Dell’s XPS 13 squeezes more screen, more power and even Windows Hello face recognition right…
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EveryEvery time a fresh XPS 13 comes out, the question is always the same: could it be still the very best Windows thin-and-light laptop? I’ll spare you the suspense here: the answer is yes.
If there’s a very important factor Dell is fantastic at, it’s not making sweeping innovations that change what we expect out of a notebook computer (at least, not using its XPS line). It’s determining what should be fixed and methodically addressing issues without breaking other things on the way. 2 yrs ago, it had been the god-awful nosecam. This past year, it was the tiny touchpad and the 16:9 screen. Those were easy fixes and Dell corrected them. The effect is a notebook computer that’s not perfect – nonetheless it does the majority of things almost perfectly. Configurations on Dell’s website currently start at $1,199 – the main one I tested is listed for $1,749.
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The most noticeable change you’ll see from last year’s XPS may be the display. No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you: the 16:9 screen is (finally!) forget about. Dell has shaved a huge chunk off underneath bezel – it’s gone from 19.5mm to 4.6mm. (There’s also a dropped barrel hinge that hides a lttle bit of it below the keyboard deck).
Dell has downsized the most notable and side bezels aswell, producing a 16:10 display that’s 6.8 percent bigger than that of its predecessor. The business claims a 91.5 percent screen-to-body ratio. It’s a whole lot of pixels – almost a million a lot more than last year’s 1080p panel. And some extra millimeters makes a major difference; I felt like I had more space than I do on 16:9 panels, and usually didn’t need to zoom out to comfortably work in two windows hand and hand.
The practically bezel-less design also lends the complete device a fresh premium type of aesthetic. With the logo and the white plastic bumpers gone, in blend with the extended keyboard and touchpad (more on those later), no space is wasted. It’s 2.8 pounds, the same weight as the MacBook Air, but somewhat thinner at 0.58 inches. Personally i think like I’m looking at, and holding, an extremely nice computer.
The screen gets so bright (up to 500 nits) that I came across it uncomfortable to use above thirty percent while I was browsing indoors. The Alien: Covenant trailer looked great, with deep and vivid colors and minimal glare to distract from dark indoor scenes. To nitpick, there is a lttle bit of a blue cast to everything, which turning off the laptop’s Ambient Light Sensor did a lttle bit to neutralize, but didn’t eliminate. It likely won’t impact a everyday user’s viewing experience.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge
As usual, Dell offers several configurations of the XPS 13 on its website. I’ve got the $1,749 one, with a Core i7-1065G7, 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 1920 x 1200 touchscreen.
The $1,199 base model includes a Core i5-1035G1, 8GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a non-touch display – $1,299 gets you that configuration with a touchscreen. These specs ought to be enough for anybody who just intends to browse. In the event that you anticipate gaming, you’ll probably want more storage and RAM.
Photo by Monica Chin / The Verge
The 4K model starts at $1,549; that also buys 8GB RAM, 256GB storage, and a Core i5. And you will max finished . out with an i7, a 2TB SSD, 16GB RAM, a 3840 x 2400 touch display, and Windows 10 Pro for $2,309. (There’s also a $999 model with a Core i3 and 4GB RAM going swimming somewhere, but it’s not currently listed on Dell’s website).
I haven’t been able to check a 4K model, however the 1920 x 1200 touchscreen looks sufficient that anyone who’s not doing imaginative work probably doesn’t have to fork out extra for the higher-resolution panel. Furthermore, the lower-resolution model still offers you a touchscreen option, which wasn’t the case on older models, where you’d to pony up for a 4K screen merely to have touch capability. That one is more than satisfactory for gaming and Netflix viewing, and other reviews indicate that the 4K model is dimmer and can likely suck battery life to below acceptable levels.
There are two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a headphone jack, and a microSD slot (and the notebook computer ships with a USB-A adapter). It’s nice to have USB-C on each side, and I understand legacy ports are falling out in clumps of fashion, but I’d personally trade among the Thunderbolts for an integral USB-A. I still involve some older peripherals I am hoping to obtain additional use out of – you might not, but a more various port selection means neither folks would desire a dongle.
Now, concerning this new processor. You’re not by yourself if you’re confused by Intel’s big mess of 10th Gen chips, so here’s the TL;DR. The late 2019 XPS 13 is powered by a Core i7-10710U, that is a Comet Lake chip with six cores and 12 threads. This XPS comes with an i7-1065G7, which can be an Ice Lake processor – four cores and eight threads. This may appear to be a downgrade in some recoverable format, but that actually is determined by what you’re trying to accomplish. Extra cores offer you an edge in computational tasks – crunching numbers, compiling code, elaborate things in Excel. But Ice Lake is way better for tasks that may leverage a GPU (gaming, photography and video work, etc.) because of Iris Plus, its far superior Gen 11 integrated graphics.
Iris Plus delivered possibly the best gaming performance I’ve seen from a built-in GPU. The XPS breezed through League of Legends, averaging frame rates in the reduced 160s rather than dipping below 110, and pulled a steady 70fps in Rocket League on maximum settings, with a minimal of 41. Overwatch was even playable on Ultra settings, hovering in the reduced 40s with a minimal of 21. (On Epic settings, it delivered mid-30s. On Medium, low 50s). That’s much like the performance we got from last year’s Razer Blade Stealth, which ran an MX150 discrete graphics card. I’m comfortable saying given that if you wish to accomplish light gaming, you no longer require to work with a low-tier MX chip. This technique got the work done just fine.
Of course, the XPS isn’t a gaming rig at all. Shadow of the Tomb Raider had not been playable, stumbling along at typically 17fps on the cheapest settings. It wasn’t simply a stuttery experience; it had been like watching a flip book. I’m aware that running Tomb Raider upon this machine is overkill; anyone who would like to play that isn’t buying an XPS 13 with integrated graphics as their primary device. I only mention such a graphics-heavy task because it’s the main point where the limits learn to show.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge
The XPS handled my daily multitasking – swapping between 15-20 Chrome tabs, Slack, and Spotify, often with downloads running in the backdrop – with out a stutter. Multitasking did cause some heat, particularly in the keyboard area. Beyond gaming, these devices was never uncomfortable in my own lap, but my fingers could often feel heat under the keycaps when I was running only eight tabs – and the keyboard was downright hot during games (even League). The glad tidings are that the XPS does an excellent job of keeping the CPU cool. I never experienced throttling, and the i7 stayed fairly constantly in the high 60s and low 70s throughout my 30-minute session of Tomb Raider. The fans, meanwhile, were audible, however, not annoyingly loud.
Heat is my only major complaint relating to this device; the rest ranges from satisfactory to exceptional. The battery life, for instance, is not the very best in the category, but it’s still very good. Handling my typical workload (described above) at 50 percent brightness (brighter than I typically need indoors, as noted earlier), the XPS lasted seven hours and 20 minutes on the battery saver profile (which didn’t cause any slowdown). Which should nearly get you through a workday, and the screen is bright enough that you may easily browse at 30 or 40 percent if you want more juice.
I was also in a position to finish a 90-minute movie at maximum brightness with about 80 percent left in the tank. Even gaming on battery was decent; I acquired three hours of League of Legends in performance mode at full brightness. The overall game was playable for a lot of that point, dropping below acceptable thresholds at around 15 percent.
For days gone by year, the XPS 13’s keyboard and touchpad have already been the best keyboard and touchpad available to buy. Their 2020 variants continue steadily to earn their stripes. Dell hasn’t ported over the butterfly keys of the XPS 2-in-1; these keys have 1mm of travel, and they’re snippy, satisfying, rather than too loud. My fingers flew, and I made fewer mistakes than usual. The keyboard is currently edge-to-edge, and the keycaps are 9 percent larger. That doesn’t seem to be like much, but I could feel the difference. The touchpad can be 17 percent bigger than last year’s model; the top is delightfully smooth and the click is effortless.
The music isn’t what you’ll get from a reliable external speaker, but it’s still about as effective as anything I’ve have you ever heard from a laptop. Bass wasn’t strong, however the percussion had some oomph, and the bottom-mounted speake