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The year 2015 saw the entrance of serious contenders for the Super Ultrabook crown. The first such player was the Dell XPS 13-9343 whose entrance caused a freeze on the stage, drawing all attention to its majestic beauty, craftsmanship and power within the ultrabook sphere. Soon afterwards we see it’s rebirth in a twin image of its former self – the Dell XPS9350-5341SLV. The year 2016 has seen contender coming into the scene, flaunting both looks and performance and equally eyeing the coveted crown such as the HP Spectra X360. Well, that’s a story for another day. Today, we’re going to set our eyes on the Dell XPS 13-9350 and uncover its mysteries.
- Excellent build quality
- Long battery life
- Great system performance
- Multi-touch sensitive touch pad
- Light weight – 2.6 lbs. (non-touch) | 2.8 lbs. (touch)
- Keyboard with backlight.
- Excellent display quality – QHD+
- Fan can be noisy under very heavy use. It’s however practically silent under normal use
- Non-upgradable RAM
An excellent machine; definitely in our top three best ultrabooks for 2016. If you are a student, business person or you just travel a lot – and you need a machine that performs, you ought to have a look at this. Check the Dell XPS9350-5341SLV laptop | Amazon.
Dell XPS XPS9350-5341SLV SPECS
|Processor||Intel Core i7-7500U (4MB Cache, up to 3.5 GHz)|
|RAM||8 GB LPDDR3 1866MHz (non-upgradeable)|
|Internal Storage||256 GB SSD | M.2 PCie/ 512GB SSD | M.2 PCIe|
|Mainboard||Intel Skylake-U PCH (Premium)|
|Connectivity||Killer 1535 802.11ac (a/b/g/n/ac) dual-band 2×2 WLAN Broadcom | Bluetooth 4.1|
|Graphics||Integrated Intel HD Graphics 520, Core: 300 MHz|
|OS||Windows 10 – 64 Bit|
|Keyboard||Standard | Chicklet | Keyboard backlight: Yes|
|Speakers||Stereo speakers professionally tuned with Waves Maxx Audio|
|Camera||720p Webcam with Dual array digital microphones|
|Battery||4 Cell 60 Wh | Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery|
|Dimensions||LWH: 304 x 200 x 15 (mm) or 11.98″ x 7.88″ x 0.6″ (In)|
|Weight||2.8 lbs (1.27kg) for the non-touch configuration|
|Color||Black interior and Silver/rose-gold exterior|
|Extra||Battery indicator on the side|
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Since the Dell XPS 13-9343 and the Dell XPS 9350 don’t differ much especially on the skin level, you can check the article on the Dell XPS 13 9343 for a more detailed description of the body and other components that may only receive brief attention here.
DESIGN AND FEATURES
The Dell XPS9350-5341SLV came into the limelight a in the year 2016, and has been beating up the old boys to tears. It still maintains the beautiful CNC machined satiny aluminum body that is to die for, and the carbon fiber dashboard that makes you feel like you’re in driving a sports car. Pun aside, the craftsmanship of the XPS 13-9350 leaves little room for constructive criticism. And better still, you can now get it in two colors – silver and rose-gold. I personally prefer the gaudier rose-gold, but the silver is quite attractive as well. That’s up to you now to choose the better of the two beauties. However, you’re going to pay around 50 bucks more for the rose-gold.
One notable feature of the Dell XPS9350-5341SLV is most definitely its weight and compactness. It weighs only 2.6 lbs. for the non-touch sensitive FHD display and 2.8lbs. For the touch-screen QHD+ screen. The aluminum is stiff but light, allowing very little screen flex even when under considerable amounts of pressure. As you open the screen, you notice the strength of the hinges. It takes more than a finger to swing it open, and once open, your eyes are drawn to the dark patterned carbon fiber dash. Don’t let the soft touch fool you, it’s quite strong. It has a beautiful pattern that hide soil smudges on the dash that accumulate over time.
The screen is surrounded by an incredibly thin bezel (7mm) that spells only deliberation of excellence. Nothing was left to chance here. On the left side you find the camera, somewhat awkwardly placed but it does the job. The thin bezel left no space for it at the top, so it had to be moved to its current position. The good thing however is that it’s a HD camera. The picture quality is quite good.
The bottom side bears the centrally placed name plate, tucked away behind a swing door of sorts held magnetically to the body chassis. If you are the kind of person who maintains your own computer, you probably won’t like the 8 Torx screws that are used for fastening. You will probably need a new tool bit to get that open, but once you do, all the components are easily accessible.
If you read the review on the XPS 13 9343, you’ll probably notice that the Dell XPS9350-5341SLV now has two USB 3.0 Port (with power share), one USB-C port, an SD card slot and a 3.5 mm headphone output/Microphone input combo. The new guy here is the USB-C, and he’s the only external change in the XPS 13-9350; he now replaces the Mini Display port. Now this port is like Superman in a comic series.
So what exactly can it do for you? It offers faster transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps, which means you can transfer a 4K movie in less than 30 seconds. You can also connect two 4K 60Hz displays all at the same time. It can also transfer up to 100W of power which means you can power anything through this port. Though you may not find many peripherals at the moment compatible to it right now, it’ll be more useful for years down the line as more manufactures catch on. It maintains the same Miracast enabled 802.11ac dual-band 2×2 WLAN adapter and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.
The keyboard hasn’t changed the slightest from what it was. It’s still has the same chiclet type that don’t have a deep vertical travel (1.2mm) but still comfortable and spacious enough. The keyboard still maintains the same backlight as it was earlier while the start button still maintains its spot on the top right hand side of the keyboard, and has an LED that lights up when the computer is on.
The touchpad hasn’t changed in terms of looks. Cursor movements are smooth and accurate, and it supports multi-gesture movements quite well. The main challenge comes when using Firefox and Chrome where two-finger scrolling is sort of jumpy and not as smooth. It’s good to note that the hardware IDs on the 9350 and the 9343 are the different, but run on the same drivers. Though the performance is quite great, it doesn’t match up with that in the Microsoft Surface Book and in Macbooks.
The camera location is a little awkward but it serves alright, though you’ll have to get used to having your left nostril being the star each time you have a conference call. If it troubles you a lot, you can get an external webcam to help you out. The upside though is that it’s a HD camera and is quite clear.
The FHD, 1920 X 1080 resolution non-touch matte finish IPS panel is maintained as one of the options of the XPS 13 refresh. The second available option is the QHD+ touch panel with a resolution of 3200 X 1800 pixels. It’s got a glossy finish made of scratch resistant gorilla glass which looks great. The viewing angles for IPS panels is as usual quite wide (170 degrees), and the picture quality is excellent. You’ll have to spend a cool buck to get your hands on this option though. The main downside that comes with a glossy finish is the high reflectiveness of the screen which brings about glare.
The decision whether or not to go for the QHD+ touch panel configuration is a little tricky for most people. The price is one factor you need to consider. Take for instance a configuration of FHD display, Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD goes for around 1000 bucks while the same configuration but with a QHD+ touch display goes for around 1299 dollars, a cool 300 dollars difference. If you are a content creator and work with Photoshop and the likes for hours on end, you’ll probably appreciate the brilliance of the QHD display, it’s worth the investment. However, if you only need a good machine with sufficient display ability and are probably on a budget, the FHD will work just fine.
The other consideration that one needs to take to mind is the battery run-time. The battery life is considerably reduced with the QHD display. If you are a road warrior and need every second of your battery life counts, you can best stick with the FHD display.
Processor, Ram and Internal storage
Another component that was refreshed is the processor, which received a boost to the Intel’s 7th Generation Intel chip up from the 5th Generation Broadwell chip. With a Core i3 & Core i5 processor, 4GB & 8GB RAM configuration you can get the full-HD 1080P display. And with a configuration of 8 GB RAM and higher, Core i5 and higher, you get the QHD display option.
I personally haven’t noticed a quantum-leap difference between the performance of the former version and the refresh version. However, the Windows 10 did help make it a little snappier than it was with the Windows 8.Just to keep you in the know, my reference machine was an Intel Dual Core i7-6500U 2.5 GHz Processor/ 8 GB LPDDR3 / 256GB SSD machine. One thing you need to check on as you weigh your options on the RAM size is what you plan to use it for. Once you make your choice, there’s no going back. It’s soldered onto the motherboard. You don’t want to get stuck with a machine that can do what you need it to do.
Most of the features remained the same in the refresh version. These including the speakers, Wi-Fi, Keypad and the touchpad. The main differences were in the port selection, display, processor and a few upgrades in RAM and internal storage as an option.
The Dell XPS9350-5341SLV‘s build quality and general performance makes it one of the decent laptops you can find today, combining functionality, performance and portability, just what it takes to make a great Ultrabook. As a matter of fact, there is little to say against the Dell XPS XPS9350-5341SLV. It’s definitely in our top three best Ultrabooks for 2016.
Buy the Dell XPS9350-5341SLV laptop at Amazon
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