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The 35-Watt SoC and GeForce don't run at full power. | Overextended cooling: The Dell Inspiron 13 5310

Dell Inspiron 13 5310 review: Equipped with powerful hardware that cannot be cooled sufficiently in a 13-inch laptop.
Dell Inspiron 13 5310 review: Equipped with powerful hardware that cannot be cooled sufficiently in a 13-inch laptop.
Dell's 13-inch laptop comes as a powerhouse in a mini format: The laptop runs with a 35-Watt Tiger Lake-H SoC in addition to a 25-Watt GeForce MX450. Is this a 1.3-kilogram (3 lb) workstation?

We tried out Dell's 13-inch Inspiron 13 5310 laptop. With a 35-Watt Tiger Lake SoC and Nvidia MX450 in the 25-Watt version, it appears to be a powerful mobile companion. And the light subnotebook weighing only 1.3 kg (3 lb) with a battery life of a good 10 hours is definitely mobile. 

However, the small power house shows some weaknesses exactly at the place where it should shine: in the CPU and graphics performance. The cooling is configured conservatively and throttles the processor when the temperature of the chip exceeds 82 ºC (180 ºF). This happens quickly, so the Core i5-11300H is unable to develop its full performance, neither during brief loads nor during constant load. 

The same behavior is also shown by the GeForce MX450. Computing intensive games throttle the frame rates after a brief time, and the GPU clock speed is dropping. However, the Inspiron 13 5310 is by no means a slow computer. While the Core i5-11300H takes the right direction with its performance, it doesn't reach the goal posts that it has set for itself. In brief, other models get more performance from this chip. 

If we look beyond the performance, the Dell Inspiron 13 5310 is a laptop with more advantages than disadvantages. The matte display is bright and covers the sRGB color space completely. The maintenance is easy and the bottom of the case can be removed without much fumbling. The WLAN is fast, and there are two Thunderbolt 4 ports.

Despite the complaints about the performance development, the 13-inch laptop offers the best graphics performance that is available in the compact format and low weight. There is really no available alternative at a similar price.

You can find out more in our review.

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Sebastian Jentsch, 2021-09- 7 (Update: 2021-09- 5)