Dell XPS 13 (XPS9343-6365SLV) Laptop Review

August 25, 2015
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There are times when a heavy-duty laptop is the only choice to do a demanding computer task with. So, a notebook like Dell XPS 13 (XPS9343-6365SLV) might be the right tool for that case. It’s equipped with top-of-the-line components, most important being a Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM and a great 256GB solid-state drive. The 13.3″ screen offers more than Full HD, a whopping 3200×1800 resolution. But at the same time, this thing costs a lot of money. Below you’ll find my opinion if the notebook is really worth it or not.

What programs can this computer run?

Only perhaps a handful of programs wouldn’t run on Dell XPS 13 (XPS9343-6365SLV). The laptop is powered by Intel Core i5-5200U processor (two cores, 2.2GHz base speed, 2.7GHz turbo). It’s very decent chip, CPU Mark grading it at ~3500 – some 20% faster than lower level i3s are. People have been reporting that various applications, be it a normal web browser, YouTube or even Photoshop/Illustrator, work fine on this low voltage i5 series. It’s indeed a power efficient processor so heat shouldn’t become problem, this is an essential feature for many laptop seekers as well.

The notebook has 8GB (DDR3L 1600MHz) RAM installed. It’s integrated on the system board so you can’t upgrade the memory. That shouldn’t be an issue for about anybody, you can do anything you want with 8GB. Some even say 4GB is fine, but I’d recommend eight gigabytes especially if you tend to run more demanding programs than browser or multitask a lot.

Another great thing with Dell XPS 13 (XPS9343-6365SLV) is its storage. It’s not some paltry mechanical hard drive but a real SSD, a 256GB M.2 one. This will lead to nice Windows start up times (even less than 10 seconds). Programs will also start promptly compared to a regular hard drive. Storage itself is limited to 256GB, putting data online to some cloud services might be one way to get more space for your files.

And what about games?

Gaming is pretty much the only thing that’s not too enjoyable on this rig. Why? It has no graphics card with dedicated memory, but instead relies on the integrated Intel HD 5500 engine. Benchmarks indicate (and real life tests show) it’s able to play many games, but not really on high settings and resolution. For example, medium settings at 720p would yield ~25FPS on GTA 5. Choppiness is indeed visible but not very disturbing in my opinion. However, another famous game, Minecraft, will get much better frames than that, reaching up to 50FPS on default settings.

What’s there to know about the screen?

Dell XPS 13 (XPS9343-6365SLV) has a small touch display. It’s only 13.3″ in size, perhaps an attractive feature for on-the-go people. The display resolution is brilliant-on-paper 3200×1800, but with so small screen size I don’t think many will actually use it. Anyway, high resolution is there, you’ll be able to watch Full HD movies without compromising on quality. Some games (mainly the older ones) will also work on 1080p, but as mentioned above, the Intel HD 5500 can’t run every game on 1920×1080.

What peripherals can I plug in?

You can enhance Dell XPS 13 (XPS9343-6365SLV) with a selection of peripherals. To begin with, the laptop features two USB 3.0 ports to plug in your devices. Mini DisplayPort on the left hand side can be used to connect an external monitor. HDTV can’t be directly connected to that, but with a simple miniDP to HDMI adapter also this becomes possible.

Optical drive is not included here, there wouldn’t be space for that inside. Something like a portable DVD drive will work if you want to use discs. You might also like the built-in media card reader that accepts SD cards (from DSLR cameras, for example).

Internet is accessible with the internal dual-band 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0 Wireless card. There doesn’t seem to be RJ-45 port available for cable connection, but USB to Ethernet adapter can be used to fix that.

The notebook has a 1280×720 webcam for video chatting, however it’s not located in the usual spot at top of the screen. Instead, it’s installed in the bottom left, so your hands will be more or less visible in video calls.

Are there other things to keep in mind?

It shouldn’t be tough to travel with Dell XPS 13 (XPS9343-6365SLV), the notebook weighs a nice 2.8 pounds and is 0.6″ thick. The 4-cell 52Whr battery is promised 11 hours life, in reality users have been reporting 7-8 hours doing web surfing and other lightweight tasks. The battery is integrated so replacing it takes some effort.

The keyboard lights up but no 10-key pad is available, the laptop is too small for that.

Summing it up

There’s indeed an impressive list of good things about Dell XPS 13 (XPS9343-6365SLV): a rather fast yet cool i5-5200U processor with an awesome friend called 8GB RAM – for this duo, any multitasking effort or complex application should not be too much. Also, there’s a fast SSD ready to boot up Windows in seconds and serve your files in a blink of an eye. In addition, the 13.3″ display has a great quality (although using 3200×1800 on such a small screen won’t be ideal, icons will look very small).

But there are also bad things you should know about. Despite being expensive, there’s no dedicated graphics installed so you won’t be enjoying full eye candy with many games. And you can’t do anything about that, adding a graphics card is not possible. Another thing that might bug some is the lack of an optical drive – that one can luckily be fixed by getting an external drive. All in all, if you can live with these shortcomings, there’s nothing stopping you from getting this Dell. It has received mainly positive reviews around Internet and for heavyweight (yet non-gaming) work it should be excellently fast unit!

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