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Dell XPS 13 review

This is Dell's ultimate ultrabook on 1080p and Haswell

Our Verdict

With an FHD touchscreen and 4th generation Intel Core chips, Dell's XPS 13 remains an ultrabook to beat.

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Alluring, compact design
  • Snappy keyboard
  • Sharp touchscreen
  • Punchy performance

Against

  • Lacks SD card reader
  • Disappointing battery life
  • No customization options

Dell had already outdone itself with the XPS 13 ultrabook in early 2013. That notebook matched the competition almost point for point, but in a smaller frame. Of course, the competition never stops, with full HD touchscreens and Haswell processors the norm for premium laptops going into 2014.

While Dell lagged a bit behind, the late 2013 XPS 13 line finally sports all new CPUs, 1080p touch panels and even beefier batteries. The company managed to fit all this in the same tiny frame that looks more like an 11-inch laptop than a 13-inch device. So, was it enough to remain relevant?

Scores in depth
Dell XPS 13 review
Dell XPS 13 review
Dell XPS 13 review
Dell XPS 13 review
Dell XPS 13


Competitors like the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus and 13-inch MacBook Air have scored some much-needed upgrades, too. In the process, these premium machines have differentiated in key, divergent paths. The XPS 13 lands somewhere in the middle of both thin and light rigs, while maintaining its master class look and feel.

Where the Ativ Book provides a viewing experience that's "beyond HD," the XPS 13 sticks to good old 1920 x 1080. (Where Windows 8.1 looks best, anyway.) And while the MacBook Air stuck to its guns with the now-dated 1440 x 900 resolution, doing so helped it achieve standard-setting battery life beyond what Dell's laptop can say with its sharp new screen.

Dell XPS 13 review

If it ain't broke, don't fix it

Little, if anything, has changed about the XPS 13 design with this update. And I have zero beef with that. The machined aluminum lid with shiny chamfered edges and chrome Dell logo return in good form. Opening the lid reveals the same magnesium palmrest, coated in that svelte soft touch paint (and again: chamfered edges) for that cool and comfy feel. And the returning carbon fiber base continue to stay put on your lap.

Dell XPS 13 review

Through and through, the XPS 13 still looks and feels like Dell's answer to the MacBook Air. If this laptop's chassis were made completely of aluminum, you'd have a hard time distinguishing the two. But this notebook's differences aren't for sake of dodging patents or trademarks; they have purpose.

The question is whether they're for the right purpose. The only tangible differences between this XPS 13 and its Apple-made rival are of size, feel, interactivity and weight as a result. This laptop's dimensions not only make for an impressively thin bezel, but a machine that looks terrifically tiny for its screen size.

Dell XPS 13 review

But the biggest difference is touch, something you find on so many Windows 8 machines, but only on iOS in the world of Apple. The touchscreen was a necessary addition if Dell's wants to make a luxury laptop, putting the XPS 13 on par with Samsung and Acer's premium machines. However, that screen bumps the XPS 13 up to 3.03 pounds from 2.95, and out of the MacBook Air's weight class. Let's see how else this notebook meets, or exceeds, the competition where it counts, on the inside.

Tech Specs

Product TypeUltrabook
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD 3000
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time8.88 Hour
Solid State Drive Capacity256 GB
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
DisplayPortYes
Product FamilyXPS 13
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Keyboard BacklightYes
Processor Modeli7-2637M
ColourSilver
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameDell
Processor Speed1.70 GHz
Processor TypeCore i7
Screen Size33.8 cm (13.3")
Number of Cells6-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)1.36 kg
Cache4 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelQS67 Express
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyTrueLife
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Total Number of USB Ports2
Memory StandardDDR3-1333/PC3-10600
Height18 mm
Width315 mm
Depth205.7 mm
Screen ModeHD
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product Series13
ManufacturerDell, Inc
Product NameXPS 13 Ultrabook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineXPS
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number321X-0777
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.dell.co.uk
Marketing Information

Everything. And More.

With attention to every detail, the XPS™ 13 Ultrabook™ combines premium materials, the power of 2nd Gen Intel® Core™ processors and includes America's Best Support.

Thoughtful design.

It goes beyond beauty. Bonded Corning® Gorilla® Glass, machined aluminum and carbon fiber are incorporated to enhance the performance of this Ultrabook™.

Battery ChemistryLithium Polymer (Li-Polymer)
Package Contents
  • XPS 13 Ultrabook
  • AC Adapter