Dell XPS 13 9310 (2021) Long Term Review

For many years, the Dell XPS laptops have been the benchmark when it comes to thin-and-light Windows laptops. They have beautiful design, offer good performance, fantastic display and some of the best keyboards in a laptop. Currently, in India, Dell offers the XPS 13 (9310) to customers, featuring Intel’s 11th Gen Core CPUs and Intel’s EVO certification.

I have been using a top-end variant of the laptop for over 4 months now, and here is my long term review of it. A thing to note, the 2021 model of the XPS 13 is very similar to the 2020 model. Check out that review out here if you want a more in-depth look into the XPS 13.

Design, Build Quality and Display

When I first saw the XPS 13, I marvelled at how beautiful it was. Four months later and I feel the same way. The CNC machined aluminium and anodized edges make it stand out from the crowd, but not in a flashy way. Instead, it looks professional, premium and elegant. It feels dense, but lightweight enough so that I don’t have any issue carrying it around all day.

Dell hasn’t made any significant changes to the exterior when compared to the 2020 model, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. The 2020 model was one of the best looking and best built laptops in the industry, and that continues to be true for the 2021 model.

Over my period of usage, I did pick up some scratches on the lid of the laptop, so that is something to be careful about. This is an issue I faced with the 2020 model, and I hope Dell can do something about it this year. I had no problem with the inside surfaces, however. The carbon-fiber composite palm rest still looks great, even though it is white. The white keys have picked a bit of finger oils and dirt, but that is normal and is cleanable with a soft cloth.

Gorilla Glass 6 protection on the display is great, and I did not pick up any scratches during my review. The hinge has the perfect tension, not only for opening the laptop with one finger, but also for keeping the display in place when using the touchscreen. The ports are mostly the same, with two Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C ports, one on each side, along with a 3.5 mm jack and a microSD slot.

The XPS laptops offer some of the best display’s in the market, and that is certainly true here. Our model has the 4K touch-screen display configuration, and it is gorgeous. The 16:10 aspect ratio is great for productivity applications. Watching 4K content is amazingly sharp and it does a good job with HDR content too. It has very high-colour accuracy that is perfect for professional work, and having a touch-screen is convenient. With all this said, I still believe 4K resolution for a 13-inch display is overkill, and I would strongly recommend getting the 1080p panel.

The bezels are thin on all 4 sides and the webcam placement is still the same. Signing into the laptop is still quick thanks to the presence of both the IR cameras and the fingerprint sensor.

Performance and benchmarks

The Dell XPS 13 9310 has been updated with Intel’s 11th Gen Core i7-1185G7 processor, paired with 16GB of faster 4267MHz RAM and a 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. Similar to the 2020 model, the 2021 XPS 13 excels in light tasks such as browsing, text editing or streaming content. However, the thermal solution of this chassis design is really starting to show its age when it comes to heavier tasks. I used the laptop as my main office machine, and I could mostly finish all my work without noticing slowdowns. However, if I turned on a render or tried to encode a video, I could definitely notice the slower performance.

Dell is bound to update the XPS line-up with Intel’s 12th Gen Core CPUs, and I expect the engineers at Dell will build a better thermal solution for it. The Alder-lake CPUs are known to run quite hot, and the current thermal solution of the XPS 13 would severely limit its performance. While it is fine for regular tasks, Dell is leaving performance on the table and I hope it improves with the next model.

Here are some benchmarks for the XPS 13 9310:

Keyboard and Trackpad

The keyboard is easily one of my favorite parts of the Dell XPS 13. During my review, I greatly enjoyed typing on it. The keystrokes feel nice, and it has good key travel. Key stabilization is excellent, and the backlighting shows through the keys perfectly. The keyboard is an aspect that some laptop manufacturers don’t give enough importance to, but the XPS 13 keyboard is simply excellent. Typing on this keyboard makes me feel more productive, so it’s thumbs up all around.

The trackpad continues to be some of the best on any Windows laptop too. Good size, smooth glass surface, and accurate tracking. I have no complaints.


The battery performance of the XPS 13 9310 is similar to the previous model, maybe a bit weaker. The 52Whr cell lasted about 4.5 to 5 hours during regular use, which meant I had to carry the 45W USB-C adapter with me to get through a day. Charging was a bit slow, taking nearly 2 hours to go from 0-100%, and I wish Dell would introduce faster charging with the next model.

I typically use a lot of Chrome, a bit of streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime, along with some work in Microsoft Word. For a thin-and-light laptop, the battery performance is below average, but when you factor in the 4K panel and the Core i7 CPU, this is expected. If you do require an all-day battery, the 1080p screen option is sure to last you longer.


If you want a premium Windows thin-and-light laptop, the Dell XPS 13 continues to be one of the best in the market. There is a lot to appreciate with this laptop, such as the keyboard, display and of course the design and build quality. It is the kind of laptop that functions great as a “tool”, and by that I mean it is a device that enhances productivity without distracting you.

I still believe that the Core i5 model with 1080p panel offers the better value among the various configurations. I would recommend the Intel Core i7 model if you need that extra boost in performance, and only choose the 4K panel if you really can take advantage of those extra pixels.

For this premium experience, you are certainly paying a higher price. The Core i5 model is available on for Rs. 1,12,450.


  • Premium build quality and design
  • Gorgeous 16:10 4K display
  • Fast storage
  • Great keyboard and trackpad
  • USB-C charging with Thunderbolt 4 support


  • Disappointing thermal performance
  • No USB-A port
  • Below average battery life on 4K display model
  • Soldered RAM