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Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons

24 months with the Dell XPS 13 2015

By Andrei Girbea , updated on February 22, 2017

I’ve bought the Dell XPS 13 back in January 2015 and I’ve been using it as my daily-driver notebook ever since.

If you’ve read my initial review of the laptop (I suggest you check it out if you haven’t already, and then come back to this post), you know that at the time I was happy with the change and eager to get used to the several nits I still had with it.

Roughly 18 months later (at the latest update), my general opinion hasn’t changed: the Dell XPS 13 is one of the better ultraportables you can get out there, especially if you want a matte display and only have about $1000 to spend. I did ran into a few issues and flaws during my time with this laptop though, which hindered the daily experience, and some of them could make me think twice before buying this laptop again. Some of them got fixed with software updates though, and some were never addressed, as you’ll see below.

Most of the articles published about the XPS 13 are more than flattering, and the truth is this is a very good laptop. It’s compact and light, despite packing a 13-inch display. It’s well-built and beautiful. It also bundles fast hardware, good IO and runs quiet. But there are certain aspects most reviews won’t tell you about this XPS—mostly because it’s impossible to notice such details in only a few days of tests. I’ll talk about them in the following sections of this post.

Just a heads-up: You should know that I own a mid-level configuration of the XPS 13 9343, the model that was selling for $899 back in January 2015 and includes an Intel Core i5-5200U processor, 4 GB of RAM, a 128 GB SATA SSD and a 1920 x 1080 px matte non-touch display.

Also keep in mind, the initial version of this article was put together in September 2015, 8-months after I bought the laptop, and I updated it periodically afterwards.

Update1: 10 months in, nothing else has changed. The battery is still at 44Wh and I haven’t’ encountered issues with the fan or performance anymore. Just wanted to add that I’m mostly happy with Windows 10, however I feel that the trackpad is even crappier than it was with Windows 8 when it comes to two-finger scrolling and other gestures (I’m using Firefox, but it’s even worse in Chrome or Edge).

Update2: Nearly 24 months have passed since the original article and not much has changed. The trackpad seems to perform a little better after the latest updates, but scrolling can still get choppy on very large websites, both on Chrome and Firefox. The battery is still at 44 Wh and I haven’t run into any other performance issues since switching to Windows 10. The fan rattled a few more times since the previous update, but I mostly use the laptop lightly so the fan isn’t even active most of the time.

Update3: In case you’re interested in what I think about the updated version of this XPS, the 9350 series, you should check out this article.

Dell's XPS 13 is one of the better ultra-portables out there, but my 8-month experience with it as a daily driver brought more than just bells and roses in our relationship

Dell’s XPS 13 is one of the better ultra-portables out there, but my 10-month experience with it as a daily driver brought up more than just bells and roses in our relationship

Nitpicking

Dell did a great job with their 13-incher in terms of build quality and aesthetics, although that’s subjective and some of you might feel differently. Regardless, I’m happy with the way the XPS 13 hold on during these months. It feels solid and it barely shows any dents or scratches on its metallic exterior, despite the fact that I haven’t pampered it. The interior has held-up extremely well too, although it does collect smudges easily and I have to wipe it clean every couple of days.

Even so, the only signs that this XPS is not brand new is the coating on top of the spacebar and a few other keys, which has become a bit shinier over time from finger oil. This was expected, to be frank, as I typed countless articles on this computer.

That out of the way, there are a few things Dell could have done differently on the XPS 13. For me, the most annoying aspects are the bright LEDs placed on the charging plug and just beneath the trackpad, which are lit when the laptop is charging. The light under the trackpad does eventually shut off when the battery is fully charged, but in order to maintain battery integrity, I’ve set the battery to never charge beyond 95% (you’ll see why in a bit). As a result, that light never shuts off. Another similar annoyance is that the power button is also backlit all the time.

In an office environment, these are not going to be a big deal, but try to watch a movie at night, it’s going to drive you crazy!

Then there’s the laptop’s overall case temperatures during everyday use. I’m using this Dell lightly most of the time, running up to 10 tabs in Firefox, Skype, and usually Word. Even so, the laptop’s metallic back-casing gets to about 40 degrees Celsius on a daily basis. Again, if you tend to keep the laptop on a desk, that’s not going to bother you much, but I for one tend to use the laptop on my lap most of the time or on my thighs while lying on the sofa or even in bed. This causes my legs to sweat during the summer days. The experience is much nicer during the autumn and winter months, but for those of you living in hot environments, keep in mind that this laptop tends to get warmer than most others with daily use.

Now, high temperatures were expected on such a compact device with an aluminum case, specially since the fan rarely has to kick on. That makes the XPS 13 very quiet, at least with my use scenarios, unless I launch a game (I have Railroad Tycoon 3 installed and play it from time to time).

That aside, I also want to add a few words about the hinge. On one side, I appreciate that it’s tough. On the other, I feel it’s too rigid. There’s no way to lift up the display with a single hand and you’ll have to pull strongly even when using both hands. That’s nitpicking, but if you’ve come in contact with MacBooks and their smooth hinges, you’ll expect all premium laptops to behave the same. That’s not the case here.

Then there’s another aspect closely tied to how I use the laptop: the fact that the screen does not lean back flat, but only to about 140-150 degrees, which means that at times I struggle to look at the display head-on. I was hoping I would get used to this, but I didn’t, despite the fact that the XPS 13 actually has a great screen with no glare and excellent viewing angles.

There’s also the keyboard and the trackpad. Although better than the ones many other ultraportables offer, the keyboard on the XPS 13 is still too shallow for my liking and lacks the feedback I want. I’m for sure more sensitive to this aspect than a regular user since I type tens of thousands of words a week, and I’ve been used to ThinkPads and their excellent keyboards in the past, but there’s still work to be done here.

As for the trackpad, it feels nice and it performs well as long as you keep to swiping, pressing and taping. Gestures, on the other hand, are rather erratic, and the inability to recognize two-finger scrolling properly in some browsers (especially in Chrome) can be maddening. I use Firefox and scrolling is somewhat better, but even so I have to make sure I place my fingers in the middle of the trackpad (not towards the sides) if I want the gesture to be registered properly.

Update: Scrolling is better with the latest software updates (as of May 2016). I no longer have to swipe my fingers exactly in the middle of the surface, but I still run into occasional hiccups and freezes, especially when dealing with large webpages or the Facebook timeline.

Last but not least, there’s the battery life. Dell advertises up to 15 hours of life on this particular model that I own, but it never got more than 7-8 on a daily basis when it was brand new, and only averages around 5-7 these days. That’s not bad, but I do feel the manufacturer should not create false expectations, especially since the laptop is really far from delivering. And there’s also the issue of the battery wearing off quickly, which I will address in the following section.

OK, that’s about it for this section. At the end of the day, I don’t want you to get the wrong impression from my “complaints”. I have high expectations from my laptop and I’m aware no computer would be able to meet them all. So bottom point, while Dell did a good job with their 2015 XPS 13, certain aspects can still be improved.

Dell’s inability to fix two important issues

On the other hand, I find Dell’s lack of software response frustrating. Two main issues have been reported by countless buyers and both could have been addressed with driver updates, but never were.

The first is the glitchy trackpad, as I mentioned above, which struggles with gestures and lacks certain commands (like two finger Back or Forward), especially in Chrome. Dell did release one or two TouchPad software updates in the last months, which improved the experience, but none actually solved the problem. In fact, even the updated XPS 9350 suffers from similar issues.

Then there’s the screen. Intel powered laptops have an option hidden in the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator control panel called “Display Power Saving Technology” (Power Options >> On Battery). Dell decided to hide this setting on the XPS 13, and as a result the screen is affected by what is called “dynamic contrast”, which means that certain elements (especially the gray ones) are not visible immediately when you switch between dark and light content, and need a few seconds to adapt (this clip better shows what to expect). This also has a negative impact on the display’s perceived brightness.

The truth is I haven’t exactly noticed this problem in the beginning and I still don’t find it that annoying these days, although it is there and I notice it from time to time. But some of you might consider this a deal-breaker.

Even so, many have been complaining about these issues and Dell cared so little that they never did anything about them in the 15 months that have passed since the XPS 13 was launched. And they probably never will.

The unexpected problems

I was more or less aware of all the aspects mentioned above when I decided to keep the XPS 13. But there are a few other things I had to deal with, which I did not sign for.

First, only a few days after I got the laptop, I noticed the battery’s capacity dropped suddenly by a few Wh. The battery’s design capacity is a little over 52Wh. It quickly dropped to around 48 Wh in the first two weeks, and today it is at only 44Wh, despite the fact that I pampered the battery (never charged it above 95%, plugged it in before it got under 10%, kept it charging until full, etc) and it has around 100 load-cycles under its belt.

That’s 20% battery wear in 8 months and is completely unacceptable. My old ThinkPad’s battery lost 2 Wh in 250 cycles. Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do about this, since the battery in considered a consumable these days. But it’s definitely something you should keep an eye on. Launch CMD and type powercfg -batteryreport periodically in order to see how the battery’s capacity evolves over time.

Update: The Battery is still at 44 Wh as of July 2016, so it hasn’t degraded anymore.

That aside, just a few weeks ago the fan started to make a terrible noise when spinning. I was playing Railroad Tycoon when that started and the XPS sounded like it would come apart. Derek had similar issues with his unit and was one of the reasons why he decided to return it.

The fan kept rumbling for a few days, but is now quiet when it decides to kick in. I haven’t played any games ever since though.

Update: I ran into this issue a few more times, only when playing games. It doesn’t always occur and it usually gets back to its senses after a restart or two. I don’t play games often on this laptop though, but I expect this to be an issue you might run into if you will push the XPS.

I wasn't expected any problem with the fan or the battery, but I did encounter some

I wasn’t expected any problem with the fan or the battery, but I did encounter some

Last but not least, there’s an issue I’ve been struggling with for a few months which has been addressed after upgrading to Windows 10: performance on battery. A few months ago I noticed the laptop was sluggish and narrowed it down to the fact that the CPU’s frequency was capped to only 0.8 Mhz all the time, while on battery. Everything worked fine while it was plugged in.

I mingled with the settings and tried the different BIOS updates available at the time and managed to up the frequency to a maximum of 2.2 GHz. The CPU would not go over 2.2 GHz on battery, which is still below its nominal frequency, no matter what I tried. Although not ideal, I decided to give it a rest and kept using the laptop like this for a while.

The CPU works fine now after upgrading to Windows 10. TurboBoost works as it should as well, both on battery or when plugged in. I can’t explain why, as I couldn’t explain what was wrong with it the first place when it wasn’t functioning properly.

The laptop feels a bit snappier with Windows 10, although this new OS does seem to eat more RAM than Windows 8.1 did and I can see that being a problem since I only have 4 GB of memory on this machine.

Would I buy it, knowing what I know today?

Well, yes. There are many aspects Dell did right here, and there’s no similar laptop that offers the same build quality, the same compact footprint and a matte IPS display for under $1000. I did run into some issues along the way, some of them were fixed, many were not. I’m still annoyed by the fact that a significant part of the battery has died and by Dell’s lack of software support, but overall I’m satisfied with my XPS 13, which is the reason I haven’t dumped it for something else during all this time.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X260 would be the alternative I’d consider, but it’s thicker, heavier and more expensive. The Asus Zenbook UX305UA could be a solution as well, especially since it has a great price, but not that much for me, as I’d still have to live with a subpar keyboard and the lack of keyboard back-lightning, among others. Last but not least, if I were looking at a touchscreen computer, I’d probably give the HP Spectre X360 a go instead. It’s slightly larger, but it’s also a convertible with a better keyboard, longer battery life and a more affordable price tag.

Still, I’ll probably keep this XPS 13 around until someone actually makes a powerful and well-priced fanless notebook. Performance wise, I don’t ask that much from my ultraportable companion, but I sure wish the next one would be lighter than the XPS and with no pesky fan inside.

Update: You might also want to read our detailed review of the XPS 9350, the updated successor of the laptop tested here, as well as my opinion on that newer series.

Knowing what I know today, I'd think twice before buying the XPS 13. If you're lucky enough to end up with a faults-free unit though, you'll probably love it

Knowing what I know today, I’d think twice before buying the XPS 13. If you’re lucky enough to end up with a faults-free unit though, you’ll probably love it

One thing is for sure, I’ll definitely buy my next XPS from a proper place that accepts returns easily. The experience with my XPS and all the feedback from the forums shows that Dell struggles with quality control and there are quite a few things that could go wrong with this machine.

Long story short, I’m definitely not advising against buying this laptop, but if you are planning on getting and XPS 13, make sure you keep a close eye on the battery, on the display or the fan’s performance in the first 30 days, and if anything looks suspicious, better return it.

Douglas Black contributed to this report.

Andrei Girbea, Editor-in-Chief at Ultrabookreview.com. I never liked carrying big laptops around and that fueled my passion for mobile computers back in the 2000s. Things have changed much since then, but I'm still interested in the topic and in the meantime I've owned and tested hundreds of thin and lights, so I know a thing or two about them. You'll find mostly reviews and guides written by me here on the site.

120 Comments

  1. drjoe

    August 22, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    I have used this laptop in parallel with a X250. Yes, the Lenovo is a bit heavier and bulkier, but has a MUCH superior keyboard and better life. I get ~ 5 hours out of the Dell and battery capacity has dropped also since new. The Lenovo gives me about 10 hours, both running Windows 10. The most annoying issue for me with the Dell is that the backlighting for the keyboard cannot be set to be on all the time. Makes typing in dark environments very difficult.

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 23, 2015 at 9:49 am

      I’m seriously considering going for the X260 or whatever they’ll call the Skylake upgrade. I love the Dell’s form factor, but it’s not as productive as a Thinkpad, at least not for me.

  2. Kushal Rajbhandari

    August 23, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    The fan is the worst, it always kicks in when I am charging the laptop, even though the temperature isn’t much different when running on battery. I’ve tried the latest BIOS update, played with Dell Command Power Manager, but to no avail. Plug the charger in, the fan starts whirring like crazy, take it out, it’s all silent. Dell forum is full of similar complaints but no one seems to be doing anything even after all this time.
    Such a beautiful machine, marred by such an trivial issue. It’s a shame.

    • Edwin

      October 15, 2015 at 9:08 pm

      Indeed I have the same problem. I called Dell for this and they wanted to change the motherboard! Then I refused because in order to do that you basically have to dissemble the entire pc and the technician really runs the risk to compromise other parts of the laptop. I also tried to change the charging profile from the bios (or from Dell Command Power Manager) to “primary AC use” but nothing really changes. When I load a simple video while charging the fan starts spinning.
      Do you have any update on this issue? Now the latest bios version is A05.

      • Kushal Rajbhandari

        October 16, 2015 at 3:07 am

        It doesn’t help, nothing helps. But the fan doesn’t seem to kick up as often as it used to when it was new. Or maybe I grew accustomed to the sound so much that it doesn’t bother me that much even when it does. Even right now I am plugged in and have a few tabs open on Chrome but the fan is silent. My BIOS version is A05, and I use custom profile for Dell Command Power Manager.

  3. Joel

    August 24, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Thanks for the updates. I am somewhat reluctantly going with a i5 fhd/non-touch 4GB XPS 13, self-upgrading the ssd with a 500GB samsung evo, so at the end of the day I am paying $850 + $180 ssd = $1030 for an 1080p/i5/4GB/500GB. I am not really not thrilled with the 4GB of RAM, but searching all deals and coupons available, I would have to spend $130 to $200 more for the same machine with 8GB as opposed to 4, and I just can’t quite bring myself to do that. My other issue is that while matte has its benefits, personally I would prefer the 1080p glossy touch, if only because of scrolling issues, and I was unable to use the QHD+ XPS 13 due to Windows scaling problems with programs I muse use. All in all I am not thrilled, but I really want that XPS 13 form factor for portability’s sake. Looked hard at the HP spectre 1080p/8GB/256GB for $900, but the killer feature of the XPS 13 for me is that it’s by far the most portable 13″ laptop, the form factor blows the current competitors away even with all the caveats.

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 25, 2015 at 6:08 am

      Personally I’d probably get the Spectre in your case. The form factor and the matte display were what made me buy the XPS in the first place, so if the matte display is not what you need, I don’t know if it would be worth getting this Dell just for the more compact body and half of pound less weigth. But all these are up to you, ofc.

    • Dana

      October 16, 2015 at 6:02 pm

      Microsoft is now offering a Signature Edition of the 8GB machine available 10/16 with Skylake hardware.

  4. Raphael

    August 29, 2015 at 12:05 am

    You wouldn’t consider a UX305 along the Dell and the HP ?

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 29, 2015 at 9:40 am

      I would, as an alternative for the Dell with the matte screen, especially since the config is better for the price. Although the keyboard is still only average, there’s no miniDP port and the screen still doesn’t lean back flat.

      • Raphael

        September 8, 2015 at 8:47 am

        Are this 3 laptops the top 3 ultrabooks on the market according to your experience and reviews?

        The mat screen is especially useful in bright light if I am right?

        I had touch on a previous laptop and never really used it. Do you happen to use it? If so in which case?

        For the keyboard, no backlit it’s a shame. Average, I guess you mean in terms of confort of typing ?

        Also why is a miniDP port important ? A HDMI does the job well, no ?

        Finally for the screen, it’s true that a 360° screen is nice when you watch a movie in bed, but it is a “nice to have” rather a “must have” in my opinion.

        As the Asus is cheaper to the XPS I think I will stick with this one.

  5. Daniel

    August 30, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    Hello.

    And what about the new LENOVO Thinkpad X1Carbon (2015)?

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 31, 2015 at 10:28 am

      Too expensive, too big, short battery life. It’s a nice laptop, but not for me.

      • Aaron Monto

        April 12, 2016 at 7:01 am

        If they were the same price (which they are using a corporate discount code on Lenovo’s website, $900 for a 1440p model), would you still pick the XPS over the X1 Carbon? I own the Skylake XPS 13 and I’ve been a bit wishy-washy about it.

        • Andrei Girbea

          April 13, 2016 at 10:22 am

          Probably the Lenovo, due to having a better keyboard/trackpad and hopefully less glitches than the XPS. It’s much larger and I wouldn’t be very happy with this trade off

  6. fokka

    September 7, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    and this is the reason why i won’t buy a dell anytime soon, even if half the internet is raving about how great of a laptop the xps 13 is.

    as so often, dell gets many things right, just to botch it when it come to the details. it’s like the engineers are in a hurry, come up with a new design, have to get it production ready in a couple weeks, while time and money constraints prevent them from ironing out all the numberous kinks.
    it seems that del has good ideas, but lacks the love it needs to build a truly great machine.

    and so the xps 13 looks good on paper and even if you personally lay eyes on it, but from the first review i read about it i knew it wasn’t a machine for me. a first review said you couldn’t completely switch off automatic brightness. sorry, dell, you’ve got a nice thing going on here, but i won’t buy a machine which doesn’t let me set my own screen brightness. out of pure curiosity i tried to find out if they ironed out this flaw a couple months later, but it seemed they didn’t.

    how can i trust my money to a company that cares so little about its customers, it can’t patch the tiniest of flaws in the course of multiple months?

    why would i pay $$$$ when they’re using batteries of such low quality, they’re losing half their capacity in only a year?

    a company that advertises 15h runtime, when in reality you are lucky to get 10?

    sorry for the rant, but i’m just disappointed that companies that could easily put out borderline perfect laptops, if they just put a little bit of love into their products, continue to get so close to a good thing, just to fall flat on so many details as well as so many important aspects.

    • Adam Gilchrist

      September 8, 2015 at 3:09 am

      Half their capacity in only a year? Where did you get that information? It hasn’t been a year since the XPS 13 was launched, has it? And most all OEMs test their battery run time under controlled conditions which are far from real life scenarios. But ten hours on an ultrabook this thin and this powerful isn’t that bad, is it? And it is true that there are flaws with this machine. But there are hardly any ‘perfect’ laptops/ultrabooks out there.
      And brightness hasn’t been an issue for me at all but maybe that’s just me. I can change the brightness as I want, when I want it. Maybe it’s a clean install vs an upgrade thing? I don’t know.

      • Andrei Girbea

        September 8, 2015 at 8:16 am

        I never got more than 8 hours out of it and these days I get 5-6 :) I agree that loosing half of their capacity in one year is an overstatement. But, mine lost nearly 20% in 8 Months and that’s something I cannot accept. This XPS is a pretty good laptop, but I had to deal with more issues since I got it than with any other laptop I ever owned.

        • Dan

          March 6, 2017 at 6:32 am

          Since some time has passed since 2015, do you know if Dell released any new version that fixes the degrading battery issue?
          Could you advise of any newer Dell XPS 13 model that is hopefully more stable?

          I currently have the Surface Pro 4 and today is my last day to return it.
          Do you think it's worth to trade it for a Dell XPS 13 FHD with the Intel Iris 540 GPU?
          I'm looking for the (superior?) battery life of Dell XPS 13, the same GPU as Surface Pro 4 and the touchscreen.
          Would the touchscreen eat too much battery life vs the non-touch?

          Thanks a lot!

          • Andrei Girbea

            March 6, 2017 at 6:43 am

            The latest model is the XPS 9360 and you'll find reviews of it on various websites. Can't say if they addressed the battery wear issue, but from my impressions last time I've visited the forums on notebookreview, they haven't. There's also the coil whine issue, which my particular unit didn't suffer from, but other do.

            The UHD screen is a power hog, we have a review of the 9350 with Iris graphics and UHD panel on the site here: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/10427-dell-xps-9350-review/ . The Surface is better optimized as far as I know and will probably last longer than the XPS in most conditions, despite the larger battery on the XPS.

        • Dan

          March 6, 2017 at 6:58 am

          Thanks Andrei for the really quick reply, it helps a lot!

          You say the Dell XPS 13 with Iris graphics has UHD screen, isn't there a non-UHD screen that lasts longer?
          I'm looking to use it for programming and need something that would last 5-6 hours at least while editing, compiling which is a bit more intensive than just browsing on it.

          But since you say the Surface Pro 4 is optimized better, maybe it's not a good idea to give the bird in my hand for the crow on the fence :)

          • Dan

            March 6, 2017 at 7:00 am

            one other thing with Surface Pro 4, it has really high resolution which I don't use, I find myself down-scaling it frequently. Not sure what such big resolution on a small machine is good for.

            Could it be that even if Surface Pro 4 is better optimized, maybe the Dell XPS with 1080p resolution would last longer because of smaller resolution?

          • Andrei Girbea

            March 6, 2017 at 12:38 pm

            you should check, but I don't think they sell that config without a UHD screen

  7. Sjaak Blaauw

    September 16, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Anyone having issues with the bluetooth sound quality?
    Pretty crappy.

    If you have a solution, I’d love to hear.

    Yes battery “loss of life span” is pretty steep.

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 18, 2015 at 10:26 am

      The speakers are really good on my unit. As for Bluetooth, I never use it so I can’t comment on that. But the speakers are definitely above average among ultraportables.

  8. Seancho

    October 4, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    The Dell warranty is international, and they have authorized service centers almost everywhere. All you have to do is transfer your US system warranty to whichever Dell region you live in – easy to do online:

    dell.com/support/assets-transfer/us/en/19#/Identify

    If you have a faulty fan and battery, take them to Dell where you live and have them replaced under warranty.

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 5, 2015 at 8:37 am

      Hmm, good to know. But I doubt they’ll replace the battery because of wear. I’ll shoot them an email though. I haven’t had issues with the fan in the last few months, these seem to have fixed “themselves”.

  9. Harlan Grove

    October 8, 2015 at 4:04 am

    As far as I can tell, ALL Dell laptops have very bright LEDs on their chargers.

    This is one of the reasons God gave us duct tape.

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 8, 2015 at 8:15 am

      Hmmm, i don’t remember the same LEDs on Inspiron, Vostros and latitudes. It’s true I haven’t owned an XPS before. And yes, duct tape was my choice as well, for the charging tip. Haven’t found any solution for the LED just under the trackpad, which is the one that annoys me the most.

      • Adam

        October 25, 2015 at 2:45 am

        Why not use duct tape on the charging LED as well?

      • Ace01

        October 27, 2015 at 3:50 pm

        On all of my laptops, I use black electrical tape. Using a paper hole puncher, I make perfect little circles and place them right over the webcam (don’t like the what if feeling of webcam spying). Perhaps electrical tape could work just as well with the LEDs.

      • Spatz

        October 19, 2016 at 4:59 pm

        When you disassemble the notebook, you’ll notice a small white plastic part on the the edge of the metal shell you take off first. This part acts as a lightpipe for the two charging LEDs. I painted mine black with a permanent marker on the inside, and now the LED is much darker. Surely you could put a thin piece of paper there as well. On the outside you can not see any difference when the LEDs are off.

        This trick is easy to use, adjustable and reversible.

        • Andrei Girbea

          October 20, 2016 at 5:25 am

          Ha, neat, that makes a lot of sense and never thought about actually covering it up or painting it from the inside. Thanks, I’m doing this as soon as I have some spare time.

  10. tipoo

    October 8, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    That exact same thing happened in a Macbook in our family actually, my sister had a unibody white macbook that had worn down to under 70% in under three years, so we went and got it replaced. In the first few weeks it was down to 90%, but we couldn’t be arsed for that to change it again. In just months with not many wear cycles it was down to 70% again.

    It happens, there are flukes with batteries with every company. My now 6 year old Dell Studio 1555 has over 80% capacity, now that’s a fluke in the other direction.

    I wouldn’t pay much heed to sample sizes of one, unless there’s a widely reported problem.

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 9, 2015 at 10:45 am

      True, but that doesn’t make me any happier, since I ended up with the dud here :P

  11. Talco

    October 10, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Hi, first of all, this site really helping me with my new laptop quest – so thank you for that :)

    I was thinking about getting the new skylake xps15

    as a programmer and casual gamer (960m) – what do you think about the keyboard relative to other lightweight (less than 2 Kg) laptop? (probably same keyboard as this xps13)

    trackpad – is it worked fine using an ‘old fashioned’ single finger?

    finally – any known ‘hands-on’ review about the new xps 15? or an estimated time to expect some new reviews?

    thank you

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 11, 2015 at 11:14 am

      The keyboard isn’t great. It’s identical to the one of the XPS 13 and personally I find it too shallow and a bit mushy. I type for a living though, so my expectations are not similar to a regular user.

      The trackpad on the XPS 13 is problematic. Can’t say whether they fixed it on the 15 inch versions before I get to spend more time with it. We’ll see.

  12. tom

    October 12, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Do you know if these issues are resolved in the skylake version? thanks.

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 12, 2015 at 8:21 pm

      I’m pretty sure the keyboard is identical, but I can’t comment on the others. The performance and battery issues are probably isolated events and I drew the short straw. The Trackpad might have been addressed, although I wouldn’t hold my breath for it.

  13. Enok

    October 22, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    Hey! Your reviews helped me a lot (Probably the most detailed reviews I’ve ever read)

    I just ordered the dell ups 13 9350 i5 (6th gen)/8gb RAM/ FHD Display for $907 USD.

    However, I am still in dilemma of whether to buy this laptop or not. This will be me secondary laptop so I am looking more at the form factor (13 inch in an 11 inch form) and weight.

    Should I get the Macbook air 13? Dell xps 13 9343 (your model 4gb)? Or any other ultrabook? or just stay with the new dell xps 13 9350?

    Thanks!

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 23, 2015 at 9:34 am

      How much cheaper is the 9343 compared to the 9350? Perhaps the new model has a better trackpad and it shoudl last longer on a charge. But personally, I’d get a model with 8 GB of RAM, it helps even in everyday use.

      The MBA is not an option for me. Sure, it’s faster and lasts longer on a charge, but that screen is not something I’m willing to live with. I’d rather charge the laptop more often then look at a bad screen.

      • Enok

        October 27, 2015 at 6:03 am

        Hmm its usually 999 + Tax 1100

        so i got about 200 off.
        :(

        unfortunately I had to return it (shipping issue). (was going to order another 9350 not from dell but from microsoft, but they only had QHD version)
        i re ordered ur version but i am… again in dilemma.. any recommendations for another ultrabook?

  14. Omer

    October 23, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Knowing you’d be using the Dell XPS 13 outside the US, have you checked what were you warranty options?
    I’d be happy to hear any experience with warranty outside the US, as I too plan on buying a laptop from the US.

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 24, 2015 at 8:50 am

      The XPS comes with International warranty, as someone pointed in the comments before. I’ve recently transferred my warranty from the US to my country

      • Ace01

        October 27, 2015 at 4:35 pm

        Can you please tell me whether or not you ever have heat issues with the palm rest on your XPS? As I stated above, that has been a problem for me on the Spectre x360 (both Broadwell and Skylake). I am considering as a 2nd PC either the Skylake i7 XPS 13 or 15. And I guess it’s safe to say that the battery life numbers Dell is marketing for the new models, is nothing more than fantasy?

        • Andrei Girbea

          October 27, 2015 at 5:46 pm

          Well, the palm-rest gets warm under stress. I’ve measured temperatures in this post: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/6151-dell-xps-13-2015-9343-review/#a7 . Keep in mind I have the Core i5 model, the I7 version gets a bit hotter. Still, with everyday use the fan is mostly OFF and that’s what really matters for me.

          As for battery life, I’d expect about half of what they’re advertising for the 9550. That was the case with my model.

          • ace01

            October 27, 2015 at 7:33 pm

            Then that’s probably not good for me. I don’t know if my hands are just too sensitive or if people are not being entirely honest online bout their units. I’ve asked the same question on Amazon today and there are 3 people stating no it does not get even warm. And then one person stating yes it does. Based on all of the reviews I’ve read of yours here, I am willing to trust what you write. I’ve used this site, to make my purchasing choices over the past year and even held off on new purchases based on the list of what was coming and that is how I first learned of the x360, right here on this site.

          • Andrei Girbea

            October 27, 2015 at 8:43 pm

            Well, the thermometer doesn’t lie, but it’s true some are more sensitive to heat than others. the outer temperature matters as well, as right now during I tend to like the slightly warm body, btu a few months ago I was surely resenting it :P

          • Ace01

            October 30, 2015 at 2:17 am

            There is something about heat generated by a laptop for me. Even if it’s not too hot, after a while, my body (whatever part is touching the warm/hot area of the laptop), starts to feel a bit of pain. Perhaps I’m too sensitive to it.

          • Andrei Girbea

            October 30, 2015 at 2:30 pm

            Hi Ace, I’ve put together a post from your opinions here and I have a few more questions: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/9112-lenovo-yoga-hp-spectre/

            1. Would it be possible to shoot 2-3 pictures with the two units side by side, one with the exteriors, one with the interior and keyboards? Would give the article a lot more credit to have real-life pictures. You can shoot them with your phone or whatever you have around and send them to contact @ ultrabookreview dot com ? thanks
            2. Anything to comment on the screens, other than the fuzziness of the HP? How are the colors on the Lenovo? And is any of them notably glossier and more reflective?
            3. To be sure I get this straight, the Yoga’s fan kicks in a bit faster than the HPs with everyday use? And one more thing, is it active when watching Youtube clips in a regular environment? You mentioned it did not kick in in your cold office, but how cold was it inside?

            Thanks a lot, Andrei

          • Ace01

            November 1, 2015 at 10:50 pm

            Edit by Andrei: Comment moved in the post: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/9112-lenovo-yoga-hp-spectre/

          • Andrei Girbea

            November 2, 2015 at 2:33 pm

            Thanks Ace, your impressions are much appreciated and I’ll wait for those pictures on email when possible. Can we move the conversation to the post’s comments section ( https://www.ultrabookreview.com/9112-lenovo-yoga-hp-spectre/ ) if you don’t mind? thanks again.

  15. Joe

    October 28, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Nice review!

    There is a lengthy discussion of the automatic screen contrast issue over here: github.com/advancingu/XPS13Linux/issues/2
    For some models it seems Dell released a firmware update that allow turning this “feature” off.

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 28, 2015 at 9:19 am

      Well, I’m not seeing any solutions there, at least not of a first look. I’ve stopped trying to address that a while ago and the truth is it never bothered me that much in the first time, since I only notice it in certain conditions. But I can confirm the issue is still present on my unit and updating the OS to Windows 10 doesn’t fix it, as some suggest in that thread.

  16. BRo

    November 26, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    These fan and heat issues are identical to the previous M1330 XPS machine I have now. BIOS updates tried to help but didn’t and the machine constantly is too hot to sit on your lap. DELL hasn’t learned a thing and I bought my machine 8 YEARS AGO. I’ll pass on this XPS 13

  17. Carly

    January 1, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Really informative post. Thank you. I’m looking into buying an XPS and have been looking at reviews all over the place. My circumstances are a little unique in what I need it for, so wondering if you could make suggestions? I’m blind, so rather than worrying about a good screen, my focus is on a good processor and ram (I have to install software which reads the screen to me which tends to be processor/ram hungry), a good keyboard (I type a lot obviously as Ii can’t use the mouse), really good battery life (I use a lot of public transport so won’t have access to sockets for extended periods) and, the icing on the cake would be excellent sound, although I can compromise on that. I don’t know whether to take the XPS on the strength of the general reviews, or whether to head more towards something like the Thinkpad. Have even considered buying a mac and using bootcamp too put Windows on (I can’t use the Mac OS), but don’t know what to do. Weight and size are obviously a premium consideration for me as I’ll be lugging the thing on my back. Any chance you could make a suggestion as to what might be suitable?

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 2, 2016 at 11:23 pm

      Hi Carly. Well, the latest version of the XPS 13, the 9350 model, should do the trick for you. Doesn’t have the best keyboard, but it’s at least decent. It’s compact, light and gets excellent speakers, while the hardware is pretty much what you get on any latest-gen ultraportable. Aim for a configuration with a Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and the FHD display and that should ensure decent battery life as well (about 7 hours of daily use).

      There are of course alternatives. Thinkpads get better keyboards, but are heavier than this one. It’s also worth mentioning that Lenovo has yet to update the Thinkpads to the latest Intel Skylake hardware, but that should happen early into 2016. SO if you can wait til the end of January, perhaps you should, just to see what they announce.

      Running bootcamps on something like the Macbook Air is another option, but not necessarily something I’d recommend. There are quite a few good Windows laptops out there so I don’t think it’s worth the hassle in my opinion. You could look more into this matter, my experience with Windows on Macs is extremely limited, so I’m probably not the best person to ask for advice on this matter .

  18. ska

    February 1, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Thanks for this update,
    I was bound to buy an xps 13 – there are good alternatives,
    I wonder:
    would you recommend / or buy a macbook pro and run it
    with windows 10 ? Great Hardware, just a little bit more expensive…
    Thanks, ska

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 1, 2016 at 5:36 pm

      Frankly, idk how good the Mac Pro is with Windows, but that’s something I’m considering as well once the new models are launched.

      • ska

        February 1, 2016 at 5:49 pm

        new models – will that be in march / Cebit?

        • Andrei Girbea

          February 1, 2016 at 5:53 pm

          No, not at Cebit. The latest rumors tend to mention the June WWDC as the unveil date for new Macbooks. That might be for a new Macbook Air though and hopefully the Macbook Pro will be updated sooner. I’d say March, as some posts mention that the 2015 models are seeing discounts, which usually suggests an update is on its way. These are just suppositions though.

  19. SuzyV

    February 8, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    I have the exact same model as you. I ran a disk clean a couple of days ago to get it to boot faster and battery power plummeted literally overnight. From about 7 hours I’m now lucky to get 3. It’s pissing me off having to charge laptop three times a day interrupting workflow – no BIOS update for this model so anyone got any solutions?

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 8, 2016 at 5:50 pm

      That sounds weird. Are you using the same power profile and doing the same things? And did you check the battery capacity to see how much of it it’s still available?

      • SuzyV

        February 10, 2016 at 5:35 pm

        I didnt change anything. Now I run screen brightness lower but it makes no difference
        And Dell “Support” response – The 9343 has a 4 cell battery with max charge of 3-4 hours. Wouldnt have bought this if I’d known that.

        • Andrei Girbea

          February 10, 2016 at 5:51 pm

          That’s bullshit. It’s not supposed to last 3-4 hours. Try to run powercfg -batteryreport in cmd. If that doesn’t make sense, click the windows button, type “cmd”, open Command Prompt, then type “powercfg -batteryreport” and hit enter. Without the “” . You’ll get a file, send it to me on contact@ultrabookreview dot com

          • SuzyV

            February 10, 2016 at 7:59 pm

            Thanks – just sent it over. Be interested in your opinion

  20. Sai

    February 10, 2016 at 5:30 am

    Hi Andrei,
    How did you manage to restrict the battery from not charging after 95%?

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 10, 2016 at 10:15 am

      There are options in BIOS. If think you have to create a custom power profile, if I remember correctly. Another option is to do it with Dell’s Power Manager app.

  21. Joyce

    February 21, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    Would you consider getting the Samsung 9 spin as an alternative to the Dell XPS?

  22. Rodrigo Oliveira

    March 12, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    I just purchased a XPS 13 9350 and I must say I am completely dissapointed with the trackpad. I have been using it for two days now and it has already driven me nuts.

    Trackpad lacks precision, two finger scroll is a nightmare and the cursor magically pops up in different parts of the screen every now and then.

    I can’t believe users have been complaining about it for years and nothing has been done to fix it. I see complaints dating back to 2012 in previous versions of the XPS 13.

    It is really frustrated and dissapointing. Even more intriguing is how a notebook with such a poor trackpad can be considered a top ultrabook as most sites and blogs advertise.

    Even after reading user complaints I decided to give dell a vote of confidence, which I completely regret.

    The ultrabook looks gorgeous and other than the trackpad it has been really good, but an imprecise trackpad is a big issue for me. It is like buying a supercar to find out the throttle is imprecise. You are stepping on it and suddenly the revs misteriously drops and the car loses speed.

    I am returning it while I can.

    Any suggestions as an alternative?

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 13, 2016 at 3:58 pm

      Did you update the drivers and flash the latest BIOS? The trackpad on the XPS isn’t as good as on the MacBooks, but it’s an update over the XPS 13 9343. I might be wrong, but personally I’d ask the shop for a replacement and if that one performs just the same, the consider an alternative. Could look at the Razer Stealth, if that thick bezel 12.5″ screen is up your alley. If you’re after a matte panel, the Zenbook XU305UA could eb an option, but imo its trackpad is crappier than the Dell’s. It also lacks a backlit keyboard and the fans are noisy for my taste, but it’s a much more affordable option, if available in your region.

  23. Piotr

    March 25, 2016 at 10:39 am

    Hello Andrei,

    thanks for your review. In fact, it does influence my decision on not to buy the Dell XPS units for my business.

    Would anyone have the comparison between

    * Lenovo X260
    * Apple MacBook (latest gen)

    ultrabooks?

    Cheers,

    P.

  24. Daniel F

    April 14, 2016 at 4:19 am

    Yeah, this has been the only truly honest review on this gadget. I have a FHD i5 Skylake version and have the latest BIOS.

    The biggest disappointment is the battery life. Max i’ve got so far is 7 hours and generally I get 5-6 hours with largely web browsing and some streaming and with brightness between 40-50%.

    I have no idea how other reviewers are getting 10+ hours. It’s just not possible.

    • Daniel F

      April 15, 2016 at 8:16 am

      Funnily enough, just after my comment I am now somehow getting 10+ hours! I am not even sure what’s done it as I was playing with all sorts of things. I can only imagine it was one of the following because the amazing battery life happened after the below happened (so I recommend you do them all):
      – A Windows Update occurred 2 days ago (April 12, 2016 — KB3147458 (OS Build 10586.218)).
      – I disabled Windows Indexing.
      – I left the laptop shutdown and charging for a good 8 hours.

      I also did the following prior but got small improvements:
      – Set the TDP to low in the Power Settings
      – Used Battery Saver mode (which i now barely use since my battery life is so awesome now)

  25. SB

    May 13, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    I think the problem is with the OS ( windows ) because I have Lenovo G series when updated to windows 8, I have a lot of problems with trackpad & display driver. Same issues seen in the new flagship lenovo yoga 900 & also with Dell XPS

  26. Lynn Hamerling

    June 2, 2016 at 2:52 am

    Wow this is a terrific, comprehensive review. I got the same 9343 xps – open box – from microcenter. I also got an open box first generation thinkpad carbon x1. I have 15 days to try them out. Keyboard matters to me. I’ve had thinkpads and love those keyboards. I have a thinkpad 420 I use at my office, but want something a little smaller and lighter for home and travel.

    Both laptops have issues for me that I haven’t seen addressed in reviews. For the carbon x1, the cursor jumps around way too much and I’ll be in the middle of typing something and suddenly the cursor has moved to someplace else in the document. I was also surprised and disappointed that the palmrest area is too deep before reaching the keys. Was not comfortable typing position (I have small hands – or the position I use a laptop in just doesn’t work).

    I’ve been using the XPS for 3 days now. I find the keyboard better than the carbon x1 – and way better than my old asus zenbook (one from maybe 5 years ago). The cursor wasn’t jumping around – until typing tonight. Don’t know why. It’s reasonably quick – quicker than the carbon x1 – but not as quick as my thinkpad 420 (with 8gb ram and SSD). I was ready to keep this until I tried a skype call. The webcam being in the lower left corner of the screen is a huge problem. I know people have mentioned it’s placement, but I haven’t seen anyone address how difficult and unnatural a video call is. If I’m looking at the person in the screen, the webcam is photographing me from an angle so it doesn’t seem as though I’m making eye contact with the other person. It’s so bizarre. If I look at the webcam, it’s weird in a different way. It seems impossible to have a natural feeling video call. Has anyone found a way to make this work?

    Thanks for the great review. It also helped me as I consider whether there are alternatives. As much as I’d like a lighter, smaller laptop, I’m considering another upgraded thinkpad 420s or 450s. I haven’t looked at the thinkpad 260’s yet.

    Lynn.

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 2, 2016 at 12:09 pm

      Yes, the webcam is weird on the XPS. I’m a bit surprised you’re liking the Dell’s keyboard better than the X1 Carbon’s, for me it’s the other way around.

      On the X260, I was a big fan of the Thinkpad X2XX series but after using the XPS 13 for the last year (previously used an X220 for a long while), I think it’s nice to have something thinner, smaller and with a bigger screen. Jumping from 12.5 to 13.3 actually makes a difference. I could have sworn it didn’t before switching, but it does.

  27. Lynn Hamerling

    June 2, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    Andrei, Thanks for your reply. After I posted, I saw your original post and saw mention of the webcam. I do some work meetings via skype, so that weird video experience is a deal killer for me. It’s not like just skyping friends and family.

    To be more specific, I like the Carbon keypad itself more – but the depth of the portion my hands rest on before reaching the keys is just too deep so it’s a bit of a reach, which prevents my arms and hands from typing in their more natural position. I don’t write as extensively as you do, but I am a touch typist and when I type, I want to be able to type quickly. The XPS keyboard seems better to me than any other 12-14″ laptop keyboard I’ve tried outside the thinkpads. I hate those slick, chicklet keys. So relatively speaking, I found the XPS an improvement over most smaller/lighter keyboards. It’s not great, but it’s not bad (again, small hands probably help).

    The difference in size is significant, especially for tighter spaces (luggage, planes, the deep arm of my sofa, a small end table with a little space to the side of the lamp). All those make the 12.5 easier to maneuver and place on surfaces. At work, I have more space and don’t move it often, so the 14″ older thinkpad 420 is fine, but it would be a detraction for my home and travel laptop.

    I have two days to decide about this XPS. If I get it, I’ll have to keep my old Asus at home just for skype (probably two early morning meetings via skype at home). That part’s okay. It means bringing a webcam if I’m traveling and think I’ll need to skype. I got an incredible price on this (just over $400 open box, that looked untouched). My other consideration is an XPS with 8GB RAM. If I keep my eyes open for open box/used, might be able to get that for $200-300 more (with sixth generation processor). This XPS is so appealing in form factor. Maybe not quite right. Speed matters too. I’m also surprised the X1 Carbon was slower (I’ll have to check those specs, but do think it was 8GB RAM and SSD as well. I know I won’t go back to a laptop without an SSD).

    Thanks again.
    Lynn.

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 2, 2016 at 3:09 pm

      That’s a great price for the XPS, albeit it’s not the latest gen hardware. Still, if you plan to keep it for a while, I’d get the version with 8 GB of RAM if possible. 4 GB are barely enough for daily use these days and apps and browsers are going to keep demanding more in the future. But still, for $400, I probably wouldn’t pass on it. It’s up to you whether 4 GB of RAM are enough, you could try to run as many programs as you’d expect to run on it at the same time, and see how it performs.

      A bit surprised the Thinkpad was slower also, could be due to some of the Lenovo software that comes preinstalled. You could check if there’s anything running in the background and eating resources, but it might not be easy to track down. Also, there might be some safety features in BIOS that could slow down boot and sleep times.

  28. Lynn Hamerling

    June 2, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    It is a great price – but I think you’re right about the 8GB or RAM making a difference – and that memory demands will only increase over time.

    So I will probably return this XPS, even though the price was great. I realize I don’t know what I need to do to erase everything I put on the computer. Is there a program or function that will erase everything? Obviously I don’t want to erase what came on it (which was Windows 8, I believe – and a little bit of bloatware that I haven’t touched). Should I do a system restore? I want to make sure I get rid of any traces of my personal information.

    Lynn.

    PS: OT: do you know any computer technicians in the DC area? to help set up a couple of open source programs on a new desktop. I had a computer graduate student set it up for me, but he’s moved.

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 2, 2016 at 8:54 pm

      Can't help you with the guys in DC area, sry. Perhaps Google should help.

      On the other hand, this is how you reset a Windows computer: asus.com/support/faq/1013063 . Should help, but it takes a while (hours, probably).

      • Lynn Hamerling

        June 4, 2016 at 12:47 pm

        The reset Windows link worked well for resetting the XPS. Won’t work for the Carbon X1 thinkpad. Lenovo has some buried setting that makes it difficult. I can download a special program and try to boot from it on usb – but man, it’s complicated. So far not working. SSD’s seem to need special care, so can’t use any old wipe drive program. This is one more reason to go with the 9350 XPS (with 8GB RAM, 128 SSD, non touch screen). Not that I love how Dell handles support issues, but this Lenovo stuff reminds me of other very difficult (weekend long) troubleshooting I had to do because of hidden Lenovo program on an old thinkpad.

        Hope you’re liking the 9350. I think I’m going in that direction. Hate the webcam placement and won’t be able to use it, but in other ways I love the feel and handling of the XPS. So I’ll have to skype on another device and bring a webcam if I travel with this and need it. Wish there was a light, small laptop without issues, but seems they all have some disappointments. Just have to choose which ones I can live with and are offset by the advantages. The XPS just feels great to handle.

  29. Nishant

    June 3, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Andrei,

    Any more updates on this since February? Does the newest version of the XPS 13 (2016 model) fix many of the problems mentioned above (battery life, track pad issues)? If you were considering an alternative with the parameters being that it has to be under 2.6 lbs, Core i5, and is $900 or below, is this still the best option?

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 4, 2016 at 9:16 am

      fixes some of them. I actually have the 9350 right now and I’ll post a follow-up update in about a week.

      I don’t think there’s a better alternative than this one. You could look at the Zenbook UX305UA, which is cheaper for a similar config than the XPS, but it’s a bit bigger and lacks a backlit keyboard.

  30. David Reinecke

    June 9, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Any new thoughts since June 2015 Andrei? I’m about to buy this machine here in South Africa and I’d love to know if the very latest drivers have fixed the trackpad issues?

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 9, 2016 at 3:16 pm

      Well, the trackpad is usable, but not perfect. Not much has changed since my latest update, I still have some issues with two finger scrolling but I got used to them. I’ve now owned this laptop for more than 16 months and It’s still holding well. I’ll have a post of the XPS 9350, the updated Skylake model, in a few days. I’ve been spending time with that one lately.

  31. Lynn Hamerling

    June 9, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    How would you compare this to a thinkpad x250? That’s the last one for me to contemplate before getting the xps 9350. Similar footprint, which is more important to me than actual weight (as long as it’s under 3 1/2 lbs). I don’t travel with it that often, but do want one small enough to fit on the arm of my sofa, limited end table space, etc. I think the x250 fits that – and maybe has a better keyboard? Certainly will have the webcam placed in the right spot for more natural video talking.

    Unfortunately I can’t find any local to look at and try the keyboard. I’m pretty sure you’ve used the x250 as well. I don’t need the convertible feature that will come in the newer x260 – and I don’t want a touch screen.

    Thanks.

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 9, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      The X250 and the newer X260 are a bit thicker and heavier than the XPS, especially if you opt for a version with a larger battery. But they’re pretty close.

      I’m a big fan of these ThinkPad lines myself, although I’m not entirely sold on their keyboards, but I still think they offer better feedback than the XPS. You also get more ports.

      The build quality is not as good as on the XPS, where everything fits snugly together (which is not always the case with the battery on THinkPads), but the ThinkPads can take a lot of hassle. The coating on the metallic chassis is going to peel of eventually, but that’s my only real complain.

      The ThinkPads also come with a lot of preinstalled software and security tweaks, so might feel a little slow at start. Also, if you get this, make sure you pick something with an SSD and an IPS screen, these are going to make a big difference.

      That’s about it from the top of my mind. There’s also the price difference to consider. Not sure how things are in the US, but over here a well configured X250 is significantly more expensive than the XPS.

  32. Andrei Girbea

    June 22, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    For those who asked, I put up together an article on how I feel about the XPS 9350 and how it compares to my XPS 9343, after using the 9350 for a couple of weeks. It’s available here: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/10969-dell-xps-13-9350-9343/

  33. Craig

    July 30, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    I noticed the XPS 13 now comes with the option to get the standard FHD (1920 x 1080) screen with the touch screen. Previously, (I believe) the touch screen was only available with the QHD+ (3200 x 1800) screen. I ask because the QHD+ was a really expensive upgrade, and took a major hit to battery life, meaning it was a non-starter for me. However the standard screen with touch is interesting, and leads to the question whether or not touch by itself takes much of a hit to battery life, or was it the QHD+ sucking up all those extra electrons

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 31, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      The QHD+ panel had more pixels, overall higher brightness and more accurate color reproduction. These combined lead to higher energy demands. I haven’t seen any review of the FD touch, but the resolution alone should make it more efficient. I’d expect the XPS with this screen to get similar battery life to the XPS with the matte FHD panel, maybe 30-60 minutes less tops.

  34. Yen Ting Lin

    September 17, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    I don’t know if this is the right place to ask. In the past 3 months, my XPS 9350 (which was bought less than 1 years ago) went from >5 battery life down to about 2.5 hours. I’ve contacted DELL and after several trivial diagnosis they said the battery is “working as designed”. I don’t know if anyone is experiencing similar problem?

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 18, 2016 at 7:57 am

      What’s the current battery capacity? You can check with HW Info

      • Yen Ting Lin

        September 18, 2016 at 3:23 pm

        Current battery capacity is 49,197 mWh.

        I seemed to find where the problem is — share below in case someone is having the same problem.

        I did three things to make it back to >5 hour battery life, since I noticed the system is constantly running something and the laptop was always warm. First I reset the Windows — nothing much changed. Then I noticed windows kept a antimalware process running. I installed Avira, and the process was gone. Second, I noticed that another process called Microsoft search indexer kept running and used around 30% of CPU (on average). I disabled the process. The laptop cooled down, and I had my first ~6 hour usage after 3 months…

  35. Timo

    September 21, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Bought my xps 13 with touchscreen in March 2015. After a few months I noticed that when you move the screen to its furthest position backwards, it goes blank (black). Moving it slightly forward brought it back to life. Now it has become so bad that the screen goes blank in any position and the devise is useless. Anyone experience the same problem? Any suggestions except to use it as an expensive paper weight?

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 21, 2016 at 12:05 pm

      That sound like in imperfect contact, I think you could ask a specialized Dell Service in your are to have a look and try to fix it, sounds like it’s something that can be addressed and personally I wouldn’t give up on it without at least trying to get a repair quote.

      • Timo Pakkala

        November 8, 2016 at 7:28 am

        Contacted the Dell service here in Johannesburg where I am on mission. They said the whole screen needs to be replaced with a cost equivalent to US$750. This is really unacceptable for a relatively new machine. Don't think I want to invest any more money into Dell devices, so it will have to serve as an expensive paper weight after all. Any suggestions for which replacement ultrabook to buy? Maybe moving to the new MacBook is best option?

  36. rdc

    September 28, 2016 at 3:32 am

    Nice write-up, I’ll need to go back and read each in more detail (rather than skim). I feel you pretty much nailed each potential issue with the 9343.

    Mine seems a lot better than when it first shipped, now on my 4th BIOS/UEFI updated. If anyone is having trouble with the trackpad still being a little jumpy, here is a fix I found:
    RegEdit as Admin then:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> Software -> Microsoft -> Windows -> Current Version -> PrecisionTouchPad
    “CurtainDismissDistance” and “CurtainDismissTime” each to 0 note: values are in Hex
    Thanks to a user going by th6118, on the Dell Forums for this suggestion.

    Since doing this my trackpad had been flawless. This is coming from a Mac user. This is in Windows 10. I suggest anyone using the 9343 upgrade to Windows 10 ASAP (if you’ve not done so yet).

    The reason for a lot of the trackpad issues ,IMO, was Dell trying to get this out the door for CES in 2015. Where it did win 1st for best notebook at the event

    But the trackpad was still in the works and designed for Win10. Win10 at the time hadn’t even been RTM yet. I bought mine on pre-order so it was one of the first out the door, and was almost unusable for a few months – but slowly got better through Win10, several BIOS/UEFI updates, and even on trackpad firmware update.

    I love this notebook. Been using mine as a SysAdmin and freelance developer (and yes, SO worth the 8GB RAM.)

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 28, 2016 at 4:02 am

      I’m on Windows 10 and it’s true the trackpad is a lot better now than in the beginning. Still, I’ll try that fix, thanks.

      I’m pretty happy with the laptop too and I don’t plan to replace it until something fanless and just overall good comes out. I’m using mine very lightly and probably once or twice a week, since most of the time I use a desktop computer, otherwise I would have upgraded to something with more RAM.

  37. Samy F

    October 5, 2016 at 10:47 am

    What laptop would you recommend with a similar size for a better keyboard? Is it the Asus Zenbook UX305?

    I absolutely love the form factor, lightness and size of this laptop – but the keyboard is just not going to be as productive as I would like in the long run.

    Let me know what your top 2 alternatives are (with a great keyboard). Thanks Andrei :)

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 5, 2016 at 11:05 am

      I’d have the Zenbook UX360UA at the top of my list, it’s the best keyboard I’ve tested lately. Also the Spectre x360 types really well imo, but these are convertibles and thus larger.

      Not a fan of the UX305, the keys are shallow and there’s no backlightning. I’d look at the UX330 if available in your area, or perhaps the UX306 which should have the same improved keyboard. Haven’t tested the UX306 personally, so can’t confirm.

      Another good option should be the Lenovo ThinkPad 13. Could also look at the Dell latitude 13 if you have the budget for it, albeit I’m not really sure how it compares to the XPS.

  38. Kevin Tran

    November 7, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Hi,
    Thank you so much for the update! I am still really liking my laptop very much and we have the same version too. What are the best options for graphics and screen display? And battery capacity saving options? Thank you again!

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 8, 2016 at 5:17 am

      What do you mean by graphics and screen display? As for battery capacity, I'm not fully charging it (only to 95%, limited from BIOS) and haven't lost any capacity in probably around a year.

  39. Leon Jay

    November 21, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    NEVER buy this computer, or any other from Dell. it is a good machine when it works, but mine has been faulty for over 6 weeks now, and Dell still have not resolved the issue. They also refuse to honor the New Zealand Consumer Guarantee Act. This has been the worst customer service experience in over 30 years of owning computers.

  40. V

    November 27, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Please respond to this post Andrei,

    I have the same model as yours and it was built in March 2015. I originally had it running windows 8 at the time of purchase. The day I updated to windows 10, I've been experiencing a BAD issue. My computer screen has lines and looks distorted, doesn't allow me to do anything on the computer. I would give it 30 minutes to sit before I tried booting it again with sometimes no problems. As of lately, I have been down for 3 days because the screen won't come back. I looked into the issue and assumed it's a malfunction in the driver when the update happened but I'm not entirely sure. I've noticed it happening more during the colder months when the cold starts make the screen act up. Have you experienced any strange screen glitches/distortions or anything regarding cold start ups that are different than normal.

    Please let me know. I need my computer to every day use but I can hardly find solutions to this problem.

    Thank you.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 27, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      HI, I haven't run into this and I haven't heard anyone else complaining about something similar. If it's a software problem, you can try to roll back the upgrade and see if this solves it. If it's a hardware problem though and it just coincidentally occurred after the upgrade, well, that would suck and you'd have to talk to a service and see what they have to say about it.

  41. jerry turba

    January 11, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    I have heard of report of coil whine with the XPS 13. Did you experience this?

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 17, 2017 at 6:05 am

      Not on mine, but there are numerous reports of this issue on the XPS

  42. Winston

    June 10, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    I've had the 9343 since 4/15. Very disappointed. Battery capacity has decreased to 28.7 MwH (down 45%) with 2.5 hour battery life. The trackpad was poor and inaccurate, so I have been using a Bluetooth mouse after a month or two. The keyboard is close to unusable now (top two rows very unresponsive, reducing typing speed to about 10 wpm from 100+ – have to watch letter by letter for omitted or doubled letters) and I am worried about soon not being able to enter my password. I have not been abusive at all to the battery or keyboard (which was uncomfortable even when it was working, so I bought an external mechanical switch keyboard within two months). The overall experience is so bad that I will no longer buy Dell.

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