Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 11th Gen 2021 review – what is the 9310 price?

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 11th Gen 2021 review
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The new Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 11th Gen is without question among the best 2-in-1 laptops you can buy. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. Dell smartly used the XPS 13 as a blueprint for the XPS 13 2-in-1, an almost identical laptop, but with the ability to transform into a tablet. The XPS 13 2-in-1 is a bit heavier but is just a hair thinner than the standard XPS 13 (convertible laptops generally have a bit more bulk due to the touch display and hinge design), though both weigh less than three pounds. In both cases, you’re going to get a compact 13-inch laptop that can easily be carried around with you wherever you go. Reveal more in Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 11th Gen 2021 review.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 16:10 display
  • Exceptional build quality
  • All-day battery life
  • Fast CPU with new integrated graphics

Cons

  • Shallow keyboard
  • No USB-A ports
  • Not-great webcam
  • CPU heat is pushing it

Specifications – Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 11th Gen 2021

  • Laptop Class Convertible 2-in-1
  • Processor Intel Core i7-1165G7
  • Processor Speed 2.8 GHz
  • RAM (as Tested) 16 GB
  • Boot Drive Type SSD
  • Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 512 GB
  • Screen Size 13.4 inches
  • Native Display Resolution 1920 by 1200
  • Touch Screen Yes
  • Panel Technology IPS
  • Variable Refresh Support None
  • Screen Refresh Rate 60 Hz
  • Graphics Processor Intel Iris Xe
  • Wireless Networking 802.11ax, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions (HWD) 0.56 by 11.7 by 8.2 inches
  • Weight 2.9 lbs
  • Operating System Microsoft Windows 10
  • Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes) 14:21

Price

This year’s 2-in-1 starts at $1,099.99 for a Core i3-1115G4 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. You can spec that all the way up to $2,249.99 (listed now at $1,999.99) for a 3840 x 2400 display, a Core i7-1165G7 CPU, 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. You can also pay $50 extra for the white (“frost”) color rather than the silver and black model and $60 extra to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.

Who is this for -Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 11th Gen 2021?


Buy it if…

You value solid build quality
The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2020) is one of the best Windows laptop designs on the market.

You want a laptop that’s slim, light and powerful
This is a stylish and well-built laptop that performs brilliantly with an excellent display and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. 

You value battery life
With our movie playback test running for over 14 hours non-stop, this is some impressive longevity that again, beats most rival Windows laptops.

Don’t buy it if…

You’re on a tight budget
A laptop of this high quality doesn’t come cheap when you add on extra storage and memory

You primarily want a tablet
Although the Dell XPS 13 7390 works fine as a Windows tablet, we preferred using it as a laptop. There are better tablet alternatives.

Compare Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 11th Gen 2021 vs Dell Inspiron 14 inch laptop

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, 13.4 inch FHD+ Touch LaptopDell Inspiron 14 inch 5406 2 in 1, FHD Touchscreen LaptopNew XPS 13 2-in-1 Intel Iris Plus 13.4″ FHD+ WLED Touch
Computer Memory Size8 GB12 GB16 GB
CPU ModelCore i7Intel Core i7Intel Mobile CPU
CPU Model ManufacturerIntelIntelIntel
CPU Speed3.9 GHz4.7 GHz3.90 GHz
Display Resolution Maximum1920 x 1200 pixels1920 x 1080 pixels1920 x 1200
Screen Size13.4 inches14 inches13.3 inches
Graphics DescriptionIntel Iris Plus GraphicsIntegrated
Hard Disk Descriptionssdssdflash_memory_solid_state
Hard Disk Size256 GB512 GB512 GB
Human Interface InputKeyboardTouchscreenMicrophone, Keyboard
Item Dimensions11.69 x 8.15 x 0.51 inches8.74 x 12.7 x 0.71 inches
Item Weight3.70 lbs3.39 lbs2.90 lbs
Operating SystemWindows 10 HomeWindows 10 HomeWindows 10 Pro
Processor Count444
RAM Memory TechnologyDDR4DDR4
Wireless Communication Standard802.11acBluetoothBluetooth
Wireless Communication TechnologyBluetooth, Wi-FiWi-Fi, BluetoothBluetooth, Wi-Fi

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 11th Gen 2021 review

Build

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 11th Gen 2021 is an excellent Windows convertible. It keeps the slim, sturdy, premium build quality that makes the XPS line the best of the best while also delivering some of the best performance you can get from an ultraportable laptop.

The XPS is CNC cut from two blocks of aluminum then bonded with Corning Gorilla Glass 6 for extra durability. Diamond-cut edges with a brushed finish give the convertible luxurious accents and the chrome Dell logo on the lid mirrors XPS branding underneath. 

Design

It is nearly the same thickness as the lid. As a result, the convertible is only 11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches and 2.9 pounds, which is thinner (but slightly heavier) than the HP Spectre x360 13 (12.1 x 7.7 x 0.7 inches, 2.7 pounds) and more compact than the Lenovo Yoga C940 (12.6 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches, 3 pounds). Its clamshell sibling, the Dell XPS 13, has an even smaller footprint (11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches, 2.8 pounds).

Ports

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 11th Gen 2021 comes with a slim and sturdy aluminum chassis, a 1920 x 1200 (16:10) Gorilla Glass screen, and four ports (two USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, DisplayPort, and Power Delivery, one headphone jack, and one microSD card reader). 

Display – Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 11th Gen

The first is a new, 16:10 13.4-inch display. Every XPS 13 before this model has used a 16:9 screen, which looks great when you’re watching full-screen video, but feels horribly cramped when working in documents or browsing the internet. The new screen matches the aspect ratio of a MacBook and is a much more comfortable computer to work on. 

4K resolution

Dell offers the 2-in-1 with either a 4K panel or a 1920 x 1200 pixel screen, with my test unit having the latter. I don’t think 4K resolution is necessary at this screen size, as the lower-res screen costs $300 less, is less taxing on the processor, and is still plenty sharp at normal working distances. Either screen gets brighter than average (over 500 nits) and covers 100 percent of the sRGB color gamut, though the 4K panel supports Dolby Vision and is HDR 400 rated. I didn’t miss it though and if I were buying this computer, I’d choose the lower-resolution screen without thinking twice about it.

Webcam for video call

The XPS 13 2-in-1 shares the XPS 13’s innovative webcam, which manages to fit IR sensors (for face-recognition logins via Windows Hello) as well as the 720p camera itself into the tiny border above the screen. Another password-free means of logging into your Windows 10 account is via the power button, which doubles as a fingerprint reader.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 11th Gen Processor

Before getting into that, I’ll give you a brief rundown of what’s new from the last XPS 13 2-in-1. It’s mostly one thing: the processor. This 2-in-1 (the 9310) includes Intel’s newest 11th Gen “Tiger Lake” mobile chips. The CPUs bring Intel’s best-in-class Iris Xe integrated graphics, which have been the talk of the town since Tiger Lake’s launch, as well as the Thunderbolt 4 standard. This 9310 is actually certified through Intel’s Evo program (denoted by a small sticker on the right palm rest), which is supposed to guarantee that a laptop meets the needs of an everyday home or office user, in categories from connectivity to battery life and performance.

Graphics

This is a new era for integrated graphics. Previously only capable of playing less graphics-intensive titles at low frame rates, the new Iris Xe graphics are hyped by Intel to run some AAA games. 

Our synthetic benchmarks tell a more promising story. The XPS 13 2-in-1 hit 3,847 on the 3DMark Fire Strike test, topping the Spectre x360 13 (2,615, Iris Plus), Yoga C940 (2,138, Iris Plus), and XPS 13 (3,598) but falling short of the category average (5,393), which is inflated with scores from laptops with discrete GPUs.

Games

Where the 2-in-1 really differentiates itself from the clamshell, though, is gaming performance. You can actually play a fair number of games on this laptop without needing to bump the resolution down. The 2-in-1 smoked the clamshell on Rocket League’s maximum settings (an average of 120fps, to the clamshell’s 111fps) and League of Legends (226fps to the clamshell’s 205fps). You’ll only see 60fps on either XPS 13 since that’s the maximum their screens can display, but those results show how much higher Dell has clocked the 2-in-1 over the standard XPS.

Audio

The Dell’s audio quality is rich and full, but the placement of its stereo speakers on the bottom of the laptop makes sound a bit muffled in laptop or tablet mode. There are six separate grilles along the left and right edges of the laptop’s base. Four of them are used for air intake, while two deliver audio.

Keyboard

The standard XPS 13 has one of my all-time favorite laptop keyboards; it’s snappy, quiet, and comfortable, with a really nice texture. The 2-in-1 has a different keyboard that Dell calls the “Next Gen MagLev keyboard.” It has wider keycaps with just 0.7mm of travel. It feels similar to using the old low-profile butterfly keyboard on the 2019 MacBook Pro

Touchpad

The massive 4.4 x 2.6-inch touchpad is one of the best I’ve used. The silky surface feels great against my fingers, and it quickly executed Windows 10 gestures, like three-finger swipe to switch apps and two-finger scrolling.  

Dell doesn’t include a stylus with the XPS 13 2-in-1 so you’ll need to spend an extra $99 on the Premium Active Pen to get the most out of the touchscreen.

Battery life

The first is battery life. I averaged eight hours and 50 minutes using the 2-in-1 as my primary work driver with the screen at 200 nits of brightness. That’s quite good among the Tiger Lake systems we’ve seen so far, and it means you should get a full workday from one charge. But it’s a bit worse than the standard XPS, where I usually saw nine hours and 15 minutes — a small difference but one that could be important to students or frequent business travelers who are looking for every ounce of juice they can get.

Heat

After playing a 15-minute, Full HD video in full-screen, the hottest part of the laptop, on the deck near the PrtSc key, warmed to only 92 degrees Fahrenheit, a few degrees below our comfort threshold. You won’t have problems typing or using the cursor as the keyboard peaked at 81 degrees and the touchpad reached 75 degrees. With the underside reaching 88 degrees, you can use the XPS 13 2-in-1 on your bare lap without any red marks forming. 

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 11th Gen 2021 Performance review

Our lab results surprised me. According to our colorimeter, the XPS 13 2-in-1’s display covers only 70% of the DCI-P3color gamut, making it less vivid than the panels on the Spectre x360 13 (77%), Yoga C940 (74%), XPS 13 (81%) and the premium laptop average (83%). 

The XPS 13 2-in-1 impressed on our benchmark tests, crushing the competition in most categories thanks to the new 11th Gen chips. On the Geekbench 5 overall performance test, the XPS 13 2-in-1 scored a 5,571, which is significantly more than what the Spectre x360 13 (4,074, Core i7-1065G7), Yoga C940 (4,074, Core i7-1065G7) achieved, and a notch above the XPS 13 (5,254, Core i7-1165G7). The category average on this test is 4,115.

We also run a custom Adobe Photoshop image-editing benchmark. Using an early 2018 release of the Creative Cloud version of Photoshop, we apply a series of 10 complex filters and effects to a standard JPEG test image. We time each operation and, at the end, add up the total execution time. As with Handbrake, lower times are better here. The Photoshop test stresses the CPU, storage subsystem, and RAM, but it can also take advantage of most GPUs to speed up the process of applying filters, so systems with powerful graphics chips or cards may see a boost.

The really exciting news is that you can actually play Shadow of the Tomb Raider on this machine at 1080p. The 2-in-1 averaged 36fps on the game’s built-in benchmark (at the lowest-possible settings). That’s just two off from the newest MacBook Air with Apple’s M1 chip (38fps), which has been outperforming 1165G7 systems across the board. Now, you may very well not want to play demanding titles like Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 38fps, but you can play them on this machine without feeling like you’re watching a flipbook. That’s a big accomplishment for these integrated graphics, especially considering that the standard XPS 13 only averaged 22fps on the same benchmark.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 11th Gen 2021 customer review

Great Upgrade from 9370

After a day of use, I can say I have absoluetly no complaints. Bought this as an upgrade from a clamshell 9370. Responseive tracpad and the keyboard, while different from the 9370, feels nice and responsive. Tablet mode also works great with a pen and the system is practically soundless under normal load. Another large improvement is the webcam is also no longer at the bottom of the screen.

By Lynn at Best Buy

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