I’ve been using the Dell XPS 13 for several months, and I’ve recently completed almost a full month of travel with the it as my only laptop. During this time, I found that it performed extremely well, and it will be replacing my 11″ MacBook Air. Here’s why I think you should consider the XPS, too.
The Dell XPS 13 Is Incredibly Thin and Light
Weighing in at just 2.6 pounds and measuring 12″ wide x 7.9″ deep x 0.6″ thick at its widest point, the XPS 13 is only a little bit bigger than the extremely portable 11″ MacBook Air. I realize that it might seem odd to compare a 13″ laptop to Apple’s smallest netbook, but because they are so close in size (and because the 11″ Air is the smallest laptop I own), the comparison is one that just feels natural for me to make. The fact that the Dell XPS 13 is gorgeous and can hold its own when placed next to other beautiful hardware doesn’t hurt, either.
It Has Many Ports and Connection Possibilities
Did you feel a twitch of gear envy when Apple revealed their svelte new 12″ MacBook? Its impressive retina screen and gorgeous minimalist design definitely struck a chord with many of us (Dan is going to place his order as soon as they begin accepting them), but there was one thing about it that gave me pause: that single USB-C port.
Sure, there are those who pack their laptops into their lightest bag, and they wouldn’t think to include a charger because they’re only going to be working at a coffee shop for a few hours. If that’s you, then the lack of ports won’t matter. But when I’m away from my desk, I might need an SD card slot, or I might need to plug my laptop in at some point to top off its power, or I might need to plug my phone in to give its battery a boost.
I get it if you never need to do any of those things when away from your desk, but generally when I’m out with my laptop, it’s because I’m traveling. I need options or else I’ll start feeling limited. When I use the Dell XPS, I appreciate its two USB 3.0 ports and the SD card slot; I don’t get port anxiety, and I never wonder about how I will juggle to make everything work.
It Has a Backlit Keyboard
Have you ever needed to work on your laptop in less than ideal lighting conditions? If so, then you know the value of a backlit keyboard. It’s one of those features that sounds “nice” when you don’t need it, but the first time you find yourself sitting in less than optimal light as you try to bang out a post without it … well, then you’ll understand why I won’t ever again be satisfied with a laptop that doesn’t have backlit keys.
It Has a Lovely Infinity Display
One of the things I most enjoy on the Dell XPS is its gorgeous 13.3″ Quad HD+ 3200 x 1800 touchscreen infinity display. I still marvel at the fact that this screen has such a slim bezel, and I find myself wondering why all other computer manufacturers don’t follow a similar tact.
With that said; yes, I still find it odd to have the camera on the bottom left of the screen; if I were a regular Skype user, I would probably hate it. But I’m not. So if possibly unflattering camera angles are an issue for you when Skyping or filming yourself, then you might not like the Dell XPS 13’s camera placement. It’s not where you’d expect to see a camera; no doubt about it.
It Has Decent Battery Life
While I haven’t been able to get more than about five hours in one sitting from the XPS, I’ve found that to be on par with my MacBook Air, so I haven’t had any real reason to grumble.
If you like the idea of the XPS, and you know you’ll be traveling quite a bit, then you really should throw down and get the $220 Dell Power Companion and Premier backpack.
This excellent, well-organized (and TSA friendly) backpack has proven to be large enough to carry all of my gear on extended trips. It also has perfect pockets for the XPS charger and an incredibly convenient built-in12,000mAh power source which can top off my laptop as well as two other portable devices. This was invaluable in Barcelona when I realized that I had forgotten to pack a USB travel charger. Yeah … I did that.
You can read my first impressions post about the Dell XPS 13 here.
The XPS 13 comes in various configurations; prices start at $799.99, and the top of the line version I was sent sells for $1449.98.
Source: Manufacturer provided long-term review sample