It is no secret that I like small lightweight notebooks and I haven’t hidden the fact that I am an unabashed fan of the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook. Well, this great Windows Ultrabook just got better.
Using the philosophy of “If it ain’s broken, don’t fix it”, Dell has pretty much kept the dimensions the same at Height: 0.2” – 0.7” (6mm – 18mm) / Width: 12.4” (316mm) / Depth: 8.1” (205mm) only the height has dropped by 0.04″ at its thinnest point and 0.01 at the thickest point. It is smaller than most 13″ Ultrabooks. Dell has packed a lot of notebook into a small package not that much bigger than a Macbook Air 11″
Dell also kept the design the same too..This slick ultraportable has an attractive and slim design, starting with a matte aluminum-brushed lid with a black Dell logo in the center. The lid opens up to reveal a black, soft-touch magnesium deck and a carbon-fiber underside. It also kept the terrific backlit keyboard and the best touchpad I have seen on a Windows notebook.
What has changed
The latest XPS 13 is available with a touch screen which is a must for any Windows 8 notebook (although less so with the April 2014 Update to Windows 8.1). That ups the weight from a whisker under 3 pounds to a whisker over 3 pounds at 3.03 pounds (1,37kg) The screen is still 1920 x 1080 pixels which is better than the Macbook Air but behind some competing Windows Ultrabooks. That said, it is very bright and comfortable to use.
Powerful Windows Ultrabook
There is a lot of power under the hood with a choice of Intel Fourth-generation Haswell processors, integrated Intel HD 4400 graphics which is suitable for light gaming and fast SSD drives all powered by a new, larger capacity battery (55WHr compared to the previous 47WHr battery. My test unit featured an Intel i5 4200U 1.6GHz, 8 Gb of RAM and a 128Gb SSD drive which provided snappy performance with a 6 second cold boot time and it wakes from sleep in a blink. Apps opened quickly and videos looked really good on the 1080HD screen. Audio from the bottom speakers was loud but certainly won’t qualify as HiFi. Wireless networking supports dual channel and the newest 802.11ac standard which produced a 780Mbps connection on my home network.
All that power sucks up the watts..Dell claims up to 11 hours on a charge. Using the default power settings I got a little over 7 hours of mixed use over several days with WiFi turned on and Bluetooth off all the time. I suspect using the strictest power setting which dims the screen and slows down the CPU would squeak two more hours out of the battery under my usage conditions.
If you are looking for a powerful, well built and lightweight Windows Ultrabook then the Dell XPS 13 Touch is the one for you. I has a great design plus everything you could want in a portable computer including a pretty reasonable price starting at $1099 for a non touch unit with an i3 processor up to $1649 for an i7 processor and a 2578 Gb SSD drive. I highly recommend the model I tested at $1249; it is by far the best bang for your buck. Check it out at Dell’s website.