Dell XPS 11 review: Dell XPS 11

Connections, performance and battery

Given the slim base of the XPS 11, Dell has obviously had to be very choosy about what to squeeze inside. Intel's i5-4210Y CPU has dual cores which max out at just 1.9GHz under load, while 4GB of DDR3-1600MHz is the minimum we'd accept in a Windows 8 machine. Obviously there's no room for a dedicated GPU, so the XPS 11 instead relies upon the CPU's integrated Intel HD Graphics 4200. As expected, this utterly fails at game duties, returning a rather woeful result of 2165 in 3DMark's Cloud Gate benchmark.

A 128GB SSD rounds out the internal specs, but it's not enough to deliver top-tier performance. Our overall performance benchmark, PCMark 8, showed that the XPS 11 is relatively slow compared to other laptops in this price range, with a score of just 1602. It's fast enough for basic web browsing and word processing, but if you try to watch a YouTube video while encoding MP3s and scanning for viruses, expect to be hit by a severe case of slow down.

For such a small device, the XPS 11 has a decent number of connections. Twin USB 3.0 ports provide high speed access for peripherals, while an SD Combo card slot will come in use for shutterbugs. Finally, HDMI out means it doubles as a decent media player, a welcome touch given the internal speakers are so average. The inclusion of 802.11ac support is fantastic to see, especially now that the standard is powering full steam ahead. Given the low-power components within, we expected excellent battery life, and the PowerMark result of 289 minutes was the top result in the roundup.

PCMark 8 Home Accelerated Test

  • 1889
  • ASUS Vivobook S551LB
  • 1602
  • Dell XPS 11
  • 2231
  • Gigabyte U24Ti5
  • 2215
  • HP Spectre 13
  • 2625
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T440s
  • 2394
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
  • Lenovo ThinkPad E540
  • 1727
  • Sony VAIO Multi-flip Fit 13
  • 1690
  • Sony VAIO Pro 11
  • 1844
  • Toshiba Satellite U50D

(Longer bar equals better performance)

What you'll pay

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