Lately, computer manufacturers have released a new wave of laptops. The reason is obvious: Windows 10 has hit the market. These new notebooks equipped with the Microsoft’s latest are said to be faster, lighter and overall better, but as we know, ad copy can rarely be trusted without questioning. So, here on TechForPennies.com we picked one of the new laptops, the Dell XPS 13 XPS9343-8182SLV, and examined it further. Below, you’ll find our comments whether it would be a valuable notebook for you.
There’s a low-power Core i7-5500U CPU powering the Dell XPS 13 XPS9343-8182SLV. It’s a dual-core processor offering a 2.4GHz clock speed with 3.0Ghz turbo. If you’re interested about the details, the chip receives an alright ~4000 points in CPU Marks – in comparison, low end Celerons get only 1000 and the fastest quad-core i7s receive around 8000. The i7-5500U is a proper chip for power users looking for more oomph than a Core i3 or even low-voltage i5 can offer.
The laptop features 8GB DDR3L (1600MHz) memory. The memory is soldered on mainboard so you can’t add more. But with eight gigabytes, multitasking, keeping many browser tabs open and heavy applications should be a walk in the park. If it was 4GB I’d be concerned, but 8GB is a very safe amount these days.
One of the better things about Dell XPS 13 XPS9343-8182SLV is the hard drive. It’s a M.2 SSD with 256GB storage capacity. Such a solid-state drive should ensure smooth user experience, for example in the form of fast (less than 10 seconds) Windows boot up times. Applications will also load faster than on systems powered by a mechanical hard drive.
Display and graphics
Dell XPS 13 XPS9343-8182SLV features a 13.3″ touchscreen, quite smaller than a regular 15.6″ one. But resolution is top notch 3200×1800, a so-called QHD+ (Quad HD). It offers excellent quality, although only if you can find a video source that outputs video with such a resolution. Refresh rate of this screen is 60hz, operating angle 0-135 degrees – so you can’t turn the display to a tablet mode.
Graphics are not great in this laptop. They’re powered by a CPU-integrated engine called Intel HD 5500. It’s far from the performance real graphics cards offer. As a result, you can only play many games on low to medium settings. A real life example, GTA 5 would give ca. 20FPS played on 1366×768 and medium details. Battlefield 4 would do tad better, getting 25 frames or bit more. But as you can see, utilizing high settings won’t happen, also the QHD resolution can’t be enjoyed with games.
Dell XPS 13 XPS9343-8182SLV has a limited selection of ports. There are just two USB 3.0 connections for peripherals. In addition, no HDMI is present (mini DisplayPort is), but HDMI support can always be achieved with a cheap adapter.
Internet is accessible using the 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi interface. Bluetooth 4.0 is also available. Ethernet port is not included, but you can always use an USB to RJ-45 adapter.
There’s no optical drive in this laptop, to be honest it never is in these 13.3″ systems. This might not be an issue, but if it is, get an external DVD drive and problem is solved. You may also find use for the built-in SD card slot.
The notebook has a front-facing 1280×720 webcam for Skype video sessions.
Anything else to keep in mind?
Carrying Dell XPS 13 XPS9343-8182SLV should be effortless, after all it’s a compact 13.3″ laptop with 0.6″ thickness and only 2.8 pounds weight. The 4-cell 52Whr battery should last at least 6 hours. It’s an integrated battery, replacing it will take some effort for sure.
The keyboard lights up, but there’s no dedicated numpad on the right.
The operating system is Windows 10 Home, the 64-bit edition.
Dell XPS 13 XPS9343-8182SLV is not cheap, but if you need some solid performance packed in a compact design, this notebook might do the trick. There are not many programs that wouldn’t run fluently on i7 processor, 8GB system memory and a real 256GB solid-state drive. Another good feature is the portability: this unit weighs only 2.8 pounds, easily beating most of its competitors.
Moving onto worse things, gaming on this laptop is challenging, mainly due to integrated graphics – and there’s no way to upgrade the graphics card. Also keep in mind optical drive and HDMI are not included, but using an external DVD drive and HDMI adapter work effortlessly in plug and play style. All in all, if you need a reliable yet lightweight workhorse for heavier applications (minus games), spending your money on this Dell should be a smart move.