Dell XPS 13 Review

The Dell XPS 13 now comes with a brighter screen, long battery life, a USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt 3 and the latest Intel’s 6th Generation CPU. Dell has also kept the features of the previous models of the XPS like an Aluminium and Carbon-fiber body, optional quad-HD infinity display, and comfortable backlit keyboard. However, the location of the webcam is still awkward, but that’s not something deal breaking.

Image Source: Pc Mag

Image Source: Pc Mag

The Dell XPS starts from US $799 (approx Rs 54,000 ) to $1,399 (approx Rs 95,000). Here is our review on the latest Dell XPS.

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Dell XPS 13

Dell XPS 13

Design

Like the previous version of early 2015, the current XPS 13 features a carbon-fiber deck sandwiched between a brushed-metal lid and bottom, which creates an appealing and modern two-toned look.

Image Source: Pc Mag

Image Source: Pc Mag

When you open the lid, you’re welcomed with the Dell’s infinity display, which is an almost nonexistent bezel that seems to just disappear into the background. It looks quite brilliant and engaging. While watching movies, it feels like the video player is just hovering in midair.

Image Source: Cnet

Image Source: Cnet

The new XPS 13 now features a USB Type-C Port that supports Thunderbolt 3. This port doesn’t charge the laptop, however it has capability to transfer the data at up to 40 Gbps. The XPS 13 also includes two traditional USB 3.1 ports, an SD card reader and a combo headphone/mic jack.

Image Source: Pc Mag

Image Source: Pc Mag

Image Source: Pc Mag

Image Source: Pc Mag

Due to the laptop’s slim bezel, the XPS 13’s webcam is located beneath the display. The 1280 * 720 camera features dual mics for better audio during video calls, although it’s a little awkward to always be looking down at the bottom-left corner.

Image Source: Windows Central

Image Source: Windows Central

Measuring 12 * 7.9 * 0.33-0.6-inches and weighing 2.7 pounds (2.9 pounds for the touch-screen version) this notebook is even smaller than some of the tiniest 13-inch systems, including the MacBook Air 13 (12.8 * 8.9 * 0.11-0.68-inches, 2.96 pounds) and the Lenovo Yoga 900 (12.75 * 8.86 * 0.59 inches, 2.8 pounds).

Keyboard and TouchPad

The XPS 13 features a backlit keyboard with two levels of lighting. The keyboard is somewhat shallow 1.2 mm of travel by adding a good spring at the bottom of the stroke, so even though there’s not a lot of room to work with, it’s not painful when you bottom out while typing.

Image Source: Laptop Mag

Image Source: Laptop Mag

The 4.1 * 2.3-inch touch-pad features a seductively smooth, matte-black surface. Mouse movement and multi-finger gestures, such as pinch-to-zoom and two-finger scrolling responded quickly and accurately. Even better is the feeling of the touch-pad’s mouse click, which offers a really satisfying snap every time you press down.

Display

The Dell XPS 13 features a 13.3-inch quad-HD touchscreen display that comes with 3200 * 1800 pixels of resolution. This display gives you wide viewing angles, better brightness and great color range than the non-touch full-HD display of the laptop.

Image Source: Ubergizmo

Image Source: Ubergizmo

As per the Laptop Mag, the XPS 13 produced 336 nits of brightness. That’s more than the Yoga 900 (284 nits) and the non-touch XPS 13 (318 nits) could muster. However, the pricier Surface Book (387 nits) is brighter.

The XPS 13 color range covers 103.6 percent of the sRGB spectrum. The MacBook Air 13’s color range was significantly more limited, at just 66 percent, although the non-touch XPS 13 (92 percent), Yoga 900 (93 percent) and Surface Book (99) percent) weren’t far off.

Image Source: You tube

Image Source: You tube

Despite good brightness and great color range, the XPS 13’s color accuracy is only slightly better than average. The touch-screen model turned in a Delta-E rating of 3.13. (Closer to 0 is best.) The non-touch model was much less accurate, with a score of 8.2.

Graphics and Audio

The XPS 13 comes with Intel HD Graphics 520 that can handle mainstream games. On 3DMark’s Fire Strike graphics test, the XPS 13 posted a score of 783, which was a bit worse than the scores of the Yoga 900 (840) and the Surface Book (854 without discrete graphics).

The XPS with its sleek size doesn’t misses quality of sound. Dell’s better-than-average bass and overall volume is enough to fill a room with its crisp and loud sound quality.

Performance

The Dell XPS 13 with a 6th Gen 2.3 Intel Core i5-6200U processor, 8 GB RAM and 256 GB PCIe x4 SSD was able to perform multitasking like streaming multiple videos on YouTube, 12 Google Chrome tabs with an ease.

According to the Laptop Mag, the XPS 13 scored 6,374 on Geekbench 3’s system performance test. This score is more than the MacBook Air 13 (5,783) with its older, 5th-gen Core i5 CPU. Although the Yoga 900, with the same i5-6200 U, was in the same ballpark, at 6,264. The Surface Book finished even higher due to its slightly faster Core i5-6300 chip.

Image Source: Laptop Mag

Image Source: Laptop Mag

Also, to match a spreadsheet containing 20,000 names and addresses, the XPS 13 finished the task in 4 minutes and 28 seconds. While this is a good deal faster than the ultra portable average, it was slightly behind the times from the Yoga 900 (4:18), Surface Book (4:17) and even the MacBook Air 13 (4:03).

The non-touch variant of the XPS 13 delivered a faster transfer rate of 231 Mbps in Laptop Mag‘s storage test than the touch model (159 Mbps). The Yoga 900 (181.8 Mbps) finished between these two versions, but the MacBook Air 13 (358.4 Mbps) and Surface Book (318.01 Mbps) have faster SSD.

Also, the touch version of the XPS 13 ran hotter than the non-touch model. After streaming HD video for 15 minutes, a section near the vent on the bottom of the touch XPS 13 registered a disturbing 112 degrees Fahrenheit. The non-touch version of the XPS 13 stayed cooler. The hottest spot on the notebook was the bottom right corner, at 97 degrees.

Battery Life

As per the Laptop Mag‘s battery test (that includes (Web surfing via Wi-Fi with the screen at 100 nits), the Dell XPS 13 lasted for 11 hours and 54 minutes. This is  much better than that of the Yoga 900 (7:57) and the ultra portable average of 8:10. The MacBook Air continues to dominate, with an excellent time of 14 hours, but it also has a lower-resolution display.

Image Source: Laptop Mag

Image Source: Laptop Mag

However, the touch-screen variant of XPS 13 with quad-HD display lasted 8 hours and 8 minutes. That’s a 44-minute increase from the early 2015 model, which featured a similar configuration.

Configuration Options

The base model of the Dell XPS 13 comes with a non-touch display, an Intel Core i3-6200U processor, 4 GB RAM and 128 GB SSD and is priced for $799 (approx Rs 54,000).

The next model costs $999 (approx Rs 68,000), and has a more powerful Core i5-6200U CPU, 8 GB RAM and 128 GB SSD. The 256 GB SSD variant with same specs will cost you $1,149 (approx Rs 78,000).

Stepping up to $1,399 (approx Rs 95,000), the least expensive configuration that has a touch screen gets you the same Core i5 processor and 8 GB RAM, but a 256 GB SSD and a quad-HD+ (3200 * 1800) display. Spend $200 (approx Rs 13,500) more, and you can upgrade the CPU to an Intel Core i7-6500U.

You can also upgrade to an Intel Core i7 CPU, 16 GB RAM and a 512 GB SSD, all for a grand total of $2,000 (approx Rs 1,35,000).

Dell also offers the Gold Edition unit, which replaces the silver lid and bottom with a more flaxen tint. It comes in only one configuration, which costs $1,649 (approx Rs 1,11,000) and packs an Intel Core i7-6560U processor, 8 GB RAM, Intel Iris 540 Graphics and a 256 GB PCIe SSD.

Verdict

The latest version of the Dell XPS 13 continues to be a best-in-class laptop. It has a chassis that’s smaller than the competition’s, strong performance, and a great keyboard and touch-pad. In the end, the XPS 13’s biggest competition is itself. The quad-HD display on the touch-screen version is more colorful and vibrant, while the non-touch model lasts 4 hours longer on a charge.

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Dell XPS 13

Dell XPS 13