Dell XPS 13 (2016)

This is a assessment of the 2016 Dell XPS 13 mannequin. Click the next hyperlink to learn our assessment of the very newest, 2017 Dell XPS 13.

The Dell XPS 13 epitomizes laptops in a manner that Apple ought to envy at this level. For the previous few years, it’s turn out to be the ‘default’ pocket book right here at TechRadar, and we guarantee you that’s not due to recognition and identify recognition alone. This factor units an ordinary for quick cellular computer systems that you simply received’t be embarrassed to hold round in public.

Better but, by our personal rivalry, it’s the best laptop so far. At a time when 2-in-1 gadgets have begun to emerge and everybody needs their fingers on the newest novelty, nonetheless, it’s additionally strikingly conservative. Sure, it seems like a top-quality machine, however if you happen to’re in search of groundbreaking, you is likely to be cautious that one thing higher will come alongside. 

Inevitably – as new expertise develops – that may occur, however the Dell XPS 13 is the most secure wager you may financial institution on. The keyboard is cozy, albeit typical, the border-less display screen is sharp on the high-end and there aren’t any dangerous design selections that may flip you off. It’s virtually the antithesis to the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar in that it has all of its ports and the operate keys are all current.

At the identical time, the Dell XPS 13 is mighty highly effective, and although we’ve but to get our fingers on the newest model, it’s obtainable with Eighth-generation Intel processors as an choice. In truth, there are such a lot of variables with the Dell XPS 13 that it’s powerful to generalize. Of course, each mannequin comes with USB ports and an SD card reader, however the guts differ drastically primarily based on how a lot cash you’re prepared to spend.

Price and availability

There are varied avenues for purchasing the Dell XPS 13, so keep on with us. While it begins at $799 (£999, AU$1,899), that solely fetches you a dual-core Intel Core i3 CPU, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD storage paired with a full HD, 1,920 x 1,080 InfinityEdge display screen. That’s for a non-touch display screen, too, if that issues to you.

Meanwhile, the UK and Australian variations of the Dell XPS 13 base mannequin come sporting an Intel Core i5 processor – sorry, US readers, it appears such as you’ll be given the quick finish of the stick.

Still, you may at all times configure your laptop computer with upgrades and, in traditional Dell vogue, there are a large number of those in tow. You can add a touchscreen, as an example, bearing a Three,200 x 1,800-pixel decision. However, there’s a steep worth distinction in doing so, as this Core i5-equipped mannequin additionally requires that you simply shell out a grand complete of $1,299 (£1,249, AU$2,499).

As of late 2017, there are a number of configurations you should buy that function Eighth-generation Intel Kaby Lake Refresh processors. These begin at $1,299 within the US and go up from there. In the UK and Australia, you may snatch one up for £1,149 and AU$1,999, respectively.

Dell XPS 13 review


To be truthful, there isn’t lots to be mentioned of the XPS 13’s design this time round, as little or no, if something, has modified. You nonetheless have the 13.Three-inch show as sharp as QHD+ (Three,200 x 1,800 pixels) with optionally available contact controls tightly packed inside an 11-inch-wide body. 

And, you continue to have the gorgeous, machined aluminum lid and base that beset a snug, carbon fiber keyboard deck coated in soft-touch paint. Only this time, the lid and base are available rose gold – the salmon shade that’s all the trend in tech merchandise as of late – in addition to the standard silver choice.

The machine in some way measures even thinner than the earlier technology, although solely by a hair: zero.33 inches (9mm) at its thinnest level to zero.6 inches (15mm) at its thickest. For these maintaining rating, the earlier mannequin got here in at two hundredths of an inch thicker on the nostril.

Dell has additionally lowered the load of its main laptop computer, however by such a small diploma it might be not possible to note: from 2.93 kilos (1.32kg) to now simply 2.9 kilos (1.29kg) even for the touchscreen mannequin. Short of a significant breakthrough within the supplies used to assemble the XPS 13, we’re doubtless wanting on the thinnest and lightest Ultrabook from Dell for some time. (Please, show us improper.)

All instructed, we’re nonetheless obsessed with the XPS 13 design, and admittedly we’re joyful it hasn’t modified a lot, as a result of it doesn’t need to. One small request: if Dell may no less than heart that backside bezel-oriented webcam prefer it has on the brand new Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, that might be clutch.  

Dell XPS 13 review

More ‘professional’ than the MacBook Pro?

During our time with the brand new XPS 13, we got here to a vital realization: this laptop computer can match and even surpass the 13-inch MacBook Pro in nearly each regard. For 100 bucks lower than Apple’s newest laptop computer, the XPS 13 provides a sharper display screen, a stronger processor and the identical quantity of RAM and storage.

Oh, and this man has a full-size SD card slot. 

The MacBook Pro? You’ll get yet one more Thunderbolt Three port – certainly one of which must be used for charging – and little else for its beginning worth. On paper, it looks like the XPS 13 gives you a greater time enhancing photographs and video than its archnemesis. Well performed, Dell.

Gabe Carey and Nick Pino have additionally contributed to this assessment.

First reviewed January 2017

We’ve already touched on how the XPS 13 stacks up towards the – extremely nicely, really. But how about some selection opponents operating Windows 10?

The , as an example, begins at $899 (about £736, AU$1,206) for a QHD (2,560 x 1,440 pixels), non-touch display screen with the identical seventh technology Intel processor and quantity of RAM in addition to storage. It’s a bit higher off in visuals and supply extra ports general, however lacks that SD card reader. From there, the Blade Stealth features a beefier Core i7 processor and extra RAM and storage for a lot lower than Dell can at present supply, however will at all times lack an SD card reader. That mentioned, the Blade Stealth can extra simply play video games utilizing Razer’s Core graphics card field.

Meanwhile, the is a convertible 2-in-1 that doesn’t begin for almost as low cost because the XPS 13 at $1,049 or AU$2,199 (about £859) for a similar processor and RAM capability, but it surely provides double the storage behind an FHD contact show. From there, the Spectre x360 additionally will get extra highly effective innards for much less and tops it off with a sharper UHD (Three,840 x 2,160 pixels) display screen for lower than the highest-end XPS 13. This machine additionally lacks the SD card reader.

All instructed, the brand new XPS 13 can match the mildew of each a inventive skilled and the informal consumer’s life extra readily than these two aforementioned laptops. But, that comes at the price of a worth curve that isn’t as beneficiant as its rivals.
It all comes right down to what you need out of your subsequent laptop computer. If that’s versatility between skilled and private use, then the XPS 13 is hard to beat. 


The XPS 13 despatched to us for assessment got here packing the two.7GHz, dual-core Intel Core i7-7500U processor powering the three,200 x 1,800 decision touchscreen with 8GB of RAM behind it. As you may see from the benchmarks, this chip has no downside gobbling up the assorted exams thrown its manner.

That is, save for graphics output. You would possibly be capable of squeeze some Hearthstone or primary indie video games out of this laptop computer, but when it’s gaming you need, try one thing just like the

Getting again to normal efficiency, we encountered zero points with the XPS 13 throughout our standard workload. That’s 10-plus Google Chrome browser tabs with varied spreadsheets, paperwork and webpages therein alongside the Slack chat consumer. 

And, talking of picture enhancing, the XPS 13 dealt with Lightroom with nary an issue. In truth, enhancing photographs by a QHD+ display screen helps take much better benefit of the RAW picture information than even a QHD show. Exports are likely to choke the system barely, however that’s to be anticipated on most gadgets wanting these with gobs of reminiscence and desktop-grade processors.

All in all, count on some top-notch efficiency from this almost top-end, $1,599 (£1,179, AU$2,499) model of the XPS 13. Though, we wouldn’t count on drastically worse output from the Core i5 selection. 

Battery life

Dell, like all the opposite laptop computer makers, guarantees some insane longevity from the XPS 13, to the tune of as much as 22 hours from the FHD mannequin (Core i3) and 13 hours from the QHD+ model (Core i5) within the MobileMark 14 check. Since we’re testing the Core i7 selection with the QHD+ display screen, we haven’t loved almost as lengthy of battery life from the XPS 13.

Of course, that’s to not say the numbers we’ve recorded aren’t spectacular. A rating of four hours and three minutes is definitely greater than acceptable from the notoriously unforgiving PCMark eight battery check. Better but, the XPS 13 lasted a cool 7 hours and 13 minutes enjoying Guardians of the Galaxy at 1080p on loop. That’s simply minutes from the 13-inch MacBook Pro’s determine of seven hours and 24 minutes on the identical check.

Both exams are carried out with the display screen and quantity at 50% with all radios however Wi-Fi deactivated in addition to keyboard backlighting disabled.

If you have been to make use of the Windows 10 Battery Saver mode all through your use of the XPS 13 whereas away from an outlet, absolutely you would squeeze no less than one other hour out of the machine. At that time, you’re taking a look at all-day battery life, the gold normal for laptops immediately.

All in all, the brand new XPS 13 does precisely what it wanted to do to stay king of the hill within the laptop computer world in our eyes: enhance and refine. By advantage of sticking to some outdated weapons in an SD card slot and barrel connector for energy, whereas adopting more energizing tech at a slower tempo (Thunderbolt Three USB-C), the XPS 13 is best suited to a wider swathe of people than most of immediately’s prime laptops.

We preferred

The undeniable fact that the XPS 13 hasn’t modified all that a lot in a sea of laptops, which might’t appear to cease going thinner and adopting the latest tech wholecloth, and it really works to its profit. Dell is clearly conscious that, frankly, some legacy options are nonetheless extra engaging than the brand new hotness, like SD card slots and devoted energy ports. Couple that with the newest processor and a severely sharp display screen for certainly one of, if not, the laptop computer to beat.

We disliked

There isn’t a lot that left us bitter concerning the XPS 13, save for one function that sorely wants a change: the webcam. For no less than the previous two iterations now, the XPS 13 webcam has been relegated to the far bottom-left finish of the display screen bezel. Frankly, holding video conferences or simply calling pals or household over Skype is neither a productive or enjoyable expertise with the webcam oriented this fashion. We can solely hope the XP 13 2-in-1 webcam design will bleed over into this mannequin within the subsequent revision.

Final verdict

Aside from that one largely innocent shortcoming, the Dell XPS 13 persists as a completely spectacular piece of shopper computing . Best of all, few modifications needed to be made to get it to that time.

With this replace, Dell manages to both meet or beat the brand new MacBook Pro, spec-for-spec, for 100 bucks much less. If you’re torn between this laptop computer and Apple’s newest, we hope we’ve now made that call simpler for you.

But, even towards the spate of Windows-bound laptops which have adopted burgeoning applied sciences complete material, the XPS 13 stands out with a wholesome stability of outdated and new tech inside a tool that’s snug to make use of for so long as it may final – a very long time. For that motive, the Dell XPS 13 wins our Best in Class award.

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