Dell XPS 13 Review (2015 i5 version)
The latest version of the Dell XPS 13 comes with the popular InfinityEdge display, which makes the visual experience stunning and a build quality fit for a king. With the latest Skylake processor and impressive hardware specs, the Dell XPS 13 is a quality Ultrabook which is nothing short of a marvelous piece of technology. Check out our full review below.
Design and Build
The XPS lineup had been quite consistent with its design and build quality over the years, and the XPS 13 follows the tradition as well. Weighing exactly 1.226 Kg, the Dell XPS 13 offers a spectacular 13-inch screen which has been replicated into the footprint of an 11-inch laptop, thanks to its edge-to-edge display.
Regarded as the world’s smallest 13-inch Ultrabook, the Dell XPS 13 is easy to carry around and the perfect companion for travelling businessmen, professionals and students. While the lid of the XPS 13 has been crafted out of engineered aluminium with the darker Dell logo at its heart, the inner, side edges and bottom of the laptop is made from matte black carbon fiber.
The materials used in the construction of the Dell XPS 13 give it an ergonomic impression with the soft-touch rubbery finish and does a fine job of keeping the fingerprints away. The hinges hold the InfinityEdge display firmly, the large palm-rest ensures comfortable typing, and the glass touchpad adds the touch of class that a premium Ultrabook deserves.
Although available in multiple models, the reviewed version of the Dell XPS 13 comes with a 13.3-inch Full-HD display with a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. While the FHD screen may not replicate images with crisp quality of the QHD, it brings down the price of the laptop considerably and offers better battery performance.
The Dell XPS 13 display was put to test to measure the contrast, which was recorded to be 1453:1, with a significantly lower black value of 0.191 cd/m2. The sRGB color gamut promised by Dell is 72%, but tests show a slightly lower score of 68%.
The Dell XPS 13 has been fitted with a matte finish display, which makes it ideal for use outdoors. The IPS panel of the display ensures extra-wide viewing angles and consistent color contrast in almost any light condition. The CBAC auto-brightness of the Dell XPS 13 cannot be manually adjusted by the users, as it can be in most of the laptops.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard fitted in the Dell XPS 13 has not received any upgrades or changes when compared to the models from the previous years. The Chiclet-style keyboard offers short strokes, but the feedback is accurate, making it a pleasure to type with. The keyboard comes with backlight illumination, and its brightness can be adjusted as well.
As mentioned earlier, the touchpad has been constructed out of high quality glass, which adds more than just looks to the Dell XPS 13. The fairly large touchpad is similar to the previous models, and does not require any upgrade. The right and left click buttons have been integrated into the touchpad, while the gestures, scrolling and pinch-zoom features work perfectly as well.
Under the Hood
When it comes down to performance, the Dell XPS 13 leaves very little to be desired. The integrated 6th Gen Intel Core i5-6200U processor (Skylake) performs with a clock speed up to 2.8GHz, breaking the performance barrier of most Ultrabooks. With 4GB LPDDR3 RAM added to the fold, you can stream multiple movies, and work through a large spreadsheet without any hiccups in performance.
In terms of storage, our reviewed Dell XPS 13 version comes with a humble 128GB HDD which may does bring super-fast transfers, but may be too less in terms of capacity. While the XPS 13 beats the Yoga 900 in terms of transfer speed, it falls short of the ultra-fast transfer rates of the MacBook Air’s flash memory.
When compared through the Geekbench test, the Dell XPS 13 scored 6,391, which easily topped the Yoga 900, which comes with a larger processor, and the MacBook Air as well. However, when put through the spreadsheet test, the XPS 13 paired 20,000 names and addresses in 4 minutes 34 seconds, while the Yoga and the MacBook Air were slightly better.
• The InfinityEdge display reduces footprint and elevates the visual experience.
• Compact chassis built with premium grade materials for durability and style.
• Battery life is quite impressive.
• The backlit keyboard and glass touchpad form a fantastic typing experience.
• The position of the webcam is compromised due to the bezel-less display.
• Limited upgrade options.
The Final Verdict
Dell introduced the XPS 13 as the ideal MacBook Air opponent for Windows, and with each year it gets closer to perfection. The improved Skylake chipset ensures even more firepower than before, while the InfinityEdge display gives the XPS 13 the buying factor that it needs. The premium materials used in its construction and lightweight build makes it one of the best Ultrabooks in the Australian market today.
The limited upgrades available for the Dell XPS 13 means that there is only so much the laptop can do before it peaks its performance mark. However, since the laptop comes with nothing less than the latest hardware, the current configuration of the XPS 13 should last a long time, without any hassles. There is also the issue of auto-brightness, which cannot be controlled by the users, which should receive a software fix from Dell.
Review date: December 8, 2015
Price at the time of review: $1799 from Dell’s Australian website. Note – there can be deals from time to time on Dell’s website, or even their eBay store. At the present no Aussie retailer is selling the XPS 13