Dell XPS 13 (2019) Overview: A Close to-Excellent Laptop computer

“Fixing its solely downside, the 2019 XPS 13 has perfected its method.”

Modern design

New colorways are nice

Webcam re-positioned

Redesigned hinge opens simply

Speedy, ultrabook efficiency

Editor’s Word: Dell has up to date the XPS 13 with non-obligatory availability of the latest 10th-generation Intel Core processors. We had hands-on time with the brand new Dell XPS 13 7390. It’s a bit faster, and should have a slight bump to battery life, however is in any other case much like the mannequin on this evaluation.

Our wholehearted suggestion of the XPS 13 at all times got here with one small however essential caveat. The place of the webcam. Dell mainly pioneered the problematic nose-cam positioned under the show. Now the corporate has mounted it.

The brand new XPS 13 has moved the webcam above the display screen with out additionally stretching the bezels. On high of that, the already-great laptop computer has just a few tips up its sleeve to sweeten the deal. Beginning at $900, the bottom model of recent XPS comes with a Core i5 Whiskey Lake processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. Our 4K mannequin, although, expands that as much as a Core i7, 8GB of RAM, and a terabyte of solid-state storage.

It’s near perfection.

A frosty sheen

The XPS 13 has at all times been considered one of our favourite designs. Due to super-trim bezels and 16:9 facet ratio, it’s downright tiny in comparison with many related laptops. Not solely is that mobility nice for squeezing some work onto a aircraft trip, it’s additionally extraordinarily engaging. This time round, that design has been spruced up much more.

Dell XPS 13 2019 review (9380)Riley Younger/Digital Traits

Shade choices is the primary noticeable change. Final 12 months’s mannequin launched the Rose Gold shell, paired with a daring, white inside — a mix we loved. This 12 months, Dell has added a colorway referred to as “Frost” for the outside chassis. It’s simply silver, nevertheless it’s a lighter tone than what we usually see. It actually pops when matched with the white inside. You continue to have the choice for rose gold or the standard black-on-silver combo, however this one is our favourite.

Extra CES 2019 protection

For those who occur to go for one of many two white fashions, the woven glass-fiber materials on the keyboard deck and palmrests has been lightened for a bolder and brighter white. We understand using plastic — and even the white coloration — isn’t for everybody. However for those who’ve grown a bit bored with the ocean of silver, aluminum laptops, the XPS 13 shall be a breath of recent air. On high of that, Dell’s alternative in textures and supplies aren’t as vulnerable to choosing up fingerprints, which is appreciated. It’s an issue laptops just like the Razer Blade Stealth nonetheless endure.

Dell has additionally improved the hinge on the 2019 XPS 13. Earlier variations of the laptop computer used a good hinge that required two fingers to open. The brand new hinge, referred to as a “variable torque hinge,” requires much less effort, that means you’ll be able to open it with only one finger.

Nicely, nearly. There’s nonetheless no lip to your finger to seize, neither is it completely balanced just like the MacBook Air or the Razer Blade Stealth. The lid tends to wish some assist out of your different hand within the last 25 % of its arc. Nonetheless, it’s a big enchancment over earlier fashions.

The XPS 13 doesn’t declare to be the thinnest or lightest laptop computer on the planet, nevertheless it’s removed from clunky. At zero.46 inches thick (at its largest) and a pair of.7 kilos, it’s barely thicker and heavier than the HP Spectre 13, however undercuts the Razer Blade Stealth and MacBook Air.

Dell XPS 13 2019 review (9380)Riley Younger/Digital Traits

Port-wise, nothing has modified this time round. You get two Thunderbolt three ports, a typical USB-C port, a microSD card slot, and a three.5mm headphone jack. A 12 months or two in the past we could have dinged the XPS 13 for not together with a USB-A port. At present? It’s a wide variety for a light-weight, transportable laptop computer.

To InfinityEdge and past

Dell has labored on transferring the webcam again to the highest of the show for the reason that launch of the long-lasting InfinityEdge bezels in 2015, but the webcam stubbornly remained under the display screen.

Fixing the issue wasn’t straightforward, however Dell has cracked it. By lowering the scale of the sensor and chopping each sliver of wasted house, the bezel has solely grown by lower than a millimeter, and the webcam is again up high.

The XPS 13 additionally appears to be like incredible to the bare eye, simply overpowering the reflections of harsh workplace gentle.

The consequence? Video calls appears to be like regular once more. There may be one trade-off, although. An infrared digicam is not included, that means the XPS 13 longer helps Home windows Good day for login through facial recognition. To steadiness that, Dell added a fingerprint reader constructed into the facility button.

Outdoors of the webcam, there are a few enter adjustments value mentioning. First, the keyboard has been redesigned with the important thing know-how used within the newer XPS 15 2-in-1. Key journey isn’t as little as the XPS 15 2-in-1, however keys do have extra spring. The caps are additionally much less slippery than earlier than due to a brand new texture. These tweaks don’t spoil the typing expertise, and the Dell XPS 13 stays nice to make use of.

Dell XPS 13 2019 review (9380)Riley Younger/Digital Traits

Beneath the keys is the standard keyboard backlighting, which is vibrant however solely presents two ranges of brightness. That’s a bit behind laptops just like the Apple MacBook Professional or Razer Blade Stealth.

The one factor that hasn’t modified is the touchpad, which is incredible. The press is a bit louder than we’ve grown accustomed to, however monitoring is exact and multi-touch gestures register as they need to. Some rivals, most notably the Apple Macbook Professional, supply a bigger floor, however the Dell XPS 13’s touchpad is pleasing and feels greater than giant sufficient. Rivals just like the Asus Zenbook UX333 supply barely smaller, extra awkward touchpads.

A show worthy of its bezels

The XPS 13 comes with three show choices: non-touch 1080p, touch-enabled 1080p, and touch-enabled 4K. The brand new choice right here is touch-enabled 1080p, although we have been despatched the higher-resolution mannequin for evaluation. Irrespective of which you select, the panel included is among the finest you should purchase.

The display screen’s numbers are spectacular, however the XPS 13 additionally appears to be like incredible to the bare eye. Overpowering the reflections of harsh workplace gentle isn’t any downside. It may be cranked as much as a retina-burning 472 nits, third solely to the Huawei MateBook X Professional and MacBook Professional. Colours are vivid and look pure.

The distinction ratio of 980:1 doesn’t match high performers just like the Asus ZenBook UX333UN or the HP Spectre Folio, however the gamma studying is ideal at 2.2. Meaning photographs look as vibrant as they need to. The MacBook Professional and a few high-end 15-inch laptops beat it out in coloration gamut, registering extra of the Adobe RGB coloration house. However with 99 % of sRGB, you in all probability gained’t have motive to complain.

Dell XPS 13 2019 review (9380)Riley Younger/Digital Traits

Our evaluation unit’s 4K display screen regarded sharp, however as with different 13-inch laptops, we advocate sticking to 1080p. 4K is an costly improve that reduces battery life. For that motive, the 1080p configuration is the choice mannequin most individuals ought to choose up. We haven’t examined it but, nevertheless it makes use of the identical panel as within the earlier 12 months, and it scored effectively once we final examined it.

The audio system, positioned on both aspect of the chassis, are positive. They’re loud, however at larger volumes they develop into a bit shrill. Laptops with forward-firing audio system just like the MacBook Professional, MacBook Air, Razer Blade Stealth, or Pixel Slate, will do higher, although none of them are distinctive.

Quad-core energy with added storage

The 2018 Dell XPS 13 was among the many quickest 13-inch laptops. That was due to the corporate’s redesigned thermal answer, which used two followers, two warmth pipes, and even strips of Gore-tex cloth.

The identical system is in place on the brand new mannequin. However this time, it has the additional advantage of the newest ‘Whiskey Lake’ Intel Core processors. You’ve got the choice of both the Core i5-8555U or the Core i7-8565U. Each are quad-core and many fast. Our unit additionally got here with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, making for a succesful, well-rounded laptop computer.

In Geekbench, we noticed modest efficiency beneficial properties over the prior 12 months., The 2019 mannequin beats final 12 months’s by about eight % in each single and multi-core efficiency. That’s not the form of distinction you’ll discover in day-to-day use. In some assessments, akin to our benchmark that encodes a brief 4K video in Handbrake, the 2019 XPS 13 noticed no achieve in any respect.

Nonetheless, the XPS 13 stays a high choice. Different laptops with Intel’s latest ‘Whiskey Lake’ processors have proven their very own modest enhancements and usually don’t beat the XPS 13.

The XPS 13 has at all times been a pack-leader within the space of battery life.

Storage choices have barely modified. All drives are actually NVMe, with learn and write speeds effectively over a thousand megabytes per second, and capacities vary from 128GB all the best way as much as 2TB. Though 128GB isn’t so much, we like that Dell presents a smaller model for these trying to purchase at a price range value. Most premium laptops supply a minimal of 256GB, and have a better base value in consequence.

Not for gaming

The XPS 13 isn’t meant for severe gaming. Once more, it’s arduous guilty Dell for that. Intel’s built-in UHD 620 Graphics doesn’t supply a lot when it comes to gaming prowess.

Laptops just like the MateBook X Professional, Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN, and Razer Blade Stealth all function an Nvidia MX150, and subsequently present a bit extra gaming and video rendering energy. For those who want that form of functionality, the XPS 13 isn’t for you. We hope to see that change with Intel’s upcoming transfer to Gen11 built-in graphics, however that gained’t arrive till late 2019.

A dip again in battery life

The XPS 13 has at all times been a pack-leader within the space of battery life. That’s the 1080p model, although. Battery life takes successful with a 4K show, no matter what laptop computer it’s. On the 2019 XPS 13, it’s an even bigger drop than regular.

As you’ll be able to see, the 2019 XPS 13 dips in benchmarks that check utilization in lighter duties over lengthy intervals of time. We noticed a 25 to 30 % drop in gentle internet looking and native video loop playback over final 12 months’s mannequin. That’s unusual contemplating the identical show and battery are at use right here. Dell claims the Whiskey Lake CPU attracts barely extra energy, however we haven’t seen that impact replicated in different techniques but. It nonetheless does higher than the Razer Blade Stealth, although, regardless of having a higher-resolution display screen.

The excellent news is that in a heavier load, the 2019 XPS 13 performs higher than final 12 months’s mannequin. We’re getting a rise of 33 % over final 12 months’s, lasting over 5 hours in Basemark, a web based benchmark that duties the system extra closely. Meaning in case your workload contains an intensive utility, a number of screens, or simply dozens and dozens of browser tabs, the XPS 13 gained’t die out straight away. We have been nonetheless capable of get by means of most of a workday on our average workload with out trying to find an outlet.

Dell XPS 13 2019 review (9380)Riley Younger/Digital Traits

Even nonetheless, the 1080p model is the one to select for portability Final 12 months’s 1080p mannequin noticed upwards of ten and a half hours in internet looking battery life, and over 13 and a half in video lop. In line with Dell, the 2019 model will see a little bit of a drop from these numbers, however you’ll be able to at the very least count on a pair extra hours than the 4K mannequin.

We’re not blissful to see the lower in battery life, particularly when choices like Chromebooks, Y-series thin-and-light laptops, and Qualcomm-powered 2-in-1s are making some leaps ahead. The Dell XPS 13’s battery life remains to be strong, nevertheless it’s not forward of the pack.

Our Take

The brand new Dell XPS 13 solutions loads of the issues we had with the unique. It reveals the corporate is keen to take suggestions, then really do one thing about it. That’s commendable. On high of that, the brand new XPS 13 doesn’t compromise any of the issues it did effectively in previous iterations. It may not be excellent, nevertheless it’s as shut as we’ve seen to this point.

Are there any options?

The 13-inch class is stacked with rivals — we evaluation loads of laptops at Digital Traits — however most make extra compromises than the XPS 13.

The Spectre 13 is HP’s various, although it doesn’t have the efficiency or design pedigree to problem the XPS 13. Microsoft has its personal Floor Laptop computer 2, which has a bigger three:2 display screen however is hampered by an outdated port choice. The Razer Blade Stealth is incredible however is available in just a few hundred dearer. The Lenovo Yoga C630’s display screen can’t contact the XPS 13.

Apple followers will almost certainly select the MacBook Professional or MacBook Air, however the XPS 13’s longer battery life, higher efficiency, thinner bezels, and extra tactile keyboard make it a better option than both fruity laptop computer.

How lengthy will it final?

The XPS 13 is a well-built, forward-looking laptop computer. That’s true of the varied top-of-the-line parts included right here and the port choice. It ought to final quite a lot of years beneath regular put on and tear.

The XPS 13 comes with a typical one-year guarantee. That’s typical for a brand new laptop computer.

Must you purchase it?

Sure. It’s the very best 13-inch laptop computer you should purchase, and not held again by a clumsy webcam.

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