Power-hungry display — Dell XPS 13 4K UHD configurations have shorter battery life by several hours
Higher numbers usually sound better on paper — megapixels, gigahertz, and gigabytes notwithstanding. Display resolution is no different with all OEMs charging premiums for 4K UHD panels over standard FHD options. What most users should keep in mind is that this often comes at a price of battery life.
We recently checked out both the Dell XPS 13 9380 FHD and 4K UHD SKUs to see if there would be any differences between them other than the obvious pixel density. As it turns out, the i7 FHD SKU can outlast the i7 4K UHD SKU by over 5 hours when subjected to the same WiFi load. Our WiFi test loops specific web pages on a browser every 30 seconds until automatic shutdown with both systems set to Balanced mode and 150 nit brightness.
Our final tallies for the FHD and 4K UHD SKUs come out to be 13.2 hours and 7.7 hours, respectively. As a double-check, we also compared the XPS 13 9370 FHD and 9370 4K UHD SKUs each with an identical Core i5-8250U CPU. Sure enough, the FHD configuration is able to outlast its 4K UHD alternative by about 4 hours.
The XPS 13 is a capable machine especially when paired with an Aorus eGPU RTX 2070 docking station, but the trade-off for having a crisper and sharper display is certainly tangible. If you're considering the 4K UHD option, then be prepared to recharge the system more often.