Dell rings new year with revamped XPS 13

by Haadi Bakar
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I’ve always been a huge fan of Dell’s XPS 13 ultrabooks. Out of the many ultrabooks made over the last few years, only the sleek XPS 13 managed to win me over from years of using the Macbook Air.

But after three iterations, the XPS 13 design is starting to look a little outdated, especially after having one upped by the likes of LG Gram and Apple’s new Macbook.

Hoping to keep its award-winning ultrabook line fresh for years to come, Dell announced a redesigned XPS 13 ahead of the 2018 Ahead of the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

The first noticable change is how different the 2018 XPS 13 looks: it’s now smaller, thinner and lighter than the models its replacing. Dell has managed to shrink the XPS 13 from 0.60 inches thick to 0.46 inches, beating almost all new ultrabooks in the market including Apple’s entire new Macbook lineup.

There are also two additional colour schemes this time around: “platinum silver” with a black carbon-fibre composite palm rest, and a rose gold with an “alpine white” woven glass fibre palm rest. Dell says it has invented a new carbon fibre material for the white finish.

The InfinityEdge screen, the star of this 13-inch ultrabook, is now a 4K Ultra-HD display (with a maximum brightness of 400 nits and 100 per cent sRGB colour rating), though Dell also offers a 1080p option. Also, the bezels are now 23 per cent thinner than the previous version, which was already very thin.

Meanwhile, the webcam has been shifted to the bottom centre of the screen, though I think it’s still as awkwardly placed as being on the bottom right of the display on previous generations.

Some changes are also noticable (and probably a little controversial) in the XPS 13’s connectivity options. First off, Dell removed all USB 3.0 ports, in their place two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a single USB-C port. The SD Card reader has also been replaced with a microSD card reader, which would irk some people.

On the plus side, there’s now an integrated fingerprint reader on the power button sitting above the keyboard.

As for performance, the 2018 XPS 13 is a beast as its powered by 8th-generation Intel quad-core processors (i5 or i7) beefed up by an upgraded cooling system that doubles the number of heat pipe and fan.

The new XPS 13 also gets a GPU boost with a new Intel UHD Graphics 620, while storage options start from 128GB and go up to 1TB SSD.

Battery life on this new ultrabook is also stellar at 19 hours, making this one hell of a laptop to beat this year.

The 2018 Dell XPS 13 starts at US$999 (around B$1,330).

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