Notebookcheck

Dell XPS 13 (i7-8550U, QHD) Laptop Review

Fastest XPS 13 thus far. The jump from ULV Kaby Lake to Kaby Lake-R is the biggest performance boost the XPS 13 series has seen in years. We investigate to see if this has had any repercussions in terms of fan noise, battery life, and temperature.

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The late 2017 XPS 13 with Kaby Lake-R is expected to be the final iteration before Dell will introduce a brand new chassis design at CES 2018. Current SKUs in the US include only the Core i7-8550U with no i5-8250U in sight. Users can select the lower-end SKU with 8 GB of RAM and FHD 1080p matte display for $1300 USD or the higher-end SKU with 16 GB of RAM and QHD+ 1800p glossy touchscreen for $1750 USD. Our test unit today is equipped with a QHD+ touchscreen and 8 GB of RAM.

Beyond the CPU swap, the new XPS 13 is essentially identical to the existing lineup with added temperature sensors to squeeze out slightly more performance. As such, we recommend checking out our existing XPS 13 pages for more details on the chassis, connectivity features, keyboard, speakers, and more. This review page will focus on the performance of the new XPS 13 and how the 8th gen CPU influences fan noise, temperature, power consumption, and battery life.

Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U (XPS Series)
Graphics adapter
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Core: 400 MHz, Memory: 930 MHz, 22.20.16.4735
Memory
8192 MB 
, LPDDR3 1200 MHz, 14-17-17-40, Dual-Channel
Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 3200x1800 pixel 276 PPI, 10-point capacitive, ID: Sharp SHP144A, Name: LQ133Z1, IGZO IPS, Dell P/N: RXN49, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel Kaby Lake-U iHDCP 2.2 Premium PCH
Storage
Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G, 256 GB 
Soundcard
Intel Kaby Lake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm headphone jack, Card Reader: SD reader
Networking
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter (b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 15 x 304 x 201 ( = 0.59 x 11.97 x 7.91 in)
Battery
60 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Dell Product Manager, Support Assist, Norton Anti-Virus, Waves MaxxAudio Pro, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.305 kg ( = 46.03 oz / 2.88 pounds), Power Supply: 242 g ( = 8.54 oz / 0.53 pounds)
Price
1300 USD

 

Case

The current InfinityEdge design is approaching three years of age and has had no major external changes ever since the original XPS 13 9343. Competitors have been slowly catching up with their own narrow bezel designs, but Dell still remains a favorite amongst the press largely due to the rigidity and quality of both the base and lid. Newer alternatives are notably lighter than the dense XPS 13 like the Spectre 13 or MateBook X and we suspect that the next generation refresh will address this disadvantage.

Connectivity

Since no changes have been made to connectivity, the Thunderbolt 3 port is still utilizing half the PCIe lanes for half the theoretical speed of “true” Thunderbolt 3.

Left: AC adapter, USB Type-C Gen. 2 (+ Thunderbolt 3), USB 3.0, 3.5 mm combo audio, Battery check
Left: AC adapter, USB Type-C Gen. 2 (+ Thunderbolt 3), USB 3.0, 3.5 mm combo audio, Battery check
Right: SD reader, USB 3.0, Noble Lock
Right: SD reader, USB 3.0, Noble Lock

SD Card Reader

Dell outfits its XPS 13 and XPS 15 series with faster SD card readers than most gaming notebooks. Transferring 1 GB worth of images from our Toshiba UHS-II SDXC test card to desktop takes about 6 seconds compared to over 40 seconds on the Acer Swift 3. The card reader itself is not spring-loaded and a fully inserted SD card will protrude by about one-third of its length.

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
159 MB/s ∼100%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
120.5 MB/s ∼76% -24%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-51G-57E5
17.4 MB/s ∼11% -89%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
252.6 MB/s ∼100% +33%
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
190.59 MB/s ∼75%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-51G-57E5
25.6 MB/s ∼10% -87%

Communication

The gaming-centric 2x2 Killer 1535 is standard across all available XPS 13 SKUs. We are able to record a real-world transfer rate of 618 Mbps when standing one meter away from our Linksys EA8500 test router to be comparable to the Intel 8260 or 8265. See our review on the Killer 1535 for more information on its features.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
668 MBit/s ∼100% +8%
HP Spectre x360 13-ac033dx
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
619 MBit/s ∼93% 0%
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
618 MBit/s ∼93%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
538 MBit/s ∼100%
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
517 MBit/s ∼96% -4%
HP Spectre x360 13-ac033dx
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
462 MBit/s ∼86% -14%

Maintenance

The back panel can be easily removed with a Philips screwdriver and T5 Hex wrench to reveal an essentially identical internal layout. Dell says its new XPS 13 SKUs with 8th gen Kaby Lake-R are sporting thermistors on specific locations around the chassis, but further disassembly is likely required to spot the individual resistors.

XPS 13 9460 (i7-8550U)
XPS 13 9460 (i7-8550U)
XPS 13 9343 (i5-5200U). Note the smaller battery capacity
XPS 13 9343 (i5-5200U). Note the smaller battery capacity

Warranty

The standard one-year limited warranty applies with options extending up to four years.

Input Devices

Keyboard and trackpad (~10.5 x 6.0 cm) remain identical. Key feedback is on the soft side with light-moderate clatter compared to the ThinkPad 25 while the integrated mouse keys are much firmer and louder when clicked.

The Arrow keys are still far too small and spongy
The Arrow keys are still far too small and spongy
Rubberized palm rests will accumulate grease very quickly
Rubberized palm rests will accumulate grease very quickly

Display

The new XPS 13 utilizes the same SHP144A IGZO touchscreen from Sharp as on the older XPS 13 for a nearly identical viewing experience. Brightness, color gamut, gamma, and response times are quite similar while grayscale is a bit cooler on the new model. The panel remains competitive when up against the lower resolution Chi Mei and AU Optronics panels on the MateBook X and ZenBook Flip S, respectively.

We are able to detect a very high pulse-width modulation of 19.69 KHz on all brightness levels including on the maximum setting. Dell has confirmed with us that this is normal behavior for the XPS 13 and that most users will not notice the flickering since the frequency is so high. Note that we recorded no PWM on last year’s QHD+ XPS 13 as we’ve since updated to more sensitive instrumentation.

Subjectively, text and images appear very sharp owing to the high pixel count from the uncommon 1800p native resolution. Graininess is not an issue on the glossy panel and backlight bleeding is kept to a minimum.

Minor uneven backlight bleeding on bottom and right edges
Minor uneven backlight bleeding on bottom and right edges
Subpixel array (276 PPI)
Subpixel array (276 PPI)
327.3
cd/m²
321.4
cd/m²
335.6
cd/m²
360.9
cd/m²
386.1
cd/m²
362.4
cd/m²
358.6
cd/m²
387.8
cd/m²
369.4
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Basic Pro 2
Maximum: 387.8 cd/m² Average: 356.6 cd/m² Minimum: 16.51 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 83 %
Center on Battery: 386.1 cd/m²
Contrast: 1170:1 (Black: 0.33 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.2 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 5.7 | - Ø
92.2% sRGB (Argyll) 59% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.28
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
ID: Sharp SHP144A, Name: LQ133Z1, IGZO IPS, 13.3, 3200x1800
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
ID: BOE06E1, Name: NV133FHB-N31, IPS, 13.3, 1920x1080
Huawei MateBook X
Chi Mei CMN8201 / P130ZDZ-EF1, , 13.3, 2160x1440
Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370
AUO B133HAN04.2, a-Si TFT-LCD, WLED, 13.3, 1920x1080
Razer Blade Stealth
Sharp SHP142F (LQ125T1JW02), , 12.5, 2560 x 1440
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i7
Sharp SHP144A, IPS, 13.3, 3200x1800
Response Times
-47%
10%
-16%
-42%
-15%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
35.6 (18.4, 17.2)
41.6 (22.8, 18.8)
-17%
33 (15, 18)
7%
44 (22, 22)
-24%
37 (19, 18)
-4%
43.6 (13.6, 30)
-22%
Response Time Black / White *
27.2 (16, 11.2)
34 (20, 14)
-25%
24 (12, 12)
12%
29 (18, 11)
-7%
33.4 (13.2, 20.2)
-23%
29.2 (9.2, 20)
-7%
PWM Frequency
19690 (100)
210.1 (99)
-99%
200 (30)
-99%
Screen
0%
12%
7%
0%
9%
Brightness
357
481
35%
395
11%
321
-10%
382
7%
357
0%
Brightness Distribution
83
90
8%
88
6%
86
4%
88
6%
84
1%
Black Level *
0.33
0.66
-100%
0.45
-36%
0.25
24%
0.45
-36%
0.266
19%
Contrast
1170
774
-34%
907
-22%
1336
14%
893
-24%
1489
27%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.2
2.4
43%
1.55
63%
4.24
-1%
3.6
14%
3.9
7%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.7
2.4
58%
1.91
66%
3.92
31%
4.3
25%
4.16
27%
Gamma
2.28 105%
2.23 108%
2.34 103%
2.68 90%
2.1 114%
2.31 104%
CCT
7336 89%
6747 96%
6491 100%
6758 96%
6572 99%
6514 100%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
59
57
-3%
61
3%
58
-2%
62.3
6%
57.5
-3%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
92.2
88.1
-4%
96
4%
90
-2%
95.7
4%
88.7
-4%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-24% / -13%
11% / 11%
-5% / 3%
-21% / -11%
-3% / 5%

* ... smaller is better

Color space is approximately 92 percent and 59 percent of the sRGB and AdobeRGB standards, respectively. The IGZO panel on the larger 4K UHD XPS 15 has a significantly wider gamut for full sRGB coverage if color accuracy is a priority.

vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. XPS 15 9560 UHD
vs. XPS 15 9560 UHD

X-Rite spectrophotometer measurements reveal an average grayscale with slightly inaccurate colors at lower saturation levels. The results would have been perfectly acceptable for a less expensive notebook, but this is a bit of a surprise for the XPS. Luckily, our calibration efforts both flatten RGB balance and lower color temperature for improved accuracy. Red is notably slightly less accurate than other colors at deeper saturation levels.

Grayscale before calibration
Grayscale before calibration
Saturation Sweeps before calibration
Saturation Sweeps before calibration
ColorChecker before calibration
ColorChecker before calibration
Grayscale after calibration
Grayscale after calibration
Saturation Sweeps after calibration
Saturation Sweeps after calibration
ColorChecker after calibration
ColorChecker after calibration

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
27.2 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 16 ms rise
↘ 11.2 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 55 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (26.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
35.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 18.4 ms rise
↘ 17.2 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. » 25 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (42.7 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 detected 19690 Hz100 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 19690 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 100 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 19690 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 56 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 7499 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Outdoor visibility in unchanged. The glossy panel and dense pixel count work against the user in this case and we recommend cranking up the scaling to avoid squinting. The wide IPS viewing angles help in reducing glare as much as possible.

Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under shade
Outdoors under shade
Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under sunlight
Wide IPS viewing angles
Wide IPS viewing angles

Performance

The Core i7-8550U is indubitably the star of the show. Dell could have easily skipped this late 2017 update and saved the 8th gen CPU for the early 2018 XPS 13 refresh, but the CPU update was likely necessary in order to remain competitive during the Holiday season. Other major manufacturers have already begun shipping notebooks sporting the same quad-core CPU including Lenovo, HP, Clevo, and Acer.

LatencyMon IDLT High_Level (WIFI off)
LatencyMon IDLT High_Level (WIFI off)
LatencyMon IDLT Clock_Level (WIFI off)
LatencyMon IDLT Clock_Level (WIFI off)
LatencyMon IDLT Dispatch_Level (WIFI off)
LatencyMon IDLT Dispatch_Level (WIFI off)
LatencyMon (WIFI off)
LatencyMon (WIFI off)
 

Processor

CPU performance should be the biggest reason to upgrade to the latest XPS 13. With a base clock of 1.8 GHz and a rated Turbo Boost of up to 4.0 GHz, the i7-8550U has a very wide operating range depending on the processing load and cooling solution. On the XPS 13, quad-core clock rates can be up to 3.7 GHz before quickly stabilizing at 2.5 GHz as shown in our Stress Test section.

The fluctuating Turbo Boost clock rates can be observed by running CineBench R15 Multi-Thread in a loop. The initial score of 619 points is nothing short of incredible at over 80 percent the performance of the Kaby Lake i7-7500U in the older XPS 13 compared to just 11 percent from the Skylake i7-6500U to the i7-7500U. After a single run of CineBench, however, the score drops to just 572 points and never bounces back up pass the 600 mark. A more realistic score is about 570 points to represent a performance drop of about 8 percent. Though slightly disappointing, this which would put the XPS 13 more in line with the Tuxedo InfinityBook Pro sporting the same CPU.

To prove how sensitive the Turbo Boost is, we ran the CineBench R15 Multi-Thread benchmark on a cold boot for a very high score of 632 points. Then, in another cold boot, we would run the OpenGL benchmark followed by the same Multi-Thread benchmark for a final score of 603 points. The OpenGL test lasts for only under a minute and the CPU can already be observed throttling by about 5 percent.

See our dedicated Core i7-8550U CPU page for more technical information and benchmarks. 

CineBench R10 32-bit
CineBench R10 32-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R15
CineBench R15
CineBench R15 Multi-Thread only
CineBench R15 Multi-Thread only
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
190 Points ∼95% +14%
Tuxedo InfinityBook Pro 13 2017
Intel Core i7-8550U
167 Points ∼84% 0%
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
Intel Core i7-8550U
167 Points ∼84%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
156 Points ∼78% -7%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i7 Iris
Intel Core i7-7560U
153 Points ∼77% -8%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-566U
Intel Core i5-8250U
145 Points ∼73% -13%
Dell XPS 13 9360-4764
Intel Core i7-7500U
142 Points ∼71% -15%
Dell XPS 13 2016 9350 (FHD, i7-6560U)
Intel Core i7-6560U
133 Points ∼67% -20%
Dell XPS 13 2016 i7 256GB QHD
Intel Core i7-6500U
125 Points ∼63% -25%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
Intel Core i5-7200U
124 Points ∼62% -26%
Dell XPS 13-9343 Non-Touch
Intel Core i5-5200U
110 Points ∼55% -34%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
897 Points ∼42% +49%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
740 Points ∼34% +23%
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
Intel Core i7-8550U
603 Points ∼28%
Tuxedo InfinityBook Pro 13 2017
Intel Core i7-8550U
556 Points ∼26% -8%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-566U
Intel Core i5-8250U
543 Points ∼25% -10%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-566U
Intel Core i5-8250U
538 (min: 467.61) Points ∼25% -11%
Dell XPS 13 9360-4764
Intel Core i7-7500U
337 Points ∼16% -44%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i7 Iris
Intel Core i7-7560U
336 Points ∼16% -44%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
Intel Core i5-7200U
318 Points ∼15% -47%
Dell XPS 13 2016 9350 (FHD, i7-6560U)
Intel Core i7-6560U
314 Points ∼15% -48%
Dell XPS 13 2016 i7 256GB QHD
Intel Core i7-6500U
303 Points ∼14% -50%
Dell XPS 13-9343 Non-Touch
Intel Core i5-5200U
260 Points ∼12% -57%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
Tuxedo InfinityBook Pro 13 2017
Intel Core i7-8550U
6.19 Points ∼100% +282%
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
2.19 Points ∼35% +35%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.74 Points ∼28% +7%
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
Intel Core i7-8550U
1.62 Points ∼26%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-566U
Intel Core i5-8250U
1.6 Points ∼26% -1%
Dell XPS 13 2016 i7 256GB QHD
Intel Core i7-6500U
1.46 Points ∼24% -10%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
Intel Core i5-7200U
1.45 Points ∼23% -10%
Dell XPS 13-9343 Non-Touch
Intel Core i5-5200U
1.28 Points ∼21% -21%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
9.78 Points ∼41% +51%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.14 Points ∼34% +26%
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
Intel Core i7-8550U
6.47 Points ∼27%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-566U
Intel Core i5-8250U
6.11 Points ∼26% -6%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
Intel Core i5-7200U
3.61 Points ∼15% -44%
Dell XPS 13 2016 i7 256GB QHD
Intel Core i7-6500U
3.52 Points ∼15% -46%
Dell XPS 13-9343 Non-Touch
Intel Core i5-5200U
2.85 Points ∼12% -56%
Tuxedo InfinityBook Pro 13 2017
Intel Core i7-8550U
1.91 Points ∼8% -70%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single 32Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
7222 Points ∼81% +30%
Tuxedo InfinityBook Pro 13 2017
Intel Core i7-8550U
6326 Points ∼71% +14%
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
Intel Core i7-8550U
5552 Points ∼63%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-566U
Intel Core i5-8250U
5545 Points ∼63% 0%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
Intel Core i5-7200U
4910 Points ∼55% -12%
Dell XPS 13 2016 i7 256GB QHD
Intel Core i7-6500U
4881 Points ∼55% -12%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
28975 Points ∼58% +72%
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
28189 Points ∼57% +67%
Tuxedo InfinityBook Pro 13 2017
Intel Core i7-8550U
17549 Points ∼35% +4%
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
Intel Core i7-8550U
16869 Points ∼34%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-566U
Intel Core i5-8250U
14148 Points ∼28% -16%
Dell XPS 13 2016 i7 256GB QHD
Intel Core i7-6500U
10973 Points ∼22% -35%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
Intel Core i5-7200U
10964 Points ∼22% -35%
wPrime 2.0x - 1024m
Dell XPS 13-9343 Non-Touch
Intel Core i5-5200U
621.2 s * ∼7%
Dell XPS 13 9360-4764
Intel Core i7-7500U
485.835 s * ∼6%
Tuxedo InfinityBook Pro 13 2017
Intel Core i7-8550U
361 s * ∼4%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-566U
Intel Core i5-8250U
314.7 s * ∼4%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
216.41 s * ∼3%
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
176.329 s * ∼2%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - ---
Dell XPS 13-9343 Non-Touch
Intel Core i5-5200U
717.1 Seconds * ∼3%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
Intel Core i5-7200U
642.8 Seconds * ∼3%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-566U
Intel Core i5-8250U
611 Seconds * ∼3%
Dell XPS 13 9360-4764
Intel Core i7-7500U
574.64 Seconds * ∼3%
MSI WS63VR 7RL-023US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
561 Seconds * ∼2%
Tuxedo InfinityBook Pro 13 2017
Intel Core i7-8550U
524 Seconds * ∼2%
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
440.036 Seconds * ∼2%

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
8446
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
16869
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
5552
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
6.47 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.62 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
46.94 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
167 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.8 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
49.35 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
603 Points
Help

System Performance

PCMark benchmarks rank the new XPS 13 slightly faster than the older i7-7500U SKU but slower than the i7-7560U SKU likely due to both the graphics advantages of the integrated Iris GPU and lower native FHD resolution. We experienced no notable slowdowns or software related issues during our time with the test unit.

We should note that PCMark 10 runs unsuccessfully on our test machine even after updating to the latest version at the time of review (1.0.1275).  

PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i7 Iris
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7560U, Toshiba XG4 NVMe (THNSN5512GPUK)
4890 Points ∼75% +10%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
4568 Points ∼70% +3%
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
4436 Points ∼68%
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i7
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
4176 Points ∼64% -6%
Creative Score Accelerated v2
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i7 Iris
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7560U, Toshiba XG4 NVMe (THNSN5512GPUK)
5083 Points ∼55% +10%
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
4604 Points ∼49%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
4211 Points ∼45% -9%
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i7
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
4172 Points ∼45% -9%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i7 Iris
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7560U, Toshiba XG4 NVMe (THNSN5512GPUK)
3902 Points ∼65% +14%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
3535 Points ∼59% +3%
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
3432 Points ∼57%
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i7
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
2855 Points ∼48% -17%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3432 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
4604 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4436 points
Help

Storage Devices

M.2 SSD between the battery and CPU
M.2 SSD between the battery and CPU

Dell has sourced Toshiba for the 256 GB KXG50ZNV256G M.2 NVMe SSD in our unit. Unfortunately, sequential transfer rates are just a fraction of the theoretical 2700 MB/s read and 1050 MB/s write rates of this particular Toshiba SSD according to both CrystalDiskMark 5 and AS SSD. Write rates in particular are very slow for an NVMe SSD at only around 331 MB/s compared to 1347 MB/s on the Samsung SM951 in the 256 GB XPS 13 SKU. The slow speeds seem to be a recurring attribute amongst XPS 13 units equipped with Toshiba SSDs as shown by our table below. At the time of writing, neither Dell nor Toshiba have addressed the issue.

See our table of SSDs and HDDs for more benchmarks and comparisons. 

CDM 5
CDM 5
AS SSD
AS SSD
PCMark 8 Storage
PCMark 8 Storage
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
Dell XPS 13 9365-4537 2-in-1
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
Dell XPS 13-9365 2-in-1
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
Dell XPS 13 2016 9350 (FHD, i7-6560U)
Samsung SSD SM951 512 GB MZHPV512HDGL
AS SSD
23%
52%
16%
86%
Copy Game MB/s
285.27
457.75
60%
725.64
154%
390.03
37%
617.8
117%
Copy Program MB/s
171.97
264.74
54%
263.84
53%
188.02
9%
333.8
94%
Copy ISO MB/s
329.68
714.3
117%
950.1
188%
283.3
-14%
830.2
152%
Score Total
1284
1388
8%
1495
16%
1607
25%
1992
55%
Score Write
452
389
-14%
375
-17%
327
-28%
606
34%
Score Read
580
681
17%
752
30%
870
50%
911
57%
Access Time Write *
0.051
0.041
20%
0.037
27%
0.035
31%
0.031
39%
Access Time Read *
0.102
0.169
-66%
0.045
56%
0.055
46%
0.048
53%
4K-64 Write
325.07
249.35
-23%
204.71
-37%
197.7
-39%
363.4
12%
4K-64 Read
423.65
511.72
21%
586.33
38%
722.85
71%
722.4
71%
4K Write
101.66
85.76
-16%
96.88
-5%
91.98
-10%
107.4
6%
4K Read
28.17
34.77
23%
37.69
34%
29.52
5%
46.9
66%
Seq Write
249.23
542.72
118%
735.07
195%
372.76
50%
1347.5
441%
Seq Read
1277.09
1342.3
5%
1283.12
0%
1179.3
-8%
1412.5
11%

* ... smaller is better

Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
CDM 5 Read Seq Q32T1: 1840 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq Q32T1: 334.7 MB/s
CDM 5 Read 4K Q32T1: 389.4 MB/s
CDM 5 Write 4K Q32T1: 346.1 MB/s
CDM 5 Read Seq: 1313 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq: 345 MB/s
CDM 5 Read 4K: 24.92 MB/s
CDM 5 Write 4K: 121.5 MB/s

GPU Performance

Intel has explicitly stated that the UHD Graphics 620 would be identical to the HD Graphics 620 except in name. Despite the claim, 3DMark scores are still notably higher on the new XPS 13 compared to other systems sporting ULV Kaby Lake and the HD Graphics 620 GPU. Its Fire Strike Graphics score, for example, is 13 percent higher than on the Spectre x360 13. The slight boost may be attributed to the higher temperature ceiling of the CPU in the XPS 13 for potentially faster clock rates when under gaming load. The last generation Iris Plus Graphics 640 will still has the edge over the UHD Graphics 620 by about 18 percent.

The slight graphical advantage extends to real-world gaming conditions. Frame rates are higher on the new XPS 13 by about 19 percent over the older XPS 13 i7-7500U SKU in both Bioshock Infinite and Rise of the Tomb Raider. Frame rates are still far too low to be considered a major selling point, but at least the performance boost is consistent and measurable.

See our review on the UHD Graphics 620 for more technical information and benchmarks.

3DMark 11
3DMark 11
Ice Storm
Ice Storm
Ice Storm Unlimited
Ice Storm Unlimited
Cloud Gate
Cloud Gate
Fire Strike
Fire Strike
Fire Strike Extreme
Fire Strike Extreme
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance Combined
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7360U
2193 (min: 2057) Points ∼14% +25%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i7 Iris
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7560U
1838 Points ∼11% +5%
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8550U
1751 Points ∼11%
HP Spectre x360 13-ac033dx
Intel HD Graphics 620, 7500U
1555 Points ∼10% -11%
Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370
Intel HD Graphics 620, 7200U
1540 Points ∼10% -12%
Acer TravelMate P449-M-7407
Intel HD Graphics 520, 6500U
1486 Points ∼9% -15%
Lenovo ThinkCentre M910z-10NR000KUS
Intel HD Graphics 630, 7500
1437 Points ∼9% -18%
Huawei MateBook X
Intel HD Graphics 620, 7200U
1404 Points ∼9% -20%
HP Pavilion 17z 1EX13AV
AMD Radeon R7 M340, A12-9720P
1337 Points ∼8% -24%
1280x720 Performance GPU
HP Pavilion 17z 1EX13AV
AMD Radeon R7 M340, A12-9720P
3597 Points ∼7% +99%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7360U
2379 (min: 2355) Points ∼5% +31%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i7 Iris
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7560U
2124 Points ∼4% +17%
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8550U
1810 Points ∼4%
Lenovo ThinkCentre M910z-10NR000KUS
Intel HD Graphics 630, 7500
1604 Points ∼3% -11%
Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370
Intel HD Graphics 620, 7200U
1589 Points ∼3% -12%
HP Spectre x360 13-ac033dx
Intel HD Graphics 620, 7500U
1569 Points ∼3% -13%
Huawei MateBook X
Intel HD Graphics 620, 7200U
1528 Points ∼3% -16%
Acer TravelMate P449-M-7407
Intel HD Graphics 520, 6500U
1410 Points ∼3% -22%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
HP Pavilion 17z 1EX13AV
AMD Radeon R7 M340, A12-9720P
1926 Points ∼5% +66%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7360U
1541 (min: 1484) Points ∼4% +33%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i7 Iris
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7560U
1369 Points ∼3% +18%
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8550U
1158 Points ∼3%
Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370
Intel HD Graphics 620, 7200U
1058 Points ∼3% -9%
HP Spectre x360 13-ac033dx
Intel HD Graphics 620, 7500U
1029 Points ∼3% -11%
Lenovo ThinkCentre M910z-10NR000KUS
Intel HD Graphics 630, 7500
969 Points ∼2% -16%
Huawei MateBook X
Intel HD Graphics 620, 7200U
875 Points ∼2% -24%
Acer TravelMate P449-M-7407
Intel HD Graphics 520, 6500U
825 Points ∼2% -29%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7360U
11495 (min: 10969) Points ∼7% +21%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i7 Iris
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7560U
11232 Points ∼7% +18%
HP Pavilion 17z 1EX13AV
AMD Radeon R7 M340, A12-9720P
10116 Points ∼6% +6%
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8550U
9511 Points ∼6%
Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370
Intel HD Graphics 620, 7200U
8893 Points ∼5% -6%
Lenovo ThinkCentre M910z-10NR000KUS
Intel HD Graphics 630, 7500
7943 Points ∼5% -16%
HP Spectre x360 13-ac033dx
Intel HD Graphics 620, 7500U
7636 Points ∼5% -20%
Huawei MateBook X
Intel HD Graphics 620, 7200U
7542 Points ∼5% -21%
Acer TravelMate P449-M-7407
Intel HD Graphics 520, 6500U
7064 Points ∼4% -26%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Graphics
Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370
Intel HD Graphics 620, 7200U
82988 Points ∼11% +10%
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8550U
75714 Points ∼10%
Acer TravelMate P449-M-7407
Intel HD Graphics 520, 6500U
66948 Points ∼9% -12%
Huawei MateBook X
Intel HD Graphics 620, 7200U
62160 Points ∼8% -18%
HP Spectre x360 13-ac033dx
Intel HD Graphics 620, 7500U
59321 Points ∼8% -22%
HP Pavilion 17z 1EX13AV
AMD Radeon R7 M340, A12-9720P
51082 Points ∼7% -33%
3DMark 11 Performance
2032 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
67042 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
8459 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
1071 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
490 points
Help
BioShock Infinite
1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF)
HP Envy 13-ad006ng
GeForce MX150, 7500U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
29.72 fps ∼100% +197%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2016
Iris Graphics 540, 6360U, Apple SSD AP0256
11.6 fps ∼39% +16%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i7 Iris
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7560U, Toshiba XG4 NVMe (THNSN5512GPUK)
10.7 fps ∼36% +7%
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
10 fps ∼34%
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i7
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
8.3 fps ∼28% -17%
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i5
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
8.2 fps ∼28% -18%
Dell XPS 13 2016 i7 256GB QHD
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
7.4 fps ∼25% -26%
Dell XPS 13-9350
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
7.33 fps ∼25% -27%
Dell XPS 13-9343
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Lite-On IT L8T-256L9G
6.13 fps ∼21% -39%
1366x768 High Preset
HP Envy 13-ad006ng
GeForce MX150, 7500U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
78.96 fps ∼100% +154%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2016
Iris Graphics 540, 6360U, Apple SSD AP0256
40.3 fps ∼51% +30%
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i7 Iris
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7560U, Toshiba XG4 NVMe (THNSN5512GPUK)
33.5 fps ∼42% +8%
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
31.1 fps ∼39%
Dell XPS 13 9360-4764
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
26.9 fps ∼34% -14%
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i7
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
26.1 fps ∼33% -16%
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i5
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
25.5 fps ∼32% -18%
Dell XPS 13 2016 i7 256GB QHD
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
24.1 fps ∼31% -23%
Dell XPS 13-9350
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
23.7 fps ∼30% -24%
Dell XPS 13-9343
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Lite-On IT L8T-256L9G
19.81 fps ∼25% -36%
Rise of the Tomb Raider
1920x1080 High Preset AA:FX AF:4x
HP Envy 13-ad006ng
GeForce MX150, 7500U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
17 fps ∼100% +130%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
9.1 (min: 7) fps ∼54% +23%
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
7.4 fps ∼44%
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i7
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
6.2 fps ∼36% -16%
1366x768 Medium Preset AF:2x
HP Envy 13-ad006ng
GeForce MX150, 7500U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
34.06 fps ∼100% +133%
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2016
Iris Graphics 540, 6360U, Apple SSD AP0256
16.9 (min: 14) fps ∼50% +16%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
16.7 (min: 14) fps ∼49% +14%
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
14.6 fps ∼43%
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i7
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
12.5 fps ∼37% -14%
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 72.837.631.110fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 24.914.67.4fps
Overwatch (2016) 49.630.714.9fps

Stress Test

We stress the notebook with unrealistic loads in order to identify for any potential throttling or stability issues. When under Prime95 load, the CPU can be observed skyrocketing to 3.7 GHz and 99 C for the first few seconds before steadily dropping to a stable 2.5 GHz and 92 C as shown by our Prime95 screenshots below. This is both slower and warmer than what we observed on the i5-7200U SKU by 500 MHz and 7 C, respectively. Nonetheless, the fact that the system can maintain speeds well above its base 1.8 GHz clock rate for all four cores is impressive even if it's nowhere near the 3.7 GHz maximum. The initially high Prime95 clock rates confirm what we observed on our CineBench R15 loop test from above.

FurMark stress causes the integrated UHD Graphics 620 to flat-line at 998 MHz and at a temperature of 88 C or 10 C warmer than on the i5-7200U. Running both simultaneously will throttle the CPU down to just 1.4 GHz for a cooler core temperature of 84 C.

Running on battery power will limit CPU Turbo Boost potential while GPU performance remains unhindered. A 3DMark 11 run on batteries returns Physics and Graphics scores of 6523 and 1822 points, respectively, compared to 7334 and 1810 points when on mains. 

Prime95 stress (First 8 minutes)
Prime95 stress (First 8 minutes)
Prime95 stress (>40 minutes)
Prime95 stress (>40 minutes)
FurMark stress
FurMark stress
Prime95 + FurMark stress (>60 minutes)
Prime95 + FurMark stress (>60 minutes)
CPU Clock (GHz) GPU Clock (MHz) Average CPU Temperature (°C)
Prime95 Stress 2.5 -- 92
FurMark Stress -- 998 88
Prime95 + FurMark Stress 1.4 848 84

Emissions

System Noise

Unlike the noisy XPS 15, the smaller XPS 13 is generally very quiet. The fan is active during low loads like browsing and streaming but it is practically inaudible in an average home or office setting. Average load with 3DMark06 will bump the fan to just under 31 dB(A) while Prime95 and FurMark load is slightly higher at 33 dB(A). This is quieter than most competitors like the Spectre 13 where fan noise can be as loud as 40 dB(A) when under similar conditions.

An option for higher fan RPMs would have been a great addition considering the very high core temperatures. The 'Ultra Performance' Thermal Setting does not raise the fan noise ceiling any higher and it instead causes the fan to pulsate more frequently. We recommend the ‘Quiet’ Thermal Setting instead of 'Optimized' or 'Ultra Performance' for low loads if silence is desired.

Same ~40 mm fan and single heat pipe
Same ~40 mm fan and single heat pipe
Dell's Power Manager annoyingly override the default Windows settings
Dell's Power Manager annoyingly override the default Windows settings
XPS 13 (White: Background: Red: System idle, Blue: 3DMark06 load, Green: Prime95+FurMark)
XPS 13 (White: Background: Red: System idle, Blue: 3DMark06 load, Green: Prime95+FurMark)
HP Spectre 13 v011dx
HP Spectre 13 v011dx
Razer Blade Stealth
Razer Blade Stealth

Noise Level

Idle
27.9 / 27.9 / 27.9 dB(A)
Load
30.8 / 33.1 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   BK Precision 732A (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 27.9 dB(A)
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
UHD Graphics 620, 8550U, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP
Huawei MateBook X
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, LITEON CB1-SD256
Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, SanDisk SD8SN8U256G1002
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i7 Iris
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7560U, Toshiba XG4 NVMe (THNSN5512GPUK)
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
Noise
-4%
-8%
-8%
-3%
off / environment *
27.9
28.4
-2%
30.5
-9%
29.9
-7%
Idle Minimum *
27.9
28.4
-2%
30.5
-9%
29.9
-7%
28.9
-4%
Idle Average *
27.9
28.4
-2%
30.5
-9%
29.9
-7%
28.9
-4%
Idle Maximum *
27.9
28.4
-2%
30.5
-9%
30.3
-9%
28.9
-4%
Load Average *
30.8
33.2
-8%
34.2
-11%
33.9
-10%
30.9
-0%
Load Maximum *
33.1
35.2
-6%
32.5
2%
34.9
-5%
33.5
-1%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

Surface temperatures are measurably warmer on the new XPS 13 when compared to the older i5-7200U SKU due to the much warmer running temperatures of the i7-8550U CPU as shown in the Stress Test section above. A keyboard temperature of 49 C was recorded when under maximum processing load compared to 44 C on the i5-7200U SKU. This is an unlikely scenario during day-to-day use, but do expect warmer keys overall especially on the left half of the keyboard.

Fortunately, the palm rests and trackpad remain relatively cool no matter the processing load since the battery occupies the entire front third of the chassis design. This approach is becoming increasingly common on newer Ultrabooks.

System idle (top)
System idle (top)
System idle (bottom)
System idle (bottom)
Maximum load (top)
Maximum load (top)
Maximum load (bottom)
Maximum load (bottom)
Max. Load
 43 °C49 °C34.6 °C 
 40 °C45.8 °C28.2 °C 
 32.2 °C30.2 °C28.8 °C 
Maximum: 49 °C
Average: 36.9 °C
35.2 °C54 °C44.2 °C
33.4 °C33.8 °C39 °C
32.2 °C35 °C36.4 °C
Maximum: 54 °C
Average: 38.1 °C
Power Supply (max.)  51.6 °C | Room Temperature 23 °C | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer

Speakers

The 1 W stereo speakers remain unchanged. Sound quality is very good considering the subnotebook class. We recommend enabling the equalizer in order to boost bass reproduction. Our Pink noise graphs below show a noticeable difference in the reproduction of lower frequencies when MaxxBass is enabled.

The repercussion of a high MaxxBass setting is the reverberation and rattling of the chassis when on very high volume settings. Thus, MaxxBass is only recommended if the volume is at 80 percent or under.

Stereo speakers near front corners
Stereo speakers near front corners
Enable MaxxBass for improved bass
Enable MaxxBass for improved bass
XPS 13 (Pink: Pink noise, Orange: Pink noise w/ BassBoost off)
XPS 13 (Pink: Pink noise, Orange: Pink noise w/ BassBoost off)
HP Spectre 13 v011dx
HP Spectre 13 v011dx
Razer Blade Stealth
Razer Blade Stealth
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2039.439.62536.436.93133.833.74033.834.75032.837.36332.3388032.642.610030.648.31253051.316028.853.620029.754.725028.157.931527.759.440026.255.850025.656.563025.259.180024.663.9100024.164.312502466.5160023.766.8200023.765.6250023.660315023.656.7400023.458.4500023.464630023.257.3800023.265.61000023.362.11250023.252.71600023.243.3SPL36.275.2N2.736.6median 24Dell XPS 13 i7-8550Umedian 58.4Delta1.64.435.335.132.931.831.83236.535.132.428.93328.936.328.848.32761.52752.924.860.92462.822.763.32269.521.267.82174.82075.919.472.718.97117.770.117.86917.671.817.668.117.671.417.673.717.670.417.571.617.671.617.669.617.459.717.583.630.662.51.5median 69.6Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHzmedian 17.84.62.4hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (66.8 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(+) | good bass - only 4.5% away from median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (8.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (5.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (14.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (13.8% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 22% of all tested devices in this class were better, 3% similar, 75% worse
» The best had a delta of 9%, average was 19%, worst was 41%
Compared to all devices tested
» 12% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 84% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 11.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (9.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 1% of all tested devices in this class were better, 1% similar, 97% worse
» The best had a delta of 9%, average was 19%, worst was 41%
Compared to all devices tested
» 2% of all tested devices were better, 0% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Frequency Comparison (Checkbox selectable!)
Graph 1: Pink Noise 100% Vol.; Graph 2: Audio off

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Power demand when idling is about the same as older XPS 13 units at 4 W to 6 W depending on screen brightness. This changes when the new XPS 13 is subjected to medium (3DMark06) load where we can record a significantly higher demand of 42 W compared to just 32 W and 27 W on the i7-7560U and 7500U SKUs, respectively. The higher consumption may be contributed to the initial burst of very high Turbo Boost values before clock rates and power draw settle at lower numbers. Indeed, power consumption is only 38 W after the third run of 3DMark06.

Maximum load with Prime95 and FurMark running simultaneously will demand about 41 W due to performance throttling. The small AC adapter (~8.7  x 5.5 x 2.5 cm) is only rated for 45 W and so there is very little power headroom available. 

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.24 / 1.2 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 4.1 / 5.8 / 6 Watt
Load midlight 42.5 / 41.4 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G, IGZO IPS, 3200x1800, 13.3
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
7200U, HD Graphics 620, Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370
7200U, HD Graphics 620, SanDisk SD8SN8U256G1002, a-Si TFT-LCD, WLED, 1920x1080, 13.3
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i7 Iris
7560U, Iris Plus Graphics 640, Toshiba XG4 NVMe (THNSN5512GPUK), , 1920x1080, 13.3
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i7
7500U, HD Graphics 620, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK, IPS, 3200x1800, 13.3
HP Spectre 13-v131ng
7500U, HD Graphics 620, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW512HMJP, IPS UWVA, 1920x1080, 13.3
Power Consumption
-29%
14%
7%
-5%
-3%
Idle Minimum *
4.1
3.8
7%
2.6
37%
3.32
19%
6.4
-56%
3.6
12%
Idle Average *
5.8
11
-90%
5.3
9%
5.27
9%
6.6
-14%
6.4
-10%
Idle Maximum *
6
11.3
-88%
8.5
-42%
6.32
-5%
6.8
-13%
9.2
-53%
Load Average *
42.5
35.6
16%
29
32%
32
25%
27.5
35%
34
20%
Load Maximum *
41.4
37.2
10%
27
35%
45.9
-11%
32.4
22%
34.4
17%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Runtimes are not significantly different than the last generation XPS 13 with the i5-7200U CPU. Owners can expect about 9 to 10 hours of real-world WLAN use before needing to recharge. Battery capacity is still one of the largest for a subnotebook at twice that of the Samsung Notebook 9.

For reasons unknown, our test unit decided to power down at 20 percent during our WLAN test despite our Reader and Load tests lasting until 5 percent battery capacity. We suspect that the Dell Power Manager settings had automatically changed to override the Windows battery settings during the test. As a result, the recorded data is about an hour shorter than on our last generation XPS 13 test units. Extrapolating from the graph below shows a runtime closer to 11 hours had the battery lasted to the standard 5 percent capacity before automatic shutdown.

Charging from empty to full capacity will take just under two hours.

BatteryEater Classic Test
BatteryEater Classic Test
BatteryEater Reader's Test
BatteryEater Reader's Test
WLAN runtime
WLAN runtime
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
18h 28min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
9h 49min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 23min
Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
8550U, UHD Graphics 620, 60 Wh
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
7200U, HD Graphics 620, 30 Wh
Huawei MateBook X
7200U, HD Graphics 620, 40 Wh
Asus ZenBook Flip S UX370
7200U, HD Graphics 620, 39 Wh
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i7 Iris
7560U, Iris Plus Graphics 640,  Wh
Dell XPS 13 9360 FHD i5
7200U, HD Graphics 620, 60 Wh
Battery Runtime
-49%
-28%
-10%
19%
14%
Reader / Idle
1108
695
-37%
512
-54%
937
-15%
1521
37%
1295
17%
WiFi v1.3
589
279
-53%
337
-43%
483
-18%
655
11%
677
15%
Load
143
60
-58%
162
13%
147
3%
154
8%
157
10%

Pros

+ high contrast ratio; >90 percent sRGB coverage
+ respectable battery life; large internal battery
+ rigid aluminum chassis; strong design
+ slightly improved GPU performance
+ generally quiet fan noise
+ strong CPU performance
+ good bass reproduction
+ bright display backlight
+ Killer 1535 standard
+ easy serviceability

Cons

- higher core and surface temperatures compared to previous XPS 13 generations
- unable to sustain maximum CPU Turbo Boost speeds
- chassis may rattle at high volume and bass settings
- PWM on all brightness levels including maximum
- slow transfer rates from Toshiba NVMe SSD
- crippled Thunderbolt 3 performance
- small and spongy Arrow keys

Verdict

In review: Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U
In review: Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U

Dell's main intention with the 8th gen Kaby Lake-R XPS 13 was to boost CPU performance through improved temperature monitoring. Thus, this latest iteration was designed to run at higher core temperatures than the previous SKUs without negatively impacting user experience or raising surface temperatures to uncomfortable levels. Our tests more or less echo these claims as core temperatures can hover over 90 C when under heavy load without affecting needing to bump up maximum fan speeds. Surface temperatures will be slightly warmer on certain parts of the keyboard, but the palm rests and trackpad never become uncomfortable.

Other than the significant leap in CPU performance and minor improvement in GPU performance, there are no surprises left for this XPS 13 generation. The same pros and cons from our previous reviews remain. There is a case for purchasing the XPS 13 i7-7560U SKU instead of the i7-8550U SKU as the Iris graphics performs 18 percent faster than the UHD Graphics 620, but CPU performance is much slower by about 40 percent. Demanding applications that take advantage of the higher core count will absolutely love Kaby Lake-R and the new XPS 13. There's still room for improvement as the steady 2.5 GHz clock rate is a far cry from the rated 3.7 GHz. Thus, it will be interesting to see how other Ultrabooks sporting this same CPU will perform in the coming weeks.

The XPS 13 is once again a very strong contender in the subnotebook space for this Holiday season. The performance boost is as advertised even though we had hoped for better Turbo Boost sustainability over longer periods.

Dell XPS 13 i7-8550U - 10/12/2017 v6
Allen Ngo

Chassis
92 /  98 → 94%
Keyboard
89%
Pointing Device
87%
Connectivity
58 / 80 → 73%
Weight
71 / 78 → 84%
Battery
92%
Display
84%
Games Performance
60 / 68 → 88%
Application Performance
89 / 87 → 100%
Temperature
88 / 91 → 96%
Noise
98%
Audio
80 / 91 → 88%
Camera
44 / 85 → 52%
Average
79%
89%
Subnotebook - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Dell XPS 13 (i7-8550U, QHD) Laptop Review
Allen Ngo, 2017-10- 9 (Update: 2017-10-13)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.