Blog 004. Dell XPS 13 Review.

Blog 004. Dell XPS 13 Review.

Dell XPS - Image by Andri Koolme used under a Creative Commons License

Today we are taking a look at the Dell XPS 13 laptop. Let me start of by saying that I have been a Mac user for the past 10 years so there might just be some bias in this review. That said like many others  I wasn’t very happy with the direction Apple had been taking recently so I started exploring. Over the past few years I tried several Macbooks, the Surface Pro, the XPS and even installed Windows 10 as a trial on my iMac.

Specs

  • 3.5 GHZ 7th Generation know as Kaby Lake Intel Core i7-7500U  

  • 16 GB Ram

  • Intel HD Graphics 620

  • 13.3” QHD+ InfinityEdge Touch Display

  • 512GB PCIe Solid State Drive

  • 2 USB 3.0 – 1 w/PowerShare

  • 1 SD card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC)

  • 1 Headset jack 

  • 1 Noble lock slot

  • 1 Thunderbolt™ 3 / USB – C 

  • Windows 10

Screen – The borderless InfinityEdge touch display really is beautiful. It uses an edge-to-edge. Corning® Gorilla® Glass NBT™ panel. By far the best part of the XPS. Absolutely no question about, you will love this screen. Before I bought the XPS I thought that the touch screen feature was going to be a great addition. In all honesty however other than the first few days of testing I never really use it. I can see some uses however if you change your laptop habits.

Trackpad – The trackpad is pretty good for a windows PC, however coming from an Apple machine it just feels subpar and inaccurate. Seriously, if you haven’t tried a trackpad on a Macbook you don’t know what they should be like!

Speakers – They are OK. Nothing to rave about and are just about good and loud enough to watch a few videos online. Wouldn’t go much further than that.

Webcam – One of the biggest disappointments that really does knock off points. The camera itself is absolutely fine with a 720p resolution however the placement at the bottom of the screen is poor. So much so that I avoid using unless I absolutely have to.  

Battery – Don’t think I quite matched Dell’s 8 or so hour under heavy usage but at the same I never needed to use the laptop for 8 hours straight without access to power. Therefore I’d say it’s good enough for day to day use even under heavy use conditions.

Performance – As good as it gets from a 13 inch machine really. From photographers point of view with the majority of time spent using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop it never really skipped a beat.

Build Quality –  According to Dell the XPS line is “Artfully constructed from premium materials”. It features an aluminum exterior and carbon fibre interior. The carbon fibre helps to shave a few grams off and is cooler to the touch. As good as this looks however I couldn’t believe how susceptible this is to finger and palm prints! This thing is like magnet. Again, the screen looks and feels like a top end element and is definitely one of the best laptop screens I have ever come across. 

As far as Windows laptops go this truly is a very high end machine, however when compared to the likes of a MacBook it just feels subpar and almost cheap. Don’t get me wrong this is far from a “cheap” and is a great machine. Just doesn’t  quite match the feel you get from a MacBook Pro which is the direct competitor.

And on top of that the laptop just doesn’t balance right. Maybe it was my machine but the feet were off balance so it would rock around on the desk depending on where my hand was positioned. Finally the CPU whine is real. Yes it’s minor but still very annoying in a quiet room and honestly not what I expect from a 2000 dollar machine. I tried a few of the proposed fixes online but nothing solved this. 

Conclusion – A great laptop which I highly recommend to anyone looking for a Windows machine. I’d go as far as to say this is the best 13 inch windows laptop you can get at this point. And it’s pretty much down to one reason. Windows 10. I admin this is a huge improvement to previous generations and almost liked it. But I am way too embedded in the Apple Ecosystem, which just works for me at the moment.