February 6, 2013
- Very attractive design
- 1080p beautiful display
- Comfortable keyboard
- Solid performance
- No touch screen display
- Slightly below average battery life
- High price
Dell has refreshed their XPS 13 Ultrabook with Windows 8, a 1080p display and a solid-state hard drive to speed up boot times. While it does deliver on performance, it falls short on battery life and lacks a touch screen, which is surprising considering the relatively high price.
When we reviews the previous iteration of the Dell XPS 13 (2012) back in March 2012, we were impressed by the Apple MacBook Air-like design and the solid performance, which are continued with the 2013 update. The previous model suffered from below average battery life, which is something Dell obviously didn't address.
The design of the 2013 refresh is the same as the previous model, so we're definitely not complaining. You get an aluminum lid, a magnesium keyboard deck and a carbon fiber bottom. To finish the whole thing off, there's a thin aluminum strip that runs around the outside of the deck. The laptop measures 12.4 x 8.1 x 0.7-inches (wdh) and weighs 3.0-pounds, which is exactly the same as before.
The keyboard is an island-style layout and is very comfortable to use. It's also backlit, which is a must these days. The glass touchpad has a smooth finish and the integrated buttons are easy to click. We had no issues performing the Windows 8 multitouch gestures.
Dell chose to go with a 13-inch 1920 x 1080-pixel display, which is an increase from the previous 1366 x 768-pixel resolution. We found the image to be very vivid and with good color accuracy. It is a Gorilla Glass edge-to-edge display, but it is not a touch screen must to our dismay, especially with the Windows 8 operating system.
For ports, the Dell XPS 13 has two USB 3.0 ports, a mini-DisplayPort output and a combo headphone/microphone jack. There is no Ethernet or HDMI-output. We perhaps would have rather had a mini-HDMI port than a DisplayPort, but adapters are available. An SD card slot is also missing which may disappoint avid camera users.
Our review unit included an Intel Core i7-3517U (1.9GHz) CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state hard drive and integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics. A PCMark 7 benchmark returned a score of 4,760, which is about 1,000 points higher than the Windows 8 Ultrabook average. Real-world use was also impressive with no issues to report. The solid-state hard drive also turned in good Windows 8 boot times too.
Battery life was limited to a little less than 6-hours, which is about an hour less than other similar Windows 8 Ultrabooks.
For more Windows 8 Ultrabook reviews, visit our Notebook & Ultrabook Reviews page.