Dell XPS 13 (2020) review: A top-quality ultraportable gets even better Review

Maria J. Danford

The new 2020 model of the Dell XPS thirteen is a quality ultraportable laptop with a setting up cost of £1,399 (inc. VAT £1,165.eighty three ex. VAT), climbing to £1,799 (inc. VAT £1,499.17 ex. VAT) as the attributes are piled on. In the US, the cost selection is $one,199.ninety nine-$two,149.ninety […]

The new 2020 model of the Dell XPS thirteen is a quality ultraportable laptop with a setting up cost of £1,399 (inc. VAT £1,165.eighty three ex. VAT), climbing to £1,799 (inc. VAT £1,499.17 ex. VAT) as the attributes are piled on. In the US, the cost selection is $one,199.ninety nine-$two,149.ninety nine. Again in 2018 I located the Dell XPS thirteen around-fantastic, so it is a quite really hard act to abide by: how does the most current model measure up?

Presented that mid-selection laptops can deal with day-to-day computing requirements with relative simplicity, quality ultraportables are an significantly really hard market. A best-close system requirements to get design and style, battery lifetime, screen and keyboard high quality, and inner attributes spot-on although shoehorning anything into the smallest probable chassis for the screen dimensions on offer you.

In terms of design and style, Dell is bang on right here. The XPS thirteen (2020) is compact and extremely gentle. The setting up excess weight of one.2kg for units without a touch-screen and one.27kg for touch-screen designs like my overview unit isn’t really very as near to the 1kg mark as some might like, but Dell is forgiven for this simply because the aluminium chassis is quite sound. I could not bow the lid in my fingers at all, and the palm relaxation was rigid under strain much too.

My overview unit experienced a silver lid and black inside, with the signature woven carbon fibre composite patterning to the palm relaxation that lends it the two a exclusive overall look and a non-slip experience. There is also a silver (lid) and white (palm relaxation) model of the XPS thirteen (2020).

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The thirteen.4-inch XPS thirteen (2020) runs on tenth-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 CPUs with built-in UHD Graphics or Iris In addition Graphics. Screens are obtainable with FHD+ (1920×1200) or UHD+ (3840 x 2400) resolution.


Image: Dell

Dell is carrying out its little bit to stay clear of environmentally unfriendly components in the create, and states 90% of this laptop is recyclable. The ethic is prolonged to the packaging, which is 100% recyclable. One particular day all laptops will at least satisfy this regular, and several extra should really be publicising qualifications like this these days.

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Left facet (best): USB-C/Thunderbolt three and MicroSD card. Correct facet (higher than): USB-C/Thunderbolt three and three.5mm audio in/out.


Images: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

The XPS thirteen (2020) will just about cover under a pad of A4 paper, as it steps just 296mm vast by 199mm deep. It’s slim much too, being just fourteen.8mm at its thickest stage, tapering toward the entrance. This thinness usually means there is certainly small space for ports and connectors, and all you get is a pair of USB-C/Thunderbolt three ports, one on each individual facet, with a MicroSD card slot on the remaining and a three.5mm headset jack on the right. Possibly of the USB-C ports can be made use of to charge the battery, and Dell supplies a USB-C to USB three converter in the box. Will not glimpse for a SIM card slot on this ultraportable nevertheless: there is certainly no mobile broadband option for the XPS thirteen.

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The thirteen.4-inch screen sits in a encompass that is as near to bezel-free as I have viewed. Dell does not give bezel measurements for its Infinity Edge display, but does estimate a ninety one.5% screen-to-body ratio. Even the base bezel, which can generally be fairly substantial in small-bezel laptops, is impressively compact right here, and I calculated the facet bezels at around 3mm.

The screen in my overview unit was a touch panel with three,840-by-two,four hundred-pixel resolution (UHD+, 338ppi). There are also non-touch and one,920 x one,two hundred (FHD+, 169ppi) options. All of the XPS thirteen (2020) screens have five hundred-nits brightness and some are anti-reflective, some anti-glare. I located the screen on my higher-close overview unit to be quite responsive to touch and pin-sharp in viewing, if to some degree reflective. 

The audio subsystem provides loads of volume, but the stereo speakers are missing in bass tones. It’s high-quality for do the job-dependent video contacting (a requirement at the latest time), but if you want to use your laptop for either do the job displays or capture-up video viewing, you may will need an external speaker, or to glimpse somewhere else.

SEE: 20 pro guidelines to make Home windows 10 do the job the way you want (free PDF)

On the subject of video contacting, we’re delighted to see that Dell has relocated the webcam to the compact bezel higher than the screen — a welcome transfer from its position beneath the screen in the earlier model, which shipped a a lot less-than-flattering ‘up the nose’ camera angle until the laptop was raised up on a stand or a pile of guides. A sliding privateness deal with would be a wonderful touch, but unfortunately Dell would not incorporate one. There’s also an infrared camera for Home windows Hello there login, or you can use the fingerprint scanner that is neatly disguised in the on/off button that sits in the best right corner of the keyboard.

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The keyboard is backlit, responsive and snug to sort on at speed. It’s also fairly tranquil.


Image: Dell

The backlit keyboard has an extremely gentle touch, and the keys have the wonderful bounceback I obtain conducive to fast touch-typing. The action is about as near to silent as it will get, with just a slight ‘thunk’ sounding as each individual crucial is made use of. If you do the job in tranquil environments, you can respect this. The snug wrist relaxation houses a substantial and responsive touchpad that worked faultlessly all through the overview period.

There are no less than 11 preconfigured iterations of the XPS thirteen (2020) obtainable off the web page. All run on tenth generation Intel Core processors and incorporate Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5, but they change considerably in other technical specs — some even running Ubuntu Linux. As usual with Dell, you can combine and match technical specs to customise the configuration.

Below are the entry-stage and best-close off-the-web page designs:

  • Intel Core i5-1035G1, Home windows 10 Residence, thirteen.4-inch one,920 x one,two hundred non touch screen, Intel UHD Graphics, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD
    £1,399 (inc. VAT £1,165.eighty three ex. VAT)
  • Intel Core i7-1065G7, Home windows 10 Residence, thirteen.4-inch three,840 x two,four hundred touch screen, Intel Iris In addition Graphics, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £1,799 (inc. VAT £1,499.17 ex. VAT)

My overview unit was the best-of-the-selection Core i7/16GB RAM/1TB SSD model with the higher-resolution touch screen. Not surprisingly, this carried out quite well when running my usual mainstream productivity workloads.

The 52Whr battery carried out fairly well, much too. In one five-hour stint involving writing into a website app, streaming new music and viewing the occasional video, the battery went from 95% to 57%, depleting 38% of its capacity. This suggests a overall figure of around twelve.5 hrs. I remaining the screen at the default brightness setting for this examination, which was just a shade underneath fifty%, but in day-to-day use I’d want this at closer to sixty% for comfort in my house business. This would lower battery lifetime, as would heavier-obligation workloads. If this is possible to be a dilemma, contemplate opting for the reduced-resolution FHD+ screen, which will need a lot a lot less from the battery.

Conclusions

Deficiency of ports and connectors on the XPS thirteen (2020) will be an challenge for some men and women, and the fairly bad audio high quality may also rankle. Battery lifetime may also be an challenge with the higher-resolution display if you change up the brightness and/or run demanding workloads.

In all other respects this is a fantastic best-flight ultrabook: it is compact and portable, nonetheless sturdy, and it is fast, with a wonderful screen and an great keyboard. You can have to commit a honest total in excess of the base cost to get a higher-resolution touch screen and extra than 512GB of SSD storage nevertheless.

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