total
  • Camera: 720p at 30 fps HD RGB camera, 400p at 30 fps IR camera, dual-array microphones
  • Battery: 3 Cell, 51 Wh, integrated
  • Power: 45W AC Adapter Type-C
  • Keyboard: Umber Backlit English Keyboard with Fingerprint Reader
  • I/O
    • Thunderbolt™ 4 (USB Type-C™ with DisplayPort and Power Delivery) x2
    • USB-C to USB-A 3.0 adapter (included in the box)
    • USB-C to 3.5mm headset adapter (included in the box)
  • Dimensions
    • Height: 0.55 in. (13.99 mm)
    • Width: 11.63 in. (295.4 mm)
    • Depth: 7.86 in. (199.04 mm)
    • Weight: (minimum): 2.59 lb (1.17 kg)

What’s In The Box

  • Dell XPS 13 9315
  • USB-C to USB-A 3.0 adapter
  • USB-C to 3.5mm headset adapter

Design

The Dell XPS 13 9315 design does not stray far from its predecessors. It’s still small and compact but packed with features found on larger laptops. One of the standout features of the XPS 13 9315 is its InfinityEdge display, which allows for a nearly borderless 13-inch screen in a laptop the size of an 11-inch model. More about the display later.

Of course, the Dell XPS 13 9315 is incredibly thin and lightweight, making it easy to take on the go. It features a machined aluminum exterior that not only looks great but provides durability as well. The new Umber color, which is what we have, is beautiful. The color is supposed to be purple, and it is, but it’s not overt and in your face. It is subtle and done well, where you sometimes question if it’s grey.

The Dell logo is still on the lid and center. The bottom shows off the XPS logo, and long rubber feet help keep the laptop off the surface for cooling. The only two ports you will find on this laptop are two Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C with DisplayPort and Power Delivery) ports.

Flipping the lid open reveals the signature Infinity Edge Display, near-bezel-free, that XPS is famous for. The keyboard and trackpad are the same as last year’s model; only the 13 Plus got the futuristic treatment. That doesn’t make the keyboard and trackpad terrible, not at all.

The Dell XPS 13 9315 still has an excellent keyboard and trackpad onboard. The keyboard is chiclet-style and has decent travel, not deep but not super-shallow. It is backlit, which is always a good thing, and it is full-size. There is no number keypad. It is a comfortable and easy keyboard to get used to.

Dell XPS 13 9315
The fingerprint reader could be labeled.

The trackpad is still the same excellent glass trackpad we’ve seen in earlier XPS models. It works great, and you can make adjustments to it in settings. Over the past few years, laptops like the XPS line have done a much better job upping their trackpad game to compete with Apple, and the Dell XPS 13 9315 is no exception.

And here’s a helpful piece of information, the power key is located next to the backspace key. It is unmarked, and it doubles as the fingerprint sensor. I don’t particularly like that it’s not marked as a sensor, but it does work very well.

Finally, there are only two ports on this laptop; that is the price we pay for a thin, small, compact, and lightweight. At least you are provided with two excellent Thunderbolt 4 ports, you can charge from either side, but you will need to use a dongle or hub to connect anything else to the Dell XPS 13 9315.

Overall, the most significant change on the XPS 13 for 2022 is this new Umber color; we love it. The rest of the design and build is about the same; the 2022 model does give you Thunderbolt 4 versus Thunderbolt 3 from last year. Otherwise, Dell didn’t mess with a good thing too much, and this is a familiar look and feel.

Display

Dell XPS 13 9315
Another great Infinity Edge Display

The Dell XPS 13 Plus we reviewed earlier this year housed a higher resolution 3.5K display, while this Dell XPS 13 9315 comes with a more reasonable FHD+ display. I’m OK with this lower-resolution touch display because I increased the zoom on the 13 Plus anyway. Not to mention that this display isn’t going to cost as much.

Although I must admit that editing photos and video in a higher resolution is always a nice thing, but I don’t think many photo and video editors will be considering the smaller XPS; they’ll go for the big boy. Like with most XPS displays, the colors are vibrant, while the black levels are deep and true to life. The white balance is excellent, and there was no yellowing that I could see.

As I always do with any laptop review, I calibrate the display with my DataColor SpydeX Elite, and the Dell XPS 13 9315 required minor adjusting and nothing most people will notice.

Our Dell XPS 13 9315 display showed no light bleed, blooming, or anomalies. Of course, nothing is perfect, so that’s not to say someone may encounter an issue when they purchase their own XPS. In our testing, the XPS 13 looked great and functioned very well. Calibration was excellent, and color accuracy was spot on. The brightness was terrific at 500 nits and was fantastic outdoors in brighter lighting.

Some other reviewers complained that there was no OLED option for the 9315 model, fair enough, I suppose. But I can see where Dell wanted to save that premium option for its flagship and new XPS 13 Plus. I had no issue with this choice because the provided IPS display is fantastic. The refresh rate is also not high, but given that this is a small laptop and a higher refresh rate would chew the battery, it’s a good choice.

This is a touch panel, which I do not use much, so touch feedback is excellent. I would have opted for the one without touch to save even more battery.

Overall, this is a typical XPS display; no, it’s not OLED, 4K, or a high refresh rate. But it is excellent for this size of laptop. If you want more, upgrade to the Dell XPS 13 Plus and pay the money.

Software/Ecosystem

There isn’t much to say here, and most of this section is regurgitated from my 13 Plus review, so here goes.

We are well into the Windows 11 era, and that is what you will get on your Dell XPS 13 9315. Microsoft has been bringing Windows 11 along nicely. I have enjoyed all of their features and improvements to their operating system, especially visually.

As for other added software, Dell has been generally good in this department on its XPS line. There are a few placeholders but no bloatware, except for McAfee. This is always a sore point for me; I’m not too fond of these anti-virus placements and feel users shouldn’t have to deal with them. I prefer all PC makers stop installing these programs on their products.

Besides McAfee, the Dell XPS 13 9315 comes with the usual Microsoft and some Dell-centric pieces of software. You can uninstall McAfee, so there is that.

Performance

Dell XPS 13 9315
Fan slots on the bottom help keep things cool.

The Dell XPS 9315 has an Intel i5 or i7 with RAM options up to 32GB. Ours came with the i5 and 16GB of RAM. I would recommend the i7, which also automatically upgrades the RAM to 32GB. Our unit cost was $1,249, and upgrading to the i7 and 32GB of RAM pushed it to $1,599.

The performance of the i5 is acceptable, but there are some situations where more performance is needed, and the i7 with 32GB will serve you better. The GPU is the Intel Iris Xe Graphics, and it does OK; you must know that if you want or need good graphics performance, this laptop is probably not for you. Go for the bigger XPS 15 or 17.

That all being said, the Dell XPS 13 9315 configured with the Intel i5, Iris Xe, and 16GB of RAM can handle most daily tasks fine. You might experience a performance hit when heavy multitasking with several heavier programs open. If you are a basic office user who needs multiple basic programs running, go for the i7 and 32GB of RAM.

The Dell XPS 13 9315 had no issues handling all the basics most people will throw at it. The basics include but are not limited to web browsing, email, Microsoft 360 apps, YouTube/streaming, and essential functions; all worked well.

As I always do, I tried Affinity Photo on the 9315, and it worked fine. It did have some issues pushing more than a couple of files at a time. I could comfortably edit three of four RAW photos at a time, but anything more, and I had a few stutters. Still, this isn’t a creator laptop, and you will not be happy if you’re buying it for that. Be realistic about what you need a laptop to do, and don’t expect to squeeze performance out of something that isn’t going to give it to you.

Overall, the Dell XPS 13 9315 isn’t a strong as the 13 Plus, but it could have been better with the i7 and more RAM. Still, it is acceptable for basic users and even basic users who may push a few more apps than most.

Speakers/Sound

The speakers on the Dell XPS 13 9315 are the same as the XPS 13 Plus. I was SHOCKINGLY surprised with these speakers. Small 13″ laptops like this rarely give you decent sound, let alone good sound. The Dell XPS 13 9315 speakers are not outstanding, but for the size laptop we’re talking about, these are some of the best speakers on a computer of this size. Don’t get me wrong; if you pit these speakers against a 17″ XPS, you will see that the 17″ laptop has better speakers. But pit the 13 Plus against a similarly sized laptop, and these will stand as the winners.

Overall, outstanding speakers for the size of this laptop. Highs are great, mids are good, and the low end is beefy enough for the size of the drivers.

Camera

This is the same sad 720p camera as the XPS 13 Plus has; the camera and mics are a massive miss for Dell on the XPS lineup. So many people are using video calls these days, and these two areas should be something computer manufacturers are concentrating on. I am disappointed that these things were not improved on a laptop of this pedigree.

Battery Life

The Dell XPS 13 9315 is thin and light; you’ll get less battery life than big and thick because you want thin and light. Still, you can manage up to 13 hours of battery life if you aggressively use the battery-saver features. I left the laptop on Balanced mode, but I did push brightness to max, which gave me an average of 11 hours of battery life. The upside is that the 45W power adapter is minuscule and easy to carry. Considering the size of this laptop, I think it performed average in battery, but that is not bad.

Price/Value

The Dell XPS 13 9315 starts at $999 and can kick it up to $1,599 or more. This is much more affordable than the 13 Plus, which starts at $1,299 and goes upwards of $2,399. There is a lot of value in the XPS 13 9315, and the price point is more agreeable than the 13 Plus.

Wrap Up

I may be off point here, but some of the negative reviews the 9315 has gotten may be because of the 13 Plus. The new Dell XPS 13 Plus is a fantastic-looking and wonderful laptop, and the Dell XPS 13 9315 is your average joe in comparison. But I think the average buyer will be better served with this laptop over the more expensive version. It has all the average user needs at a more agreeable price. Most of my cons are the same cons the 13 Plus had. It’s not a perfect laptop; what laptop is? But it’s the one most people, if considering 13″ laptops, should look at.

Last Updated on December 12, 2022.

Delll XPS 14 9315

Starting at $999

Design

9.5/10

Display

9.5/10

Software/Ecosystem

9.5/10

Performance

9.0/10

Speakers/Sound

9.5/10

Camera

7.0/10

Battery Life

9.0/10

Price/Value

9.5/10

Nailed it

  • XPS design is the top of the heap in Windows PCs
  • Even though this is not the 13 Plus keyboard, it's still a fantastic typing experience
  • XPS displays are still among the best on the market
  • Windows 11 is excellent
  • Fantastic performance for an ultra-portable
  • The Umber color is nice
  • Decent speakers, not great, but for this size of a laptop, decent
  • Fast fingerprint reader

Needs work

  • Limited port selection, you will need dongles
  • McAfee needs to die and shouldn't be preinstalled
  • 720p webcam
  • Fingerprint reader is not labeled
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