When it comes to Ultrabooks and laptops these days, the competition is stiff, even more so with the advent of the Broadwell series from Intel. Today, Dell stole the show with their refresh of the XPS 13 laptop, which is now available for purchase.
The XPS series is a high-end Dell laptop and desktop computer line and the XPS 13 has always been one of the best in the Ultrabook category (we have one here at Windows Central, along with our XPS 15). Dell though has partnered with Sharp for an exclusive, near bezel-less display in an outstanding design.
- Intel Broadwell Core i3, i5, or i7 CPU
- 4 or 8 GB of RAM
- Up to 512 GB SSD
- Display: Full HD (1080p) non-touch up to QHD+ with Touch
- 2.6 pounds
- 12-15 hours of battery life (depending on configuration)
- USB 3.0 x2
- Mini display port
- Kensington lock
- Full SD card reader
Exclusive 13.3-inch UltraSharp™ QHD+ (3200 x 1800) infinity touch display
The real story behind the new XPS 13 is the 13.3-inch UltraSharp infinity touch display. Dell started work with Sharp over two years ago to bring the technology to their Ultrabook line. As a result, the XPS 13 has a miniscule 5.2mm border around the display, which is barely noticeable.
Dell tells us that the technology behind that thin bezel is exclusive to the XPS 13 through August of this year, meaning there will be no other Ultrabooks on the market to match this specification. Apple is expected also to shift to Sharp displays, but only the XPS 13 will feature this thin-bezel design through late 2015.
Exceptional battery life
We spoke to Donnie Oliphant, Director, XPS Product Marketing about the battery life of the XPS 13, which can vary depending on the configuration. As it turns out, opting for the Core i3 won't necessarily garner you better battery life over the Core i5 or i7. This discrepancy has to do with the idle versus burst speeds of the chipsets.
However, choosing the Full HD non-touch display over the QHD+ with Touch certainly will improve things, giving you that near 15-hours of battery life. A complete Core i7 with QHD+ touch screen should still push out 12 hours of battery life, so you are looking at a 3 to 4-hour difference if that matters to you.
Oliphant informs us that Sharp's display technology lets Dell push the battery life even further with this device over any other. Combined with Intel's 5th generation Broadwell chipset and efficiencies in Windows 8.1 (and even Windows 10) and the XPS 13 is one of the highest performing Ultrabooks with one of the best displays around.
13-inch Ultrabook in an 11-inch frame
Combined with Sharp's display and Intel's new chipset, Dell can put a 13-inch laptop in the body of an 11-inch design. In comparing to the 13-inch MacBook Air during the press conference, the Dell had an overall smaller footprint in every dimension.
The previous XPS 13 was already the most diminutive 13-inch Ultrabook on the market, but the 2015 version pushes that even further.
I won't beat around the bush here. Between the precision touchpad from Microsoft, the ultra-thin bezel, the gorgeous QHD+ display, the carbon fiber and the 2.6 pound weight, the XPS 13 looks to be an outstanding device.
Even better is how you can choose the $799 option with a Core i3 and Full HD non-touch display. The reason, this is great, is because you get the same chassis as the high-end $1599 option, including that bezel. This ability, to offer many SKUs but with the same Ultrabook design, means this device can finally span the spectrum from affordable to premium. Previously, Ultrabooks were exclusively in the $1299 or higher range, but that changes with Dell.
You can order the Dell XPS 13 starting today from their website, with shipments expected to begin on January 22 or January 28 for the QHD+ version. Microsoft Stores should see the refresh on the XPS 13 and XPS 15 in the "coming weeks".