Text and photos By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
Dell's latest entry in the Ultrabook space challenges all our preconceived notions that thin and light notebooks are fragile and delicate. The Dell XPS13 is just as thin and while heavier than the competition, feels far more solid and robust than a lot of its Ultrabook Ilk.
Dell has outfitted the XPS 13, starting at $1,099.99, with a machined aluminum case as well as a bonded Gorilla Glass screen. The bottom of the XPS 13 is coated in silicone which adds substantial grip and protection plus makes the XPS 13 feel more than adequate for day to day use.
This is a 13-inch notebook that feels and looks more like a 12-inch model. Dell has managed to design and craft a thin and relatively light ultraportable with optimum screen space. The XPS 13 is 0.8 by 13.2 by 9.2 inches (HWD) and weighs 4.7 lbs which is heavy for an ultrabook of this size but Dell makes up for this by making the XPS 13 feel sturdy.
Opening up the clamshell, reveals a solid looking shiny black keyboard with chiclet keys. This keyboard is backlit and has good spacing between the keys. The rest of the palmrest, trackpad and most of the bottom case is covered in rubber which adds to the XPS 13's rugged but refined feel.
Not only is this a very good looking notebook, it feels great all around. It defies the idea that Ultrabooks need to feel delicate and at times flimsy. The keyboard could be more responsive but it is easy enough to get used to.
The Dell XPS 13 comes with the third generation Core i5 or i7 processors under the Ivy Bridge architecture. These are the latest and greatest mobile processors available. RAM configurations range from 4GB to 8GB.
In terms of battery life, the XPS 13 really delivers all-day computing. Boasting 11-hours of battery life on a full charge is more than enough for most users and will shine in any long-haul flight thanks to the 69WHr 8-cell Li-Polymer battery.
Connectivity is composed of 2 USB 3.0 ports, one mini Display Port, one HDMI port and a RJ-45 port plus a 3-in-1 card reader, headset jack and a mini Kensington lock for security.
Overall, the XPS 13 is a robust and powerful Ultrabook option that has all the latest technologies in a slim form factor. It differentiates itself from the competition by upping the level of build and materials while offering competitive technologies.
While not the thinnest or the lightest, it is easily the toughest and most robust Ultrabook I have tested to date and one that most business users will truly appreciate.
Rating: 4 out of 5