Dell XPS 13 9350 review – Core i7 model, with Intel Iris 540 graphics


  1. Pete

    April 13, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    Do you have any coil whine?

    • Derek Sullivan

      April 13, 2016 at 11:12 pm

      Yes, see the Noise and heat section. I described it there.

  2. C

    May 3, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Between this, the 13 with an i5 and the RBS would you have any recommendations on which one you would lean towards?

    • Derek Sullivan

      May 3, 2016 at 8:51 pm

      Tough one. Depends on what’s more important to you. I’d pick the XPS 13 keyboard over the RBS. But the RBS is thinner and has an i7 for a decent price. Really the performance differences are minor unless you plan on pushing it that hard all the time. It’ll all come down to which one “looks” better to you. You can’t go wrong with either one.

      For me? I’d lean towards the RBS. I can deal with the shallow keystrokes, there was less coil whine and it’s thinner. But the initial RBS launch had a lot of defects out there so make sure you give it a good check if you go that route. That’s not to say Dell won’t have defects but their exchange policy is miles ahead of Razer’s(in the US at least). Sorry if this doesn’t help out. If you need a more specific comparison, let me know.

      • C

        May 3, 2016 at 10:25 pm

        Yea That’s my problem, I think both have one or two features the other doesn’t have which makes it hard to decide:
        Dell with the thin bezel, SD card reader, battery life
        Razer with the future of the core, i7, QHD

        Pricewise they seem somewhat similar, but its the small things that make it hard :P

  3. Michael Hu

    May 13, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    I have both 6560u and 6500u in my hand now, and I have to return one. I find that the battery life of 6560 is only 5 hours or so, but the 6500 one has like 7.5 hours, both with 40% brightness and wifi-on, simple browsing. Do you think I should return the 6560 one because of its battery life shortcoming? My 6560 one is gold, so this is another bonus point.

    • Derek Sullivan

      May 14, 2016 at 3:27 am

      It depends on if you play games or not. If not, I’d stick with the 6500u and get some battery. The 6560u is a significant jump in gaming performance though and worth the sacrifice if that’s your thing.

      • Pep

        June 4, 2016 at 5:20 pm

        Wow, 7.5 to 5 hours is a 33% less of battery life. I was thinking about getting this Xps 13 with Iris GPU but after reading the review I dont know what to do. I also read about this battery life drop issue in other forums. In my case I would choise the FHD mainly for getting more battery life but these 5 hours is less than I was expected from this acclaimed laptop

        @Derek do you recomend to get the old i5 with no iris card instead? I usually dont play games with my laptop

      • Derek Sullivan

        June 5, 2016 at 9:37 am

        If you don’t play games, for sure get the older one. There is no sense in reducing battery life, adding heat and paying more money just to get a little better performance. Just be sure to get enough Ram.

  4. Dupont

    May 17, 2016 at 4:46 am

    Have you tested the Razer core with the XPS ?

  5. StigtriX

    June 9, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    I recommend installin a clean version of Windows. I did so on my XPS 15, and have had a better experience as a result.

  6. Jason

    July 13, 2016 at 1:28 am

    Hi, I’m deciding between the 9350 equipped with an i5-6200U, 8GB RAM, and 128GB SSD. I want this purchase to be lasting me for the next three years, if not greater. Do you think this buy would be good for at least 3 years if not more?

    Contemplating between this and a Macbook Pro (which has a greater price tag of $200 in Canada)

    • Derek Sullivan

      July 13, 2016 at 1:41 am

      I think both laptops could easily last 3 years. The MacBook pro is in a different league than the xps 13 though and $200 isn’t that much of a difference considering it has a faster processor(depending on your specs). You might be wanting more hard drive space though, so consider that carefully.

  7. Elior

    July 18, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Thanks for your deep and clear review. Very helpful.
    I would greatly appreciate your opinion in the following decision: I’m a web programmer, using visual studio express for web open along with the chrome browser in development mode with at least 5 tabs open; sometimes ms word is also open – under this load do you think there would be a significant difference in speed between the 6500u and the 6560u?
    Thanks again,

    • Derek Sullivan

      July 18, 2016 at 6:40 pm

      Probably not. Besides the tiny difference in boost clock speed, there’s not a whole lot of real life difference you would see in those applications. Assuming the 6500u is a significant price break, I’d say go with that.

      • Elior

        July 19, 2016 at 6:27 am

        Thank you very much :-) I’ll get the 6500u model.

      • Scot C

        July 20, 2016 at 1:27 pm

        The main difference between these CPUs are the integrated graphics, the older model has Iris 520, while the newer version has Iris 540 graphics. The Iris 540 is almost TWICE as fast as the Iris 520 in 3D / gaming applications, so it depends whether you are planning on doing any light gaming or 3D work on the laptop.

      • Elior

        July 20, 2016 at 1:45 pm

        Hi Scot,
        No, only programming, perhaps some complicated CSS manipulations but no more than that.
        My consideration is to have a longer battery life which is more relevant for me.

  8. Scott C

    July 20, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    Indeed, that is why I just got myself a Gigabyte Aero 14 (but it also packs a GTX 970M), huge battery. I ordered a Dell XPS 15 originally, but the order was weeks late and after I had left the country; they couldn’t even tell me where the package was over 2 weeks after receiving a shipping notification…

  9. Woo

    August 3, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Which is better, acer aspire s7 393 core i7 or dell xps 13 9350 core i5

    • Derek Sullivan

      August 3, 2016 at 12:31 pm

      I spent many months trying to get used to the keyboard on the Acer S7. I could never get it right, missing many keystrokes from the short travel. Also the backlit keys had zero contrast and were difficult to read in the dark. The keyboard alone would make me steer clear. The XPS 13 is the better choice.

  10. Lee Jones

    August 26, 2016 at 10:56 am

    I have the opportunity to buy a rather strange config of this machine: an i7, but without the touchscreen, and Intel HD 520 graphics card. I know this sounds wrong, but I have seen the BIOS and it looks right. Now, I am attracted to the usual i7 config because of the gaming capability (I am a very occasional gamer, playing things like Fallout and The Elderscrolls). But the seriously diminished battery life on the i7 – which I understand is caused to a large extent by the touchscreen (which, I agree, is pointless on a laptop and which I do not want) – is a concern, because my main priority is to get an ultra-portable, long-life battery work machine. So the idea of an i7 without a touchscreen is attractive, despite the weak graphics card, as long as the battery life will be good. My question is: would you go for this config (which I can get for about $925, refurbed), or would you still opt for the usual i5 (about $1100 new). Thanks in advance for your advice.

    • Derek Sullivan

      August 26, 2016 at 5:44 pm

      As long as there’s a warranty, I would totally go for the i7 and save a little money.

  11. Nicholas Stone

    August 31, 2016 at 12:48 am

    I have found another unusual variant of this machine, like the poster above. However this time it has the full Iris 540 graphics chip.

    I am interested in playing some games and I’m not interested in the touchscreen as I think it will significantly affect battery life and performance over an FHD same spec equivalent.

    The only other options I have is a lower spec i5 core with HD6500 graphics, and the smallest SSD of 128gb or the QHD with the same specs as the FHD I mentioned at the start of this comment.

    I think I want the i7 FHD model but the price is only $70 less at $1530 USD than the QHD model ($1600 USD). I feel like I’m being fleeced as it being FHD should be several hundred dollars cheaper.

    I’m in Singapore so I converted the prices to US dollars.

    • Derek Sullivan

      August 31, 2016 at 1:23 pm

      Those panels have been out for quite some time and the volume is high, so the panel prices probably aren’t all that different. $70 seems fair especially considering FHD panel is a high quality IPS screen. The largest cost difference in the machine is easily the CPU options.

  12. Hameeda

    September 13, 2016 at 6:05 am


    I am from South Africa and this laptop was recently released here.

    I would like to get the XPS 13 i7 dual core but not sure if it comes with the intel graphics or not. Is there a version where the i7 comes with normal graphics? It has 8GB and 256 SSD.

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 13, 2016 at 6:16 am

      If it’s the COre i7-6560U processor, than it comes with Intel Iris HD 540 graphics, if it’s a Core i7-6500 U processor, it comes with Intel HD 520 Graphics. The former is around 15 to 30% faster in benchmarks and games.

  13. Ewan

    September 30, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    XPS 13 i5-7200U Kaby Lake comprehensively beaten by Iris Graphics 540 XPS 13 (i7-6560U CPU):

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 1, 2016 at 1:59 am

      no surprise, Kabylake is not a significant update and the i7-6560U wasn’t the “regular” Core i7 U anyway, so there’s no point in comparing it with the new i5, performance wise.

  14. Ewan

    October 1, 2016 at 3:25 am

    True, but the i5-7200U Kaby Lake is running 10% slower than the same chip in other notebooks (in other notebooks it should be 10% faster than the previous i5-6200U, rather than on par, as in the test XPS 13); the system fan is often running, even without noteworthy CPU load; and the test model also has problems with coil whining.

  15. Ewan

    October 1, 2016 at 3:30 am

    Also The new Intel HD Graphics 620 cannot be utilised to its full potential in the test model, either, and clearly falls behind other devices with the same GPU.

  16. Ewan

    October 1, 2016 at 3:35 am

    The common theme that is emerging here is that there is an issue, even in the Iris 540 models, of thermal management related throttling in the XPS 13 series.

  17. Andrew

    October 22, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    Just purchased the new XPS13, and am waiting for it to arrive. The only sticking point seems to be the webcam, but I haven't used my current webcam on my MacBook Air for over 4 years, so it won't ever get used on my new XPS …

  18. Ewan

    October 26, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Mine has the Iris 540 graphics too, but with 16GB of RAM on board and a 512 GB M.2 PCIe NVMe.
    Performance would be identical I expect, the extra RAM would only come into play rendering a video file I imagine.
    Still, as the RAM is soldered in and not upgrade-able, it is probably worth it?
    I have got my thermal pads an grease all ready for the thermal upgrades described on your other article.

  19. Nicholas Stone

    October 26, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    Does anyone know if the iris 540, I-7 6560u model can handle Civilization VI?

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 27, 2016 at 3:59 am

      Depends on the resolution, but I've tried Civ 6 on the Core i5-6200U with Intel HD 520 graphics and works fine on FHD with lower details. Haven't measured fps, but didn't notice hiccups or stuttering in the first 100 turs on the game, haven't played past that

  20. Poonam

    September 7, 2017 at 3:58 am

    Hi, Derek, I am in the process of deciding a purchase of a light laptop.I was zeroing in on Dell XPS 13, 9350, but with a configuration I can't find… My main work is photography…no gaming, please guide.
    infinity Screen-resolution 3200 x 1800
    256gb ssd; prefer 16gb ram,Corei5 6500u; Intel Iris graphis 540;FHD matte screen,

    Touch screen is not essential
    I travel a lot so battery life and lightweight is key…also base memory for photo downloads is an important criteria.(minimum storage 256gb SSD)
    I would require minimum 2 usb ports , one thunderbolt, memory card reader and a connector for hdmi cable. Thanks for your time.

    • Derek Sullivan

      September 10, 2017 at 9:02 pm

      Sorry for the delay – I've been fleeing a hurricane all week.

      Do you need iris graphics? You mentioned you do but the CPU you are looking for does not have Iris. Only certain CPUs have it. What did the XPS 13 have that you don't like?

      • Poonam

        September 12, 2017 at 6:03 am

        Thanks…hope you are safe.
        I need a minimum of 256gb storage…I understand that I heats up…So I thought of sticking to i5.

      • Derek Sullivan

        September 14, 2017 at 2:23 pm

        Dell offers that on their website directly. I just saw an i5 version with a 256GB SSD for $1100.

  21. bareera

    January 24, 2018 at 7:28 am

    Dell has unveiled the brand-new 2018 XPS 13, and while it might not look particularly different from previous models – the sleek design and infinity display are still present and correct – there’s plenty going on that makes this a major upgrade.

  22. Pete

    September 25, 2019 at 3:12 am

    Hi, I am a photographer looking for a powerful laptop, so appreciate this solid review. Do you think this little beast has enough CPU, RAM and graphics muscle for editing 4K video with a program like Adobe Premiere without overheating and crashing?

    • Derek Sullivan

      September 25, 2019 at 3:19 am

      Could it do it? Yes. Would I want to use it for that? Probably not. You'll really want to invest in a hexa core laptop that can hold a lot of ram for video editing. At least a quad core. GPU would be a plus as well, although not entirely necessary. This is a very dated CPU, so unless you are buying an updated version, or are getting it for only a few hundred dollars, I can't exactly recommend it for that.

      • Peter

        September 25, 2019 at 7:10 am

        Thanks Derek for this really useful reply that helps me a lot figure out my shopping list for a serious video editing laptop: hexa core with tons of ram,at least quad core, GPU a plus if possible. My "old" i7 6700k 4GHz 32GB ram desktop desktop works well enough for what I need to do but I have to find a laptop that can do at least if not better for working on the road. Now I have a good idea where to start looking and more importantly to avoid barking up the wrong tree.

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