Dubai: Dell’s new ultra-thin laptop, XPS 13, looks and feels like a truly premium product and, with a nice keyboard and respectable performance.
It is fair to say that Dell has done a really good job with the design. One of the features that Dell emphasises the most is the carbon-fibre material visible at the bottom of the laptop. It contributes to the overall rigidity of the XPS 13 chassis and the finish is impeccable.
The grippability is further aided by a pair of rubber feet that run the width of the bottom of the unit. These also do a fine job of elevating the laptop slightly so that the ridge of air vents on the bottom can do their thing.
The engineering of the screen is also an impressive aspect. There’s almost no bezel around the edge.
On the right side, there is a battery indicator, a displayport and a full-size USB port. On the left side, you can find the power connector, another full-size USB port and a 3.5mm headphones connector.
The limited port selection doesn’t include HDMI, Ethernet or an SD card slot
Dell should have ditched the battery indicator and put an SD card socket in there instead.
The XPS 13.3-inch laptop is powered by a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-2467M processor with 4GB of RAM and I found it to be more than adequate for general computing tasks, including writing this very review. It has a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels and configured with a 128GB SSD.
The XPS 13 measures 7mm at its thinnest point and 18mm at its thickest and weighs 1.36 kilos.
Unfortunately, the XPS 13 does not have a discrete graphics processor (GPU), only the Intel HD 3000 graphics hold it back in terms of performance, as you won’t be able to play much beyond casual and social games; but neither will you be able to on any other current ultrabook.
Unfortunately, the middling resolution, iffy color reproduction, and poor off-axis viewing leave a considerable stain on what would otherwise be a grand product.
The keys are large and make them particularly readable while it is also backlit.
The trackpad is also very slick and I found minimal frustration with two-finger scrolling or tapping the two, subtle, buttons at the bottom of the pad.
The image looks good if you stand right in front of it, but the colours can change relatively quickly when the angle changes. To some degree, most laptops have that problem to some extent, but I found it a bit more obvious on this laptop.
A cold boot is completed in a very respectable 17 seconds and the system wakes from a sleep within two seconds.
One of the XPS 13’s neatest features is Smart Connect technology, which lets the laptop periodically wake itself from sleep mode as long as it’s connected to a WiFi and updates your Outlook email and calendar, social networking sites and other active applications.
The XPS 13 and its six-cell, non-removable battery soldiered through my standard battery rundown test of videos looping endlessly for a respectable five hours before succumbing to exhaustion and normal activities for 6.50 hours. In standby mode, it can stay for more than one week without losing charge. It is priced at Dh4,899.