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Dell XPS 13 7390 review: Gives good game for the essentials

Dell XPS 13 9000 Series (Model 9380) non-touch notebook computer, codename Italia WHL.  

There was a time when Dell and most other laptops were chunky, but as the design-conscious era hit, Dell outdid themselves. Everything became slimmer and lighter. There were the occasional touches of pastels and chunky golds in an attempt to spruce up the releases, but there is nothing like the sleek platinum or deep charcoal hues of gadgets.

The eco-tag of the series compensates: 25% of the material consists of ocean plastics collected from coastal areas, while the remaining 75% is made up of other recycled plastics. That said, the XPS series is a testament to intuitive and conscious design, and now it seems instinctive that a Dell should be on a person’s laptop usage timeline. So how does the XPS 13 7390 measure up?

Dell XPS 13 7390’s two colour variants

Dell XPS 13 7390’s two colour variants  

My review device came saddled with Windows 10 Home and an OS build of 18362.592, and thankfully, was not of the frosty gold variety.

Next gen display

XPS 13 7390’s size, though being 13.3 inches, feels more compact, perhaps due to its light nature. Sitting in a packed car or in a busy press conference was a breeze. What drew eyes around me was the display, which offers plenty to play around with, thanks to a next generation Infinity Edge display with an 80.7% screen-to-body ratio, plus the 60Hz refresh rate. However, at the start of 2020, we are here for 120Hz, which would be pretty slick.

  • Processor Options 10th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-10210U processor (6MB cache, up to 4.2 GHz, 4 cores), 10th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-10510U processor (8MB cache, up to 4.9 GHz, 4 cores)
  • Memory Options 8GB LPDDR3, Dual Channel SDRAM at 2133MHz (On Board) 16GB LPDDR3, Dual Channel SDRAM at 2133MHz (On Board)
  • Storage Options 512GB PCIe 3x4 SSD
  • Graphics Intel UHD Graphics
  • Display 13.3-inch UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) InfinityEdge touch display, 13.3-inch FHD (1920x1080) InfinityEdge display, 100% sRGB color gamut, HDR-ready enabled by Windows HD Color, Dolby Vision™, 400-nits, 1500:1 contrast ratio, 178° wide viewing angle - 89° / 89° / 89° / 89°, touch – anti-reflective, non-touch – antiglare
  • Ports and Slots 2x Thunderbolt™ 3 [DisplayPort / power delivery (4 lanes of PCI Express Gen 3)], 1 microSD card reader, 1 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack, 1 wedge-shaped lock slot
  • Input 4 Digital Array Microphones, Full size, backlit chiclet keyboard; 1.3mm travel, Precision touchpad, seamless glass integrated button, Optional Windows Hello compliant fingerprint reader in power button

Though a smaller device, watching movies or gaming is still enjoyable on the XPS 13 7390. Dell certainly delivers with the eye-catching 4K Ultra HD display, elevating gaming and photo-editing experiences. The XPS 7390 definitely had a leg up on my 13-inch MacBook Air for its 0.65% anti-reflective coating. Not being a fan of matte screens, the review device’s still-glossy visage is not compromised, if the 400-nit brightness and wide 178-degree viewing are anything to go by.

Clever features

Those who are ‘experience junkies’ can make the most of the Cinema features. CinemaColor does not overdo proportions of contrast and saturation, which is pretty constant across Dell displays. The Waves MaxxAudio Pro in the CinemaSound keeps things dropout- and scratch-free. In theory, CinemaStream’s Killer Wireless, leverages the user’s maximum bandwidth to play videos or music to steer clear of buffering — basically similar to Netflix’s Adaptive Streaming feature. I experienced numerous connectivity dropouts here, about every 10 minutes, which was a pain. This should not be an issue in the average household with a 100-megabytes-per-second connection.

The XPS 13 7390 sports a 16 gigabyte RAM and 10th Gen Intel processors, and, boy, does it use them well! I could seamlessly switch from a tension-heavy moment in Fortnite Battle Royale to a Google Docs file and back to Fortnite, without any glitches. On the other hand, my MacBook Air (2015 model) often slows down when a certain number of programmes are running, but I knew going into this review that shoving the Dell back into its box would be a solemn moment.

However, my MacBook Air does trump the XPS 13 7390 in that the battery power (charged by a standard USB-C charger) is far more pleasing. Despite Dell’s Power Manager, which helps users decide where and when the device uses power, the battery life of an-hour-and-a-half while transcribing and writing (with no background apps) is barely excusable. In such a case, I lowered the resolution of my display, since 4K Ultra HD has a habit of sapping energy.

Dell XPS 13 7390 review: Gives good game for the essentials

Speaking of transcribing, journalist that I am, the keyboard and touchpad of a laptop make or break one’s usage. But the XPS 13 7390, to no surprise, offers a quiet and focussed means to get writing and browsing done. Plus, the ergonomics of the ever-so-slight tilt of the base makes for a comfortable wrist.

Personally, I am looking forward to the expected new member of the family, the XPS 13 9300, to not only make up for aforementioned drawbacks, but to see how Dell will take the XPS series forward.

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 5:37:51 PM |

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