June 21, 2024


The Internet Generation

Dell XPS 13 review: Tiny tweaks to a long-time favorite

Owning watched the Dell XPS thirteen evolve over the previous many yrs, I seriously believed we had achieved the conclusion of the line in phrases of doable enhancements. The 2019 version had a tremendous-slim bezel, fantastic effectiveness at a first rate price tag, 4K screen choices, and was much more of a key stage ahead, fixing a extended-time engineering dilemma by putting a tremendous-little webcam up on top of the screen, as a substitute of underneath it. 


  • Ever so a bit larger screen.
  • Ever so a bit more compact entire body.
  • A lot more ports and connections than usual.

Will not Like

  • Investing up to a mainstream CPU charges much more.
  • I have never liked the woven texture palm relaxation.

And even though I could no more time make jokes about the notorious up-the-nose webcam shot, I quite much didn’t have any key design complaints about the method anymore. So, the place do you go from there? 

You start off by tweaking the screen, shaving down that bezel a little bit much more and shaping the lid, so you can match a thirteen.four-inch exhibit in there, as a substitute of a thirteen.three-inch just one. That sounds like a quite little tweak, and it is, but I like that it now has a really modern-emotion sixteen:10 part ratio screen. Not rather as Television-like as the sixteen:nine ones almost just about everywhere else. 

The entire body has shed a number of fractions of a millimeter, way too, with a a bit more compact footprint. But the more compact entire body also suggests it feels dense when you select it up, and a bit heavier than you count on, even although it in fact weighs the exact same 1 pound, thirteen ounces as the most current MacBook Air (without having electrical power bricks, and heading by the correct exam configurations I had of every single). The larger footprint of the MacBook makes the fat truly feel much more evenly distributed, but it also normally takes up a bit much more space on your desk, so there is certainly a trade-off. 


Now that is a slim bezel.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

The incredible screen-to-entire body ratio on the XPS thirteen is a true eye-catching promoting place below. For some men and women, the white woven glass palm relaxation area — a $fifty upsell over black carbon fiber —  is also a significant attraction. I never believed the white palmrest and aluminum reduced entire body felt element of an organic and natural full, the way some other laptops truly feel like they’re carved from a one slab of steel (even if they’re not). But my son — hey, we are all doing the job from home offices now, recall? — seemed at equally the new XPS thirteen and new MacBook Air aspect by aspect and declared the XPS to be much fancier. 

In some strategies, the new XPS thirteen has the poor luck to arrive ideal all over the exact same time as the new Apple MacBook Air, a similarly priced thirteen-inch laptop computer that handles a whole lot of the exact same ground. The new MacBook Air upgraded by itself by shifting to a new keyboard type, nearer in truth to what is actually on the XPS thirteen. It also jumped to quad-main tenth-gen Main i5 CPUs, once again, also provided in the XPS thirteen. 


Beats a butterfly keyboard any day… 

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Digging into the selling prices and sections 

These two are very similar in so many strategies, like some puzzling pricing choices to dig by means of. Each have been originally pitched as starting up at $999 in the US. The MacBook Air has indeed moved back again to $999, but that drops you down to a twin-main Intel Main i3 CPU, which doesn’t seem like a $1,000 element to me. The new XPS thirteen, as originally noted during its CES 2020 rollout, started at $999 with — certainly — a Main i3 CPU. But as of this crafting, I am observing $1,249 as the least-pricey option (more mature products are nevertheless available for considerably considerably less) on Dell’s site. That receives you a new Main i5 with Intel Iris graphics, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, very similar to the specs on a $1,099 2020 MacBook Air (which also has a higher-resolution screen). 

My exam unit was effectively-outfitted, with a Main i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and a 1,920x,1,080 touchscreen exhibit, for $1,749. To be honest, Apple did the exact same, sending me a higher-conclusion Main i7/16GB/512GB establish that charges $1,649. 

Very little surprises 

Though the XPS thirteen originally felt like the greatest thirteen-inch Windows laptop computer to get if you preferred a MacBook-Air-like working experience, but for what ever explanation needed to operate Windows as a substitute of MacOS. But it is extended due to the fact developed previous that. The ingredient specs may possibly match up quite effectively, but the XPS is also whole of pleasant delicate surprises. 


Dan Ackerman/CNET

The two USB-C ports (which are also whole Thunderbolt three ports) are break up up, just one on every single aspect, offering you much more choices for plugging in electrical power or equipment. The MacBook Air shoves equally on just one aspect, leaving you considerably less versatility. The XPS thirteen also incorporates a microSD card reader, a rare inclusion in a entire world the place Pc makers are racing to lose ports as immediately as doable. 

And finally, you are unable to beat that approximately edge-to-edge screen. Up coming to it, the MacBook’s exhibit bezels glimpse big. Even with the 1,920×1,080 option, the 500-nit exhibit appears to be like wonderful. Sure, there is certainly a 4K option, for $two hundred much more than the FHD touchscreen, but on a screen this dimensions that feels like overkill, and would no doubt knock many hours off the extraordinary eleven-hour-and-26-minute battery daily life we acquired for the XPS thirteen in our video-streaming battery daily life exam. 

Some top quality Windows laptops focus on slicing fat, like the LG Gram, or dimensions, like the Acer Swift 7, but Dell has managed to make some delicate enhancements to a confirmed winner and sustain its title as just one of the greatest all-all over basic-purpose thirteen-inch Windows laptops you can get.