Dell XPS 13 (2019) Assessment: A Close to-Good Laptop computer

Dell XPS 13 (2019) Review: A Near-Perfect Laptop

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

  • Glossy design
  • New colorways are nice
  • Webcam re-positioned
  • Redesigned hinge opens simply
  • Speedy, ultrabook efficiency

Editor’s Be aware: Dell has up to date the XPS 13 with elective availability of the most recent 10th-generation Intel Core processors, together with a six-core possibility. We had hands-on time with the brand new Dell XPS 13 7390.

Our wholehearted advice of the XPS 13 all the time got here with one small however vital caveat. The place of the webcam. Dell principally pioneered the problematic nose-cam situated beneath the show. Now the corporate has fastened it.

The brand new XPS 13 has moved the webcam above the display with out additionally stretching the bezels. On prime of that, the already-great laptop computer has a number of methods 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 all the time been one in all our favourite designs. Because of 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 airplane journey, it’s additionally extraordinarily enticing. This time round, that design has been spruced up much more.

Shade choices is the primary noticeable change. Final yr’s mannequin launched the Rose Gold shell, paired with a daring, white inside — a mix we loved. This yr, Dell has added a colorway known 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 normal black-on-silver combo, however this one is our favourite.

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

In case you 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 notice using plastic — and even the white shade — isn’t for everybody. However should you’ve grown a bit of uninterested in the ocean of silver, aluminum laptops, the XPS 13 will probably be a breath of recent air. On prime of that, Dell’s alternative in textures and supplies aren’t as vulnerable to selecting up fingerprints, which is appreciated. It’s an issue laptops just like the Razer Blade Stealth nonetheless undergo.

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

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

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

The XPS 13 doesn’t declare to be the thinnest or lightest laptop computer on this planet, nevertheless it’s removed from clunky. At 0.46 inches thick (at its largest) and a couple of.7 kilos, it’s barely thicker and heavier than the HP Spectre 13, however undercuts the Razer Blade Stealth and MacBook Air.

Port-wise, nothing has modified this time round. You get two Thunderbolt Three ports, a regular USB-C port, a microSD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. A yr or two in the past we might have dinged the XPS 13 for not together with a USB-A port. Right now? It’s a wide variety for a light-weight, transportable laptop computer.

To InfinityEdge and past

Dell has labored on shifting the webcam again to the highest of the show for the reason that launch of the enduring InfinityEdge bezels in 2015, but the webcam stubbornly remained beneath the display.

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

The XPS 13 additionally seems to be unbelievable to the bare eye, simply overpowering the reflections of harsh workplace mild.

The end result? Video calls seems to be regular once more. There may be one trade-off, although. An infrared digicam is now 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 because of 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 Developments

Beneath the keys is the same old keyboard backlighting, which is vivid however solely provides 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 unbelievable. The clicking is a bit louder than we’ve grown accustomed to, however monitoring is exact and multi-touch gestures register as they need to. Some opponents, most notably the Apple Macbook Professional, supply a bigger floor, however the Dell XPS 13’s touchpad is pleasurable and feels greater than massive sufficient. Opponents 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 possibility right here is touch-enabled 1080p, although we have been despatched the higher-resolution mannequin for assessment. Regardless of which you select, the panel included is without doubt one of the greatest you should purchase.

The display’s numbers are spectacular, however the XPS 13 additionally seems to be unbelievable to the bare eye. Overpowering the reflections of harsh workplace mild is not 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 prime performers just like the Asus ZenBook UX333UN or the HP Spectre Folio, however the gamma studying is ideal at 2.2. Meaning photos look as vivid as they need to. The MacBook Professional and a few high-end 15-inch laptops beat it out in shade gamut, registering extra of the Adobe RGB shade house. However with 99 % of sRGB, you most likely gained’t have motive to complain.

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

Our assessment unit’s 4K display appeared 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 decide up. We haven’t examined it but, nevertheless it makes use of the identical panel as within the earlier yr, and it scored properly after we final examined it.

The audio system, situated on both facet of the chassis, are high-quality. 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 because of the corporate’s redesigned thermal answer, which used two followers, two warmth pipes, and even strips of Gore-tex material.

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

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

In Geekbench, we noticed modest efficiency beneficial properties over the prior yr., The 2019 mannequin beats final yr’s by about eight % in each single and multi-core efficiency. That’s not the type of distinction you’ll discover in day-to-day use. In some assessments, reminiscent of 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 prime possibility. Different laptops with Intel’s latest ‘Whiskey Lake’ processors have proven their very own modest enhancements and usually don’t beat the XPS 13.

Storage choices have barely modified. All drives are actually NVMe, with learn and write speeds properly over a thousand megabytes per second, and capacities vary from 128GB all the best way as much as 2TB. Though 128GB isn’t quite a bit, we like that Dell provides a smaller model for these seeking to purchase at a finances value. Most premium laptops supply a minimal of 256GB, and have the next base value because of this.

Not for gaming

The XPS 13 isn’t meant for severe gaming. Once more, it’s arduous in charge 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 characteristic an Nvidia MX150, and due to this fact present a bit extra gaming and video rendering energy. In case you want that type 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 all the time been a pack-leader within the space of battery life. That’s the 1080p model, although. Battery life takes a success with a 4K show, no matter what laptop computer it’s. On the 2019 XPS 13, it’s an even bigger drop than regular.

The 2019 XPS 13 dips in benchmarks that take a look at utilization in lighter duties over lengthy durations of time. We noticed a 25 to 30 % drop in mild internet shopping and native video loop playback over final yr’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.

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

The excellent news is that in a heavier load, the 2019 XPS 13 performs higher than final yr’s mannequin. We’re getting a rise of 33 % over final yr’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 software, a number of displays, or simply dozens and dozens of browser tabs, the XPS 13 gained’t die out straight away. We have been nonetheless in a position to get by means of most of a workday on our average workload with out trying to find an outlet.

Even nonetheless, the 1080p model is the one to select for portability Final yr’s 1080p mannequin noticed upwards of ten and a half hours in internet shopping battery life, and over 13 and a half in video lop. Based on Dell, the 2019 model will see a little bit of a drop from these numbers, however you possibly can not less than anticipate a pair extra hours than the 4K mannequin.

We’re not completely satisfied 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 continues to be stable, nevertheless it’s now not forward of the pack.

Our Take

The brand new Dell XPS 13 solutions a whole lot of the issues we had with the unique. It exhibits the corporate is prepared to take suggestions, then really do one thing about it. That’s commendable. On prime of that, the brand new XPS 13 doesn’t compromise any of the issues it did properly in previous iterations. It may not be excellent, nevertheless it’s as shut as we’ve seen thus far.

Are there any options?

The 13-inch class is stacked with opponents — we assessment a whole lot of laptops at Digital Developments — however most make extra compromises than the XPS 13.

The Spectre 13 is HP’s different, 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 3:2 display however is hampered by an outdated port choice. The Razer Blade Stealth is unbelievable however is available in a number of hundred {dollars} costlier. The Lenovo Yoga C630’s display can’t contact the XPS 13.

Apple followers will almost definitely 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 assorted top-of-the-line elements included right here and the port choice. It ought to final various years underneath regular put on and tear.

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

Must you purchase it?

Sure. It’s one of the best 13-inch laptop computer you should purchase, and now not held again by an ungainly webcam.

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