Let me share with you my device review and lemon checklist experience after two days with my XPS 13. My system
- Dell XPS 13 9310 2in1 4k UHD+ display
- Intel® Core™ i7-1165G7 11th gen (12 MB Cache, up to 4,7 GHz)
- Windows 10 Home (64 Bit)
- Intel® Iris® Xe graphics
- 13,4"-UHD+-WLED-Touchdisplay (3.840 x 2.400), 16:10
- 16 GB LPDDR4x 4267 MHz memory
- 512GB PCIe NVMe x4 SSD onboard
The unboxing experience was just nice. The packaging is sleek and it’s a great moment to open the box and see the device for the first time. https://preview.redd.it/k67is15twvz51.jpg?width=4032&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=84500061d50a29f07a6f8c9b68b87f49959d55cf
https://preview.redd.it/icbs60zuwvz51.jpg?width=4032&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=28db070fdcf7d9f33d7e10584b700dac1d0c1244 Active pen
I’ve ordered my device with the Active Pen PN579X and what should I say. Connecting works without any issues. The pen is great! I decided for it as I had one integrated in my Lenovo work laptop, but this one is much better. It has a good size, not to slim, and you can use it perfectly on whiteboards, screen sketches or in OneNote. Text conversion works really good and I really like it. So also from me clear recommendation (as from all 4k users who got the pen 😉). Nice goodie, that I find now much cooler than I have expected: the magnet who holds the pen. Well placed and holds really good.
One thing that I cannot judge is the drawing skills: a friend of mine, a professional painter is drawing a lot on the iPad Pro and loves it. I can tell, that the Dell Active Pen is also very sensitive and depending on the pressure you put the line gets thicker. But I am not the one tell if this is the right thing for painters, graphic designers or other drawing addicts.
Palm rejection was not an issue at all in my tests so far. It didn’t recognize any wrong inputs even though I put my hand on the screen while using whiteboard. That’s quite interesting as I didn’t even activate the palm rejection in the Windows settings yet. Device and Screen size
Let me also share some points about the screen size: I was searching for a device up to 14” and a different screen ratio than 16:9 as this cuts off too much content on websites, documents and in apps. One of the devices in my scope was also the Huawei Matebook Pro or Acer Spin 5 with their 3:2 ratio, but unfortunately those had some drawbacks in my eyes. This 16:10 size is anyway the perfect choice. You see enough content, it’s still stylish and with the thin bezels it looks perfect. For this device size you get a lot of screen and a good keyboard size. I actually got the impression, that the 15” keyboards are not really larger, so I feel no drawback. Keyboard
Nice. Other manufacturer’s keyboards on competitive devices were for me too wobblyy. I didn’t like typing on them. Dell just has a great typing experience. It’s a short way to push down the buttons, but you get a proper feedback and it doesn’t feel as if you’re touching a thin mini-pillow (sorry, don’t know a better expression in English 😉). Battery life with 4k screen
My settings: brightness roughly 30%, HDR on, Battery status: better performance, resolution 3840x2400, scaling 200%, Windows in dark mode
After the first start up the device was up and running for roughly one and a half hours only. But during that time I have downloaded a lot of updates, had different reboots, tried different things and had the screen sometimes on full brightness and played 4k videos from youtube for test purposes.
Second time usage, when I wrote this text in Word with its white background and checked the different lemon list items, the battery kept running for more hours. During that usage I have used Word, reddit and other browsing, youtube and downloaded Cinebench and PCMark with more than 3 GB of data. In total I used it 3 hrs and the battery was at 30% telling me that I can go for one more hour. After changing the energy mode to a more battery efficient management, the forecasted runtime changed to ~1:20 hrs.
Sidenote, my battery wear level is 5%. Fingerprint scanner
Works supersmooth and fast. Top! Startup
The laptop boots superfast and getting it back from sleep goes as expected within a sec… well know, in far less than a sec 😊 CLICK and BAM – there you go! https://youtu.be/tZlSopjZqzE Performance test
I have run two benchmarks with PCMark 10 one after the other, but with a full reboot in between. Besides PC Mark 10 no other software has been installed so far and I didn't close any of the standard tools running from startup.
The test was executed with a charged battery and the energy mode was set to "best performance":
1st score: 4.657
2nd score: 4.845
PC Mark 10 test in battery saving mode:
Score: 3842 Lemon list
I have checked different threats and found some issues that were reported for XPS devices, not only specifically to the XPS 13. As there are not much experiences with the 9310, I had to rely on other reviews like the XPS 15 and previous generation of mine, the 9300.
If you’re missing anything on this Lemon Checklist, let me know. 4k display and HDR
Some users reported flickering screens and even screens turning black after they activated HDR in Windows. I didn’t observe any flickering behavior, but had a problem with 4k videos, which was actually the first thing I tried out after startup. I have documented it here and was shocked, but at this point not sure, if this is a hardware or software problem. https://youtu.be/61Uvq7yfX0A
Afterwards I applied all the available Windows and Dell updates which also included updates for the Intel graphics. Having done that some more updates showed up, which I also applied and then I repeated the test a few times. The first time the battery was under 20%, so I wasn’t sure if HDR was anyway deactivated for battery saving purposes in the background. The next day I repeated the test with a fully charged battery in HDR mode and it got confirmed: the updates apparently resolved the issue as you can see in this video. https://youtu.be/yyZ72c3OUbg
Anyway, I observed now once in Word the problem, that parts of the menu bar went black while using the laptop in HDR mode. I feel, it’s related to HDR, but it got resolved after restarting Word.So I followed the advise of another reddit user who suggested to download the latest driver from Intel directly and since I did that I experienced no more problems with the display. :)
Overall what should I say, some of you might have seen other posts from me already. My expectation got fulfilled. This screen is supersharp and spending so much time online and in shops and comparing different content types, trying out FHD and UHD, getting as close as possible to the screen to see the sharpness, payed out now. This screen is great and I would recommend it to everybody who does not really need the extra two to three hours of battery life with the FHD.
Related posts: XPS 13 2in1 9310 - Display poll Dell XPS 13 2in1 Display resolution
Besides that some users asked about the backlight bleed. It’s not shining equally across the whole screen, but I think this is the way it is and it’s not that I would complain about it. It’s still within an acceptable range and for example on this blue windows startup screen during first time setup I almost didn’t recognize it. And this is where some users shared picture of and had much worse backlight variations than I had. So also here nothing to complain from my side. Hinge
I recognized, that my hinges are both not 100% straight. The left one looks almost fine, only in some position you can see, that it's not perfectly fitting, but the right one is pretty obvious and when switch to tablet mode you can often feel a little irritation during movement.
Honestly I didn’t experience any problem yet, whereby “problem” is actually a very strong word. That a 14mm ultrabook will get warm is probably just physics, but some users reported cases of overheating. On my first usage with all the updates the fan was running a lot and it’s been stressed out a bit. On the bottom side it got actually warm (not hot) and on the keyboard-side I could feel no heat at all, so I am so far happy. Anyway, might update once I tried games – not sure though, how Stadia will consume hardware resources… shouldn’t be too much.
While writing this review (which included browsing and youtube) the fans kicked in sometimes, but it didn’t get warm at all. Trackpad / Keyboard
Check if the trackpad has "pre-travel", so if the trackpad can be pushed down without registering a clickhttps://youtu.be/fTctegVrV7M?t=16
> No problem
Check if you can still use the trackpad while covering the palm rest left of the trackpadhttps://youtu.be/ev8EkJ2frOU?t=13
> No problem
Check if you can use the trackpad while you are holding the laptop in the airhttps://youtu.be/5nkbUheUIL0?t=173
> Same problem on my XPS 13
Check if all keys are working, people have reported problems herehttps://reddit.com/Dell/comments/hj32w8/xps_17_keyboard_issue_faulty_key/
> No problem
Every time I click the touchpad, the spacebar rattles, which takes away that nice solid feel.
> No problem with mine.
The up arrow is wobbly and every now and then it catches on the surrounding plastic with a nasty click.Some keys feel solid, others feel loose.
> No problem with mine, arrow as well as all other keys feel solid and stable. No wobbly feeling or strange noises from the keyboard. Internals
Open the machine up and check that everything is in order, a reddit user showed images where many screws were either missing or damaged (could not find the post anymore)
> I won’t open my machine for no reason, so not checked
Coil whine: Under heavy load check if the fans output high pitch squeaking as these models should not have this problem
> While I was running my updates the fans started to run, probably not under highest possible load, but didn’t recognize any strange noises. Anyway, will most likely do another test. Display/Webcam/Audio
Check for dead pixelshttp://lcdtech.info/en/tests/dead.pixel.htm
> No problem
Check the webcam, since a reviewer found it to be defectivehttps://youtu.be/c2cZGMYzegQ?t=377
> No problem, camera is probably not the best, but even in the evening with normal room light, I get good pictures and could easily join video calls
Check if your audio ports are working, there have been reports about faulty headphone jackshttps://www.reddit.com/Dell/comments/h8t9co/lemon_list_how_to_check_if_you_got_a_lemon_xps/fuv111z/
> Microphone and stereo sounds works perfectly. The first time I pluuged in headphones in the notebook, it didn’t go ideal, but this is a normal experience I usually have with new headphone jacks. Once I unplugged and plugged in again twice everything worked fine.
high pitch sound when using headphones + charging
> checked and no problem, no mater on which side I charge the device, sound is clear. Touchpad
All functions work without any issues or delay. I love the size as I was looking for a device with a properly sized touchpad and I’m absolutely happy with what I got. Final conclusion
This is a great device and mine is definitely no lemon. The device works well and the battery life is as expected, taking me somewhere between 4 and 6 hrs, whereby I hoped to get closer to the 6 😉 Anyway, that's no showstopper. In my eyes this is a fantastic device and the only thing that made me doubt initially was the issue with the HDR mode - luckily this could be resolved with the latest Intel driver. Now I will reach out to Dell support due to the hinges and hope that they resolve it smoothly.
Are there other 9310 4k users out there who could share their experience?
Edit Nov 15: Wear level and performance results added.
Edit Nov 18: added hinge pictures and update on 4k display-section after using a couple days intensively after the Intel driver was installed.
References https://www.reddit.com/Dell/comments/jp2vvm/dell_xps_13_9310_overheating/ https://www.reddit.com/Dell/comments/jp8ydk/xps_13_9300_fhd_is_this_backlight_bleed/ https://www.reddit.com/Dell/comments/jmy670/xps_93009310_2in1_keyboard_issues/ https://www.reddit.com/Dell/comments/jlmmdq/get_9310_2in1_instead_9310_for_better_thermals/ https://www.reddit.com/Dell/comments/jlek2x/xps_9310_2in1_lessons_learned/ https://www.reddit.com/Dell/comments/jmnojg/new_xps_9310_battery_level_effects_performance/ https://www.reddit.com/Dell/comments/jtlsv8/psa_tiger_lake_owners_update_your_gpu_drivers/ https://www.reddit.com/DellXPS/comments/jt3jwl/finally_it_arrived_my_brand_new_xps_13_with_uhd/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3 https://youtu.be/mVaM4MSYH5Y https://www.reddit.com/Dell/comments/joqjq4/recieved_the_xps_15_9500_notalemon/ https://www.reddit.com/Dell/comments/h8t9co/lemon_list_how_to_check_if_you_got_a_lemon_xps/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3 https://www.reddit.com/Dell/comments/jobzp9/new_xps_user_slightly_disappointed_would_dell_fix/