If the 2020 XPS 13 evolves in many aspects, the sound does not change on this new iteration. The speakers are still trapped on the sides of the chassis and fitted with tiny grilles. As a result, the very narrow sound generates a “box effect” which makes the chassis vibrate. On this point, carbon fiber and its acoustic properties are no small feat.
Fortunately, the pre-installed Waves MaxxAudioPro software applies some pretty good EQ to the sound by default, which noticeably improves balance and at least allows vocals to be intelligible.
So we have something correct, but which does not come out of the average of what is done on ultraportables – the audio part of which has very little room to integrate correct components.
Regarding the headphone output, we were unable to get full measurements. It seems that signal processing remains after disabling the various software. This not only prevents us from providing detailed measurements but above all providing sound that is not consistent for the user. The measurement of the dynamics (103 dB) as that of the crosstalk (- 53 dB) give correct results, but we observed a rendering of the bass which is not consistent according to the type of content (a piece of music, a conversation on Skype for example).
Due to this inconsistency if this headphone output will be correct for basic use, anyone wishing to do some audio production will not be able to rely on it. We regret this decision of the manufacturer who decided to force such an inconsistent sound rendering, which therefore explains a lost star on this part compared to the 2019 model.