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Dell XPS 13 review

Posted on 9-Feb-2016 11:35 by M Freitas | Filed under: Reviews

I had the Dell XPS 13 Intel Core i5 for a couple of weeks - a mid-range laptop and yet with power to spare. Inside the Dell XPS 13 there is a 6th Gen Intel Core i5 6200U. This model comes with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD.


In terms of performance the Dell XPS 13 does feel speedy and responsive. The Intel Core i5 plus a very fast SSD gives you the edge needed to run demanding applications. In my tests I used Adobe Photoshop, updated the pre-installed Windows 10 to the latest version and installed Office 2016, everything at a speed that left my HP EliteBook behind (granted, the EliteBook is running an Intel Core M processor so the difference is visible, even though they're similar in terms of pricing).




The SSD on this Dell XPS 13 performs at incredible speed - almost twice as fast as the one currently on my HP EliteBook. This explains the fast boot times and application startup.



The display on this review model is the 1920 x 1080 HD panel (not the Ultra HD available in higher end models) and is not touch-enabled. Having a touch-enabled laptop myself I still don't feel the need for such feature but it can make a difference during meetings, although small.


The screen is bright and easy to read, with very thin bezel around it. The webcam location is disconcerting though, being on the bottom left corner, under the screen (because the beze is so thin on top and sides the camera wouldn't fit on top). This means any online meeting shows your chin and nostrils front first and the background ends up being the ceiling, with you looking to be slightly to the left. No big deal but I wouldn't recommend for a business meeting.



In terms of networking it has wireless features we come to expect including WiFi 802.11ac 2.4GHz and 5GHz, plus Bluetooth 4.1 but if you want to plug an ethernet cable you need an adapter sold separately.


For business users or those consumers who want to take advantage of a more secure device, it comes with a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) 1.2 chip. This allows for transparent encryption of your data plus more robust device management.


The glass-based trackpack is nice to use, responsive and smooth. The backlit keyboard has small keys but the space between them make it easy to type. The palm rest is made of carbon fibre with a soft touch paint cover, while the body is CNC machined aluminum. The screen is covered with Gorilla glass only on the Quad HD model so I didn't see this here.


A nice touch is the asset tag and other information hidden under a flap underneath the case. Another nice touch is the button on the left side that will light up to five small LEDs showing current battery charge.


In terms of ports you will have out of the box two USB 3.0, SD card slot and a Thunderbolt port that can be used for data and display (the VGA/HDMI/DisplayPort/Ethernet adapter is sold separately).


Even though not as thin as my personal laptop the Dell XPS 13 is still pretty light, at 1.2 Kg for this model.


The system comes with Windows 10 pre-installed. It was also nice to see Dell software updates flowing through the month, including new BIOS, display and Thunderbolt drivers.


In all a top range laptop, at top range price. You will get what you pay for althoug