The Dell XPS 13 is still the best Windows-based notebook money can buy, and now it’s more practical than ever. This laptop has sat at the top of the rankings for years, so it’s hard to imagine the brand could improve it by such bounds each year. Well, they’ve done it again, thanks to the improved sleek design, thin bezels and cutting-edge 11th Gen Intel processor. Fans of powerful portables will be over the moon with the latest iteration of this awesome 2-in-1 laptop.
Design-wise, the latest XPS is the closest Dell has gotten to the class-leading option from Apple by the way of the new Macbook Air. And while many will undoubtedly be swayed towards the style of minimalism embodied by an Apple-branded product, Dell has recently transformed its design language and the XPS offers a beautiful compact, lightweight and premium look. The exterior is constructed out of CNC machines aluminium which feels beyond premium and moves on to feature 2 built-in Thunderbolt 4 ports with Power Delivery and one headset combination port.
The high-end design transitions into the inside of the laptop. With the latest InfinityEdge display getting oh-so-close to the edges of the bezel. Whether you order the Platinum Silver with Black interior or the Frost White with White interior, you will love the look of the colour coded backlit keyboard. A standout piece of the device, the keyboard is perfect for typing with flat keys that provide a satisfying amount of feedback without any sticking.
You can compare the design of the XPS with the likes of the Macbook Air right up until you fold it in half. A showstopping move that will leave most competitors in the dust for both looks and performance. When using the laptop in folded mode the profile exaggerates all the small design changes the brand has made to improve the user experience. You find the bezels to resemble that of a true tablet and the slim profile means it isn’t too bulky in hand. This is the first laptop in its class to adequately bridge the gap between a powerhouse laptop and tablet.
Chassis: Exterior Chassis Materials, CNC Machined Aluminum
Audio and Speakers: HD Audio Stereo speakers professionally tuned with Waves MaxxAudio® Pro; 2W x 2 = 4W total
Keyboard: Backlit Keyboard (US/International) – Black
Ports: 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports with Power Delivery, 1 headset (headphone and microphone combo) port
The XPS has been the go-to workhorse for like-minded creators and business people thanks to its light-weight frame, intermediate size and power package. Performance is also where the laptop increases its lead on the competition. While the new Apple M1 chip remains the class-leader, this application of Intel’s new 11th Gen Tiger Lake CPU places the Dell XPS 13 well ahead of other Windows-based competitors. It is worth noting that during our time with the XPS 13 we didn’t encounter a moment of stalling by part of the laptop.
Processor: 11th Generation Intel Core i7-1165G7 Processor (12MB Cache, up to 4.7 GHz) as tested.
Operating System: Windows 10 Home, 64-bit, English
Video Card: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Memory: 16GB 4267MHz LPDDR4x Memory Onboard
Hard Drive: 512 GB PCIe NVMe x4 Solid-State Drive (Onboard)
The XPS 13 shines where Windows-based competitors struggle. The new 11th Gen Intel CPU is promising and provides a significant bump in performance over the previous 10th generation unit. While we didn’t utilise the folding mechanism nearly enough during our time with the machine, it’s a great addition for on-the-go professionals. Ultimately, the fact remains that users who are looking for outright power in their portable devices should still consider the Macbook Air with its standout M1 chipset, but those who aren’t looking to switch operating systems will be more than satisfied with the XPS 13.
Dimensions: Height: 14.35mm (0.56″) x Width: 297 mm (11.69″) x Depth: 207 mm (8.15″)
Weight: Starting at 1.32 kg (2.9 lbs)