Dell XPS 13 Reviewby Brett Howse on February 19, 2015 9:00 AM EST
- Posted in
- XPS 13
Dell launched the 2015 version of their XPS 13 at CES in January, and it made a big impression because of something that was very small. The first thing you see when you look at the XPS 13 is how small the bezels are around the display. At 5.2 mm, they are easily the thinnest display bezels on any laptop made today. Dell claims the XPS 13 is a 13 inch display in the chassis of an 11 inch notebook, and while they have made that claim before, for 2015, it would be hard to argue with them. But the XPS 13 is more than just a display, and Dell has outfitted it with some very modern hardware to give us our first look at an Ultrabook based on the just launched Intel 5th Generation processors, Broadwell-U.
At CES, Dell also told me that the new XPS 13 would have great battery life, with the company claiming that it would get up to fifteen hours. That claim seems hard to believe, with our battery life test topped at just a hair under ten hours by the current leader, the MacBook Air 13. However, this will be our first look at a laptop running on the new 14 nm process from Intel, so we can get a chance to see just how power efficient the new processors are.
Dell is offering quite an arrangement of options as well, allowing the new XPS 13 to fit into a lot more budgets than some of the other premium notebooks around. The base model comes with the Intel Core i3-5010U processor, but if you need more speed you can upgrade to the i5-5200U or i7-5500U. All of the storage options are solid state drives, which is great to see. The base is 128GB, and optional upgrades are to 256GB or 512GB. Memory choices are dual-channel 4GB DDR3L-RS-1600, or a dual-channel 8GB option.
We received two models for testing, with the first being a Core i5-5200U with the 1920x1080 non-touch display, 4GB of memory, and a 128GB SSD, which lists for $900. The second model is the Core i5-5200U, with 2x4GB of memory, a 256GB SSD, and the 3200x1800 touch display. This model lists at $1400.
Update: Originally I had listed the 4 GB model as single channel, but it is actually 2 x 2 GB for dual channel. Sorry for the mistake.
|Dell XPS 13 9343 Specifications|
|Processor||Intel Core i3-5010U
(Dual-core + HT 2.1GHz 3MB L3 14nm 15W TDP)
Intel Core i5-5200U - model tested
(Dual-core + HT 2.2-2.7GHz 3MB L3 14nm 15W TDP)
Intel Core i7-5500U
(Dual-core + HT 2.4-3.0GHz, 4MB L3, 14nm, 15W TDP)
|Memory||2 x 2GB or 2 x 4GB DDR3L-RS-1600
(Dual Channel 8GB Max)
|Graphics||Intel HD 5500
(23 EUs at 300-900MHz on Core i3)
(24 EUs at 300-900MHz on Core i5)
(24 EUs at 300-950MHz on Core i7)
|Display||13.3" Anti-Glare IPS 16:9 FHD (1920x1080)
(Sharp 1420 Panel)
13.3" Glossy IPS 16:9 QHD+ (3200x1800) IGZO2
(Sharp 1421 Panel with Corning Gorilla Glass NBT and Touchscreen)
|Storage||128GB/256GB/512GB SSD (Samsung PM851 M.2 2280)|
|Networking||Dell Wireless 1560 plus Bluetooth 4.0 - model tested
(2x2:2 802.11ac 867Mbps capable Broadcom)
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 plus Bluetooth 4.0
(2x2:2 802.11ac 867Mbps capable)
Intel Dual Band Wireless-N 7265 plus Bluetooth 4.0
(2x2:2 802.11n 300Mbps capable)
Stereo Speakers professionally tuned with Waves MaxxAudio Pro 1w x 2
45W Max AC Adapter
|Front Side||Charge Light|
|Left Side||Headset Jack
1 x USB 3.0 with PowerShare
1 x mini DisplayPort
AC Power Connection
|Right Side||Noble Lock Slot
1 x USB 3.0 with PowerShare
SD Card Slot
|Operating System||Windows 8.1 64-bit|
|Dimensions||11.98" x 7.88" x 0.33-0.6" (WxDxH)
(304mm x 200mm x 9-15mm)
|Weight||2.6 lbs (1.18kg) Non-Touch
2.8 lbs (1.27kg) Touch
|Extras||720p HD Webcam
|Pricing||$800 (i3, 4GB, 128GB, FHD)
$900 (i5, 4GB, 128GB, FHD) - model tested
$1000 (i5, 8GB, 128GB, FHD)
$1300 (i5, 8GB 128GB, QHD+)
$1400 (i5, 8GB, 256GB, QHD+) - model tested
$1600 (i7, 8GB, 256GB, QHD+)
$1900 (i7, 8GB, 512GB, QHD+)
The display has some choices as well. The base model comes with a 13.3 inch 1920x1080 IPS display, with a matte finish, and no touch capabilities. This is still a respectable 165 pixels per inch, and is a good option to keep the costs down. The upgraded display is quite the upgrade. Dell has worked with Sharp to outfit the XPS 13 with an optional 3200x1800 resolution IGZO panel, which features Corning Gorilla Glass NBT over the top, along with ten-point multitouch. This works out to 272 pixels per inch, and the IGZO panel is a full RGB stripe.
There are a couple of other options as well, such as a range of wireless adapters, with the Dell 1560 outfitted on the review laptops that we received. This is a Broadcom wireless adapter, with 802.11ac support. Some of the options, like the 512GB drive, are only available with the top CPU and upgraded display. Dell does offer some degree of flexibility when ordering, but not all options are available for all devices.
Dell has crafted a fine looking laptop, with some new parts from Intel and Sharp paving the way. On paper this is a great start, so let's get into the finer details.
Post Your CommentPlease log in or sign up to comment.
View All Comments
eanazag - Monday, February 23, 2015 - linkA few take-aways from the article numbers -
8 GB of RAM is necessary to boost the graphics numbers in most cases for the IGP. Sometimes the boost is very small, but it is there.
Apple's display is looking pretty substandard compared to the numbers of the other devices.
The battery life of the new Dell is remarkable; Apple needs to hit better numbers to be comparable as Windows is harder on battery life than OSX.
I had a chance to look at this device in person about a week ago. It is a nice device, yet the build quality in hand feels better on the Razer Blade all around. Not Apples to Apples though because the price difference and components. At the end of the day I wanted the Blade more so.
The Dell battery accessory is the best thing about this whole article because I deal with Dell at work. As someone who is caught in Dell's ecosystem that accessory is well thought out for versatility. I could use this for multiple devices that I carry and my users could too.
eanazag - Monday, February 23, 2015 - linkIs the RAM and SSD upgradable by user (or power user)?
milkod2001 - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - linkRAM: no
sonicmerlin - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - linkJust wanted to point out the iPad Air 2 gets the same scores in GFXBench's Trex and Manhattan tests (offscreen). So Apple's tablet SoC has the same graphical power as Intel's ultra book chips, despite operating at a much lower TDP.
sonicmerlin - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - linkBy scores I mean FPS.
candl - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - linkI couldn't find anywhere, but can the SSD drive be replaced? Or does it void warranty (or worse, it's actually soldered to the mainboard)?
candl - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - linkOk, should have investigated further. The SSD is apparently replaceable. Sorry.
miahshodan - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - linkAm I the only one that does not want 16:9 especially in a screen that small. At least give me 16:10 so I can actually put something other than video on the screen without a scroll-fest. That is one thing that makes the surface 3 so appealing to me.
ilkhan - Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - linkno internal pictures?
Can you upgrade the SSD and/or memory?
Johnmcl7 - Sunday, March 1, 2015 - linkNo internal picture seems to be part of the reviews now which is disappointing particularly as these days the internal accessibility of parts can vary considerably.
Thankfully Ifixit have posted a full teardown, the SSD is upgradeable and easy to access but the ram isn't as it's soldered on.