Notebookcheck

Dell XPS 13 9380 2019 (i5-8265U, 256GB, UHD) Subnotebook Review

Sebastian Jentsch, 👁 Sebastian Jentsch (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 01/30/2019

Better with Whiskey? The webcam is back at the top. But is that all for the 2019 XPS 13 from Dell? Not at all, because the dual-fan solution ensures good – although not stable – performance utilization we rarely see among such slim laptops. Update: Review is complete.

There is a new version of Dell's popular XPS 13. The 13.3-inch device with the footprint of a 12-inch laptop from a few years ago is still one of the thinnest, lightest, and most mobile working devices you can currently get. Dell targets mobile power users and enthusiasts with its XPS lineup, and there is no shortage of competitors from Apple, Lenovo, HP, Huawei, or Fujitsu. The air has become thin in the subnotebook market.

We check the mainstream SKU of the new XPS 13 9380 with a Whiskey Lake Core i5-8265U, 8 GB RAM, 265 GB SSD storage (SK Hynix, NVMe), and a touch panel with 3840x2160 pixels. Dell currently offers this spec for 1600 Euros (~$1829).

We will update this live review over the next couple of days. We are looking forward to your feedback and you can tell us specific aspects you would like us to check. What do you want to know and what should we test in addition to our standard benchmark suite?

Changelog:

  • 01/30/2019: CPU performance: Whiskey Lake comes out on top, but only under sustained workloads!
  • 01/31/2019: Case, build quality, rating, ports, communication, webcam, input devices
  • 02/01/2019: Display
  • 02/04/2019: Power consumption, speakers, emissions, GPU, verdict

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Dell XPS 13 9380 2019 (XPS 13 Series)
Graphics adapter
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Core: 300 MHz
Memory
8192 MB 
, LPDDR3-2133 Dual Channel (8GB soldered, not upgradeable)
Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 3840 x 2160 pixel 331 PPI, 10-point capacitive, ID: AUO 282B B133ZAN Dell: 90NTH, IPS, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel Kaby Lake-U Refresh IMC
Storage
SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG, 256 GB 
, NVMe, 159 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Cannon Lake-H/S - cAVS (Audio, Voice, Speech)
Connections
3 USB 3.1 Gen2, 2 Thunderbolt, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo audio, Card Reader: MicroSD reader, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Brightness Sensor
Networking
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174 (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 4.2
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 11.6 x 302 x 199 ( = 0.46 x 11.89 x 7.83 in)
Battery
52 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p
Additional features
Speakers: 1 W x 2 stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Quick Start guide, Warranty card, USB Type-C to Type-A adapter, Dell CinemaColor, Power Manager, Customer Connect, Mobile Connect, MaxxAudioPro, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.226 kg ( = 43.25 oz / 2.7 pounds), Power Supply: 243 g ( = 8.57 oz / 0.54 pounds)
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case – Webcam is back at the top of the XPS 13

Dell XPS 13 9380 - solid as a rock – excellent!
Dell XPS 13 9380 - solid as a rock – excellent!

Dell put the webcam back at the top of the screen, which will be good news for many users. The manufacturer used an extremely small webcam module, which is hardly visible. Right next to the webcam is a tiny white LED that lights up when the webcam is active.

Dell introduced a new color for the 2018 XPS 13: rose gold. It is still available, while the more common choice is the silver version (our test unit). The lid is matte and made of magnesium. The palm rests have a carbon-fiber finish. It is smooth to touch but is still velvety and provides good grip. The advantage of this dark surface is that fingerprints are only an issue when you have very greasy fingers.

The optional color version differs a bit, because it has an aluminum lid in this color and palm rests made of woven glass fiber in Arctic White. We used a 9370 in this color and know that it does not attract dirt any worse than the black model, but the dirt is more visible. This model definitely requires more cleaning.

You will have to clean the white gaps between the keys on the rose-gold SKU from time to time. This is no problem, though, since pressed keys are flush with the keyboard frame.

Dell does not offer any other colors for the XPS 13, only silver and rose-gold (in combination with white surfaces).

The stability of the base unit and the screen is excellent. Pressure from behind is no problem for the screen and even concentrated pressure at the center does not result in a distorted picture. There is only minor twisting when we try really hard, while the base unit itself is extremely sturdy. We did not hear any creaking sounds when we tried to twist it. We cannot even dent the bottom cover, which is secured by Torx screws. All in all, Dell delivers a very sturdy and well-built device.

Dell XPS 13 9380 2019 silver
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019 silver
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019: Still weighs 1.22 kg
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019: The design did not change
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019: Same dimensions; 11.6 mm slim
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019: The subnotebook has a fan
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019: Good keyboard feedback
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019: With USB Type-C, Thunderbolt 3 and DisplayPort via Type-C...
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019: ...as well as microSD reader

The competitors are pretty even in terms of weight, the only exception is the Fujitsu LifeBook U930 at just 930 grams. However, the latter has a more flexible lid in return, but the base is very sturdy and well-built. If you want an extremely light device: The LG Gram 13 (0.939 kg) and the Samsung Notebook 9 (0.817 kg) are comparable to the Fujitsu.

It looks like Dell did not try to make the XPS 13 as light as possible but preferred stability and the resulting high-quality impression instead. This is also the case for Apple's MacBook Pro 13 2018 at 1.4 kg, even though our XPS 13 is a bit lighter at 1.22 kg. The weight did not change compared to last year's model. You can see why when you open the chassis, because the internal layout of the two devices, including the motherboard, battery, and cooling, is identical.

The XPS 13 with the 1080p screen is slightly lighter at 1.21 kg due to the lack of a touchscreen.

Size Comparison

310 mm / 12.2 inch 229 mm / 9.02 inch 17.7 mm / 0.697 inch 1.3 kg2.93 lbs307.7 mm / 12.1 inch 209.8 mm / 8.26 inch 17.4 mm / 0.685 inch 1.1 kg2.51 lbs309 mm / 12.2 inch 212.5 mm / 8.37 inch 15.5 mm / 0.61 inch 920 g2.03 lbs307 mm / 12.1 inch 212 mm / 8.35 inch 14.9 mm / 0.587 inch 1.2 kg2.67 lbs304.1 mm / 12 inch 212.4 mm / 8.36 inch 14.9 mm / 0.587 inch 1.4 kg3.02 lbs302 mm / 11.9 inch 199 mm / 7.83 inch 11.6 mm / 0.4567 inch 1.2 kg2.7 lbs286 mm / 11.3 inch 211.1 mm / 8.31 inch 15 mm / 0.591 inch 1.3 kg2.87 lbs

Connectivity – XPS Ultrabook with Thunderbolt 3

We are already familiar with the situation from the 9370: The standard USB ports as well as the full-size SD reader have been replaced by three USB-C ports and a microSD reader. This is not uncommon for slim laptops, including the MateBook 13 (15 mm) or the Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 (15.5 mm).

If you prefer a wider selection of ports, you have to get a laptop with a thicker case. Models like the HP EliteBook 830 G5 as well as the Envy 13 and the ThinkPad X280 offer ports like USB Type-A, HDMI, and even Ethernet, but at the cost of thicker cases at 18, 15, and 17 mm, respectively, compared to 12 mm for the XPS 13.

Fujitsu's LifeBook U938 offers a pretty good compromise between slim chassis (15.5 mm) and older ports (HDMI, USB Type-A, RJ45).

The two Thunderbolt 3 ports share a single PCIe-x4 connection (3rd gen 4-lane PCI-Express). All three USB ports can be used for charging, and the two Thunderbolt 3 connectors can double as video outputs (DisplayPort via adapter), so you can attach two external screens.

Right side: microSD reader, USB Type-C Gen.2, 3.5 mm stereo jack
Right side: microSD reader, USB Type-C Gen.2, 3.5 mm stereo jack
Left side: Noble Lock, 2x USB Type-C + Thunderbolt 3 (share one PCIe-x4-connection)
Left side: Noble Lock, 2x USB Type-C + Thunderbolt 3 (share one PCIe-x4-connection)

SD Card Reader

We use our reference card from Toshiba (Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II) to test the performance of the microSD reader. The maximum transfer rate is 192 MB/s when we copy large files, while typical jpeg images (about 5 MB each) are transferred at 184 MB/s. 

These are excellent results and easily beat the competition (if they have a card reader) and is similar to the predecessor, while laptops like the Huawei MateBook 13 or Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 do not have a card reader at all.

The microSD card is not completely flush with the chassis and protrudes by ~1 mm, which is no problem when you transport the device.

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
184 MB/s ∼100%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 64 GB UHS-II)
180 MB/s ∼98% -2%
Dell XPS 13 9370 i7 UHD
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro UHS-II)
156.4 MB/s ∼85% -15%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
137.4 MB/s ∼75% -25%
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 microSDXC 64GB)
78.3 MB/s ∼43% -57%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
  (Toshiba Excerie Pro M501)
76.8 MB/s ∼42% -58%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (8 - 186, n=116)
61.7 MB/s ∼34% -66%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Dell XPS 13 9370 i7 UHD
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro UHS-II)
207.16 MB/s ∼100% +8%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 64 GB UHS-II)
204.9 MB/s ∼99% +6%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
192.6 MB/s ∼93%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
165.3 MB/s ∼80% -14%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
  (Toshiba Excerie Pro M501)
86.1 MB/s ∼42% -55%
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 microSDXC 64GB)
86 MB/s ∼42% -55%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (17.7 - 251, n=119)
78.4 MB/s ∼38% -59%

Communication

Dell ships its new XPS 13 with the Wi-Fi module Killer 1435 by default. HWiNFO shows the Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174 (ac), which supports Bluetooth 4.2 + HS according to the spec sheet. The chip supports MU-MIMO technology with 2x2 antennas. The transfer rates are lower compared to the Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 or the Lenovo ThinkPad X280. Otherwise, we did not have any issues in combination with our test router Linksys EA8500.

Killer Control Center - Adjust priorities
Killer Control Center - Adjust priorities
HWinfo: Killer 1435 and Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174 are listed
HWinfo: Killer 1435 and Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174 are listed
Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
752 (min: 651, max: 774) MBit/s ∼100% +44%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
634 MBit/s ∼84% +21%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
588 MBit/s ∼78% +12%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (30.9 - 950, n=120)
535 MBit/s ∼71% +2%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
525 MBit/s ∼70% 0%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
524 (min: 459, max: 576) MBit/s ∼70%
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265
510 MBit/s ∼68% -3%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
667 MBit/s ∼100% +12%
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265
611 MBit/s ∼92% +3%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
598 (min: 271, max: 625) MBit/s ∼90% +1%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
594 (min: 579, max: 616) MBit/s ∼89%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
557 MBit/s ∼84% -6%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (36 - 949, n=120)
528 MBit/s ∼79% -11%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
525 MBit/s ∼79% -12%
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620Tooltip
; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø523 (459-576)
; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø594 (579-616)

Webcam

After many complaints from users, Dell put the webcam back on top of the screen. However, the quality of the tiny module did not improve, and the resolution is still stuck at 1280x720 pixels. Images are washed-out and the quality is only sufficient for basic video chats. Colors look pretty real, but the camera has problems with edges and surface structures, they look washed-out and lack any form of structure (see wooden flower).

1280x720 pixels - now back above the screen
1280x720 pixels - now back above the screen
The colors are okay…
The colors are okay…
…but there is a lot of picture noise…
…but there is a lot of picture noise…
…and surfaces are grainy up to washed-out.
…and surfaces are grainy up to washed-out.

Accessories

The box includes a small USB-C/USB-A adapter as well as a quick-start guide. Dell does not include a protective sleeve or a cleaning cloth.

Useful: USB-C/USB-A adapter
Useful: USB-C/USB-A adapter
The small PSU as cable reel with housing
The small PSU as cable reel with housing

Maintenance

The bottom cover is once again secured by eight Torx T5 screws. It is pretty easy to remove it, but you should be careful not to damage the small plastic hooks. We recommend using a sharp object to remove the bottom cover.

You get access to the two fans, the CMOS battery, the battery as well as the replaceable M.2-2280 SSD. The Wi-Fi module on the other hand is soldered onto the motherboard.

A sharp object is recommended to lift the bottom cover.
A sharp object is recommended to lift the bottom cover.
You get access to the battery (screwed)…
You get access to the battery (screwed)…
…and the replaceable M.2-2280 SSD.
…and the replaceable M.2-2280 SSD.
The two fans and the CMOS battery
The two fans and the CMOS battery

Warranty

Dell offers comprehensive service options. The base warranty of 12 months can be expanded all the way up to four years. Please see our Guarantees, Return policies and Warranties article for country-specific information.

Input Devices

Keyboard

Both the illuminated keyboard and the trackpad are identical to the previous model. However, the keys of the rose-gold SKU have smooth and transparent plastic caps (9370). The size of the trackpad (~10.5 x 5 cm) as well as the individual keys (~1.6 x 1.6 mm) and the key travel (1.3 mm) are identical as well.

The key stroke is on the firm side and only the center of the keyboard gives in, but this requires some force. It is no problem to type quickly and the well-defined pressure point ensures good feedback. You might even think the keys are too soft if you are used to desktop keyboards, maybe even mechanical models. Still, it is pretty firm for a laptop keyboard.

The keys have a matte surface and can be a bit too slippery. They are not rubberized.

You cannot activate the illumination permanently, but you can deactivate it permanently. It automatically turns on when you use the keyboard or the touchpad.

The familiar XPS 13 keyboard…
The familiar XPS 13 keyboard…
…with two-stage illumination.
…with two-stage illumination.

Touchpad

The trackpad has a limited travel from the bottom up to the center, but the feedback is still good thanks to the well-adjusted and audible pressure point. The surface is smooth and fingers glide easily across.

ClickPad with limited travel
ClickPad with limited travel

Touchscreen

The 2019 XPS 13 does not use the IGZO touchscreen (SHP144A) from Sharp but uses an IPS screen from AUO (B133ZAN). The panel sits behind a layer of glass, which creates a visible gap between the surface and the pixels. We did not experience any issues with touch inputs (up to 10 inputs are recognized simultaneously). Fingers easily glide across the surface and the screen is very responsive. The glossy surface is obviously prone to fingerprints and has to be cleaned on a regular basis.

QHD touchscreen, now provided by AUO
QHD touchscreen, now provided by AUO
Touch layer
Touch layer

Display - Dell Ultrabook now with AUO panel

Something changed: The Dell Ultrabook does not use a 13.3-inch panel from Sharp (4K SKU 2018: SHP148B, LQ1331D1), but it uses one from AUO (B133ZAN Dell: 90NTH) instead. The specs are identical, and you still get a resolution of 3840x2160 pixels.

The 10-finger touchscreen of the XPS 13 4K (capacitive) uses an IPS screen with a glossy surface, is illuminated by LEDs (WLED) and it has a luminance of 340 nits and a contrast ratio of 1800:1 according to panelook.com. Dell advertises different numbers with a 1500:1 contrast ratio and a luminance of 400 nits.

Our measurements show a lower contrast ratio. The black value is a bit high at 0.37, which results in a contrast ratio of "just" 1092:1. This is almost identical to the XPS 13 9370 i7 UHD with the Sharp panel (113:1). The 1080p screen manages a higher contrast ratio of 1646:1 (9370).

The good news: The AUO panel does not use pulse-width modulation (PWM) for brightness control. This was still the case for the 2018 Sharp panel, albeit at a comparatively high frequency. 

The luminance is a bit lower; the XPS 13 9370 i7 UHD was 20% brighter on average. We measure 404 nits at the center of the screen of our 9380 with an average result of 389 nits. Backlight bleeding is slightly visible at the lower right corner, but it is only visible at the maximum luminance on a dark image. We increased the exposure time significantly for the picture below.

Subpixel array AUO B133ZAN Dell: 90NTH
Subpixel array AUO B133ZAN Dell: 90NTH
Contrast ratio: 1092:1
Contrast ratio: 1092:1
Clouding (picture taken at max. luminance and long exposure time)
Clouding (picture taken at max. luminance and long exposure time)
390
cd/m²
412
cd/m²
430
cd/m²
368
cd/m²
404
cd/m²
388
cd/m²
364
cd/m²
381
cd/m²
366
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
ID: AUO 282B B133ZAN Dell: 90NTH
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 430 cd/m² Average: 389.2 cd/m² Minimum: 17 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 85 %
Center on Battery: 404 cd/m²
Contrast: 1092:1 (Black: 0.37 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.72 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6, calibrated: 2.06
ΔE Greyscale 4.44 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
93% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 60% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.34
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
ID: AUO 282B B133ZAN Dell: 90NTH, , 3840x2160, 13.3
Dell XPS 13 9370 i7 UHD
ID: Sharp SHP148B, Name: LQ133D1, Dell P/N: 8XDHY, , 3840x2160, 13.3
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
SHP1484, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
APPA03E, , 2560x1600, 13.3
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
B125HAN02.2, , 1920x1080, 12.5
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Sharp LQ133M1JW28, , 1920x1080, 13.3
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
IVO M133NVF3-R0, , 1920x1080, 13.3
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
M133NVF3 R0, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Huawei MateBook 13 i7
Chi Mei CMN8201, , 2160x1440, 13
Response Times
-21%
-18%
16%
25%
23%
35%
40%
19%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
58 (26, 32)
69.6 (32.4, 37.2)
-20%
62.4 (32.4, 30)
-8%
46 (21, 25)
21%
40 (22, 18)
31%
43 (21, 22)
26%
36 (18.8, 17.2)
38%
31 (15, 16)
47%
43.2 (22, 21.2)
26%
Response Time Black / White *
36 (20, 16)
44 (24.4, 19.6)
-22%
45.6 (24.4, 21.2)
-27%
32 (17, 15)
11%
29.6 (16.4, 13.2)
18%
29 (16, 13)
19%
24.8 (14, 10.8)
31%
24 (14, 10)
33%
32 (18, 14)
11%
PWM Frequency
3759 (20)
1008 (20)
118000 (75, 150)
217 (20)
1020 (99)
1000 (90)
Screen
12%
10%
34%
-18%
6%
-8%
19%
5%
Brightness middle
404
478.5
18%
428
6%
519
28%
344
-15%
344
-15%
316
-22%
289
-28%
366.6
-9%
Brightness
389
466
20%
405
4%
504
30%
313
-20%
320
-18%
326
-16%
310
-20%
360
-7%
Brightness Distribution
85
86
1%
87
2%
95
12%
82
-4%
77
-9%
85
0%
85
0%
93
9%
Black Level *
0.37
0.43
-16%
0.26
30%
0.33
11%
0.25
32%
0.31
16%
0.19
49%
0.23
38%
0.39
-5%
Contrast
1092
1113
2%
1646
51%
1573
44%
1376
26%
1110
2%
1663
52%
1257
15%
940
-14%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
3.72
3.09
17%
3.8
-2%
1.4
62%
4.7
-26%
2.72
27%
4.5
-21%
1.64
56%
2.76
26%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
7.38
5.94
20%
7.2
2%
2.8
62%
19.4
-163%
5.92
20%
12.1
-64%
3.31
55%
6.19
16%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
2.06
2.06
-0%
2.9
-41%
0.99
52%
1.53
26%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.44
2.4
46%
4.4
1%
2.2
50%
2.2
50%
2.74
38%
5
-13%
1.71
61%
4.2
5%
Gamma
2.34 94%
2.063 107%
2.21 100%
2.22 99%
2.16 102%
2.38 92%
2.22 99%
2.32 95%
2.22 99%
CCT
7095 92%
6883 94%
7067 92%
6908 94%
6252 104%
6794 96%
6018 108%
6291 103%
6271 104%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
60
69.47
16%
62.8
5%
77.3
29%
41.2
-31%
61
2%
57.9
-3%
52
-13%
63.2
5%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
93
98.36
6%
96.4
4%
99.99
8%
64.1
-31%
94
1%
87.3
-6%
82
-12%
97.6
5%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-5% / 7%
-4% / 6%
25% / 31%
4% / -11%
15% / 9%
14% / -1%
30% / 22%
12% / 7%

* ... smaller is better

vs. AdobeRGB: 60%
vs. AdobeRGB: 60%
vs. sRGB: 93%
vs. sRGB: 93%

The color gamut is pretty much identical at 60% AdobeRGB and 93% sRGB; the Sharp SKU from 2018 still managed 98% sRGB.

The color accuracy ex-works is a bit worse, more precisely the grayscale performance. The DeltaE deviation increased to 4.4, while the Sharp panel managed 2.4 out of the box. However, this problem can be solved by calibration (photospectrometer), and the DeltaE value (grayscale) was reduced to 1.0.

Calibration also helps to improve the high color deviation of 3.7. We determine 2.0 after calibration, which means the color accuracy is almost perfect (target color space sRGB).

As always, we linked the color profile (ICC file X-Rite i1Pro 2) of our XPS 13 9380 with the 4K panel in the box above. Please make sure that your device uses the same panel (AUO B133ZAN). Otherwise, the color accuracy will probably be worse.

CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale calibrated
CalMAN Grayscale calibrated
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps calibrated
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps calibrated
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker calibrated
CalMAN ColorChecker calibrated

You can use the Dell XPS 13 with the touch panel in the sun, but there are limitations. The maximum luminance of ~400 nits (which is reduced to 363 nits on battery) is certainly sufficient, but the glossy screen surface quickly becomes an issue. You will have to search for a place in the shade to see the display content comfortably. The 1080p screen also has a glossy screen, but at least our 2018 SKU was a bit brighter, so it might be favorable outdoors.

The luminance is reduced to 363 nits on battery power. It is the default setting in the BIOS (F2: Video/LCD Brightness) and can be deactivated, so the brightness is identical on mains and battery.

Dynamic Backlight Control is once again included and was formerly known as Content Adaptive Brightness Control (CABC). This feature, which helps to save power by dynamically adapting the brightness based on the screen content, was a big annoyance in the past. Users reported flickering screens and Dell had to deploy a tool to deactivate CABC.

Now, you can just deactivate DBC (CABC) in the BIOS, both on battery as well as mains. The BIOS shows the note "if the panel supports it". So far, we did not find out whether our UHD screen supports CABC in the first place.

We deactivated DBC for our battery runtime test to ensure a fixed luminance of 150 nits (Wi-Fi test), which corresponds with 35% of the maximum luminance on our test unit.

The Dell Ultrabook in daylight
The Dell Ultrabook in daylight
The capacitive touchscreen is glossy
The capacitive touchscreen is glossy
XPS 13 9380 now with a touch panel from AUO
XPS 13 9380 now with a touch panel from AUO

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
36 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 20 ms rise
↘ 16 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 92 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (24.9 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
58 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 26 ms rise
↘ 32 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 93 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (39.7 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9370 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

The viewing angles are on the expected level for an IPS screen. The brightness drops a bit from wider angles, but there are no noteworthy color shifts, even from extreme viewing positions.

Viewing angles Dell XPS 13 4K UHD Touch
Viewing angles Dell XPS 13 4K UHD Touch

Performance – Whiskey Lake in the 2019 XPS

Dual-fan cooling for the Intel Core i5-8265U (Whiskey Lake quad-core)
Dual-fan cooling for the Intel Core i5-8265U (Whiskey Lake quad-core)

Dell ships its XPS with a powerful processor. The quad-core Intel Core i5-8265U based on the Whiskey Lake architecture is supported by 8 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD from SK Hynix. Our test unit is equipped with the UHD touchscreen, which has a native resolution of 3840x2160 pixels.

It is the mainstream SKU of the Dell XPS 13 that costs about 1600 Euros (~$1829). Dell also offers the XPS 13 with a Core i3 for the first time, with the Intel Core i3-8145U. The entry-level spec with 128 GB SSD storage, 1080p screen (non-touch) and only 4 GB RAM currently starts at 1100 Euros (~$1257). The most-expensive SKU is available for 1950 Euros (~$2229) and comes with a Core i7-8565U, 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD storage. This model uses the same 4K UHD (3840x2160) InfinityEdge touchscreen from our test unit.

Our SKU with the high-resolution display and the Core i5 should be a popular choice for many customers, and the system performance is more than sufficient for most common (and even professional) tasks.

CPU-Z: CPU
CPU-Z: CPU
CPU-Z: Cache
CPU-Z: Cache
CPU-Z: Mainboard
CPU-Z: Mainboard
GPU-Z: UHD 620
GPU-Z: UHD 620
HWinfo: Summary
HWinfo: Summary
LatencyMon
LatencyMon

Processor

The Intel Core i5-8265U quad-core processor is a ULV chip (TDP 15W) based on Intel's Whiskey Lake architecture. The processor runs at a base frequency of 1.6 GHz, but it can reach up to 3.7 GHz (all four cores), 3.8 GHz (two cores), or 3.9 GHz (one core) via Turbo Boost.

The Whiskey Lake architecture of the Core i5-8265U processor does not differ much from the previous Kaby Lake architecture used for the 2018 XPS 13. The per-MHz performance is identical, but the improved manufacturing process of Whiskey Lake allows higher clock rates. In theory, the higher frequency of the 8265U should be faster than the previous Core i5-8250U processor in our CPU benchmarks. However, this is not the case: The Cinebench R15 Multi test shows both CPUs are similarly fast, and the new chip is only 3% ahead in the Single test. This is the case for one benchmark run, but the Whiskey Lake chip is ahead under sustained workloads.

As always, the interesting question is whether the cooling solution can maintain the performance when the load period is longer. Slim subnotebooks often struggle with this task, and the initial high performance (Turbo Boost) often drops by 15-30%, which results in lower benchmark scores compared to the initial run. So what about the 2019 XPS 13?

The processor starts with 3.7 GHz in the Cinebench R15 Multithread, but it drops to 3.3-3.4 GHz after a couple of seconds. This level can be maintained for the first four minutes, because the chip warms up to 99 °C and occasionally has to reduce the clocks down to 2.5 GHz. The CPU cools down to 80 °C in these periods, before it increases the clock and warms up to almost 100 °C again.

The first picture shows the development of the temperature and the processor frequency with the Optimized performance mode. The second picture shows the same data with the performance mode Ultra. The average clock is pretty much identical, but the behavior changes: The periods with higher clocks than 2.5 GHz are longer, but the clock climbs slower in return.

Cinebench R15 Loop, Mode: Optimized
Cinebench R15 Loop, Mode: Optimized
Cinebench R15 Loop, Mode: Ultra-Performance
Cinebench R15 Loop, Mode: Ultra-Performance
Sustained load: Comparison mode Cooling (red) vs. Optimized (green)
Sustained load: Comparison mode Cooling (red) vs. Optimized (green)
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660670680690700Tooltip
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019 Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel Core i5-8265U: Ø614 (574.66-670.36)
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5 Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel Core i5-8250U: Ø593 (543-676.82)
Dell XPS 13 9370 i7 UHD Intel Core i7-8550U, Intel Core i7-8550U: Ø597 (581.49-636.79)
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5 Intel Core i5-8259U, Intel Core i5-8259U; macOS Software Update: Ø688 (666.16-693.55)
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5 Intel Core i5-8259U, Intel Core i5-8259U; macOS: Ø579 (560-607)
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00 Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel Core i5-8250U: Ø538 (523.46-671.14)
Fujitsu Lifebook U938 Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel Core i5-8250U: Ø504 (501.01-528.9)
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA Intel Core i7-8550U, Intel Core i7-8550U: Ø530 (526-566)
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng Intel Core i7-8550U, Intel Core i7-8550U: Ø445 (425.56-530.84)
Huawei MateBook 13 i7 Intel Core i7-8565U, Intel Core i7-8565U: Ø581 (538.98-696.8)

The results of the Cinebench R15 loop show an advantage for the Ultra mode, but the difference is small: 574 up to 666 points (Optimized, 597 on average) vs. 518 up to 672 points (Ultra mode, 614 on average). The Ultra mode also has bigger fluctuations.

All in all, Dell is able to utilize the performance of the Whiskey Lake i5 very well, but the high clocks often result in core temperatures close to 100 °C. The previous model 8250U behaved differently and the performance in the CB loop was lower. We have already seen more conservative CPU settings, which lost between 15-30% percent after the first iterations. Our XPS 13 only loses 8% of its original performance (~14% for the previous 9370).

A quick look at the competitors in the subnotebook segment also shows that the XPS 13 i5 performs very well and is only beaten by the Apple MacBook Pro 13 (i5-8259U).

Our results were determined on mains, but the CPU frequency is much lower on battery power. 1.8-2.6 GHz in the Multi test and 1.4-1.8 GHz in the Single test only results in 535 or 114 points, respectively, which is a deficit of 20 (Multi) and 23% (Single).

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Huawei MateBook 13 i7
Intel Core i7-8565U
175 Points ∼100% +18%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
Intel Core i7-8550U
169 Points ∼97% +14%
Dell XPS 13 9370 i7 UHD
Intel Core i7-8550U
165 Points ∼94% +11%
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
Intel Core i7-8550U
160 Points ∼91% +8%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
Intel Core i5-8259U
154 Points ∼88% +4%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U
  (111 - 164, n=27)
154 Points ∼88% +4%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
Intel Core i5-8265U
148 Points ∼85%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
Intel Core i5-8250U
145 Points ∼83% -2%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Intel Core i5-8250U
144 Points ∼82% -3%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Core i5-8250U
144 Points ∼82% -3%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (20 - 185, n=272)
116 Points ∼66% -22%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
Intel Core i5-8259U
687 Points ∼100% +3%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
Intel Core i5-8259U
608 Points ∼89% -9%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
Intel Core i5-8250U
684 Points ∼100% +3%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Intel Core i5-8250U
669 Points ∼97% 0%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
Intel Core i5-8265U
666 Points ∼97%
Huawei MateBook 13 i7
Intel Core i7-8565U
650 Points ∼95% -2%
Dell XPS 13 9370 i7 UHD
Intel Core i7-8550U
639 Points ∼93% -4%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U
  (457 - 750, n=29)
590 Points ∼86% -11%
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
Intel Core i7-8550U
531 Points ∼77% -20%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
Intel Core i7-8550U
530 (min: 526, max: 566) Points ∼77% -20%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Core i5-8250U
529 Points ∼77% -21%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (32 - 757, n=282)
338 Points ∼49% -49%
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
666 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
51.9 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.8 %
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
148 Points
Help

System Performance

PCMark 10 Dell XPS 13 9380 Core i5-8265U
PCMark 10 Dell XPS 13 9380 Core i5-8265U

The combination of solid state drive, quad-core processor, and dual-channel memory ensures a responsive user experience. The integrated GPU is powerful enough for older or less-demanding games.

We determine very good results in the synthetic PCMark benchmarks, but we did not expect anything else. Our XPS 13 is only beaten by the Huawei MateBook 13 (Whiskey Lake i7), which has an advantage thanks to its dedicated MX150 GPU (PCMark 10 score +13%).

Interesting: The 2019 XPS 13 is just slightly (if at all) faster than the XPS 13 9370 FHD i5. Potential buyers should keep that in mind before they spend their money, it's possible that a 2018 XPS 13 could be the better choice. We will pick this topic up in the final verdict and give our recommendation.

PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
Huawei MateBook 13 i7
GeForce MX150, 8565U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
3645 Points ∼100% +17%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
3125 Points ∼86%
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SK Hynix BC501 HFM512GDJTNG
3071 Points ∼84% -2%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
3058 Points ∼84% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
3048 Points ∼84% -2%
Dell XPS 13 9370 i7 UHD
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
2994 Points ∼82% -4%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
Iris Plus Graphics 655, 8259U
2975 Points ∼82% -5%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
2945 Points ∼81% -6%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (2067 - 3210, n=22)
2936 Points ∼81% -6%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
2711 Points ∼74% -13%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (534 - 3704, n=87)
2440 Points ∼67% -22%
Productivity
Huawei MateBook 13 i7
GeForce MX150, 8565U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
7281 Points ∼100% +19%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
6529 Points ∼90% +7%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
6393 Points ∼88% +5%
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SK Hynix BC501 HFM512GDJTNG
6378 Points ∼88% +5%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
6101 Points ∼84%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
6079 Points ∼83% 0%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (2941 - 6556, n=22)
6033 Points ∼83% -1%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
5926 Points ∼81% -3%
Dell XPS 13 9370 i7 UHD
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
5475 Points ∼75% -10%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1014 - 7281, n=87)
5201 Points ∼71% -15%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
Iris Plus Graphics 655, 8259U
4390 Points ∼60% -28%
Essentials
Huawei MateBook 13 i7
GeForce MX150, 8565U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
8382 Points ∼100% +4%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
8033 Points ∼96%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
8015 Points ∼96% 0%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
7988 Points ∼95% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
7845 Points ∼94% -2%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (5073 - 8689, n=22)
7774 Points ∼93% -3%
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SK Hynix BC501 HFM512GDJTNG
7614 Points ∼91% -5%
Dell XPS 13 9370 i7 UHD
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
7410 Points ∼88% -8%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
Iris Plus Graphics 655, 8259U
7364 Points ∼88% -8%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
7149 Points ∼85% -11%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (2062 - 9402, n=87)
6760 Points ∼81% -16%
Score
Huawei MateBook 13 i7
GeForce MX150, 8565U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
4344 Points ∼100% +13%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
3860 Points ∼89% +1%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
3835 Points ∼88%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
3816 Points ∼88% 0%
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SK Hynix BC501 HFM512GDJTNG
3802 Points ∼88% -1%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
3764 Points ∼87% -2%
Dell XPS 13 9370 i7 UHD
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
3728 Points ∼86% -3%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (2247 - 3985, n=22)
3698 Points ∼85% -4%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
3514 Points ∼81% -8%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
Iris Plus Graphics 655, 8259U
3284 Points ∼76% -14%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (743 - 4344, n=90)
3127 Points ∼72% -18%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
5116 Points ∼100% +19%
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SK Hynix BC501 HFM512GDJTNG
5069 Points ∼99% +18%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
4906 Points ∼96% +14%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
4868 Points ∼95% +13%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
4747 Points ∼93% +10%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (4302 - 4927, n=18)
4744 Points ∼93% +10%
Huawei MateBook 13 i7
GeForce MX150, 8565U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
4709 Points ∼92% +9%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
Iris Plus Graphics 655, 8259U
4399 Points ∼86% +2%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
4302 Points ∼84%
Dell XPS 13 9370 i7 UHD
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
4125 Points ∼81% -4%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1283 - 5363, n=212)
4042 Points ∼79% -6%
Home Score Accelerated v2
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SK Hynix BC501 HFM512GDJTNG
4051 Points ∼100% +15%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
3994 Points ∼99% +13%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
3948 Points ∼97% +12%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
3676 Points ∼91% +4%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
Iris Plus Graphics 655, 8259U
3665 Points ∼90% +4%
Huawei MateBook 13 i7
GeForce MX150, 8565U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
3616 Points ∼89% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
3574 Points ∼88% +2%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
3519 Points ∼87%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (3150 - 4244, n=19)
3503 Points ∼86% 0%
Dell XPS 13 9370 i7 UHD
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
3371 Points ∼83% -4%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1027 - 4211, n=240)
3034 Points ∼75% -14%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3519 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4302 points
Help

Storage Devices

The 256 GB SSD from SK Hynix carries the designation PC401 HFS256GD9TNG, which is an NVMe-PCIe M.2 drive. You can use 159 GB for your own files after the initial setup.

The SSD manages pretty high transfer rates but cannot quite compete with the Samsung SSD PM981 and PM961 (ThinkPad X280 / HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA; +56%). Even the Toshiba XG5 (XPS 13 9370) from 2018 was faster overall (+47%), which is caused by the comparatively low sequential read/write results.

256 GB SSD from SK Hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
256 GB SSD from SK Hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
The SSD is covered by a metal plate
The SSD is covered by a metal plate
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
 
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
Samsung SSD PM961 1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVLW1T0)
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
SK Hynix BC501 HFM512GDJTNG
Huawei MateBook 13 i7
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
Average SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
 
CrystalDiskMark 5.2 / 6
47%
3%
58%
-32%
56%
6%
100%
12%
Write 4K
84.57
128.22
52%
43.24
-49%
125.3
48%
80.49
-5%
108.5
28%
112.9
33%
159.4
88%
102 (84.6 - 123, n=8)
21%
Read 4K
38.52
48.09
25%
14.07
-63%
43.5
13%
26.14
-32%
40.53
5%
38.69
0%
47.31
23%
40.9 (38.5 - 43.3, n=8)
6%
Write Seq
556.7
1088.31
95%
887.23
59%
112
-80%
396.8
-29%
1026
84%
653.9
17%
1899
241%
673 (305 - 820, n=8)
21%
Read Seq
1393
1876.58
35%
1514.79
9%
2273
63%
473.1
-66%
2080
49%
641.9
-54%
2173
56%
1464 (1177 - 1677, n=8)
5%
Write 4K Q32T1
339.5
367.07
8%
225.3
-34%
640.8
89%
264.2
-22%
451
33%
305.9
-10%
368.1
8%
294 (202 - 385, n=8)
-13%
Read 4K Q32T1
255.4
411.88
61%
346.53
36%
392
53%
244
-4%
269.7
6%
351.6
38%
525.9
106%
302 (255 - 383, n=8)
18%
Write Seq Q32T1
557.6
1077.6
93%
858.8
54%
1903
241%
464.6
-17%
1770
217%
868.5
56%
1914
243%
760 (558 - 829, n=8)
36%
Read Seq Q32T1
2541
2770.7
9%
2915.4
15%
3398
34%
525.2
-79%
3214
26%
1683
-34%
3487
37%
2561 (2359 - 2620, n=8)
1%
AS SSD
6%
90%
-41%
114%
12%
119%
-19%
Copy Game MB/s
617.61
717.14
16%
275.8
-55%
991.03
60%
282
-54%
981.8
59%
423 (296 - 618, n=6)
-32%
Copy Program MB/s
287.93
327.46
14%
163.91
-43%
421.94
47%
243.99
-15%
385.59
34%
357 (210 - 540, n=6)
24%
Copy ISO MB/s
893.32
1067.63
20%
442.42
-50%
2451.75
174%
859.96
-4%
1799.53
101%
748 (539 - 893, n=6)
-16%
Score Total
1479
3774
155%
885
-40%
3910
164%
1961
33%
4147
180%
1423 (1373 - 1479, n=8)
-4%
Score Write
471
1553
230%
419
-11%
1801
282%
883
87%
1871
297%
450 (415 - 516, n=8)
-4%
Score Read
704
1497
113%
306
-57%
1433
104%
698
-1%
1502
113%
679 (628 - 717, n=8)
-4%
Access Time Write *
0.051
0.036
29%
0.057
-12%
0.031
39%
0.037
27%
0.032
37%
0.1111 (0.051 - 0.51, n=8)
-118%
Access Time Read *
0.061
0.041
33%
0.099
-62%
0.04
34%
0.061
-0%
0.041
33%
0.1118 (0.04 - 0.46, n=8)
-83%
4K-64 Write
300.07
162
-46%
1308.86
336%
308.75
3%
1571.24
424%
712.48
137%
1571.07
424%
290 (266 - 350, n=8)
-3%
4K-64 Read
460.96
957
108%
1217.77
164%
235.66
-49%
1143.58
148%
610.64
32%
1257.1
173%
452 (431 - 474, n=8)
-2%
4K Write
105.65
20
-81%
105.25
0%
73.85
-30%
115.57
9%
98.37
-7%
118.45
12%
100 (88.5 - 116, n=8)
-5%
4K Read
39.74
9.7
-76%
47.2
19%
24.41
-39%
47.17
19%
38.35
-3%
55.51
40%
38.9 (34.4 - 42.2, n=8)
-2%
Seq Write
657.79
1694
158%
1384.87
111%
364.45
-45%
1140.62
73%
720.49
10%
1812.34
176%
593 (500 - 721, n=8)
-10%
Seq Read
2034.83
1442
-29%
2315.96
14%
455.47
-78%
2423.1
19%
494.33
-76%
1888.96
-7%
1882 (1228 - 2224, n=8)
-8%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
47% / 47%
5% / 4%
74% / 78%
-37% / -37%
85% / 93%
9% / 10%
110% / 112%
-4% / -8%

* ... smaller is better

SK hynix PC401 HFS256GD9TNG
Sequential Read: 1481 MB/s
Sequential Write: 648.2 MB/s
512K Read: 862.8 MB/s
512K Write: 338.2 MB/s
4K Read: 36.89 MB/s
4K Write: 91.55 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 264.9 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 302.1 MB/s

GPU Performance

The performance of the familiar UHD Graphics 620 is above average in the synthetic benchmarks, and 3DMark Cloud Gate score is higher compared to the similar iGPU in the Lenovo ThinkPad X280, HP EliteBook 830 G5 or Fujitsu LifeBook U938.

Still, the overall performance level is low; we have to take a look at the GeForce MX150 from the Huawei MateBook 13 to see how much GPU performance a subnotebook can offer (+110%).

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Huawei MateBook 13 i7
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8565U
4514 Points ∼100% +149%
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8550U
3512 Points ∼78% +93%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655, Intel Core i5-8259U
3044 Points ∼67% +68%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1821 Points ∼40% 0%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
1815 Points ∼40%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1776 Points ∼39% -2%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
1728 Points ∼38% -5%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (1235 - 2006, n=169)
1714 Points ∼38% -6%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1657 Points ∼37% -9%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (230 - 4905, n=360)
1272 Points ∼28% -30%
3DMark
2560x1440 Time Spy Graphics
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8550U
843 Points ∼100%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655, Intel Core i5-8259U
624 Points ∼74%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (85 - 1130, n=36)
493 Points ∼58%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (299 - 431, n=30)
355 Points ∼42%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Huawei MateBook 13 i7
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8565U
3586 Points ∼100%
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8550U
2874 Points ∼80%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655, Intel Core i5-8259U
2070 Points ∼58%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
1280 Points ∼36%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1197 Points ∼33%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1169 Points ∼33%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (557 - 1401, n=136)
1125 Points ∼31%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1100 Points ∼31%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (222 - 3726, n=241)
1050 Points ∼29%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Huawei MateBook 13 i7
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8565U
21260 Points ∼100% +110%
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8550U
17325 Points ∼81% +71%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655, Intel Core i5-8259U
14343 Points ∼67% +42%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8265U
10126 Points ∼48%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
9711 Points ∼46% -4%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-8550U
9470 Points ∼45% -6%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
9291 Points ∼44% -8%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (6910 - 11436, n=154)
9137 Points ∼43% -10%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (1484 - 22615, n=269)
7646 Points ∼36% -24%
3DMark 11 Performance
2053 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
9514 points
Help

Gaming Performance

We have a look at some modern and older standard titles to evaluate the gaming performance of the XPS 13 with the UHD Graphics 620. It can confirm the good synthetic results, but other devices are sometimes a bit faster. Overall, however, all the comparison devices are pretty much on par, and the UHD Graphics 620 is no graphics adapter for gaming.

This is also supported by our colorful benchmark table below. Games with high and medium hardware requirements are not playable on the XPS laptop. The Huawei MateBook 13 with the discrete MX150 would be the better for choice for this scenario (compare BioShock Infinite).

BioShock Infinite - 1366x768 Medium Preset
Huawei MateBook 13 i7
Intel Core i7-8565U, NVIDIA GeForce MX150
110.3 fps ∼100% +195%
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
Intel Core i7-8550U, NVIDIA GeForce MX150
84.2 fps ∼76% +125%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
Intel Core i7-8550U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
37.79 fps ∼34% +1%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
37.4 fps ∼34%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
36.69 fps ∼33% -2%
Dell XPS 13 9370 i7 UHD
Intel Core i7-8550U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
34.6 fps ∼31% -7%
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
34.1 fps ∼31% -9%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (11.5 - 45.5, n=154)
32.4 fps ∼29% -13%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (8 - 110, n=184)
32.2 fps ∼29% -14%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
29.8 fps ∼27% -20%
Thief - 1024x768 Very Low Preset
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (16.3 - 34.3, n=10)
24.3 fps ∼100% +2%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
23.9 fps ∼98%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (5.9 - 47, n=33)
19.5 fps ∼80% -18%
Rise of the Tomb Raider - 1024x768 Lowest Preset
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
Intel Core i5-8259U, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
25.9 (min: 23, max: 29) fps ∼100% +26%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (7.1 - 86, n=62)
25.5 fps ∼98% +24%
HP EliteBook 830 G5-3JX74EA
Intel Core i7-8550U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
22.1 fps ∼85% +8%
Dell XPS 13 9370 i7 UHD
Intel Core i7-8550U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
22 fps ∼85% +7%
Lenovo ThinkPad X280-20KES01S00
Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
21.56 fps ∼83% +5%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (10.4 - 111, n=76)
21.4 fps ∼83% +4%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
20.5 fps ∼79%
Fujitsu Lifebook U938
Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
18.9 fps ∼73% -8%
F1 2018 - 1280x720 Ultra Low Preset
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
Intel Core i7-8550U, NVIDIA GeForce MX150
50 fps ∼100% +52%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
Intel Core i5-8259U, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
45 (min: 36, max: 50) fps ∼90% +36%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (33 - 50, n=4)
40.3 fps ∼81% +22%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
33 fps ∼66%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (31 - 35.8, n=5)
33 fps ∼66% 0%
Shadow of the Tomb Raider - 1280x720 Lowest Preset
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
Intel Core i7-8550U, NVIDIA GeForce MX150
30 fps ∼100% +100%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2018 Touchbar i5
Intel Core i5-8259U, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
20.5 (min: 15, max: 38) fps ∼68% +37%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (9 - 30, n=4)
18.6 fps ∼62% +24%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (12 - 21.7, n=5)
15.5 fps ∼52% +3%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
15 fps ∼50%
FIFA 19 - 1920x1080 High Preset AA:2x MS
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
51 fps ∼100%
Average of class Subnotebook
  (30.9 - 70.5, n=4)
49.3 fps ∼97% -3%
HP Envy 13-ah0003ng
Intel Core i7-8550U, NVIDIA GeForce MX150
44.9 fps ∼88% -12%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (20.7 - 51, n=2)
35.9 fps ∼70% -30%
Darksiders III - 1280x720 Low
Average of class Subnotebook
  (16.5 - 54.8, n=4)
28.6 fps ∼100% +9%
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019
Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
26.3 fps ∼92%
Average Intel UHD Graphics 620
  (16.5 - 30.4, n=4)
25.1 fps ∼88% -5%
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 71.337.431.29.8fps
Thief (2014) 23.912.8fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 20.517.46.9fps
F1 2018 (2018) 331514fps
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) 1510fps
FIFA 19 (2018) 4853.451fps
Darksiders III (2018) 26.37.3fps

Emissions – 13-inch laptop with long stamina

System Noise

The XPS 13 9380 is not a noisy system and the fans are usually turned off. This obviously changes as soon as you stress the device with heavier workloads. We did not hear any noises while idling, and this includes coil whine, which was often an issue with XPS laptops in the past.

Short-term load (like copying files) can turn the fan on, but we only measure a noise of 31.7 dB(A). The maximum noise was 38.1 dB(A) at the beginning of our stress test, which is a noticeable murmur. However, this value is not steady and drops to 33.3 dB(A) every 2-3 minutes. This corresponds with a reduced CPU clock to 1.4 GHz, which can last for up to 60 seconds.

Dual-fan setup
Dual-fan setup
Fan exhaust
Fan exhaust

Noise Level

Idle
30.4 / 30.4 / 30.4 dB(A)
Load
31.7 / 38.1 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 30.4 dB(A)
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2033.233.433.435.433.2253230.630.831.2323134.231.433.833.234.24031.529.229.830.631.55030.129.128.827.830.16328.527.528.228.128.58026.227.52726.826.210025.925.82624.825.912525.925.526.325.925.916023.524.224.423.923.520022.923.322.822.822.925021.822.723.121.921.831521.122.520.921.121.140020.821.421.120.320.85002021.720.819.42063019.721.620.218.619.78001921.52018.119100019.124.321.117.719.1125018.523.720.417.818.5160019.325.520.717.519.3200020.727.722.417.520.7250020.428.222.117.520.431502028.222.617.920400019.129.424.217.819.1500018.727.819.618.318.7630018.923.319.118.518.9800018.82218.818.618.81000018.820.118.818.618.81250018.719.118.718.618.71600018.918.918.818.918.9SPL31.738.133.430.431.7N1.42.61.71.31.4median 19.7median 23.3median 20.9median 18.6median 19.7Delta1.12.41.61.91.133.136.830.134.236.329.228.629.529.730.133.429.529.530.23431.628.927.23032.539.638.427.927.540.927.226.426.626.82823.725.825.124.925.725.827.323.823.826.523.623.822.8232521.622.422.721.921.721.92222.721.721.721.521.621.32121.822.220.621.219.520.120.319.819.919.119.921.619.819.918.220.22219.62018.219.722.119.719.217.319.724.520.42017.320.225.320.419.616.720.225.921.520.41619.626.821.120.115.620.227.120.919.215.919.927.721.618.916.11927.22018.116.4182618.417.716.517.622.818.317.716.917.620.117.617.417.117.318.417.517.517.117.317.617.417.417.117.217.117.117.11717.137.332.231.229.131.32.51.71.51.21.5median 22.2median 20.4median 19.9median 17.1median 19.92.81.61.31.51.731.533.146.439.440.946.64845.245.734.431.332.231.429.731.231.331.63329.531.730.129.931.432.431.630.129.430.530.428.429.429.8312930.728.528.929.430.129.328.630.930.329.330.128.828.229.628.329.228.930.232.127.728.429.428.730.926.828.127.227.328.526.927.127.927.526.326.226.426.128.231.125.825.626.832.62525.72724.624.925.726.425.325.736.524.923.625.123.52624.423.822.323.825.424.22325.32426.828.224.72325.630.422.522.824.923.428.726.62421.724.430.522.721.426.22227.429.423.921.823.534.421.420.126.121.62829.624.220.324.632.220.720.225.420.628.429.822.719.924.133.419.519.624.3202727.620.81921.730.119.218.623.820.428.530.521.718.522.43318.418.125.519.527.329.121.218.622.532.417.817.824.219.629.431.62218.323.234.617.817.326.219.530.932.922.717.823.635.917.417.327.419.332.634.62317.524.737.517.617.128.419.432.534.723.117.3253817.116.928.517.5293120.617.121.534.216.916.925.217.328.831.41817.119.234.617.216.923.617.127.731.317.61718.235.617.11721.11724.92817.417.117.933.6171720.217.421.123.417.417.317.327.417.217.218.217.318.42017.317.317.423.517.317.117.417.818.318.817.817.817.721.217.517.117.818.618.618.718.318.418.319.117.817.218.531.141.243.333.230.234.346.63029.737.31.53.64.31.91.425.71.41.32.6median 19.5median 27.7median 29.4median 22median 18.4median 23.2median 33median 17.8median 17.3median 25.12.21.83.12.91.72.72.61.81.92.23232.332.132.132.533.63029.730.233.735.633.933.533.933.432.531.434.13133.229.428.127.82930.228.725.926.626.626.224.725.125.325.426.825.923.923.924.525.924.123.122.623.82522.721.822.422.824.822.12222.321.721.320.822.221.121.121.12120.120.320.421.622.421.320.218.720.423.121.720.818.320.222.620.519.617.62124.221.720.21720.125.523.421.817.420.927.324.521.316.321.127.124.321.31621.629.526.523.41622.229.726.723.91623.129.727.223.716.422.429.32727.416.72329.928.723.91720.727.122.519.517.118.923.921.419.217.618.622.72018.317.717.920.218.518.217.817.618.717.917.717.517.639.737.234.829.233.43.12.521.21.9median 24.1median 22.2median 21.3median 17.6median 21.12.51.61.51.41.233.333.232.233.733.33636.935.334.1363937.737.935.73937.132.134.930.537.132.734.134.537.632.731.327.929.328.731.329.926.926.826.229.926.626.3262626.628.425.726.326.728.42523.924.524.8252323.523.723.62322.722.82323.222.722.521.721.522.622.522.122.722.122.722.121.120.620.32021.120.720.719.419.320.720.520.418.818.720.520.819.918.318.120.820.52018.31820.522.521.51817.922.522.821.918.11822.823.1221817.923.122.822.118.218.222.822.12118.418.522.121.12018.718.6