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Dell XPS 13 2015 Laptop Review

Dell XPS 13 2015 – Another impressive-looking new laptop

Fresh from the newly updated Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2015, another laptop getting a CES 2015 update is the Dell XPS 13. The 2015 edition claims to have the longest battery life of any 13-inch laptop – up to 15 hours says Dell – while the screen bezel measures an incredible 5.2mm. It looks stunning.

The key benefit of the the slim bezels besides looking awesome is the Dell XPS 13 is effectively a 13-inch laptop in the body of an 11-inch laptop. It’s very compact, which makes the battery life claim all the more impressive.

Watch our video hands-on with the Dell XPS 13 2015

Dell XPS 13 2015 Release Date and Price: The Dell XPS 13 2015 is on sale in the US today from $799. Pricing and availability for other regions is not yet available.

Update: 08/01/15 More Specs and Feature Information
We lacked more detailed information when we first saw the Dell XPS 13 2015, but we now know more thanks to the listing on Dell’s website.

The entry-level spec has a 2.1GHz Core-i3, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD and a non-touch Full HD screen. Next up, at $999, adds 8GB RAM and 2.2GHz Core i5 with Turbo Boost. You’ll need £1,299 to get the Quad HD+ touchscreen, while the $1,599 adds a 256GB SSD and an i7 that Turbo Boosts all the way to 3.0GHz.

That’s the hard specs, but there are a few other interesting things. The screen cover is Gorilla Glass NBT, which is fine, but the battery life differs between versions with the Full HD ones lasting a claimed 15 hours and the Quad HD+ up to 12 hours. Dell will also sell an optional 1,200mAh Power Companion, which will extend battery life to up to 22 hours!

We also have more detail about the screen, which is a second generation IGZO backplane IPS LCD. Dell claims a ’72 per cent colour gamut’ but doesn’t say what colour gamut, sRGB or Adobe RGB, this actually refers to. The screen has a claimed 1000:1 contrast ratio

I’m going to focus on the design more than anything else, partly because it’s great and partly because Dell has furnished us with little useful spec info yet. I’ll update that info once it’s available. The Dell XPS 13 2015 clearly uses Intel’s new 14nm processors and has SSD storage, but we could have guessed that without the press release.

What is revealed is pretty interesting, though. The screen is a big draw. Dell describes it as an UltraSharp Quad HD Infinity display, which is rather long winded. Translated this means it has a 3200 x 1800 resolution – that’s the Quad HD bit – and it’s very bright, up to 400 nits, which I guess is what the ‘Infinity’ part stands for. It’s worth pointing out this display is optional as there will be a Full HD option as well, but those with the budget to spend will want this screen.

Why? Because it’s bright, sharp, colourful and very responsive – it’s a touchscreen, too. The super-slim bezel is incredible, while tight gap between the screen and its cover lends the screen a tangible and ‘real’ feel that’s very much akin to the very best smartphones. Did I mention the bezel is incredible? Oh yes, I did, it still is.

Everything else about the design is solid and attractive. The soft-touch underside gives the 2015 XPS 13 a tactile quality few can match, and the build quality is exemplary.

The only potential pain point is the keyboard. It’s not bad, but it’s not a patch on the wondrous ThinkPad X1 Carbon or the MacBook Air. The keys are a tad smaller to squeeze them into the ’11-inch’ chassis and the key travel is a little shallow. I’d wager many people would have no problem with it, but the fussier among you will want to try it out first.

Connectively is limited due to the compact size, though no more so than rivals. There are two USB 3.0 ports, Mini DisplayPort, an SD card slot and the usual audio jacks. There’s no confirmation on the Wi-Fi used, but anything less than 802.11ac would be very surprising.


Early Verdict

Awesome looks, compact design and long battery life – no one could criticise the Dell XPS 13 2015 with a straight face. The keyboard might put some people off, but here is yet more evidence that Apple’s next MacBook Air update needs to deliver the goods.

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