Dell XPS 13 (2020) review: A top-quality ultraportable gets even better Review

Jeffrey Cuebas

The new 2020 model of the Dell XPS 13 is a top quality ultraportable notebook with a setting up value of £1,399 (inc. VAT £1,165.eighty three ex. VAT), increasing to £1,799 (inc. VAT £1,499.seventeen ex. VAT) as the attributes are piled on. In the US, the value array is $1,199.ninety nine-$2,149.ninety nine. Back again in 2018 I identified the Dell XPS 13 near-fantastic, so it can be a very really hard act to adhere to: how does the newest product measure up?

Provided that mid-array laptops can deal with daily computing requires with relative simplicity, top quality ultraportables are an progressively really hard market. A prime-conclusion process requires to get style, battery lifestyle, screen and keyboard good quality, and interior attributes location-on though shoehorning almost everything into the smallest achievable chassis for the screen sizing on offer you.

In conditions of style, Dell is bang on here. The XPS 13 (2020) is tiny and particularly mild. The setting up body weight of 1.2kg for models devoid of a contact-screen and 1.27kg for contact-screen types like my evaluation unit just isn’t rather as near to the 1kg mark as some could like, but Dell is forgiven for this simply because the aluminium chassis is very solid. I couldn’t bow the lid in my arms at all, and the palm relaxation was rigid underneath tension too.

My evaluation unit had a silver lid and black inside, with the signature woven carbon fibre composite patterning to the palm relaxation that lends it both of those a exclusive look and a non-slip come to feel. There is also a silver (lid) and white (palm relaxation) model of the XPS 13 (2020).

The 13.four-inch XPS 13 (2020) operates on 10th-era Intel Main i5 or i7 CPUs with built-in UHD Graphics or Iris Additionally Graphics. Screens are obtainable with FHD+ (1920×1200) or UHD+ (3840 x 2400) resolution.


Impression: Dell

Dell is executing its bit to keep away from environmentally unfriendly supplies in the develop, and claims ninety% of this notebook is recyclable. The ethic is prolonged to the packaging, which is one hundred% recyclable. 1 day all laptops will at least meet this conventional, and quite a few additional need to be publicising qualifications like this right now.

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Still left facet (prime): USB-C/Thunderbolt three and MicroSD card. Suitable facet (higher than): USB-C/Thunderbolt three and three.5mm audio in/out.


Photographs: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

The XPS 13 (2020) will just about cover underneath a pad of A4 paper, as it measures just 296mm broad by 199mm deep. It is really slender too, remaining just fourteen.8mm at its thickest position, tapering towards the front. This thinness means there’s small room for ports and connectors, and all you get is a pair of USB-C/Thunderbolt three ports, a person on each facet, with a MicroSD card slot on the remaining and a three.5mm headset jack on the appropriate. Both of the USB-C ports can be used to cost the battery, and Dell gives a USB-C to USB three converter in the box. Don’t search for a SIM card slot on this ultraportable though: there’s no mobile broadband choice for the XPS 13.

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The 13.four-inch screen sits in a encompass that is as near to bezel-free as I have viewed. Dell does not give bezel measurements for its Infinity Edge show, but does quotation a 91.five% screen-to-body ratio. Even the bottom bezel, which can normally be relatively large in small-bezel laptops, is impressively tiny here, and I measured the facet bezels at all around 3mm.

The screen in my evaluation unit was a contact panel with three,840-by-2,four hundred-pixel resolution (UHD+, 338ppi). There are also non-contact and 1,920 x 1,200 (FHD+, 169ppi) alternatives. All of the XPS 13 (2020) screens have five hundred-nits brightness and some are anti-reflective, some anti-glare. I identified the screen on my superior-conclusion evaluation unit to be very responsive to contact and pin-sharp in viewing, if somewhat reflective. 

The audio subsystem delivers lots of quantity, but the stereo speakers are missing in bass tones. It is really high-quality for get the job done-centered movie calling (a requirement at the present-day time), but if you want to use your notebook for either get the job done presentations or capture-up movie viewing, you may want an exterior speaker, or to search elsewhere.

SEE: twenty professional tips to make Windows 10 get the job done the way you want (free PDF)

On the subject of movie calling, we’re happy to see that Dell has relocated the webcam to the tiny bezel higher than the screen — a welcome transfer from its placement beneath the screen in the previous model, which delivered a significantly less-than-flattering ‘up the nose’ digicam angle except if the notebook was elevated up on a stand or a pile of guides. A sliding privacy cover would be a good contact, but regrettably Dell would not contain a person. You will find also an infrared digicam for Windows Good day login, or you can use the fingerprint scanner that is neatly disguised in the on/off button that sits in the prime appropriate corner of the keyboard.

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The keyboard is backlit, responsive and comfortable to sort on at speed. It is really also relatively quiet.


Impression: Dell

The backlit keyboard has an particularly mild contact, and the keys have the good bounceback I come across conducive to rapidly contact-typing. The action is about as near to silent as it will get, with just a slight ‘thunk’ sounding as each key is used. If you get the job done in quiet environments, you will recognize this. The comfortable wrist relaxation houses a large and responsive touchpad that labored faultlessly during the evaluation interval.

There are no less than 11 preconfigured iterations of the XPS 13 (2020) obtainable off the webpage. All run on 10th era Intel Main processors and contain Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth five, but they differ considerably in other requirements — some even functioning Ubuntu Linux. As typical with Dell, you can blend and match requirements to customise the configuration.

Listed here are the entry-degree and prime-conclusion off-the-webpage types:

  • Intel Main i5-1035G1, Windows 10 Household, 13.four-inch 1,920 x 1,200 non contact screen, Intel UHD Graphics, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD
    £1,399 (inc. VAT £1,165.eighty three ex. VAT)
  • Intel Main i7-1065G7, Windows 10 Household, 13.four-inch three,840 x 2,four hundred contact screen, Intel Iris Additionally Graphics, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £1,799 (inc. VAT £1,499.seventeen ex. VAT)

My evaluation unit was the prime-of-the-array Main i7/16GB RAM/1TB SSD product with the superior-resolution contact screen. Not shockingly, this performed very well when functioning my typical mainstream productivity workloads.

The 52Whr battery performed fairly well, too. In a person five-hour stint involving producing into a web app, streaming music and viewing the occasional movie, the battery went from 95% to 57%, depleting 38% of its capability. This indicates a complete figure of all around 12.five hours. I remaining the screen at the default brightness placing for this test, which was just a shade below 50%, but in daily usage I might want this at nearer to sixty% for convenience in my property place of work. This would cut down battery lifestyle, as would heavier-responsibility workloads. If this is very likely to be a problem, look at opting for the decreased-resolution FHD+ screen, which will desire a great deal significantly less from the battery.

Conclusions

Absence of ports and connectors on the XPS 13 (2020) will be an challenge for some people today, and the relatively very poor audio good quality may also rankle. Battery lifestyle may also be an challenge with the superior-resolution show if you convert up the brightness and/or run demanding workloads.

In all other respects this is a excellent prime-flight ultrabook: it can be compact and transportable, but resilient, and it can be rapidly, with a fantastic screen and an superb keyboard. You are going to have to spend a honest amount of money about the foundation value to get a superior-resolution contact screen and additional than 512GB of SSD storage though.

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