Dell XPS 13 (2014):Performance

March 24, 2014 by Michael Wall Reads (114,261)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 6
    • Usability
    • 8
    • Design
    • 9
    • Performance
    • 8
    • Features
    • 7.5
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 8
    • Total Score:
    • 7.79
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10


Likely the biggest change for the new Dell XPS 13 comes from its upgraded innards. Making the jump to Intel’s fourth generation Intel core processors the Dell XPS 13 offers a notable boost to its overall performance and battery life. The unit that NBR reviewed was outfitted with an 1.6GHz Intel Core  i5-4200U CPU, with 8GB of DDR3, Intel HD Graphics 4400 and a 128GB SSD for $1,300. Users looking to save a few bucks can opt for the base model which is priced at $1,050 and comes equipped with an Intel Core i3-4010U processor and 4GB of DDR3, though users will have to concede the touch display for the lower price point.

Equipped with an Intel Core i5 CPU the Dell XPS 13 makes quick work of normal web and word processing functions. The ultrabook is also capable of handling more complex Microsoft Office tasks such as complicated excel spreadsheets. With 8GB of RAM the Dell can easily juggle multiple programs at once. NBR was able to run 10 web tabs while watching four HD video streams without experiencing any drop in performance.

Intel HD Graphics 4400 allow the laptop to handle basic visual tasks, such as editing HD videos or playing less demanding game titles such as League of Legends on lowered graphical settings. However, without dedicated graphics the machine will struggle to run newer high-end game titles or edit 3D videos.

Equipped with a 128GB SSD the Dell XPS 13 doesn’t offer a great deal of storage, but it’s fast and responsive. Programs load nearly instantly and the notebook resumes from sleep without delay. The laptop was also able to boot from a downed state to Windows 8.1’s home screen at an impressive 8.9 seconds.

Dell XPS 13 (2014) Performance Our Review unit of the Dell XPS 13 had the following configuration:

  • Windows 8.1 (64-bit)
  • 13.3” FHD (1920 x 1080) Display
  • 4th Generation Intel Core i5-4200U
  • Intel HD Graphics 4400
  • 8GB of DDR3
  • 128GB SSD
  • Intel Dual Band Wireless AC 7260
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 55WHr 6-Cell Battery
  • Dimensions: 12.4” x 8.1” x 0.7
  • Weight: 3.03 pounds
  • Base Price: $1,050
  • Price as Configured: $1,300



wPrime processor comparisons (lower score means better performance):


PCMark 7 is a newer benchmark and measures overall system performance (higher score means better performance):


3DMark 11 is a benchmark that measures overall graphics card performance for gaming (higher score means better performance):

3DM 11

CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test:


Heat and Noise

The Dell XPS 13’s vents are located on the back end of the chassis resting opposite of the machine’s display hinge. The location does allow most of the hot air to be directed away from the user, but the machine can still heat up when taxed. After streaming video for 45 minutes the XPS 13 was producing a noticeable amount bit of heat. Even at its worst the notebook can still function as a laptop but users might find it uncomfortable.

In terms of noise the Dell XPS 13 is pretty tame. Under stress the notebook will produce a faint audible hum, but under normal circumstances it should go unnoticed.


Batter Life

To test battery life, we used our new PowerMark benchmark in balanced mode. The test consists of a combination of automated web browsing, word processing, gaming and video playback workloads. The test is far more strenuous than our previous test, measuring the machine under a litany of scenarios to better simulate real life use. With the test being far more demanding the scores are understandably lower than our previous benchmark.

Powermark “Balanced” battery life test results (higher score means better battery life):


In our tests the Dell XPS 13 ran for 5 hours and 5 minutes before shutting down. Testing above 5 hours the XPS 13 offers exceptional battery life noting a marked improvement over last year’s model which only ran for 3 hours and 22 minutes. Considering that our tests are far more strenuous than traditional use (running the notebook through gauntlet of tasks) users can expect the Dell XPS 13 to last all day on a single charge. Even while watching videos or playing games the notebook should offer substantial stamina, though it’s best to have the charger on hand while running power intensive tasks.



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  1. xrilin

    I bought this computer for my fiance for school and it has been a complete NIGHTMARE. Google Dell laptop cursor problems or mouse problems. The computer randomly will select things when you dont even touch it! She cannot even use the computer because while using it the computer will select a different window, or tab, or paragraph etc etc. We have told dell of the problem and been through hours and hours of customer service bull crap. Every time its someone who barely speaks english and they have us do the same perfunctory steps that we have already done. Finally they replaced the mousepad and mother board. Guess what?? IT STILL HAS THE SAME EXACT PROBLEM. I then spent 3 hours on the phone trying to get them to replace the laptop…..they wouldnt do it!! I called multiple times to talk to a manage and each time the manager was “IN A MEETING” which means they either were lying or do not have managers. Lastly we sent it in to get repaired through dells 3rd party company. They replaced the hard drive and the operating system. YET AGAIN THE SAME PROBLEM PERSISTS!! DELL SELLS CRAP COMPUTERS AND THEY KNOW THEY ARE CRAP!!! HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE HAVE THIS SAME PROBLEM, LOOK ONLINE AT FORUMS!! I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER DELL AGAIN, TERRIBLE PRODUCT AND TERRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE!! DO NOT BUY THIS COMPUTER IF YOU WANT IT TO BE ANYTHING MORE THAN A PAPER WEIGHT!! DELL HAS DISABLED REVIEWS ON THE DELL WEBSITE…AFTER LOG IN AND CLICKING ON THE “WRITE REVIEW” BUTTON YOU GET REDIRECTED TO THE COMPUTER SALE PAGE!! IT IT LIKE THIS FOR EVERY LAPTOP!! WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU ABOUT DELL PRODUCTS??

  2. Morlaco

    I own the XPS 13 that comes with Ubuntu preinstalled and it performs great. You had a bad experience from what seems to be a defective unit, but that doesn’t mean the model is bad. Actually, almost all reviews online are very positive about this laptop.

  3. Morlaco

    The problem I found with this laptop, is an unbearable coil whine while keyboard backlit is on. This may easily become a deal breaker since when working in dark (and usually quiet) places is usually when I need most the backlit keyboard.
    This is a known issue this model has, and Dell has been unable to solve it after a year of people complaining.

  4. starflex

    Unfortunately, after one year, the touchpad problem is still there.

    It doesn’t happen on Ubuntu, where apparently works well. All the Windows users are reporting ithe problem. The touchpad is not usable, already tried different workarounds to solve the problem, third party softwares, modded drivers, everything.

    The cursor randomly jumps from one side to the other of the screen, phantom clicks (even with the touch-to-click disabled).

    Awful experience, and it is not mine that it’s defective. They all are like this. I have to carry a mouse every time.

  5. Teddy1

    DELL is a don’t buy..

    XPS is more likely to have faults. I bought Dell XPS 13, i7, 16 RAM, 512ssd (touch screen) say top of the range they have.
    Built quality is poor!
    I am sending my one back because of the fan. Arrived already faulty.

    My friend bought one which came with a faulty graphic card.

    Customer service is so poor that I am not taking any further risks to order a new one. I bought XPS13 on line on 08.03.16 seller promised to deliver it on 11.03.16 however it only dispatched China on 11.03.16 and arrived on 16.03.16 faulty. Customer service is so slow to respond & it will be collected tomorrow on 21.03.16. Refund will be processed in another 7 days. I say it is a waste of time for a normal consumer. . . Buying x1 at least when I get it I know that company is not hiding their numbers, will respond same day (not like Dell in 2 business days), customer service won’t allow such terrible resolutions when resolving these type of issues arising from their own incompetence and negligence….

    Posting this review because I am very upset with Dell & their customer service. No reputable manufacturer would allow their clients to be in a situation like this – cannot get a product which works and waist time until refund is processed. I personally lost 2 weeks so far and still have no refund and no laptop….