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Power-hungry display — Dell XPS 13 4K UHD configurations have shorter battery life by several hours

Dell XPS 13 4K options have shorter battery life by several hours
Dell XPS 13 4K options have shorter battery life by several hours
If you're in the market for a new XPS 13 Ultrabook, you may want to consider the less expensive 1080p options for their significantly longer runtimes. We are able to measure a difference of 4 to 5 hours when running the same WiFi test on both the FHD and 4K UHD SKUs.

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.

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Dell XPS 13 9380 i7 4K
8565U, UHD Graphics 620, 52 Wh
Dell XPS 13 9380 2019 FHD
8565U, UHD Graphics 620, 52 Wh
Dell XPS 13 9370 i5 UHD
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, 52 Wh
Dell XPS 13 9370 FHD i5
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, 52 Wh
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
1914
869
1417
WiFi v1.3
464
790
408
644
Load
133
106
119
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 03 > Power-hungry display — Dell XPS 13 4K UHD configurations have shorter battery life by several hours
Allen Ngo, 2019-03-14 (Update: 2019-03-14)
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.