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Greetings to the Tiny King – Review Geek


  • 1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 – Greatly flawed design
  • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably imperfect
  • 6 – Good enough to for sale to buy
  • 7 – Great, but not the best in its class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with some footnotes
  • 9 – Shut up and take my money [19659004] 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price : $ 1


  Dell XPS 13 Laptop
Niki Reed

I have read for years that the Dell XPS 13, or rather the version following the 2015 redesign, was the best all round Windows laptop out there. Since Apple's MacBook line has taken a few hits, it's been called the best laptop. After that high rating, I admit that I went into this review with some skepticism.

Here's what we like

  • Great fit and finish
  • Long battery life
  • Small and super portable
  • User accessible SSD

And what we don't do

  • Screen could be better [19659004] Needs a USB-A port
  • Aluminum finish is fragile

But you know what? That praise is justified. It's a fantastic little laptop, and as much can be said of a single machine, I think & # 39; the best laptop & # 39; at least in a general sense. Every inch of the XPS 13 stands for thoughtful design and engineering, backed by excellent hardware and materials.

The laptop isn't perfect, but it gets damn close. And, of course, it's impossible to recommend in all circumstances – if you need a discrete graphics card or a convertible design or a pop-out secondary screen, or even a budget price tag, then this laptop is not for you. But anyone who wants to invest in a reliable, portable and immediately usable computer can do much worse. And in fact, it would be difficult to do better.


The XPS 13 is a sandwich of aluminum and carbon fiber. That is, the exterior is made of an aluminum alloy and the keyboard is made of hardened carbon fiber for comfort, light weight and heat dissipation. Oh, and there's a tempered glass screen – which I think is a slice of cheese in this example. Glass Cheese

  Dell XPS 13
Niki Reed

Aside from its thin thin frame, the aesthetic of this laptop is actually quite understated. (Remember when XPS was Dell's & # 39; gaming & # 39; brand?) Our test model is tastefully white, but that can only be seen on the keyboard and deck and screen finish. The black model is even less noticeable, although the carbon fiber on the palm rest is quite nice.

  Power button and fingerprint sensor
A fingerprint sensor is cleverly hidden in the power button. Niki Reed

The laptop feels much more "balanced" in appearance, thanks to the webcam hidden in the top ring. I'm also a fan of the power button, subtly hidden on the keyboard next to & # 39; Delete & # 39;, which has a fingerprint sensor integrated. It looks like a small version of the trackpad and it keeps the entire keyboard symmetrical and clean – very nice.

  Left side: USB-C and MicroSD card reader.
Left side: USB-C and MicroSD card reader. Niki Reed

Note that this version of the XPS 13 design is a peat-standard laptop, with a hinge that does not fold on its own. (There is also a convertible model, although it's larger and less streamlined.) The only other distinguishing feature is the power light that lights up under the trackpad when the laptop is on. On the left you get a USB-C port for data and power plus a MicroSD card slot. On the right is an identical USB-C port, plus a headphone / microphone jack. Aside from the speakers and vents on the bottom of the frame, that's it.

  Right side: USB-C and headphones / microphone.
Right side: USB-C and headphones / microphone. Power can be supplied on both sides. Niki Reed

The white model certainly looks slick, but I am not quite sure about the finish of the aluminum: after a few weeks on nothing too much trouble, I noticed scratches and stains on the bottom [19659041] Bottom finish, scratched. with loudspeaker. ” width=”3000″ height=”1688″ data-credittext=”Niki Reed” src=”/pagespeed_static/1.JiBnMqyl6S.gif” onload=”pagespeed.lazyLoadImages.loadIfVisibleAndMaybeBeacon(this);” onerror=”this.onerror=null;pagespeed.lazyLoadImages.loadIfVisibleAndMaybeBeacon(this);”/>

The finish on the bottom is easy to damage, even though I fit it for this review. Niki Reed


If that description of a nondescript laptop sounds dismissive, I don't mean it. Every detail of this thing exudes a careful and sleek design. The way the lid can be lifted with one firm finger, but not wobble with intensive typing, the way the trackpad is huge and smooth, but never accidentally activated from my palm, like the two raised 'foot' Bars on the bottom of the laptop prevent it from sliding on almost any surface. It is amazing how much has been done so well and so consistently on the XPS 13.

  Keyboard and touchpad.
Niki Reed

I'm a self-admitted snob, so when I say the laptop's keyboard feels "Fairly good", it takes a lot of praise. Dell doesn't really reach the heights of Lenovo's ThinkPad series here, but it's also not far away. I was able to pop out long articles (including this review) with no discomfort and almost no adjustment. A good left Ctrl position and a full-width right Shift bar help a lot.

The trackpad deserves special praise. I don't know how many of these are improvements in Windows, improvements in OEM suppliers or Dell itself, but it's fantastic. The touchpad is almost – almost – good enough to forget my mouse. At least it's good enough that I don't feel paralyzed when I leave it at home.

  XPS 13 cover opened with one finger.
The sturdy lid can be opened with one finger. Niki Reed

Our test unit has a 1920 × 1200 LCD screen, which I think is more than enough for a 13-inch laptop. Of course it is also available in 4K, if you think that is necessary with this format. I'm a fan of the 16:10 aspect ratio, which I find ideal for almost all computers with desktop operating systems. Oh, and the screen has touch input, although I almost never used that feature.

The 500 nit brightness is also a big help: I ​​could use the laptop in full sun, albeit with a little squinting. I see a bit of dimming on the far left and right, which I assume is a by-product of that super thin bezel. It's not terrible, but it does mean the screen is a few notches away from perfect – too bad there's no OLED option, as is available on some XPS 15 models.

  XPS 13 screen angle.
Niki Reed

The speakers are loud if not great – I feel like nothing will dethrone the Yoga C940 for a while. And the fan lights up when I hit hard on Chrome or Photoshop, but that's to be expected, and it's far from the worst culprit in that regard.

There is only one thing I would change if I could: this thing needs a USB-A port. It has two USBC ports, conveniently placed on either side of the keyboard – very useful for those odd corners in hotel rooms and coffee shops. But I'd trade in a few millimeters thin for a standard port so I could use older cables and flash drives without needing a bulky adapter (which is in the box).

Hardware and Power

The standard equipment for the latest version of the XPS 13 (model number 9300, strangely lower than last year's 9380) costs $ 1200 without any promotions. That gives you the latest 10th generation Core i5 processor, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD storage and the standard 1920 x 1200 non-touch screen.

Our test unit, with upgrades to a touchscreen, Core i7 processor, 16 GB RAM and 512 GB storage, costs $ 1700. At the time of writing, you can make the most of the build on Dell.com with a 1TB SSD and a 4K screen for an even two thousand.

 Windows About Screen

In a few weeks of work, I couldn't find a normal "office" job that the i7 and 16 RAM performances couldn't handle. Granted, my load is heavy on RAM and not much else – I do 99% of my work in Chrome, Slack and Photoshop. But even when I ran to three monitors simultaneously (the Iris integrated GPU couldn't quite power the laptop's screen on top of that), I barely saw a shudder.

 Overwatch screenshot

The GPU can handle a bit of basic gaming, but don't expect miracles. Overwatch a very forgiving game, was able to hover at around 60 fps by lowering the graphics and cutting the display in half. Still, it managed to maintain the 1920 × 1200 resolution. Not bad, just don't ask to run silky smooth DOOM or Destiny .

In terms of software, the Windows 10 build pre-installed on the XPS 13 is fairly clean. There are a few pack-in games that Microsoft can't let go, and a handful of mostly unnecessary extras from Dell for managing things like power and driver management (which is built into Windows, come on!). It is well. I would be fine using this machine without doing a clean install of Windows 10, but not without using the "Add and Remove Programs" menu a lot.

  XPS 13, open with SSD removed
Access to the SSD isn & # 39; It's easy, but it can save you a pretty penny on Dell's expensive upgrades. Michael Crider

Unlike most ultraportable laptops, and indeed, earlier versions of the XPS 13, it allows the user to open and replace the SSD. It's not easy or convenient: you need a T5 torx driver to take out eight screws and be careful with the aluminum case, which managed to cut my finger open when I lifted it up. But indeed, you can replace the storage with a ready-made M.2 drive without voiding your warranty. Unfortunately, the RAM is hidden and soldered on the motherboard and not accessible without more extreme measures.


Bringing the camera to the top of the ring and banning the dreaded "nose camera" was a great move, made possible by some clever and small cable routing. But it also includes two infrared sensors, allowing Windows Hello to recognize your face for easy login. It seems a bit sensitive – it was a pain to use it outside, but I appreciate the shot. Ditto for the fingerprint sensor, already discussed.

I also like the MicroSD card reader, a feature that is increasingly becoming a niche. On a machine so compact, it could have easily been turned off, but as someone who often has to take pictures with & # 39; real & # 39; need to load cameras and bits of data for mobile devices, it is convenient.

<img class = "wp-image-42820 size-full" data-pagespeed-lazy-src = "https://www.reviewgeek.com/thumbcache/0/0/3a26b3b37e812f429e1d54ba4f0af2b0/p/uploads/2020/ 05 / xe28c967f.jpg.pagespeed.gp + jp + jw + pj + ws + js + rj + rp + rw + ri + cp + md.ic.3wX1GDNMWF.jpg "alt =" XPS 13 power adapter. [19659068] The power adapter can use a full cord or handy travel plug. Michael Crider

Another feature deserves special praise: the power adapter At first glance, it's a standard 45-watt brick, complete with the long cable and box where I've been annoyed since Anker started selling those sleek USB-C chargers, but wait, there's a little travel charger adapter inside the box that can snap into place on the power brick! It even has the swivel pins that collapse the plastic case.

This makes the adapter ideal for both a long lounge on the sofa, in its full length with three pins, and for charging a travel s where time and space are at a premium. Well done, Dell.

Portability and Battery Life

Our test unit tipped the scales at 44.9 ounces, a little shy of three pounds. That is not exceptional by modern standards, but it is not particularly heavy either. The XPS 13's small size – just 11.6 inches wide, 7.7 inches long and 0.6 inches thick – makes it easy to throw in almost any bag. (Note to Dell: I didn't really throw your laptop anywhere, I know it's very expensive.)

  XPS 13 Dell logo
Niki Reed

I never put the XPS 13's battery in can exhaust one working day even with high screen brightness and using tons of Chrome tabs. My passed out battery test, a looped YouTube video with many other tabs with 75% and 50% brightness, saw the laptop make it 8 hours and 30 minutes. I estimate that this means a battery life of 10 hours of doing almost everything except gaming.

That is an excellent battery life of 52 watt hours. Combined with USB-C charging on both sides and the well-designed charger, this laptop is a small road warrior.

Value and Conclusion

There is no way around it: $ 1200 for the XPS 13 launch configuration is here. It's not unreasonable given the configuration, and you can get a bite out of at least one of the more expensive upgrades with a user-accessible SSD, but you still pay a lot for this machine.

  Dell XPS 13
Niki Reed

Having said that, I tend to say it is worth it. Complaints about USB ports and light dimming are minimal: this is a fantastic little laptop. If you don't need huge graphics power or a huge screen, it's hard to imagine someone not completely satisfied with the design. Add impressive battery life and portability and you have a winner in almost every way.

If the price is too high for you, remember that Dell often runs promotions in its web store. If even that isn't enough, hold on: The entry-level XPS 13 price drops below $ 1000 after a year or so as Dell prepares to show off new models.

Rating: 9/10

Price: $ 1200-2000

Here's what we like

  • Great fit and finish
  • Long battery life
  • Small and super portable
  • User accessible SSD

and what we don't do

  • Screen could be better
  • Needs a USB-A port
  • Aluminum finish is fragile

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