Our most recent Dell laptop review was of a two-in-one running Chrome OS which had been designed to be roughly handled by kids at school. This Dell review, however, is of a very different machine; one you definitely won't want your kids slinging into their backpacks each morning. We test the sleek Dell XPS 13.
This Windows 10 laptop features, as you might have guessed, a 13.3inch screen, but is a lot slimmer and smaller than your typical 13inch laptop. Why? Well, the Dell XPS 13 features the world's first InfinityEdge display, meaning there is hardly any border to the screen section. Coupled with a very toned and skinny body on the keyboard section, this all makes for a very compact package. We think in the hand it feels more like an 11 inch laptop, but with a 13 inch screen.
On the inside you get (on the lowest spec version available) a 7th generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB solid state drive. Slap an extra £100 on that, and you increase the processor to an i7, or for an extra £200 on top the RAM will rise to 16GB and the drive to 512GB. Still, even the entry level device is highly powered and entirely capable, and Windows 10 runs very naturally and quickly on it.
The Dell XPS 13 is a great laptop to hold in your hand. The outer casing is brushed aluminium (with ours coming in a very attractive Rose Gold), while the palm rest and keyboard surround is carbon fibre. The screen is constructed from Corning Gorilla Glass and sits in a display section which is probably the thinnest we've ever seen in a laptop. It is also a touchscreen, which adds a nice degree of flexibility to using it, especially when operating something like Netflix. The resolution is an impressive 3200x1800p, and by God it is glorious. Despite the overall slightness of the build, the Dell XPS 13 still feels very robust and solid.
One major thing that struck us about the Dell XPS 13 was the life of the rechargeable battery. Dell claim it can, on a full charge, last up to 22 hours of light use. We assume this light use involves switching off the WiFi, but the most we got out of it was 13 hours of fairly heavy use. We were writing in Word, watching YouTube, the streaming a bit of the aforementioned Netflix – all with the WiFI on – and it lasted 13 fricking hours! By far the best battery life of any laptop we've ever reviewed... and it also features a battery level indicator light on the side. We love that, as it means we can check the power level when leaving the house in the morning without having to switch it on.
Speaking of the sides: the ports on the Dell XPS 13 include two USB 3.0, a USB-C, an SD Card port, a headphone jack, a security lock, and a power input which is refreshingly small. In fact, the power adaptor included with the machine is quite compact and very portable, folding up to something no bigger than your fist. Which is always nice.
The multi-touch trackpad, the touchscreen, the backlit keyboard... it all adds up to a very well-considered laptop that clearly has experienced and pro users in mind. Although the size and weight (starting at just 1.2kg) makes it perfect as a portable notebook for students and travellers, the high-performance processor and RAM means it works just as well as a work horse for video or sound editing, as well as gaming. It feels like it shouldn't be able to do that kind of thing, because it is so small and light, but by-crikey it can.
We've reviewed more powerful laptops in the past, but the Dell XPS 13 is... wait for it... our favourite yet. We don't say that lightly, either, but all the factors that we find very useful and essential in a computer are right here, with the added bonus of it looking hot damn sexy, too.
Starting at £1149