The Bottom Line
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
XPG has had several successful collaborations with Intel, the first with the XPG XENIA Gaming Notebook that we reviewed last year and the Gaia Mini PC built on the NUC 9 platform from a few generations back.
The most recent collaboration with Intel gives us the XPG XENIA Xe, a product born from the Intel NUC M15 white book platform that provides vendors with an EVO-certified base platform from which they can upgrade or configure to fit into their destined market. XPG has done this by tweaking the base NUC M15 Laptop and adding a Gen4 NVMe solution in the Gammix S50 or S50 Lite.
Additional hardware specifications will offer consumers two choices for the CPU, both being Tiger Lake SKUs; the Core i7- 1165G7 or Core i5 - 1135G7. These solutions provide Intel Iris Xe graphics connected to a 15.6" IPS Touch display complete with FHD resolution and a Gorilla glass surface.
As noted above, the XENIA Xe comes with two choices for NVMe, the Gammix S50 and S50 Lite; the model sent for review does have the S50 Phison E16 installed. Memory options include both 8 and 16GB of LPDDR4x @ 4266MHz, though not upgradable as it is soldered to the motherboard.
Finishing up hardware, we have connectivity with the Intel AX201 for WiFi6 and BT 5.1, along with two Thunderbolt 4 ports that support DP.14a and USB 4 protocols. Another two Type-A ports offer USB 3.2 Gen 1 connectivity with HDMI and 3.5mm audio, rounding things out.
The XPG XENIA Xe configured with the 11th Gen Core i7-1165G7 will carry an MSRP of $1699.99, while the Core i5-1135G7 will come in at $1399.99, both having a one year warranty.
Packaging, Accessories, and Overview
Packaging and Accessories
The XENIA Xe arrived in its retail packaging, a red box with an image of the notebook centered.
Unboxing, accessories included just the charger and reading materials.
XENIA Xe is contained in a smaller box separating it from the accessories.
XPG XENIA Xe (2021) Overview
Our time with the XENIA Xe starts here, a beautiful aluminum shell notebook with XPG branding on the lid in chrome.
Starting with the back, we have two cooling fans on this platform, evident with the two exhaust ports, one on each side.
On the left side, we have Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, and USB 3.2 Gen 1
The right side includes a second Thunderbolt 4 port, Kensington lock, USB 3.2 Gen 1, and 3.5mm audio.
Pulling the bottom off the XENIA Xe, we have a vast battery taking up most of the real estate, dual cooling fans at the top, and NVMe centered. Wi-Fi can be found to the left.
The battery offered is a 72Wh 15.2v model made by Getac Technology. The battery is removable with five screws securing it to the chassis.
The NVMe solution offered in our model is the Phison E16 powered Gammix S50, 1TB in capacity.
On the left side, we have the WiFi6 M.2 slot. In this case, the AX201 is not upgradable to the AX211 for WiFi6e.
BIOS/UEFI and Software
Setup for the XENIA Xe is based on the default BIOS from Intel NUC M15. The main menu gives an overview of the installed hardware and current firmware revisions, while the advanced menu allows you to configure storage options, USB, and onboard GPU memory allocation. The onboard device section offers the ability to control Thunderbolt 4 ports, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth along with the webcam.
The video menu, as mentioned above, allows you to set minimum memory and aperture size, while Performance shows current clock speeds of both the CPU, iGPU, and memory. Moving into security, you can lock down the notebook with a user/supervisor password and configure TCG security options for the NVMe SSD.
The power menu will allow you to disable Intel Speed Step if you'd rather the processor stay consistent in its clocks and power sense to enable a more efficient charge scheme. Boot will allow you to configure additional storage solutions to boot from, including USB and network.
The XENIA Xe is configured with the 28W Core i7-1165G7; this gives a max boost clock of 4.7GHz with its base at 2.8GHz. This is a PCIe 4.0 capable platform with all four of the available lanes being pushed to NVMe storage. Intel Iris Xe is the built-in graphics solution.
WPrime is a leading multi-threaded benchmark. In our setup, we will manually set the number of cores for the CPU under test.
The XENIA Xe and XPS 9310 are technically not in the same market because of size. Though they do have almost identical hardware, you will see later on how much that larger battery can aide. That said, in WPrime, we see very similar Performance at 32M both models at 5.2 seconds, 1024M proves the XPG a bit quicker.
Cinebench is a long-standing render benchmark that has been heavily relied upon by both Intel and AMD to showcase their newest platforms during unveils. The benchmark has two tests, a single-core workload that will utilize one thread or 1T. There is also a multi-threaded test that uses all threads or nT of a tested CPU
Single-core Performance is almost 100 points higher on the XPG, most likely due to better cooling allowing for higher single-core boost clocks, and the same is likely true for the near 1000 point gap on nThread as well.
Realbench utilizes both video and photo workloads for real-world testing.
The XPG XENIA Xe handled the Realbench workload in 66 seconds, 11 seconds quicker than the smaller Dell.
Memory bandwidth was nearly identical, as it should be; both platforms having 4266MHz DDR4.
PCMark is a benchmark from UL and tests various workload types to represent typical workloads for a PC. Everything from video conferencing, image import, and editing, along with 3D rendering, are tested.
PCMark testing gave the nod to the XPG in testing.
Our second scenario in PCMark 10 is the applications test. In these workloads, the XENIA Xe stood out in Excel and matched the Dell for the rest.
Graphics, System I/O and Battery
3DMark Night Raid
Night Raid is a DirectX 12 benchmark for mobile computing devices with integrated graphics and low-power platforms powered by Windows 10 on ARM.
The XENIA Xe did manage to get a bit better Performance than the XPS 9310, again likely due to better cooling on the larger platform.
3DMark Sky Diver
Sky Diver is a DX11 test for mainstream platforms, including mobile GPUs and integrated graphics.
In this scenario, XPG wins with 14528, about 450 points over the Dell platform.
With the included Gammix S50 NVMe, we were able to reach 5008 MB/s reads and 4257 MB/s write. 4KQ1 hit 57 MB/s read, and 319 MB/s write.
External storage testing with our WD Black P50 gave us 1051 MB/s read and 987 MB/s write on the USB 3.2 Type-A ports.
Networking for both platforms above are nearly identical, XPS using Killer AX1650s and XPG XENIA Xe using AX201, both Intel chipsets. In testing, they performed almost identical with the AX201 getting higher peak numbers at 1398Mbps.
For battery tests, we use the PCMark 10 Battery tests in Office mode.
The modern office battery life test ran for a total of 20 hours and 19 minutes, almost 7 hours more than the XPS 9310, due to the much larger platform and battery capacity.
During testing, we were able to shine our FLIR camera at the XPG XENIA Xe to show the notebook's heat-prone area. As you can see, we have a peak temperature on the back of the unit near 50c, and the bleeds through in the exact location on the keyboard side.
The XPG XENIA Xe is a fantastic platform, and it should be because, at its base, it's designed to be an Intel EVO platform. This means it has an 11th Generation processor, WiFi6, Thunderbolt 4, and a minimum of 9+ hours of battery life to allow for more freedom and the freedom to work from anywhere.
On top of that, I was pretty happy to see XPG take the initiative to offer this platform with a Gen4 NVMe SSD, this is something we did not see in the XPS 9310 a few months back, and it's worth putting the technology to use if it's supported., especially in a productivity platform like XENIA. The keyboard has a long enough throw for users that come from mechanical boards to be comfortable using it, and I had no issues with it doing daily tasks, writing articles, etc., over the last month. The trackpad is likely the biggest downfall of this notebook; with minimal tactile "click" to it, it's best suited towards users that are used to tapping, and that had me pulling out a Bluetooth mouse to use along-side.
iGPU is fantastic; Intel Xe is such a massive leap in Performance. You can easily do moderate gaming at 1080p with no issues; in fact, I have a few hours with Cities: Skylines and Farming Simulator on this notebook with relatively decent FPS. Thunderbolt 4 does mean those that want to tag an External GPU enclosure to this notebook for a bit more serious gaming can do so, though I have yet to get my hands on an enclosure to do this yet.
What We Like
Design and Build: Aluminum enclosure and finish that rivals MacBook Pro.
Gammix S50: Included PCIe 4.0 storage is a win for productivity!
11th Gen Intel platform: Tiger Lake, Thunderbolt 4, Intel Iris Xe Graphics!
What Could Be Better
Trackpad:Would prefer a more tactile trackpad.
Software: Would like to see more XPG branded software included.
Xenia Xe is an impressive productivity platform that offers an impressive 21 hour battery life in our testing and legit connectivity options in Wi-Fi 6, Thunderbolt 4, and USB 3.2!