DELL XPS 13: A laptop design like no other
The Dell XPS 13 has to be one of the top contenders if you’re looking to purchase a powerful, portable and attractive laptop. It features a sleek design, a lightweight chassis and a revolutionary display that will make manufacturers rethink how they build laptops. This DELL XPS 13 review will showcase why this laptop is considered as one of the best laptops around.
What is it made of…
The XPS 13 is built with a silver colored, machined aluminum exterior. This is an excellent material that, after a week of testing, showed no fingerprints, smudges or scratches. Dell built the palm rest and backlit chiclet keyboard’s casing in an exquisite carbon fiber composite that is delightful to touch. Unlike some laptops, whose palm rest is built with the same material as the device’s plastic or aluminum exterior, the XPS’s palm rest doesn’t get overheated or sweaty.
The real marvel of the XPS 13 is its screen-to-panel ratio. Both the quad HD+ touchscreen model, which we used for testing, and the lower-end full HD model feature edge-to-edge displays. If you purchase this laptop, you’re getting the screen space of a 13.3-inch laptop on an 11.9-inch device. Dell was able to deliver a screen that covers 80% of the panel (11% more screen space than the 13-inch MacBook Air). Like the MacBook, most other laptops are built with about an inch of border surrounding the monitor. Dell has stretched the screen to within millimeters of the upper corners and to within an inch of the front panel’s bottom edge. This feature provides you with a cinematic viewing experience, and it makes touchscreen usage (available on the quad HD model) much more accommodating. The quad HD+ version of the XPS 13 packs a 3,200 x 1,800 resolution display into a small laptop. Most of the 13-inch laptops in the Ultrabook category don’t go beyond full HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080), so the added pixels puts the XPS 13 on par with the reigning 13-inch Ultrabook resolution champs: the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro and the Samsung Ativ Book 9. In addition to the boosted pixel performance, the XPS 13 doesn’t give off loads of glare. The same perfection goes for viewing angles. You could seat four people side-by-side from about three feet away from the XPS 13 without losing any imagery along the screen’s corners.
There are only two downsides to the XPS 13’s marvelous screen and Infinity design. First, to clear space along the upper edge of the front panel, Dell has placed the webcam on the lower left-hand side of the bezel. This isn’t a huge issue, unless you prefer to be seen at a downward angle on video calls. Second, the XPS 13 isn’t meant to be grabbed from the upper corners of the panel. Given that the Infinity design stretches the screen to all corners of the bezel, there isn’t room to grab the top panel without pressing on the screen. You will need to grab it under the base with your palm or along the palm rest with your fingers. The XPS 13 doesn’t only offer less space along its borders – it’s less spacious in general. It’s also one of the lightest devices on the market. The standard, full HD model weighs only 1.17kg, while the quad HD model weighs in at 1.27kg. The XPS 13 is fully packed with the latest high-end laptop components.
From the newest Intel Core i5 chip to gobs of RAM and storage – it should see you right for at least a couple of years. The XPS 13’s battery lasted 4 hours and 21 minutes after performing a wide range of tasks simultaneously, including video editing, web browsing and gaming. We were able to crank out 7 hours and 40 minutes of video playback by lowering the screen brightness and audio volume to 50%. The XPS 13 comes with a battery gauge button, which sits on the left side of the base. When you press it, you’ll see how much battery life is left. The problem is it takes so much effort to find the tiny button, and then to twist the laptop or crane your neck, that you’re better off opening the device and checking battery-life on the screen. Another design flaw is the XPS’s power button is dangerously close to the delete button. We found Dell’s Precision TouchPad to be too true to its word – it’s very precise. Lifting and lowering a finger, even a smidge, casts the cursor off to parts unknown, or worse, it opened and closed browser windows unintentionally. This is easily remedied by adjusting your TouchPad’s sensitivity in the settings menu, though.
Although the Waves MaxxAudio Pro speakers that sit along the sides of the bottom panel won’t produce bass-bumping audio, the sound quality is natural albeit low-volume. It’s not as tinny or screechy as other units we’ve tested, but this is by no means a device made for musicians looking to fine-tune their tracks. Audio comes out flat, without any enhanced bass or depth, but your tunes won’t be downgraded by defective noises or pitches. The XPS 13 enters a competitive marketplace. Can its Infinity display, lightweight design and fully loaded component set propel it to the top of the Ultrabook category? It’s hard to imagine a small form-factor laptop delivering captivating visuals, but that’s exactly what it does. By trimming the border surrounding the laptop’s display, Dell provides a cinematic viewing experience. Even if you choose to go with the full HD version, rather than the quad HD+ touchscreen upgrade, the edge-to-edge panel will impress you. Fortunately, Dell’s XPS 13 upgrades include under-the-hood improvements as well as cosmetic ones. This laptop outperformed comparable Ultrabooks in almost all benchmarking tests. Although it does run a bit slower, your graphics processing and frame refresh rates will be better than the best Ultrabooks available. Almost all of the XPS 13’s flaws are superficial. But perhaps the biggest drawback is the XPS 13’s lack of an ethernet port. However, ethernet ports in Ultrabooks are becoming rare these days anyway.
The Dell XPS 13 is a brilliantly designed laptop that outperforms its competition under the hood. The Infinity Display will cause a ripple effect in laptop design that will dramatically improve how users experience their devices. And, the XPS 13 has brains too. Regardless of whether you choose to upgrade to the touchscreen quad HD+ version, or if you stick with the full HD model, the Dell XPS 13 will provide you with a delightful experience for years to come.