[In-Depth Comparison] Dell XPS 13 9310 vs Dell XPS 13 9305 – very similar yet too different

The XPS series from Dell offers some of the most recognizable business laptops and ultrabooks, from the very-portable 13-inch devices that we will cover today, to the larger 17-inch laptops that don’t shy away from more powerful hardware.

Today we have the two XPS 13 laptops, the 9310 and 9305, which come with efficient Tiger lake U-series processors, integrated Iris Xe Graphics, and displays with very high resolutions, especially for the screen size.

Today we are giving you an in-depth comparison between the Dell XPS 13 9310 and the XPS 13 9305.

Dell XPS 13 9310: Full Specs / In-depth Review

Dell XPS 13 9305: Full Specs / In-depth Review

Dell XPS 13 9310 configurations:

Dell XPS 13 9305 configurations:

Contents


Design and construction

Both laptops come with an identical chassis, which is built using metal, carbon fiber, and glass fiber. This allows for the body to be both thin and light, making for some of the most portable devices. In terms of looks, both sport rounded corners, sharp edges, and a debossed Dell logo. In terms of weight and height, both laptops hover around the 1.20 kg to 1.30 kg mark.

Dell XPS 13 9310
Dell XPS 13 9305

Keyboard and touchpad

The bases do have some differences, with the keyboard of the XPS 13 9310 spanning wider, leading to less space on the sides. This leads to the power button getting mashed into the other buttons, which isn’t optimal as it can lead to accidental presses and shutdowns. As for the overall typing and user experience, both laptops come with surprisingly long key travel, considering the thin profile, however, it’s still nowhere close to gaming and workstation devices. The feedback is also a lot more clicky on the 9310.

As for the touchpads, both of them come with the same finish, amazing gliding and accuracy, and unrivaled responsiveness. It’s the closest experience to the MacBook pads that we have seen.

Dell XPS 13 9310
Dell XPS 13 9305

Ports

The XPS 13 9310 might as well take the title as the laptop with the most scarce I/O, offering only two Thunderbolt 4 connectors, a MicroSD card slot, and a 3.5 mm audio jack. Inside the package, you also get a Thunderbolt 4 to USB Type-A adapter. The XPS 13 9305 forgets the adapter but adds one more USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port.

Dell XPS 13 9310

Dell XPS 13 9305


Disassembly, upgrade options

Both laptops come with no RAM upgradeability, as there is only a single M.2 PCIe x4 slot for SSD expansion. The 9310 comes with dual-channel memory of up to 32GB. On the other hand, the 9305 has quad-channel memory of up to 16GB.

Dell XPS 13 9310
Dell XPS 13 9305

Display quality

The XPS 13 9310 comes with three 13.4-inch 16:10 panels. The base configuration has an FHD+ IPS panel. If that’s not enough, you can pick between a UHD+ IPS panel and a 3.5K OLED panel.

The XPS 13 9305 has 16:9 panels, with one Full HD panel and one 4K UHD panel. We tested the FHD panels on both notebooks, which come with a similar pixel density of 169 PPI and 166 PPI, a pitch of 0.15 mm x 0.15 mm and 0.153 mm x 0.153 mm, and a Retina distance of 50 cm and 53 cm, respectively for the XPS 13 9310 and XPS 13 9305.

Dell XPS 13 9310
Dell XPS 13 9305

Both laptops come with comfortable viewing angles. Here are images at 45 degrees to evaluate quality.

Dell XPS 13 9310
Dell XPS 13 9305

The 9310 comes with a significantly higher brightness than the 9305, delivering 544 nits in the middle of the screen, 514 nits average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 8%. The 9305 caps out at 465 nits in the middle of the screen and 426 nits average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 16%. The older laptop also has a higher contrast ratio of 1730:1.

Dell XPS 13 9310
Dell XPS 13 9305

Color coverage

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows the color coverage of both the XPS 13 9310 and the XPS 13 9305.

Both laptops show near full sRGB coverage, with 96% for the 9310 and 99% for the 9305.

Dell XPS 13 9310
Dell XPS 13 9305

Color accuracy

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results in factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can check the results from the test of both laptops, with both the factory settings (left) and with our “Design and Gaming” profile applied (right).

Both devices make huge gains with our profile, lowering the dE value to around 1.

Dell XPS 13 9310

Dell XPS 13 9305


Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” methods from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

Both laptops have very close results with a difference of only 0.7 ms. Still, the XPS 13 9305 has a Fall + Rise time of 38.2 ms.

Dell XPS 13 9310
Dell XPS 13 9305

Health Impact / PWM (Blue light)

PWM – Screen flickering

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable from the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Both laptops show PWM usage, up to 140 nits for the XPS 13 9310 and up to 115 nits for the XPS 13 9305.

Dell XPS 13 9310
Dell XPS 13 9305

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Buy our profiles

Dell XPS 13 9310 13.4″ Sharp VVK8Y-LQ134N1 (SHP14F9) (FHD+, 1920 × 1200) IPS: Buy our profiles

Dell XPS 13 9305 13.3″ Sharp 4V0HY-LQ133M1 (SHP14AE) (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS: Buy our profiles

Sound

With such portable laptops, there is no space on the base for front-firing speakers. In terms of quality, both deliver loud and quality audio, however, the XPS 13 9305 does show deviations across the entire frequency range.

Dell XPS 13 9310
Dell XPS 13 9305

Battery

Both laptops come with 52Wh battery packs, which show similar results. The XSP 13 9310 lasts for 25 minutes more in web browsing, while the 9305 lasts for 2 hours and 10 minutes more in video playback. Now, we conduct the battery tests with the Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.


Performance

Both laptops come with identical specs, featuring the 10nm Tiger Lake U-series processors. Graphics-wise, there’s only the integrated Iris Xe Graphics.

CPU benchmarks

Here we tested the Core i5-1135G7 and the Core i7-1165G7. Ultimately, the Core i7 delivers more performance, with a 9% increase in 3D Rendering and a lead of around 0.5 seconds in Photoshop.

Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)


GPU benchmarks

The integrated GPU inside the Core i7 is also more powerful, featuring more Execution Units. It scores 20% and 57% higher in 3DMark Fire Strike and Unigine Superposition, respectively.

Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)


Gaming tests

Dell XPS 13 9310
Dell XPS 13 9305

cs-go-benchmarks

CS:GO HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Medium (Check settings) HD 1080p, MAX (Check settings)
Dell XPS 13 9310 – Iris Xe Graphics G7 (80EU) 114 fps 81 fps 53 fps
Dell XPS 13 9305 – Iris Xe Graphics G7 (96EU) 157 fps (+38%) 116 fps (+43%) 72 fps (+36%)

DOTA 2 HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings) HD 1080p, High (Check settings)
Dell XPS 13 9310 – Iris Xe Graphics G7 (80EU) 114 fps 55 fps 39 fps
Dell XPS 13 9305 – Iris Xe Graphics G7 (96EU) 129 fps (+13%) 101 fps (+84%) 52 fps (+52%)

Temperatures and comfort

The XPS 13 9310 has a single thick heat pipe, two heat spreaders, and two tiny fans. The XPS 13 9305 has one more heat pipe, while the fans are bunched up together.

Dell XPS 13 9310
Dell XPS 13 9305

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i5-1135G7 (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Dell XPS 13 9310 3.15 GHz (B+31%) @ 100°C @ 40W 2.73 GHz (B+14%) @ 100°C @ 30W 1.65 GHz @ 73°C @ 15W

The CPU inside the Dell XPS 13 9310 quickly goes haywire in terms of temperatures, reaching 100°C, and throttling down to 1.65GHz in the later stages of the test.

Intel Core i7-1165G7 (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Dell XPS 13 9305 3.49 GHz (B+25%) @ 99°C @ 43W 3.08 GHz (B+10%) @ 99°C @ 32W 2.26 GHz @ 74°C @ 17W

On the other hand, the Core i7-1165G7 fares better, but it still throttles in the later stages. The temperatures are also high in the beginning but get better as the test goes on and clock speeds falter.

Comfort during full load

The newer laptop is way cooler on the outside, with a 9°C difference.

Dell XPS 13 9310
Dell XPS 13 9305

Verdict

You won’t find any large differences between the two devices, as they are essentially the same, using the same hardware and a lot of other components. Although both are built from a combination of aluminum and carbon fiber, the devices sport different designs. Due to the 16:10 aspect ratio, the XPS 13 9310 has a higher screen-to-body ratio and generally looks better. It also presents a better keyboard, which offers much clickier feedback.

We will put the I/O as a draw, as despite the one more USB Type-C port, the 9305 forgets the Type-A adapter, which is a versatile addition to the 9310. Both laptops have quality displays with high color coverage and amazing accuracy. They also both utilize PWM at lower levels of brightness.

We would favor the 9305 in the battery tests, as it shows a more noticeable difference in video playback. Completely expected, the same device also shows higher performance thanks to its Core i7-1165G7 and Iris Xe Graphics G7 combo, which can be seen both in benchmarks and in games. The laptop has higher clock speeds across all three stages of our stress test. It’s also cooler on the outside, which doesn’t affect performance, but will equate to a more comfortable experience.

We’re really struggling to pick a winner, as you’re not losing a lot by picking either of these. With their efficient CPUs and quality displays, you can definitely do Creator work on the go.


Why choose the Dell XPS 13 9310?

  • + Speakers with no deviations across all frequencies
  • + 16:10 displays
  • + Keyboard with clickier feedback


Why choose the Dell XPS 13 9305?

  • + Longer battery life
  • + More performance
  • + Much cooler on the outside

Dell XPS 13 9310: Full Specs / In-depth Review

Dell XPS 13 9305: Full Specs / In-depth Review

All Dell XPS 13 9310 configurations:


All Dell XPS 13 9305 configurations:

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