Dell XPS 13 7390 13.3 inch Touchscreen Laptop
The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is a triumph of excellent design and performance. Ultrathin, ultralight, with an exceptional, dazzling display and a processor that absolutely breezes through most tasks, this convertible comfortably ranks as one of the best laptops we’ve ever seen.
Dell, in collaboration with Intel, attempts to produce the perfect laptop, and the XPS 13 2-in-1 definitely makes a good fist of this, putting every single inch of its small form factor to good use. However, the road to perfection is paved with thorns and the XPS 13 does make a few (seemingly) wrong turns.
One of the main flaws of this laptop is that the parts are soldered to the board, so upgradeability is a non-starter. Further to this, the MagLev keyboard is a bit of an acquired taste (and some people never get to acquire this taste) and the absence of a pen in the package is an unpleasant surprise.
Having said all of that, the XPS 13 2-in-1 does offer several significant wins, as you’ll see in this review. The bottom line is, this is an excellent convertible with a few notable flaws.
Design and Appearance
Velvet and steel seems like the best way to describe the overall aesthetic of this ultraportable convertible. Outwardly, the brushed silver finish of this laptop gives it a neat, clean-cut outlook. Depending on configuration, the interior may be soft-touch black carbon fiber or arctic white with woven glass fiber. This laptop is very easy on the eyes, both inside and outside, although the arctic white chassis design will set you back a few extra dollars.
Boasting exceptional build, the XPS 13 feels extremely solid to the touch, offering just the tiniest hint of flex when you lift the lid. By the way, that can be achieved one-handed, with well-adjusted hinges supporting seamless transition between modes. There’s no wasted inch on this laptop and the result is a compact device that’s easy to haul from location to location.
The XPS 13 2-in-1 weighs 2.9 lbs, which is not the lightest. However, it feels solid rather than bulky, and this bodes extremely well for its durability. The power button is located at the right edge of the keyboard, and it also has a built-in fingerprint reader. Unfortunately, the fingerprint reader is a bit hit and miss.
Ports and Connection
The XPS 13 ultraportable sports an extremely light and slim profile, and this understandably leaves it with not much real estate for ports. Yet, the port offerings on this 2-in-1 laptop appear to be more limited than strictly necessary, especially as some of its competitors have managed to find room for extras.
Along both sides of the XPS 13 7390, there are two USB Type-C ports (with Thunderbolt 3 support), a microSD card slot, and a headphone/mic jack. This ensemble doesn’t leave much room for flexibility, as you may have guessed already. Thankfully, Dell includes a Type-C to Type-A adapter in the package, which helps a little.
Wireless communications are handled by an Intel chipset with 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) and Bluetooth 5.0. Support for Wi-Fi 6, which is potentially capable of multi-gigabit-per-second rates, is especially welcome.
Keyboard and Input Devices
Dell tries to recreate the feel of MacBook keyboards with the XPS 13 laptop’s Maglev keyboard. The only problem with this is that not a lot of people are enthused with it. In order to make the keyboard fit in with the slim profile of the laptop, Dell placed tiny magnets under each key that bounce the keys back up after they’ve been pressed.
As a result, the keys offer really shallow travel, and you’ll feel more like you’re tapping on them rather than typing. As we said, it’s a bit of an acquired taste. You may get to like the keyboard after a while, or maybe you won’t. On the plus side, the keys provide great tactile feedback.
The glass touchpad is as smooth and reliable as ever. The touchpad is just the right size, very responsive and accurate, and provides satisfying clicks. All things considered, it’s as close to perfect as possible. Dell offers an additional input device in the form of its flagship Premium Active Pen. The pen is unfortunately not included in the package and would have to be bought separately.
The laptop features downwards-firing speakers, located along the bottom side edges. The natural consequence of this arrangement is that sounds appear muffled when you place the laptop on a desk, or on your laps.
Apart from that, the sound profile of the XPS 13 2-in-1 is great. Dell’s new laptops include bigger twin 2-watt speakers that are substantially louder than prior models. The sound quality was excellent when used with the MaxxAudio Pro program. While it isn’t quite up to the standards set by HP and Microsoft, it rarely disappoints while bingeing on Netflix or streaming music videos online.
One of the XPS 13 2-in-1 laptops’ strong suits is its sleek, gorgeous display. The 13.4-inch screen of this laptop features a novel 16:10 widescreen aspect ratio. Dell offers two display options: a full HD (1920 x 1200) panel with HDR 400 support, and a UHD (3840 x 2400) panel that also offers HDR 400 support. The UHD panel is significantly more expensive than the former option and also drains the laptop’s battery faster.
Our color gamut testing for the full HD display is noteworthy. There is 100 percent coverage for sRGB, 76 percent for AdobeRGB, and 81 percent for DCI-P3. When set to zero percent, the display brightness reaches a maximum of 517 nits and a minimum of 24 nits. These results make the XPS 13 2-in-1 perfect for non-professional studio picture and video editing, as well as the flexibility to work outside. Dell Cinema also adds HDR compatibility to Netflix, VUDU, and the Microsoft Movies & TV app, enhancing the viewing experience.
Dell was able to not only preserve its InfinityEdge display with minimal bezels, same as the non-convertible XPS 13 (7390) but also keep the web camera on top rather than below the screen. In a well-lit room with a wide, non-distorted viewing angle, the camera performs admirably. However, no Windows Hello infrared (IR) camera for facial recognition is included. Instead, you log in to Windows 10 with the fingerprint reader and power button. Face recognition would have been preferred as a choice or alternative, despite the fact that it functioned effectively.
The XPS 13 convertible is equipped with Intel’s Iris Plus graphics. While this is by no means as powerful as discrete NVIDIA or AMD graphics, it’s strong enough to make light work of everyday computing tasks and a few others that require more power. Combined with the laptop’s Ice Lake processor, the XPS 13 7390 fairly breezes through most light content creation tasks.
Whether you’re rendering a 3D picture in Maxon Cinebench, encoding a movie with Handbrake, or adding a series of filters and effects to an image in Adobe Photoshop, the XPS 13 2-in-1 consistently delivers outstanding results, albeit it isn’t the quickest in every situation.
Light gaming is not out of the question as well, provided you reduce expectations and graphics settings.
While the XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop is not a gaming laptop, it can still run older titles quite comfortably. Its Iris Plus graphics give the laptop more oomph than what you’ll get from Intel UHD graphics, and by bringing settings down to the minimum, you can enjoy a pretty decent gaming experience with this laptop.
As usual, Dell has made wild (or optimistic) projections with regards to this laptop’s battery life, but the number that’s closest to reality is 8 hours. That’s pretty decent, and you can easily get a full workday’s use out of it.
Despite the fact that the XPS 13 2-in-1 convertible’s battery life doesn’t quite measure up to the standards set by other Ultrabooks due to its design, thinness, and convertible capabilities, including that Core i7 chip, it should last most people all day. If you choose one with a Core i5 CPU and full HD resolution, you’ll get even longer battery life.
Cooling and Noise Emission
Dell uses a dual-fan configuration for thermal management, and the laptop keeps cool even under heavy loads, with the fans being pleasantly quiet. Nevertheless, the laptop tends to overheat when subjected to prolonged CPU stress.
After a CPU-intensive looping test, temperatures reached 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees C). The laptop, on the other hand, seldom exceeded 90 degrees Fahrenheit in normal use (32 degrees C). The laptop never became too hot or difficult to use.
With such an impressive array of components under its hood, it didn’t come as much of a surprise to us when the XPS 12 2-in-1 passed most of our benchmark tests with flying colors.
The laptop’s 10th Generation Ice Lake processor is its biggest advantage here, and, coupled with 16GB RAM and 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, it’s well equipped to handle most office and even light content creation tasks with maximum aplomb.
Put it through its paces editing pictures and videos and it’ll execute those tasks without missing a beat. We also let it handle a few video transcoding and spreadsheet tasks and it delivered really impressive times. The best part is, it managed to stay cool and calm the whole time.
The XPS 13 convertible is also an ace multitasker. In our tests, it cycled through multiple Google Chrome tabs (with a YouTube video playing in one of them), an open spreadsheet, and a couple of other open programs, and there was no hint of lag.
It did struggle a bit with graphics and processor-intensive programs and games, but that’s par for the course.
Boasting an excellent build, stunning aesthetics, and impressive performance, the XPS 13 2-in-1 convertible looks and feels like the complete package. And while there are a few caveats here and there, it does manage to blow the competition completely out of the water.
While a case can be made for this laptop being the best convertible currently available, it also struggles with a few flaws that diminish its appeal a bit or a lot.
The absence of wriggle room for upgrading the laptop is a real sore point, while the MagLev keyboard still divides opinions. And as we mentioned earlier, the absence of a pen is unlikely to get users jumping for joy.
Look beyond these and you’ll find an excellent device that works as well as it looks, and that can punch well above its weight.