Dell XPS 13 9343 review

Dell XPS 9343 review: Display

In key respects, the 3200 x 1800 display passed with flying colours. Measured with a Datacolor colorimeter, it could stretch to 99 percent of the sRGB colour gamut, and 75 percent of Adobe RGB. Colour accuracy was very good, with Delta E values between 0.62 and 5.62, averaging 3.47, in a 48-colour test. 

Contrast ratio was also quite exemplary for a notebook screen, reaching 710:1 at full brightness. The full brightness may be a little limited for some tastes and environments though - we couldn’t get any higher than 225 cd/m^2. That’s bright enough for us, but some like to use their laptop outside or in very high light levels where this display might get a little swamped by ambient light. Where Dell got its figure of 400 cd/m2 we would like to know. 

It didn’t show on our screen uniformity test, but we noticed a conspicuous bright line running down the right edge of the screen, which seemed to clearly indicate the source of the display’s edge lighting. Whether this is normal for this screen type is not known, but the bright line did spoil the effect of an otherwise great screen. 

The internal flash storage proved averagely quick for its type, hitting sequential reads and writes of 493 and 238 MB/s respectively. Single-threaded 4 kB random reads and writes amounted to 21 and 46 MB/s, while peak IOPS was found with 32-thread reads at 88,900 IOPS. 

Battery life was not bad, if well short of Dell’s laughable 11-hour claim for the 3200 x 1800-pixel display model. We ran our usual MPEG-4 HD film over Wi-fi with the screen set to 120 cd/m^2, where its longest run was 6 hour 12 min. We repeated the test a few times, but subsequent test showed even shorter life (5 hr 56 min, and 5 hr 45 min).  

Dell XPS 9343 review: Battery life 

‘Stay powered longer: With up to 15 hours of run time on the FHD display (and 12 hours on the QHD+), it’s leading the industry in battery life. Paired with the Dell Power Companion, you get up to to 22 hours and the freedom to power all of your bonus devices.’ 

Leading the industry it most certainly is not. Dell must secretly recognise that battery life is a problem for the XPS 13 9343 and so will sell you a 43 Wh battery the size of a portable hard drive to supplement the one flagging inside.  

That’s even smaller than the 52 Wh non-replaceable lithium-polymer battery built into the laptop, but it is possible you might get closer to 11 hours runtime if you add the Dell Power Companion too. It will cost you an additional £104.39 and 315g.

OUR VERDICT

The Dell XPS 13 9343 stands as a shining beacon of hope in the world of Windows laptops, a compact laptop that outdoes the obvious competition in some key respects like screen quality and near-borderless display. Here is a 13.3-inch laptop that takes up little more space than an 11.6-inch model. Poor thermal management needs to be improved, while a non-touchscreen version could answer other outstanding issues.