Dell XPS 13 9370 (2018) Review: An Evolutionary Leap


Dell XPS 13 9370 (2018) Review: An Evolutionary Leap

Overview

Can Dell take the XPS 13 to the next level?

Since it’s introduction in early 2015, the modern iteration of the Dell XPS 13 has been one of the most influential computers in recent history. An example of the rise of desirable Windows-based notebooks back into the premium market, the XPS 13 has done what only a few OEMs have been able to—inspire knockoffs. Now, the market is filled with similar designs including ultrathin bezels (and some even copying the compromises of webcam placement), at similar price points.

Even though it’s been regarded as one of the best PC notebooks for its entire tenure, it was clear for a while that Dell must move the brand of their flagship notebook forward, and here it is, the redesigned XPS 13 9370 for 2018.

From a quick glance, the 2018 XPS 13 is quite similar to the outgoing 9360 model from last year. Apart from this new, radical Alpine White and Rose Gold color scheme of our particular review unit, you would be hard-pressed to spot it as unique in public. However, once you start to dig in, the changes become quite evident.

While the new XPS 13 maintains the same physical footprint as the previous iterations, it loses a significant amount of thickness. Still retaining the wedge shape, although much less exaggerated now, the XPS 13 9370 measures only 0.46″ at its thickest point, compared to 0.6″ on the previous design. While tenths of inches may not seem like a huge difference, this amounts to a 23% reduction in thickness, which is noticeable for a highly portable item like a notebook.

This new-found thinness is enabled in part by one of the more controversial aspects of the new XPS 13, the move to all USB-C ports. On the left-hand side of the XPS 13, you’ll find 2 Thunderbolt-3 enabled ports, as well as a physical battery life indicator.

On the opposing side is one more Type-C port, this time USB 3.1 Gen 1 port and a micro SD card reader.

While the moving to exclusively USB-C ports may be off-putting to some consumers, I think Dell has handled it in an intelligent way.Dell includes a simple USB-C to USB-A dongle in the box with all XPS 13 notebooks. They started this trend on the XPS 13 2-in-1 and I think it is a very consumer friendly practice, that every notebook manufacturer should take note of. 

All of the USB-C ports on the XPS 13 can be used for charging, providing a lot of flexibility for different environments instead of straining the cable to plug it into the opposite side of the notebook than your wall plug is on.

Additionally, Dell has finally moved to a x4 interface for the Thunderbolt 3 ports on the new XPS 13, something which the community of external GPU users will be thrilled to hear.

2 x Thunderbolt 3
1 x USB 3.1 Type-C (DisplayPort)

As far as the hardware specifications of the XPS 13 9370, little has changed from the 9360, which was available with 8th generation processors towards the end of its life. Potential purchasers will still find CPU options up to the i7-8550U, up to 16GB of RAM, NVME SSDs, and the same option of a 1080p  non-touch or 4K touch-screen display.

The InfinityEdge display has always been the standout feature of the XPS 13, and that doesn’t change with the 9370 model. The 3840×2160 4K touchscreen display looks great and conforms to 100% sRGB color gamut. 

Underneath the display, however, is a new addition. Taking inspiration from the XPS 13 2-in-1 introduced last year, the mainline XPS 13 now features a Window Hello-enabled IR camera in the center of the bottom bezel, instead of the lower left-hand corner. 

Windows Hello works great with the webcam in this placement, and in my eyes redeems including a webcam on the XPS 13. With the previous models, I was convinced that they should just leave the webcam off, but Window Hello gives it a reason to exist. 

For video conferencing, the webcam remains as useless as ever. Moving the webcam to the center doesn’t help the “looking up your nose” aspect that the XPS 13 has become notorious for. If you’re attempting to type while using the webcam, all the person on the other end of the call will see is your fingers furiously typing away.

The keyboard and mouse have always been strong points for the XPS 13 lineup, and they remain mostly unchanged here. The keyboard maintains a surprising amount of key travel considering the thickness reduction, and the trackpad has a satisfying click. Little seems to have changed here from the previous XPS 13 generation.

The palm rest of this new Alpine White XPS 13, however, sees some impressive changes. Gone are the soft touch plastic palm rests with a faux carbon fiber finish from the previous XPS 13 iterations.

Now, the XPS 13 features wrist wrests actually constructed from a woven glass fiber, which provides a matte texture compared. Dell says this new technology helps them to develop a white notebook that is resistant to yellowing from body oils and UV light. While it remains to be seen if these claims are valid, I do like the physical texture of these new palm rests, and I think they contribute to helping the XPS 13 9370 feel more premium than the previous 9360 model.

Additionally, the interior of the new XPS 13 sees some advancements in material technology. Dell partnered with GORE (yes, the company responsible for the GORE-TEX material you might find your winter coat) to integrate a new thermal material which they say provides thermal conductivity levels lower than air to help keep the notebook as cool as possible.

As far as upgradability is concerned, not much has changed here from the previous XPS 13 design. While the RAM is soldered to the motherboard and nonupgradable, the SSD uses a standard M.2 connector and is removable, meaning you should be able to replace the storage on your own down the road. 

Editor’s Note: the previous version of this review incorrectly listed the screen as a QHD+ (3200×1800) display instead of a 4K (3840×2160) display. These errors have been corrected, but do not change any opinions stated in this review.

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  1. OMG! The webcam makes youOMG! The webcam makes you look half ginger, half octopus. 😉

  2. Anonymous-911

    remember the good ole days, 5remember the good ole days, 5 years ago when you could get an i7 & 16GB of DDR3 for $330 total. Fast forward 5 years into the future where you could buy a whole laptop with 8GB i5 for $1200 that is slower.

    • MoreOfTheSameUthatIsUselessForAnything

      What about the number of PCIeWhat about the number of PCIe lanes running to that TB3 comtroller chip/s! Is that 2 or 4 PCie lanes and what is the Make and Model of that laptop’s TB3(dual or single?) controller chip? It’s still an ultrabook and oh so overpriced but you know is just like Apple’s overpriced Tat with Intel Inside and gimped of all performance and oh so very thin as to be useless.

      Hey hey hey Kids! It’s Krusty the clown announcing our new Krusty U brand Fish-En-Chips. Now with that great fission by-products glow so you can eat them with the lights out.

      • Spunjji

        “Additionally, Dell has“Additionally, Dell has finally moved to a x4 interface for the Thunderbolt 3 ports on the new XPS 13, something which the community of external GPU users will be thrilled to hear.”

        • ToManyUknownsWithOEMsLappysAndMyWalletStaysClosed

          And the TB3 controller Chip,And the TB3 controller Chip, its make and model? and Thank you by the way. Missed that part and hey let’s get more info on that Laptop’s MB. By the way that “x4 interface” what is that “x4” stand for it looks like it needs some qualification as to just what there is x4 of. How about putting a PCIe 3.0 out in front there to make certain, otherwise it could be PCIe 2.0, or slower and x4 does not have any meaning without some from of qualifying terms added like PCIe 3.0, PCIe 2.0/other. But I’m always looking for the PCIe 3.0, 2.0 information when I see x4(I still overlooked that anyways).

          As far as the MB is concerned in let’s get a sample of that MB from the laptop’s maker that provided the laptop sample and look at all the controller chips/root hubs and see where they go and see if any PCIe bandwidth is being shared on the laptop’s total PCIe lanes or Chipset lanes.

          I want to if Know the laptop is using external(Not Provided by the chipset) controller chips and those Chips ID-Numbers. I’d like to see a sort of Buildzoid(What he does for GPU cards) sort of breakdown done on this laptop’s MB.

          “you’ll find 2 Thunderbolt-3 enabled ports” Yes there are 2 ports but are they sharing the Same TB3 controller’s single TB3 controller for those single TB3 controller SKUs that Intel makes or is it that Dual TB3 Controller chip SKUs that Intel also makes, or does the TB3 come from the Intel chipset.

          Then The Intel graphics drivers, are They Intel generic or are they the laptop OEM’s customizied version of the Intel graphics drivers that only the laptop’s OEM can update.
          Lot’s of Problems with HP Raven Ridge laptops and OEM cusstomizied Graphics drivers, the usual Laptop OEM graphics drivers nonsense there.

          What about Bloatware and the laptop’s OEM provided system software for things like hotkey functionality, backup, etc.

          Really and realistically I could probably do with a link to the laptop’s repair manual for more detailed information so I’d be happy with a links to this SKUs repair manual. But I’m not wanting to ever purchase a laptop with OEM customizied Graphics Drivers and be put between a rock and the OEM for any graphics drivers updates. If the laptop’s maker can not build the device to support Intel’s/AMD’s/Nvidia’s generic graphics drivers then the OEM/retailer can keep that Laptop on the shelves until the cows come home.

          Laptop’s are pretty much a crapshoot and I’m all for laptop makers legally required to provide a device schematic with all the little PCIe traces(labled PCIe 3.0, 2.0/other) shown and all the Motherboard’s chips IDs required by law. And you know that every Laptop OEM has these schematics(FCC/other Federal agencies get them also). And that’s what the laptop’s potential customer needs to be offered along with a software manafest(Listing what software is essential and what software is extraneous) and Don’t forget Those Graphics drivers are they the Laptop OEM’s customizied versions or The Generic Graphics drivers(That Intel, AMD, and Nvidia can update instead of the laptop’s OEM).

    • Spunjji

      You mean it costs more moneyYou mean it costs more money to build a whole system in a uniquely compact form-factor than it does to get a desktop CPU and some RAM? WHOAH WHAT WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN

  3. Anonymouse

    Had the previous generation. Had the previous generation. Lovely laptops, good performance and ultra portable

  4. Anonymous409

    I like the “Review Terms andI like the “Review Terms and Disclosure” Please keep using them. It is nice to see as it provides correct review perspective. What I hate most about ~some~ (not necessarily any or yours) is insane bias that makes no sense, other than paid marketing.