The Dell XPS 13 laptop will likely end up as one of this decade’s top tech products. Dell unveiled the practically bezel-less laptop at CES in 2015. This blog gave the initial XPS 13 a bad review due to the machine constantly changing brightness levels, the less-than-average trackpad, and the less-than-advertised battery life.
But by the summer of 2015, Dell issued software fixes for most of the issues, and they easily had a MacBook Pro competitor. The 2016 version, released in November of 2015, was an even bigger winner. Now, Dell has revealed the updated 2018 XPS 13 at CES in Las Vegas. It’s (shockingly) smaller than the current model, thinner (impossible!) than the 2017 model, has a 4K option (instead of Quad HD+), comes in different colors, and (allegedly) doesn’t compromise any power.
But there are some things Dell “left off.” In keeping up with the times, they have deleted the USB-A ports and have replaced them with USB-C ports, two which have Thunderbolt capabilities. The SD slot is gone, but you will get a microSD slot instead.
Still, the XPS 13 has received great reviews. Laptop Magazine gives it four-and-a-half stars with an Editor’s Choice award.
“The Dell XPS 13 9370 offers strong performance, long battery life and a stunning screen in a chassis that’s slimmer and more attractive than ever,” says columnist Avram Piltch, adding that the battery life on the 1080p version is a lot better than the XPS 13 with the 4K screen.
Digital Trends is also impressed with the 2018 version of the XPS 13.
“Our brief time with the new XPS 13 left us impressed. It even retains a great keyboard with good key feel, something the XPS 15 2-in-1 sacrificed to shave off a few pounds.”
Dell’s XPS 13 keyboard has always been controversial, especially because there is minimal key travel that can annoy your fingers after awhile. But compared to the “Butterfly Keyboard” on Apple’s new MacBook products, travel on Dell’s keyboard feels like you are going from Alaska to Brazil. I prefer the keyboard on the Surface Book 2, but the device isn’t as portable as Dell’s.
The one thing I’m really curious about is the screen. Compared to recent notebooks by Microsoft and Apple, the late-2017 XPS 13′s screen appears somewhat washed out. Don’t get me wrong; anybody who looks at it will be impressed, but they’ll change their minds once the view the color vibrancy and contrast ratio on the new Surface Book 2 or MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. In many ways, vibrancy, color accuracy, and contrast ratio are more important than the actual screen resolution.
Still, the XPS 13 keeps proving that Dell has gone from a problematic company with quality control issues into a major PC notebook manufacturer. Dell certainly isn’t the next Apple, but they are getting closer.