Still one of the best Win­dows note­books

Dell XPS 13

HWM (Singapore) - - TEST - By Kenny Yeo

While other brands are con­tent to just give their ul­tra­portable note­books a pro­ces­sor up­grade, Dell has de­cided to give its pop­u­lar XPS 13 note­book a through makeover. The re­sult­ingr XPS 13 still looks some­what familiar, but it has an all-new chas­sis and in­nards.

We be­gin with the de­sign and there is a new rose gold col­or­way that comes with what Dell calls an ‘alpine white woven glass palm rest’. Es­sen­tially, the palm rest is white and has a car­bon ber-like weave. To en­sure that it stays white through its life­span, it has been given a spe­cial pro­tec­tive coat to make it re­sis­tant to UV light and stains. For tra­di­tion­al­ists, the XPS 13 is also avail­able in good old black and sil­ver. The new XPS 13 is also thin­ner and lighter. It now mea­sures 11.6mm thick, down from the 15mm of the

model it re­places. Weight has gone down slightly from 1.29kg to 1.21kg.

The dis­play is still what Dell calls In­fin­i­tyEdge, but the bezels are thin­ner than be­fore at 4mm vs. 5.2mm in the older model - a re­duc­tion of 23%. The dis­play is IPS and you can get it in ei­ther Full HD or 4K res­o­lu­tions. With 4K comes touch­screen as well, while the Full HD dis­play is not touch en­abled. Un­for­tu­nately, the thin bezels also mean that the we­b­cam is now po­si­tioned at the bot­tom of the screen, which means very un­flat­ter­ing video an­gles.

The XPS 13 in­ter­nals also gets a bunch of up­dates. Ob­vi­ously, the XPS 13 is now pow­ered by In­tel’s new­est 8th gen­er­a­tion Core pro­ces­sors. Users can choose between the Core i5-8250U and Core i7-8550U. These are In­tel’s rst ever quad-core pro­ces­sors for ul­tra­portable note­books and In­tel claims to de­liver up to 40% greater pro­duc­tiv­ity per­for­mance over last gen­er­a­tion pro­ces­sors. PCIe SSDs come as stan­dard and all XPS 13 note­books will come with ei­ther 8GB or 16GB of mem­ory, de­pend­ing on spec.

To en­sure the pro­ces­sors de­liver their max­i­mum po­ten­tial, the XPS 13 has an all-new cool­ing sys­tem that uses an un­likely ma­te­rial. Gore-Tex was specif­i­cally cho­sen here for its low ther­mal con­duc­tiv­ity and is used to line the in­nards of the XPS 13 to re­pel heat and di­rect it quickly out of the note­book with the help of the cool­ing fans.

In our tests, we found that the new cool­ing sys­tem ac­tu­ally works. There is none of that pesky per­for­mance throt­tling that you get on some other ul­tra­portable note­books. Plus, the XPS 13 per­forms very well as I will elab­o­rate later on. How­ever, it does so at the ex­pense of be­ing noisy. For­tu­nately, the fans only come on and spin at full bore when ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary.

The other big change is the ports. Like most new ul­tra­porta­bles, the XPS 13 for­goes con­ven­tional USB-A ports and makes do with an all USB-C setup. There are three USB-C ports in to­tal, of which two sup­ports Thun­der­bolt 3 and the third sup­ports USB 3.1. Any of the three can be used for power and charg­ing. Ad­di­tion­ally, the XPS 13 also es­chews a full-size SD card reader in fa­vor of a more com­pact mi­croSD card reader. Avid pho­tog­ra­phers are not go­ing to be pleased about this. For­tu­nately, the head­phone jack is still in­tact.

The unit that we tested comes with a Core i7-8550U pro­ces­sor with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of PCIe SSD stor­age. Its per­for­mance was good, es­pe­cially in graph­ics-heavy work­loads. On 3DMark and games, the XPS 13 eas­ily out­per­formed all of its ri­vals with sim­i­lar pro­ces­sors. In fact, its graph­ics per­for­mance was closer to that of the Sur­face Pro, which is run­ning on the more pow­er­ful Iris Plus Graph­ics 640 in­te­grated GPU.

Bat­tery life was good too. De­spite hav­ing a more power-drain­ing 4K dis­play and a slightly smaller bat­tery, the new XPS 13 clocked 4 hours and 6 min­utes in our in­ten­sive bat­tery test, which con­sists of a mul­ti­tude of tasks like word pro­cess­ing, email, web brows­ing, video con­fer­enc­ing, and even light gam­ing.

All things con­sid­ered, the XPS 13 lives up to the rep­u­ta­tion of its pre­de­ces­sor by be­ing a very ne Win­dows note­book. It is a tad noisy, its we­b­cam is in the wrong place, and it is quite pricey, but what you get for your money is a well-built, stylish, pow­er­ful, and por­ta­ble ul­tra­portable. It is not per­fect, but it comes very close.

Pow­er­ful, stylish, por­ta­ble. The new Dell XPS 13 is a top-class Win­dows note­book.

The XPS 13 comes with three USB-C ports with Thun­der­bolt 3 and USB 3.1 sup­port.

The rose gold model has a unique white car­bon-ber like palm rest.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore

© PressReader. All rights reserved.