Laptop Mag Verdict
The Dell XPS 13 remains our favorite consumer laptop, thank you to its epic bombardment life, potent eighth Gen Core performance and attractive design.
Blazing quad-cadre speed
Epic battery life
Wide viewing angles
Webcam looks upwardly your olfactory organ
Dell’southward XPS thirteen has been our favorite laptop overall for the past couple of years, thank you to its lite weight, long bombardment life, beautiful InfinityEdge screen and premium design. To keep upwardly with the times, Dell has upgraded its xiii-inch flagship with Intel’s new 8th Gen Core (aka Kaby Lake R), quad-core processor platform. Though the new, $i,299 model is otherwise no unlike from the 7th Gen-powered XPS xiii that Dell continues to sell, it offers much stronger functioning and longer bombardment life while maintaining all the features that brand this the best consumer laptop you tin buy.
Dell hasn’t changed the blueprint on the XPS 13 in a few years, but there’s a lot to like about the aesthetic. The lid and lesser surface of the laptop are made from CNC machined aluminum that’due south either silver or rose gold, depending on which colour you choose.
The sides, dorsum swivel and deck are made from a luxurious, soft-touch carbon cobweb. I particularly similar the deck, which has a subtle crosshatch pattern and a palm rest that’s one of the softest and most comfy I have ever used.
The screen uses Dell’s famous InfinityEdge brandish, which has almost no bezel at all on the sides and top but places the webcam beneath the screen. The hinge that moves the lid is one of the strongest and tightest I’ve always seen, which gives the laptop a high-quality feel simply also requires two hands to open.
At two.78 pounds and eleven.98 x 7.88 x 0.vi inches, the XPS thirteen is remarkably lite and compact. Competitors such every bit Apple’southward 12-inch MacBook (2.03 pounds, 0.52 inches thick) and Asus’ ZenBook 3 Deluxe (ii pounds, 0.47 inches thick) are even svelter, merely both take smaller screens and fewer ports. Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2.49 pounds, 0.6 inches thick) has a larger footprint to accommodate its 14-inch screen, merely it, too, weighs less than the XPS 13.
Dissimilar competitors that prioritize thinness over functionality, Dell outfits its lightweight laptop with a full array of useful ports. On the right side, yous’ll observe a USB iii.0 port, an SD carte reader and a Noble lock slot. A Thunderbolt 3 port, a 2nd USB 3.0 port, a proprietary charging connector and a 3.5mm sound jack live on the left side. Next to the audio jack, there’southward a battery meter button and 5 lights that can show you how much juice yous have, fifty-fifty when the organization is off.
The Thunderbolt 3 port is particularly helpful, considering it allows you to charge the laptop, output to multiple monitors and connect to loftier-speed USB-C and Thunderbolt peripherals over a unmarried wire.
Unfortunately, the XPS 13’s Thunderbolt port supports only ii PCI Express lanes rather than the four you become on other laptops, so Dell’s organization doesn’t support eGPUs. (You can utilise some of them later bypassing a alarm, but they run at lower speeds.)
The XPS xiii’southward base of operations-level 1080p, nontouch screen offers richly colored, detailed images and extremely broad viewing angles. When I watched a trailer for Thor: Ragnarok, shades like the purple in a statue and the mint green in Thor’due south armor really stood out. The matte surface of the panel fabricated fine details, such equally Bruce Banner’s stubble,really precipitous. Having almost no bezel on the sides and peak of the screen also helps ameliorate the feel.
Because the panel doesn’t reflect a lot of ambient light and the screen is and so brilliant, viewing angles were some of the strongest I’ve seen. Colors didn’t fade at all from 90 degrees to the left or right, and they even stayed true when I moved the lid forrard a bit. Then, if you lot’re using the XPS xiii on an airplane tray and the person in front of you leans back, forcing you lot to lower your screen, yous can notwithstanding watch a movie.
According to our colorimeter, the XPS 13 tin can reproduce a vibrant 112 percent of the sRGB color gamut, which is more than the category boilerplate (101 percent), equally well as what we saw from the Lenovo X1 Carbon (104 percent) and the seventh Gen XPS 13 we tested last yr (94 percent). The MacBook (117 pct) was a little more than vibrant, and the Asus ZenBook 3 (111 per centum) was almost on a par.
The XPS 13 measured a stiff 368 nits of brightness on our lite meter. That’southward far more luminous than the category average (289 nits), the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (275 nits), the 2016 XPS 13 (302 nits), the ZenBook 3 (309 nits) and the MacBook (340 nits).
The XPS xiii outputs rich audio that was loud enough to fill my living room. When I played AC/DC’s “For Those Most to Rock (We Salute You lot),” the guitars and percussion were accurate and layered, without whatsoever of the distortion we experience when playing hard rock songs on many other laptops.
The included Waves Maxxudio software gives y’all fine control over the equalizer and comes with presets for over a dozen types of music.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Despite its keys’ shallow, 1.22 millimeters of travel (1.five to 2 mm is typical for a regular laptop), the XPS 13 offers a skillful typing experience, thank you in part to ane of the most comfy palm rests I’ve ever tested.
The woven carbon-fiber deck felt like a pillowed soft-bear on mattress, cradling my wrists as I clacked my mode to a very strong 106 words per minute and 1.3 percent mistake rate on the 10FastFingers.com typing test. The snappy tactile feedback and 71 grams of required actuation force (sixty to 70 grams is typical) also helped me achieve that score, which is at the high end of my usual range.
The 4.ane x ii.three-inch buttonless touchpad has a pleasant, slate-black surface that’south extremely polish simply has merely plenty friction to keep your finger from sliding all over the identify. As I navigated around the desktop and interacted with apps, the pad was extremely accurate and responded immediately to gestures such as compression-to-zoom and three-finger swipe.
The XPS 13 is one of the first laptops with Intel’s new 8th Gen Core processor platform (aka “Kaby Lake Refresh”). And, wow, what a difference these new chips make! In jumping from 7th to 8th Gen, Intel has doubled the number of processor cores on its mainstream U series processors from two to four, increased their turbo clock speeds, added some optimizations and actually made them more ability-efficient.
Its Core i7-8550U CPU made our XPS 13 review unit significantly faster than an XPS 13 with the aforementioned specs other than a Core i7-7500U while calculation over 2 hours to the battery life. It also doesn’t hurt that Dell has added its ain Dynamic Power Style, which boosts performance even further by balancing system temperature with clock speeds.
With its new CPU, a 256GB PCIe solid-state bulldoze and 8GB of RAM, our XPS 13 configuration was extremely speedy in everyday utilise. Even with over a dozen tabs open and a 4K video playing, in that location was no delay when I switched between windows and websites.
When I converted a 4K video to 1080p using the HandBrake video transcoder, the old XPS xiii took 31 minutes and 36 seconds to complete the chore, while the new i finished in but nineteen minutes and 35 seconds. That’s a 62-percent performance proceeds it likely owes a lot to the additional cores, as the job utilized all eight CPU threads (two threads per core).
Single-threaded tasks, such as the spreadsheet macro exam, were all the same faster, but non by as much. The 8th Gen-powered XPS 13 took just 3 minutes and 9 seconds to complete the spreadsheet macro test, which matches twenty,000 names with their addresses using OpenOffice Calc. That’southward much quicker than the category average (v:49) and about 10 pct quicker than the 7th Gen Core-powered XPS 13 (iii:29). The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Core i7-7600U, 3:22) and the Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe (Cadre i7-7500U, iii:34) were also slower.
The new XPS 13 scored an impressive mark of xiv,158 on Geekbench 4, a synthetic benchmark that measures overall performance. That’s more than double the category average (half-dozen,801) and over lx percent meliorate than the 7th-Gen-powered XPS 13 (8,735), X1 Carbon (8,571), ZenBook three (7,449) and MacBook (vi,853). The Yoga 920, which has the same 8th Gen Core i7-8550U CPU but lacks Dell’s Dynamic Power Mode, got a score of 13,306 (six percent lower).
Having a fast processor is great, only combining that CPU with a blazing PCIe SSD is even better. The XPS 13’southward 256GB drive took merely x seconds to copy 4.97GB of files, for a rate of 508 MBps. That’s more than double the category average (219 MBps) and the rate from the X1 Carbon (242 MBps). The ZenBook 3 (508 MBps) offered the aforementioned speed.
The integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 GPU on the new XPS 13 isn’t powerful plenty to play high-finish games, just it can run more casual titles and play video with aplomb. The laptop ran the Dirt 3 racing game at a strong 56 frames per second, which is well above the category boilerplate (40 fps), likewise every bit the scores from the Asus ZenBook 3 (47 fps), the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (28 fps), the Apple MacBook (24 fps) and last year’s XPS xiii (28 fps). The Lenovo Yoga 920 returned a charge per unit of 35 fps.
On 3DMark Ice Tempest Unlimited, a synthetic graphics examination, the eighth Gen-powered XPS 13 scored 81,837, which trounces the category average (56,954), every bit well as the marks from the X1 Carbon (68,082), ZenBook 3 (70,628) and 7th Gen-powered XPS (72,507).
The XPS 13 with eighth Gen Core will last through an entire flight from New York to Taiwan without needing to be recharged. The laptop endured an epic 16 hours and 5 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuous spider web surfing over Wi-Fi. That fourth dimension is over two hours longer than the 7th Gen-powered XPS 13 (thirteen:49) with 1080p screen lasted, then the 8th Gen CPU is not only more powerful but besides more power-efficient.
Longest Battery Life Laptops
Both XPS thirteen models blow away the ultraportable-laptop category boilerplate (8:29), also as the runtimes of the Asus Zenbook 3 Deluxe (7:05) and the Apple tree MacBook (9:29). The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (12:21) and the Lenovo Yoga 920 (12:22) offer stiff times in their own right merely are still hours behind.
Though we oasis’t tested the 8th Gen-powered XPS 13 with the optional 3200 x 1800 bear on screen, we look its bombardment life to be far worse. A seventh Gen-powered XPS 13 with that screen endured only 9 hours and 11 minutes, which is 4.5 hours behind the configuration with a 1080p, nontouch screen.
Don’t make video calls with the XPS thirteen if you have a double mentum or any feature that’s unflattering when viewed from below.
In fact, you lot might desire to opt for a skillful external webcam instead.
The awkwardly placed lens sits below the lower-left corner of the screen and stares up at you. Even worse, the images I captured with information technology in my business firm during the solar day were both night and filled with visual noise. That’s the trade-off y’all make to go a nearly invisible top bezel.
The Dell XPS thirteen comes equipped with a Killer 1535 Air-conditioning Wi-Fi card, which promises better connections than the Intel or Broadcom radios that most laptops come with. The Killer carte du jour prioritizes certain forms of cyberspace traffic over others so that, for example, your streaming video or Skype phone call gets more bandwidth than the Windows update running in the groundwork.
In my house, I didn’t detect a departure in connectivity between the 8th Gen-powered XPS 13 and an quondam ThinkPad T440s I used at the same times and locations. Both laptops did their fair share of buffering when I tried streaming a 4K video while running the Speedtest.net benchmark in another window. However, Editor-in-Chief Marking Spoonauer got significantly better connectivity on terminal year’south XPS thirteen, which has the same Wi-Fi card, than on an Apple MacBook.
Software and Warranty
The XPS xiii comes with a few pieces of Dell-included bloatware, a couple of helpful commencement-party utilities and the standard set of Windows 10 preloads.
Dell includes its Assist and Support app, along with the Waves MaxxAudio control console for sound, but it as well adds trial versions of McAfee SecurityCenter, Microsoft Office and Dropbox. Microsoft drops on its regular pack of unwanted apps, including Candy Crush Soda Saga, Bubble Witch Saga, Asphalt 8 and freemium versions of AutoDesk SketchBook and Keeper countersign manager.
Dell backs the XPS 13 with a standard, 1-year mail-in warranty. See how Dell fared on our Best and Worst Brand ratings and Tech Support Showdown.
The Dell XPS xiii with 8th Gen Cadre CPU starts at $1,299, though at publication fourth dimension (October 2017), it was on sale for $one,149, and XPS laptops are often discounted. For that price, you become our review configuration, which includes a 1080p nontouch screen, a Core i7-8550U CPU, a 256GB PCIe SSD and 8GB of RAM. You can as well become a model with a 3200 x 1800 touch on screen and 16GB of RAM for $ane,749 ($ane,549 on sale).
If you lot want a less-expensive XPS xiii with a Cadre i5 or Cadre i3 processor, you can get 1; Dell continues to sell those configurations with 7th Gen CPUs (see our review of the seventh Gen version here). For $799, you can get an XPS 13 with a Core i3-7100U CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, and for $999 ($899 on auction), you can buy a model with a Cadre i5-7200U CPU and 8GB of RAM.
At some point, Dell will start selling versions of the XPS 13 with 8th Gen Cadre i5 chips, but those were not bachelor at printing time. The company will as well eventually accept units with SSDs up to 1TB and Intel’due south business-friendly vPro feature.
Dell’s XPS xiii remains our favorite laptop overall, thanks to its epic battery life; blazing-fast functioning; attractive, lightweight design; and gorgeous screen. While the company has kept the same blueprint on the outside of this laptop, if you become a model with an eighth Gen Core processor, that’s a huge improvement on the inside.
If y’all’re bored of the XPS 13’s metallic aesthetic only otherwise like the laptop, you may want to wait until adjacent year, when Dell will unveil a new white model that promises to be slimmer only does away with standard USB ports. And, if you want a business concern and productivity laptop with a superior typing experience, consider Lenovo’due south ThinkPad X1 Carbon. However, if you desire the best consumer clamshell laptop you can buy right now, look no farther than the XPS 13.
- Best two-in-1s (Laptop/Tablet Hybrids)
- 10 Tablets with the Longest Battery Life
- Best Dell and Alienware Laptops
Dell XPS 13 9360 Specs
|CPU||Intel Core i7-8550U|
|Graphics Carte du jour||Intel UHD Graphics 620|
|Hard Drive Size||256GB SSD|
|Difficult Bulldoze Speed||n/a|
|Hard Drive Type||SSD|
|Highest Bachelor Resolution||3200 x 1800|
|Operating System||Windows 10|
|Optical Bulldoze Speed||n/a|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB Type-C, USB 3.0, Headphone|
|RAM Upgradable to||16GB|
|Size||xi.98 x 7.88 x 0.6 inches|
|Touchpad Size||4.i x 2.iii inches|
|Wi-Fi||802.11 a/b/g/north/air conditioning|
|Wi-Fi Model||Killer 1535 Wireless Air conditioning 2×2|