Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 review

Today, we have a laptop that has the ability to change the laptop industry. As the early XPS laptops paved the way for virtually bezel-less displays, the XPS 13 Plus 9320 aims to completely revolutionize the laptop. It looks like a mashup between the boldness of the cyberpunk world, and the modernistic simplicity of Westworld.

Once again, Dell sticks to Intel for their 13-inch XPS laptop. Not only that, but this tiny device gets the 28W versions of Alder Lake. They are significantly more powerful than the 15W models, but also require a far better cooling setup to be able to run at their minimum potential.

In addition to that, you’ve got a choice of displays as well. It is ranging from a 1200p IPS unit, to a 4K unit of the same type, and the pinnacle of the panel options is a so-called 3.5K OLED display.

But hey, we are not here to discuss some ordinary laptop stuff. We want to show you what Dell did to make the XPS 13 Plus 9320 different from the mass.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-xps-13-plus-9320/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 review - Specs

  • M91GW-134WU1 (INT3480)
  • Color accuracy  4.7  1.4
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 2000GB SSD
  • M.2 Slot
  • 1x 2280 PCIe NVMe 4.0 x4  See photo
  • RAM
  • up to 32GB
  • OS
  • Windows 11 Pro, Windows 11 Home
  • Battery
  • 55Wh
  • Body material
  • Aluminum
  • Dimensions
  • 295.3 x 199.04 x 15.28 mm (11.63" x 7.84" x 0.60")
  • Weight
  • 1.27 kg (2.8 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 2x USB Type-C
  • Thunderbolt 4, Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • Card reader
  • Ethernet LAN
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.2
  • Audio jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera
  • HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • 2x Digital Array Microphones
  • Speakers
  • 4x 2W Stereo Speakers, Waves MaxxAudio
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, you will find a separate box, containing the laptop, a 60W charger, a USB Type-C to Type-C cable, a USB Type-C to 3.5mm Audio jack dongle, and a USB Type-C to Type-A adapter. There is another compartment in the parent box, which contains the power cord.


Design and construction

Without a doubt, this laptop is an eye-catcher. It is built out of aluminum and glass and features a more simplistic design than ever. To be honest, the metal and carbon fiber combo was getting a bit overused in our view. So, the XPS 13 Plus 9320 is definitely a fresh, needed change.

In terms of measurements, the laptop has a profile of 15.3-16mm and weighs 1.27 kilos. Generally, it is extremely portable. What’s more surprising, is that both the base and the lid are extremely resistant to flex.

Here, the lid opens effortlessly with one hand. Doing so reveals very thin bezels all around the anti-glare glass-covered display. In addition, the top border houses an HD Web camera with an IR face recognition scanner.

Finally, we have come to the most amazing part of the XPS 13 Plus – its base. As you can see, there are two glass panels above and below the keyboard. The top one has all of the capacitive function buttons, while the bottom one features the touchpad. It is very reminiscent of the Lenovo Yoga 9i (14″) from a couple of years ago. However, this time, the touchpad is very well executed. Its haptic motor provides super realistic feedback, while the tracking is very accurate. In contrast to the Yoga, here the touchpad is not highlighted and you will need some time to figure out where it starts and ends.

Speaking of which, there is the tremendously intriguing keyboard. It doesn’t have a lattice (the plastic frame around each key), which allows for considerably bigger keycaps. We really like the way it looks, but we feel that the space between the keys is quite useful if you don’t want a lot of accidental typos in your sentences.

Nevertheless, it sports a backlight, short travel, and clicky feedback, making it generally comfortable for typing. Interestingly, the power button is crammed next to the “Backspace” key, which will inevitably lead to some misclicks. However, Dell has disabled the one-touch function of the power button in order to avoid that.

How about the capacitive keys above? Well, they are very responsive, and we feel an odd satisfaction using them. By the way, the power button doubles as a fingerprint reader, which is pretty fast.

There is one more bonus of having such a keyboard – you can seamlessly hide speakers beneath it. This is what happens with two of the four runners this laptop has. The other couple is located on the bottom panel, where you will also find the ventilation grill. Hot air, respectively, gets exhausted through two vents at the back of the base.


Ports

The I/O here is very limited. There are only two Thunderbolt 4 connectors – one on each side of the laptop.


Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance

Getting inside this device is pretty easy. Just undo all 6 Torx-head screws from the bottom panel, and pry it open with a plastic tool.

Here, we see a 55Wh battery pack. It lasts for 20 hours of Web browsing, or nearly 12 hours of video playback. To remove it, first, you’ll need to unplug the battery connector. It has a metal bracket held in place by one Phillips-head screw. After you take care of the connector, undo all 6 Phillips-head screws, keeping the battery attached to the chassis.

Unfortunately, the memory is soldered to the motherboard. On the bright side, you get options with up to 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM, working at 5200 MHz. When it comes to storage, there is one M.2 PCIe x4 slot, which houses Gen 4 drives.

As you can see, the cooling comprises one heat pipe, two heat sinks, and two fans with a very thin profile.


Display quality

Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 is equipped with a Full HD IPS panel, M91GW-134WU1 (INT3480). Its diagonal is 13.4-inch (34 cm), and the resolution – 1920 х 1200p. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:10, the pixel density – 169 ppi, their pitch – 0.15 х 0.15 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 50 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

Viewing angles are comfortable. We offer images at different angles to evaluate the quality.

Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

The maximum measured brightness is 451 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 434 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 14%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6610K – ever so slightly colder than the 6500K temperature standard for sRGB.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 32% Brightness (White level = 143 cd/m2, Black level = 0.07 cd/m2).
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is excellent – 2140:1.

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 Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 88% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

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 at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.


Response time (Gaming capabilities)

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

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 23 ms

After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.


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 to 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.

Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320’s backlight doesn’t use PWM for brightness adjustment. This makes the display comfortable for long periods of use and safe in this aspect.


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.

Gloss level measurement

Glossy-coated displays are sometimes inconvenient in high ambient light conditions. We show the level of reflection on the screen for the respective laptop when the display is turned off and the measurement angle is 60° (in this case, the result is 55.2 GU).


Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 configurations with 13.4″ M91GW-134WU1 (INT3480) (FHD+, 1920 × 1200) IPS panel.

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320’s quad-speaker setup sounds really well. Interestingly, the amplitude-frequency characteristics show a prominent peak in the high tones.


Drivers

All drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://www.dell.com/support/home/en-us/product-support/product/xps-13-9320-laptop/drivers

Battery

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. This device is equipped with a 55Wh battery pack. It lasts for 20 hours and 10 minutes of Web browsing, or 11 hours and 40 minutes of video playback on a single charge.

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


CPU options

This laptop can be found with the Core i5-1240P, Core i5-1250P, Core i7-1260P, Core i7-1270P, or Core i7-1280P.


GPU options

Expectedly, the only available option on the graphics front is the integrated solution.


Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

CS:GO HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Medium (Check settings) HD 1080p, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS 175 fps 136 fps 87 fps

DOTA 2 HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings) HD 1080p, High (Check settings)
Average FPS 150 fps 104 fps 64 fps

Temperatures and comfort

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 P-core frequency; Average E-core frequency; CPU temp.; Package Power

Intel Core i7-1260P (28W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 2.88 GHz @ 2.39 GHz @ 78°C @ 47W 2.76 GHz @ 2.33 GHz @ 94°C @ 44W 2.08 GHz @ 1.67 GHz @ 82°C @ 28W
Dell Vostro 16 5620 2.55 GHz @ 2.14 GHz @ 73°C @ 41W 2.54 GHz @ 2.12 GHz @ 82°C @ 40W 1.97 GHz @ 1.61 GHz @ 74°C @ 28W
Lenovo ThinkPad T16 Gen 1 2.66 GHz @ 2.29 GHz @ 72°C @ 47W 1.21 GHz @ 1.53 GHz @ 63°C @ 20W 1.26 GHz @ 1.54 GHz @ 64°C @ 20W

Interestingly, despite it being the smallest of the three laptops we’ve tested with this processor, the XPS 13 Plus 9320 showed the best-sustained performance.

Comfort during full load

Thankfully, the keyboard doesn’t get too warm when you are stressing the laptop for long periods of time. However, the entire body heats up pretty much evenly, which means your wrists won’t have their reserved cool spot.


Verdict

We had an honestly different experience using this laptop. It is not often when you find yourself trying to get used to a touchpad, and a function key row. To be frank, neither of the two was completely new, as the function row is kind of reminiscent of the MacBook shenanigans of the last few years. Respectively, the touchpad is a refined version of what Lenovo tried to do with its Yoga 9i (14″). However, to have both of these things together is definitely new.

Another thing new to us is the edge-to-edge lattice-less keyboard. It too requires some time of getting used to. And the short key travel is not your best friend, by any means. However, it is pretty okay for typing. With that said, we would prefer a ThinkPad keyboard 10 out of 10 times.

Next, let’s talk about the display. Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320’s IPS panel in the configuration we tested has a WUXGA (1920×1080) resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and an excellent contrast ratio. It doesn’t use PWM for brightness adjustment and covers 88% of the sRGB color gamut, which is good. What is even better, is that thanks to our Gaming and Web design profile, the colors match the sRGB standard with enviable accuracy. This makes the device appropriate for color-sensitive work on the Web.

Moreover, it looks absolutely stunning with its mini bezels. That makes us wonder what kind of sorcery did Dell do with the HD camera and the IR face recognition scanner. By the way, this is not the only biometric authentication feature it has – the power button doubles as a fingerprint reader.

It’s all bells and whistles until we get to the I/O. It is absolutely dreadful. You only get two Thunderbolt 4 connectors, and that’s it. On the other hand, it’s good that Dell realizes that and provides you with a USB Type-C to audio jack dongle, and a USB Type-C to Type-A adapter inside the box.

What is “unfixable” however, is the lack of memory upgrade options. As the LPDDR5 RAM is soldered to the motherboard, there are no SODIMM slots available. Again, we can extract some positivity out of it, because the memory works in quad-channel mode, and uses a 5200 MHz clock speed, the highest we’ve seen on a laptop as of now. Also, you still can upgrade your storage via the single M.2 PCIe x4 slot, which supports Gen 4 SSDs.

We almost forgot to mention the fantastic battery life. Dell has truly tamed the Alder Lake family, as this laptop is capable of delivering more than 20 hours of Web browsing on a single battery charge.

At the end of the day, the XPS 13 Plus 9320 is an expensive, yet innovative laptop, which will definitely turn heads. We are pretty confident that this is by far the most interesting device released this year.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-xps-13-plus-9320/

Pros

  • Astonishing battery life
  • Super rigid chassis
  • Innovative, well-executed design
  • 88% sRGB coverage and accurate colors with our Gaming and Web design profile (M91GW-134WU1 (INT3480))
  • No PWM (M91GW-134WU1 (INT3480))
  • Charges via Type-C
  • 2x Thunderbolt 4 + Gen 4 SSD support
  • IR face recognition + fingerprint reader


Cons

  • Needs a dongle to expand the I/O
  • Soldered memory

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