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Full HD or 4K: Which version of the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is better?

To start the year off right, we’ve managed to get our hands on two identical configurations of the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. Same engine, yes, but a very different 13.4-inch screen. In the right corner, a Full HD panel and in the left, a 4K screen. The fight promises to be close but interesting.

Battle of Texan Hybrid Laptops. It is not that often that we manage to have copies of the same machine whose configuration is identical and whose screen is not at all the same. But Dell was kind enough to play the game and sent us two copies of the 2020 Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, its latest addition, only the screen of which differs in the number of pixels it displays. 4K + (3840 by 2400 pixels) for the machine sold for around 2125 euros and Full HD + (1920 by 1200 pixels) for the model whose price is around 1830 euros. Dell therefore makes you pay 300 euros to have double the pixels on board. At first glance, this seems high to us, but without doubt the 4K model has hidden talents. We will see that.

The clone wars

Our two protagonists have the same physical assets as the previous version, released at the end of 2019. Also, we invite you to read our test of the version released last year. The finish was white at the time, black on the ones we’re testing here. Other than that, this heck of a 13.4-inch touchscreen all-in-one hybrid PC is still beautiful, well-finished and fun to use every day.

LM / 01net.com – Dell’s Winter 2020-21 edition does not change from the previous version.

4K or FHD, the dimensions are the same – 29.6 x 20.7 x 1.59 cm – but the devil is in the details. Or rather on the scale. The Full HD version weighs 1.28 kg and the 4K version exceeds 1.31 kg. Incidentally, the two XPS 13 2-in-1s have the same components and are therefore both Intel EVO certified. There is an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor, 16 GB of LPDDR4x memory and 512 GB of SSD. They use the Core i7’s Iris Xe graphics controller to display interfaces and pixels, regardless of image size. Note, finally, that their respective order name, on the Dell site, are “cn93103sc” for the Full HD machine and “cn93105sc” for the 4K model.

Pixels by the thousands but not all from the same barrel

The ratio of the IPS panel is the same on both machines – 16:10, which explains why the number of pixels displayed is a bit exotic. As you can see in the photo below, given the diagonal of the screen, Windows 10 recommends that you enlarge the interface a little to better see the icons or small fonts. that, for our tests, we went back to everyone at 100% to be sure that the software and our colorimetric probes do indeed take measurements under the same display conditions.We should note in passing that, in the case of the 4K + machine , so many pixels on such a small panel, with Windows at 100% … it’s really very small! Even too. For this reason alone, we are already asking ourselves the eternal question which has animated all Humanity for centuries: ” to do what ? “

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 LM / 01net.com – Same engine but different screen definition, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 will try to reconcile us with 4K on an ultraportable.

To begin with, we measured the technical performance of the two screens.

  • Brightness: Advantage to Full HD machine

On the Full HD model, our probe estimates the average maximum brightness at 498 cd / m2. It’s correct. There is a peak at 562 cd / m2 in the center and all the measurement values ​​do not drop below 471 cd / m2.

She is from 432 cd / m2 maximum average on the 4K + model, with a peak at 482 cd / m2 in the center and values ​​that drop below 390 cd / m2 per moment. It is much less homogeneous and a little disappointing.

However, it is specified that in both cases, these are not dazzling results, the average of the machines recently passed through our hands places the median value at 555 cd / m2.

  • Contrast ratio: Advantage to Full HD machine

We measured it at 1793: 1 on the Full HD model and the homogeneity is given for 0.016. Two values ​​above our average for the year 2020, that’s good.

On the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 4K, it is 1674: 1. With a slightly higher homogeneity of 0.023. It was predictable given the deviations observed during the light measurements. In both cases, we are below average here. But the overall result remains correct, especially for office automation, multimedia, even a little imaging. Besides …

  • Color fidelity: Advantage to the 4K machine

The default Delta E 2000 of the Full HD panel is 3.39 in sRGB and 4.26 in DCI-P3. Values ​​quite far from 0 and therefore not really good. We have seen worse, yes. But better, too, especially at Dell. Both color spaces – sRGB and DCI-P3 – are well covered according to our diagrams. In the first case, it is the grays that are … greenish and, in the second case, the reds and yellows are excessively distorted.

The default Delta E of the 4K panel is 2.94 in sRGB and 3.22 in DCI-P3. It’s better. Here too, at least 100% coverage of color spaces is guaranteed. Grays are a little less green in sRGB and, although still distorted, yellows and reds hold together roughly in P3.

  • Display Score: Full HD Advantage

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 4K + is the best choice if you plan to retouch images or, failing that, want to have very faithful colors. Be aware, however, that you will lose brightness in the process. The Full HD machine lacks color accuracy. Too bad. However, overall, she does a little better than her colleague on the other events. It is therefore reserved for office automation and multimedia entertainment and wins this first round.

Work yes, they ask for more

To assess the performance of the machines, we took our usual arsenal of testing software. The two Dell XPS 13 2-in-1s are of course set the same for the battery profile and tested under the same conditions. We invited the Dell XPS 13 classic Winter 2020 in order to have a standard meter having the same configuration (and with FHD + screen) as our two protagonists.

  • Global tasks: Full HD advantage

We expected the 4K screen machine to differ more from its Full HD cousin. It is behind on the five tests but the values ​​remain quite honorable.

Game ? A little, and under conditions

In the past, the more pixels there were to manage on the screen, the more certain scores dropped. The Intel graphics controller integrated in previous generations of Core processors had a hard time ensuring that it generated polygons across the entire test panel as soon as the Full HD bar was crossed. And even in Full HD, it was far from brilliant. The gaming skills of the new Core 11th gen, in Full HD, are well established. Here we also have confirmation that the brand new Intel Iris Xe manages to do much better than the previous graphics components of the Core in 4K. Hats off.

  • In 3D video games: Full HD advantage

In pure 3D game, there, on the other hand, we did not expect prowess from one side or the other. But as the Iris Xe is still cut out to indulge in some video game entertainment in Full HD more than 4K, it is normal that the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 UHD breaks the figure.

Getting some small parts of 3D games is possible in Full HD, with little detail. Not in 4K. Luckily, the UHD panel reacts well when asked to display lower definitions. There isn’t too much blur and the fonts don’t run out too much. So, it can also run games as soon as you set the number of pixels to FHD +. But barely out of the box and without touching the settings relating to the screen, she is unable to do so. It is said.

The most enduring of the 2020 XPS 13 2-in-1s is ….

Among the recurring observations that we can make during our tests, there is first of all the fact that machines equipped with touch screens are generally less enduring than those which do not (with equivalent configuration). Second observation: tactile or not, between a laptop or ultraportable Full HD panel and another, 4K, there are also big differences in terms of autonomy.

There, the two configurations are the same, we recall, with a touch screen as a bonus. And, no doubt, pixels are expensive in energy.

  • Autonomy: Advantage of Full HD configuration

As a reminder, our Dell XPS 13 classic Winter 2020 edition is 9:50 p.m. in cumulative autonomy, which allows it to appear in our Top 5 of the most enduring ultraportables of the moment. By cumulating our tests, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 Full HD holds 9:09 p.m., 40 minutes less than its non-contortionist cousin. The 4K model fails to hold more than 1:10 p.m. by accumulating these best times. In detail this gives:

Video autonomy:
Dell XPS 13 Classic: 10:19 a.m.
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 Full HD: 9:51 a.m. Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 4K: 6:07 a.m.

Versatile autonomy:
Dell XPS 13 Classic: 11:31 a.m.
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 Full HD: 11:18 a.m. Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 4K: 7:03 a.m.

Consumption, noise and temperature: few differences

Same housing, same dissipation circuit and same components to be cooled. Suffice to say that here, the two Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 stand shoulder to shoulder in many areas.

The Full HD version heats up a bit more while the 4K model. But it is quite marginal. What’s less is that the pixel-wrapped Dell XPS Hybrid gobbles up 55% more watts when the machine is confined to routine use or, Windows 10 desktop is displayed and nothing does not happen. There again, and even if the red numbers are more numerous in the column of the Full HD machine, it is all the same that it seems to us the better model of the two.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 Full HD: the winning Texan hybrid

As you can see, it’s hard to recommend the XPS 13 2-in-1 4K model if you plan to do without mains charging for a whole working day without much interruption. The Full HD version, it flirts with the best long-distance runners of the moment and is essential in many areas. Because, pay more for: 1) having more pixels, of course, but not necessarily well highlighted, 2) as much power 3) less endurance

All of these are reasons that would push us to buy the Full HD version rather than the 4K for our daily uses. Even if it means buying a 4K screen as much as it is large, of good quality and that it awaits us quietly at home to offer us optimal working comfort while taking advantage of the power of this hybrid.

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