Dell XPS 13 (2016) assessment: Refined perfection
There are many the explanation why I’ve been so protecting of my 2015 XPS 13 over the previous 11 months. As the one member of Professional Opinions to flatly refuse a MacBook Professional, the XPS 13 remains to be my definition of the nigh-on–good Home windows laptop computer. The considered swapping it for one thing else genuinely by no means crossed my thoughts. Properly, not till now.
I didn’t count on Dell to enhance on it with its newest refresh. However I used to be mistaken. Put the 2 fashions aspect by aspect, and there’s barely a jot of distinction between them. However for the truth that the brand new, improved XPS 13 is varnished in a heat rose gold, fairly than the gunmetal-grey end of my very own, I’d have been left taking part in an almost-impossible recreation of spot the distinction.
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Regardless of trying outwardly an identical to its predecessor, the XPS 13 remains to be a wonderful laptop computer in 2017. The lid tapers in the direction of the entrance edge when it is closed, measuring simply 15mm at its thinnest edge, and because it weighs in at 1.29kg, it’s nonetheless loads mild sufficient to hold round day by day.
Dell genuinely hasn’t modified a factor. That solitary Thunderbolt-powered USB Sort-C port can nonetheless be noticed on the left edge, and is accompanied by two common USB three ports, an SD card slot and three.5mm headset jack.
Dell XPS 13 (2016): Efficiency and battery life
By far the most important enchancment is hidden inside. The brand new XPS 13 now comes geared up with a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor clocked at 2.7GHz. This quad-core Kaby Lake chip is kind of the performer, too, scoring a complete of 50 in our demanding 4K benchmarking assessments – a outcome that makes it 9% sooner than final 12 months’s mannequin.
That’s solely a modest efficiency enchancment – certainly, it could have fared a bit higher if Dell has given us the utmost 16GB of RAM – nevertheless it’s no slouch. My last-gen XPS has began buckling below the strain as soon as I open too many Chrome tabs directly, however I’ve had no such points with Dell’s newest.
Don’t count on to do a lot gaming, although. Whereas there’s sufficient energy to maintain Minecraft ticking alongside, Intel’s built-in HD Graphics 620 chip solely has a restricted quantity of horsepower at its disposal. It is vitally marginally faster than the earlier era, however you’ll have to drop the decision and element settings proper down if you wish to get newer video games in your Steam library to run at a good body price.
Battery life, then again, is way from an enchancment. That is the third Kaby Lake-powered laptop computer I’ve examined up to now, and already I’m starting to identify a worrying development. Lasting simply 7hrs 46minutes away from the wall socket is verging on unacceptable, particularly when 2015’s XPS 13 reached 11hrs 30minutes. There’s a transparent power-efficiency problem right here and I think that power-hogging QHD+ display screen could possibly be the perpetrator.
Dell XPS 13 (2016) assessment: Show
It won’t do wonders for battery life, however the QHD+ show is a sight to behold. The super-skinny “Infinity Edge” bezel seems nice, and picture high quality is beautiful. The 13.3in, three,200 x 1,800 show covers 92% of the sRGB color gamut, which makes for gloriously intense colors, and the distinction ratio of 1,109:1 supplies oodles of element from the darkest to the brightest corners of the display screen. The one draw back is that the show’s peak brightness of 290cd/m2 isn’t fairly brilliant sufficient to be used exterior on brighter days.
An non-obligatory touchscreen can also be a part of the bundle, however whereas it could possibly come in useful in some cases – corresponding to juggling between a number of Chrome tabs – it’s extra of a luxurious than a necessity. It additionally provides 90g to the non-touch XPS 13’s 1.2kg beginning weight.
Dell XPS 13 (2016) assessment: Keyboard and touchpad
Fortunately, there haven’t been any important modifications to the keyboard. The keys are properly spaced, and there’s simply the correct quantity of motion and suggestions available with every keystroke. Backlighting nonetheless comes as normal, too.
The touchpad is well-sized, a minimum of so far as the XPS 13’s slender chassis permits. Home windows 10 multi-touch gestures had been carried out with none slip-ups, and it’s straightforward to leap between a number of functions with relative ease. I wasn’t even tempted to plug in a USB mouse whereas working in Photoshop – it’s that good. It does appear to select up greasy fingerprints a bit too simply, although.
One factor that Dell actually ought to have mounted is the XPS 13’s awkwardly positioned webcam. It’s nonetheless situated on the backside left of the show, which signifies that getting an acceptable angle for video chats remains to be difficult – flattering it isn’t.
Dell XPS 13 (2016) assessment: Verdict
Dell’s newest XPS 13 cements its place as the most effective Home windows ultraportable there’s. Battery life stays a sticking level, however with this near-perfect combination of worth, efficiency and portability, there’s nothing else to match it. Or on the very least, nothing that hasn’t received an Apple emblem on it.
Should you’ve already received final 12 months’s mannequin, then there aren’t sufficient enhancements right here to justify an improve. However for those who’re trying to find essentially the most refined Home windows laptop computer available on the market, then Dell’s new XPS 13 is the one to purchase.