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CES 2018 | The Dell XPS 13 9370 is the full refresh we've been waiting for

The Dell XPS 13 9370 is the full refresh we've been waiting for
The Dell XPS 13 9370 is the full refresh we've been waiting for
More than just a thinner facade, the next generation XPS 13 offers a host of new hardware features from top to bottom for a starting price of under $1000 USD.

The current InfinityEdge design may be over three years old, but it arguably remains as one of the best narrow bezel designs available in balancing rigidity, serviceability, and appearance. As lauded as it may be, Dell has decided to refresh its flagship poster child for 2018 in an attempt to stay ahead of the curve and what better time to show this off than at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

A brief rundown of the differences between the new XPS 13 9370 and outgoing XPS 13 9360 is outlined through the table below. Nonetheless, we will go through the major changes one by one including the obvious superficial updates.

Dell XPS 13 9370Dell XPS 13 9360
CPUIntel Core i7-8550U, i5-8250UIntel Core i7-8550U, 7100U, 7200U
GPUIntegrated UHD Graphics 620Integrated HD or UHD Graphics 620
Display13.3-inch FHD touch or non-touch 72% NTSC, 4K UHD touch 100% NTSC (400 nits, 1500:1 contrast)13.3-inch FHD non-touch, QHD+ touch
RAM4 GB to 16 GB LPDDR3 1866 or 2133 MHz, Soldered4 GB to 16 GB LPDDR3 1866 MHz, Soldered
Storage128 GB SATA to 1 TB PCIe SSD128 GB SATA to 256 GB PCIe SSD
Connectivity2x USB Type-C + Thunderbolt 3 (40 Gbps each), 1x USB Type-C Gen. 2, MicroSD reader, 3.5 mm headset, Noble Lock2x USB 3.0 Type-A, 1x USB Type-C + Thunderbolt 3 (20 Gbps), 1x USB Type-C Gen. 2, HDMI, SD reader, 3.5 mm combo audio, Noble Lock
WirelessKiller 1435 or Intel 8265Killer 1535
Battery52 Wh60 Wh
Dimensions302 x 199 x 11.6 mm304 x 200 x 15 mm
WeightStarting at 1.21 kgStarting at 1.2 kg
XPS 13 9370 will have classic Black...
XPS 13 9370 will have classic Black...
... and Rose Gold as the only two color options. The palm rests and keys are completely white this time around.
... and Rose Gold as the only two color options. The palm rests and keys are completely white this time around.
Full-size SD reader is gone in favor of a MicroSD slot
Full-size SD reader is gone in favor of a MicroSD slot
Charging will now be done via USB Type-C instead of a dedicated AC charging port
Charging will now be done via USB Type-C instead of a dedicated AC charging port

The first notable update is to the display itself. Both FHD touch and non-touch options are now available alongside a 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) touchscreen that promises to cover the full sRGB spectrum. The uncommon QHD+ (3200 x 1800) panel on the XPS 9360 is not returning for the new iteration. The move is likely a response to the 13.3-inch Spectre 13 and 13.9-inch Yoga 920 as both competitors ship with FHD and 4K UHD panels only. It will be interesting to find out what the response times are for the 4K UHD SKU compared to the FHD SKU since they tend to be slower at higher native resolutions.

The next major internal change is to the Thunderbolt 3 ports themselves. There are now two Thunderbolt 3 ports with 4x PCIe lanes each compared to the single throttled Thunderbolt port 3 on the outgoing XPS 13 and current XPS 15 9560. The update is unlikely to affect most users, but enthusiasts will be at ease knowing that Thunderbolt 3-based docking stations and eGPU solutions can exploit the full 40 Gbps bandwidth of the XPS system. The drawback is the overt lack of any USB Type-A ports not unlike on the rumored 15.6-inch XPS convertible, but Dell is throwing in a free USB Type-C to Type-A adapter in every box to make up for the omission.

Internally, Dell is sourcing both Intel and Killer for multiple WLAN configurations while cutting battery capacity by 10 percent from 60 Wh to 52 Wh. The WLAN change should appease users who may have been having issues with Killer in the past, but the smaller battery was likely a necessity because of the thinner design. Despite this, the manufacturer is still promising a battery life of almost 20 hours from a full charge. The new design even doubles the number of fans and heat pipes for what we can only hope will lead to quieter fan noise and cooler temperatures. While there are no manual fan controls to adjust RPM directly, there are a number of new preset options optimized for specific conditions such as video playback, gaming, or word processing.

XPS 13 9360
XPS 13 9360
XPS 13 9370. The SSD continues to be removable
XPS 13 9370. The SSD continues to be removable
XPS 13 9360
XPS 13 9360
XPS 13 9370. Dual fans could potentially mean slower RPMs and quieter fan noise
XPS 13 9370. Dual fans could potentially mean slower RPMs and quieter fan noise

Visually, the new XPS 13 9370 is flatter around the edges and sharper around the corners than the outgoing XPS 13 9360. The signature InfinityEdge bezel is now even narrower from 5.2 mm to about 4.5 mm for a more impactful "bezel-free" experience, although the thickness of the lid feels thinner than on the older XPS 13 design. Dell says the keyboard experience should be identical between the two generations including the shallow 1.2 mm key travel. We would've preferred deeper keys with improved feedback a la the Spectre x360 15, but at least we know that tactile feedback will not suffer as a result from the thinner form factor.

Finally, the new Rose Gold option throws in a couple of curveballs unique to its color palette. In order to accommodate the new white palm rests and key caps, the keyboard backlight is now a blue-green tint not unlike on the current Samsung Notebook 9 series whereas the standard black XPS 13 option will continue to have the familiar white backlight. Furthermore, the white palm rests are now glass fiber instead of carbon fiber with a bumpier surface texture to repel grease buildup on what would have otherwise been a smooth white surface. Dell is contrasting this to Microsoft's white Alcantara keyboards on the Surface Laptop and Surface Pro that are notorious for becoming dark and grimy over time.

Although visibly thinner, the new chassis is not any lighter than the outgoing model
Although visibly thinner, the new chassis is not any lighter than the outgoing model
Rose Gold drops the black carbon fiber for white glass fiber. There is no longer an option for Rose Gold and black carbon fiber
Rose Gold drops the black carbon fiber for white glass fiber. There is no longer an option for Rose Gold and black carbon fiber
Smooth carbon fiber surface is the same as before
Smooth carbon fiber surface is the same as before
The white option will have a bumpier texture to thwart buildup of grease and grime
The white option will have a bumpier texture to thwart buildup of grease and grime
No changes to the keyboard layout aside from the fingerprint-enabled Power button
No changes to the keyboard layout aside from the fingerprint-enabled Power button
1.2 mm key travel feels identical to the previous generation. Unfortunately, the camera is still in an awkward location
1.2 mm key travel feels identical to the previous generation. Unfortunately, the camera is still in an awkward location
Bottom panel will no longer have the awkward center flap
Bottom panel will no longer have the awkward center flap
Thinner and narrower lid at the cost of rigidity
Thinner and narrower lid at the cost of rigidity

One particular drawback that we've been consistently pointing out on the older XPS 13 model is its very warm surface temperatures. Dell has apparently heard our cries as the new XPS 13 incorporates special gel insulators from GORE Technologies to keep surface temperatures in check. This same company is responsible for producing polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) and other fibers found in applications where heat resistance and tensile strength are concerns.

Has build quality improved even though the XPS 9370 is 23 percent thinner? The results are a mixed bag based on our short time with the showcase unit. The lid feels a bit more flexible than on the outgoing XPS 9360 possibly due to the narrower bezel and seemingly thinner outer lid reinforcement. We suspect that the matte FHD SKU - of which none were on show - is even worse as it does not have the glass overlay to strengthen an already super-thin design. On the bright side, the base does not appear to be appreciably inferior in rigidity to the outgoing model. Depressions are minimal down the center of the keyboard and the front corners exhibit only minor creaking when attempting to twist the base. We'll reserve our final thoughts on the chassis once we have a full review of the unit. 

The XPS 13 9370 is launching today in North America for a starting price of just $1000 USD or $950 USD for the Ubuntu Developer Edition. Expect our full review on a unit in the coming weeks.

(Source: Dell)
(Source: Dell)

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Dell

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 12 > The Dell XPS 13 9370 is the full refresh we've been waiting for
Allen Ngo, 2018-01- 4 (Update: 2018-01- 4)
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.