Dell XPS 13: Performance

April 30, 2012 by Jerry Jackson Reads (164,376)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 9
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 3
    • Usability
    • 10
    • Design
    • 9
    • Performance
    • 10
    • Features
    • 8
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 7
    • Total Score:
    • 8.00
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Performance

Our review unit of the Dell XPS 13 (XPS L321X) has the following specifications:

  • 13.3-inch 720p LCD with LED backlighting and Gorilla Glass (1366×768)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Intel Core i7-2637M dual-core processor (1.70GHz with Turbo Boost up to 2.80GHz)
  • Integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics
  • 4GB DDR3-1333 RAM (max. supported)
  • 256GB SSD (Samsung PM380 mSATA SSD)
  • Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6230
  • Integrated Bluetooth wireless
  • Integrated 720p webcam
  • No internal optical drive
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • Integrated 6-cell battery (non-replaceable, 47 WHr)
  • 45W AC adapter
  • Weight: 2.99 lbs. (1.356 kg)*
  • Dimensions: 0.24-0.71 x 12.4 x 8.1 inches (6-18mm x 316mm x 205mm)
  • Price as configured: $1,499.99
  • Starting price: $999.99

While the starting price of the XPS 13 comes in at roughly $1,000, our review sample includes the higher-performance Core i7 processor and a 256GB solid state drive (SSD). These specifications are among the best in class among ultrabooks, but for $1,500, the XPS 13 had better not disappoint. Dell makes a big deal over the fact this 13-inch ultrabook has a starting weight of less than three pounds (2.99 lbs.) but the reason we have a “*” next to the weight listed above is that one of our in-house scales shows this configuration weighs in at 3.01 lbs. (1.365 kg) without the AC adapter. If you are willing to settle for a slightly slower Core i5 processor and a lower-capacity 128GB SSD then the XPS can be yours for the previously mentioned $999.99 … or the 256GB SSD alone brings the price to $1,299.99 at the time of this writing.

PERFORMANCE AND BENCHMARKS
The Core i7 configuration of the XPS 13 delivers best-in-class performance among 13-inch ultrabooks at the time of this writing. This might not be as impressive as the performance you’ll find in a thicker and heavier $1,500 notebook, but this is exceptionally good for a thin and light laptop and it’s more than enough for everyday use and basic office productivity like working through documents in Microsoft Office. Speaking of productivity, it’s worth mentioning that the XPS 13 comes pre-installed with Adobe Photoshop Elements 9.0 and Adobe Premiere Elements 9.0 for photo and video editing right out of the box.

While the Intel Core i7 processor has something to do with the impressive performance, the speediest part of the XPS 13 is actually the 256GB mSATA solid state drive. Our review unit uses a Samsung PM380 and although it’s not the fastest SSD we’ve ever seen it is very fast and it is the fastest “mSATA” SSD we’ve seen in our labs so far.

wPrime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):

PCMark Vantage measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):

PCMark 7 is a newer benchmark which measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):

3DMark06 measures overall graphics performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):

CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test:


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