Dell XPS 13 (2020) Review: Close to Perfect, Yet Again

Past year, I explained the XPS 13 2019 was about as shut to great as a compact laptop was going to get. Dell is back with a further XPS 13 and—wait for it—it’s even far better.

It truly is a assortment of small points that make this 2020 design far better than the past. That will not mean you must toss the 1 you just acquired in favor of this just one, but if you happen to be in the market place for a effective, transportable, and fashionable laptop, you will be tricky-pressed to come across a much better obtain.

Fulfill the New Boss

Photograph: Dell

I very own a 2018 Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition, and placing up this newest model—which Dell has numbered the XPS 13 9300—it’s practically unattainable to convey to them aside when they’re sitting down future to each and every other with the lids closed. The exterior style has remained the exact for a number of years. Open them up, even though, and the pair are wildly diverse.

The most obvious advancement in the 2020 version is the greater screen. Dell’s InfinityEdge display screen has always had some of the thinnest bezels on the market place, on 3 sides anyway: The bottom of past types retained a much larger bezel. Which is not the situation anymore. Now you can find a uniform, slim bezel all the way around, and this adjustments the display screen component ratio to 16:10. What does that mean for you? It adds a recognizable little bit of additional display real estate.

I know what you’re imagining. Does 50 % an inch genuinely make that substantially variance? I want to say no, due to the fact I never feel like it ought to, but it thoroughly does. It’s seriously awesome, and I pass up it every time I go back again to the older model. That very little little bit of extra headroom will make website internet pages more readable, staring at Slack fewer of a chore, and it implies I can see my images a tiny improved when I edit them in Darktable.

The keyboard has witnessed a significant revamp way too. The outdated structure employed break up keys for the arrow keys, with (50 percent) buttons for page up and site down on major of the remaining and suitable arrow keys. In the 2020 design, the dedicated site buttons are absent. In its place, the remaining and correct arrow keys have turn into entire-size buttons. To hit page up and web page down, you need to keep down the Purpose important and strike the up and down arrow keys. As someone who by no means works by using site keys, I substantially desire the new structure, but you may perhaps dislike the adjust.

The backlight distinction ratio with the white keyboard is continue to far too reduced in all but the darkest of rooms. If not, the a little more substantial keys are welcome, specially the Change, Enter, and Caps Lock keys. The touchpad is a little bit even bigger also and won’t seem to experience from the stray appropriate-click on issue I experienced with the previous XPS.

Minor Gripes

Photograph: Dell

I am less thrilled about the new hinge, which Dell says is additional “refined” and isn’t going to attract as a lot notice. It would not operate as well at keeping the lid closed, anything I experienced no hassle with on the older product. The new hinge has a inclination to flop open when the XPS is sideways. It is really not a offer breaker, but it indicates your keyboard and screen will get much more things on them when the notebook is in your bag. (And indeed, I did put the XPS 13 in a backpack and stroll around my household, given that I are unable to go anywhere correct now.)

My only other gripe is that a single of the USB-C ports is absent. We’re now at a paltry two, but the good news is, they are on reverse sides of the equipment, not like on the MacBook Air. It will allow you to in good shape bulkier dongles devoid of owning to unplug a little something from the other port.

A great deal of Energy

The Dell XPS 13 I analyzed is white with a 10th-era Intel Core i7 CPU, 16 GB of RAM, 512 gigabytes SSD, and a 4K display screen ($1900 at Dell), which is the greatest configuration offered. It has far more than enough electric power to handle an average day of get the job done jogging a world-wide-web browser, employing the Windows subsystem for Linux, videoconferencing with Zoom, chatting with coworkers on Slack, and streaming songs to a Bluetooth speaker.

I place it although a benchmarking suite as properly, and it returned fantastic scores for most use conditions. I also pushed it by executing some online video encoding and discovered that while it does warmth up, it never turned not comfortable, even when I had the XPS in my lap.

Dell has several models of the XPS 13 9300 accessible. At the price range end, there is a design with an Intel Core i3 with 4 gigabytes of RAM ($999, however not at present available). This product just isn’t heading to have everywhere around the functionality of the i7 chip I examined, but it will be great if your jobs contain world-wide-web searching, observing movies, and mild place of work do the job. If you strategy to do much more, I advise upgrading to the Main i5 or Main i7 model. The middle possibility of a Core i5, 8 gigabytes of RAM, a 512 SSD, and 1080p screen is a superior deal at $1,350.

As with any device, battery everyday living on the XPS is dependent tremendously on what you’re undertaking with it. On our standard video clip playback test at 75 percent brightness I obtained approximately 13 hours, which is amid the greatest out of all the laptops we have examined. It blows away even the new MacBook Air, which only managed a minor less than 8 several hours.

At the identical time, re-encoding some Battlestar Galactica DVDs with Handbrake shot down the battery life to hardly more than four hours. Someplace in the center is the everyday fact, which is that I was ready to routinely perform eight hrs on this laptop without needing to worry about charging it. If you opt for the model with the 1080p-resolution monitor, count on your battery lifestyle to be even better.

This is a Home windows machine that matches every thing about Apple’s MacBook Air and even bests it in numerous approaches. Suffice to say, the newest Dell XPS 13 provides.

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