Sweet machine: Dell XPS 13 9380 (2019) Review: Actually, A Lot Has Changed — First-Take

dell xps 13 9380 (2019).
  • Intel Core i7 8565U “Whiskey Lake” processor (quad-core, 15 watts)
  • 4K (3,840-by-2,160) touch display
  • 16GB of LPDDR3 dual channel SDRAM (2133 MHz)
  • Samsung 512GB NVMe solid-state drive (PM981).

Keyboard*: good tactile feedback and travel when typing. Comparable to HP’s sublime keyboards on its EliteBook line.

Display: Panel brightness is rated at 400 nits. By comparison, HP EliteBook X360 4K panels are typically rated at 500 nits, 13-inch MacBook Pro is also 500 nits, while the 2018 Retina MacBook Air is rated at 300 nits. The XPS 13’s color accuracy and color gamut is good but not at 2018 MacBook Pro levels.Interestingly, Notebookcheck says their XPS 9380 4K display uses a panel from AUO — not a Sharp panel, the latter Dell had been using for years. That’s not a subtle change. (Update: Dell has confirmed to me that it “multi-sources” the panels and uses both Sharp and AUO panels.

Design: still one of the most compact 13-inch laptops on the planet. And this time Dell squeezes a webcam into the top bezel. It’s more compact than the 2018 MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and even the already-compact HP EliteBook X360 1030 G3.

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Battery life: Dell has gotten very good at squeezing good battery life out of the quad-core/4K-display-packing XPS 9380. Let’s call it all-day battery life and maybe a little more if you’re not pushing the envelope on processor-intensive tasks and keep the display brightness down.

Materials: The machined skin (on the one I’m using) has a different texture compared to the previous XPS 9370.  I prefer the new texture on the 9380.

Color: the new frost white / “platinum silver” color is gorgeous. Beats the MacBook and HP silver exteriors.

Biometric ID / webcam: no more “Windows Hello” Face ID because the webcam has been moved from the bottom to the top of the display, where it belongs. Problem is, there isn’t enough space for the Windows Hello infrared (IR) cameras in the tiny sliver of space on the top bezel. But there’s fingerprint ID, very nicely integrated into the power button.


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