XPS 13, Dell's first ultrabook, released

Although it isn't Dell's first super-svelte laptop for consumers, the XPS 13 is a solid design that is garnering a lot of attention.

Dell's first ultrabook, the XPS 13, is 0.71-inches thick at its thickest point.  But this isn't Dell first super-skinny consumer laptop. That would be the Adamo announced way back in March of 2009.
Dell's first ultrabook, the XPS 13, is 0.71-inches at its thickest point. But this isn't Dell's first super-skinny consumer laptop. That would be the Adamo announced in March 2009. Dell

Dell's first ultrabook, the XPS 13, is now available. And it's attracting a lot of attention as one of Dell's best laptop designs to date.

The XPS 13 boasts solid specs for the base $999 configuration, is priced well below the MacBook Air, uses a smaller footprint than 13-inch competitors, and taps carbon fiber materials in the chassis to keep the weight below three pounds.

And Dell will announce Tuesday that it is seeing lots of demand already. "We're seeing strong consumer and business demand for the new XPS 13," said Michael Tatelman, Dell Vice President and General Manager of Americas Consumer, in a statement to be released Tuesday.

The XPS 13 wil also be sold at Best Buy from Tuesday.

Starting at $999.99, it comes -- at that price -- with a 13.3-inch/300-nit/1,366x768 display squeezed into a 12-inch chassis (roughly), an Intel Core i5-2467M processor, Intel HD Graphics 3000, a 128GB solid-state drive, 4GB of memory, backlit keyboard, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit. It is 0.71 inches at its thickest point.

Other standard features include a 47WHr 6-cell battery (built into the laptop and not replaceable by the customer) rated at a maximum of over eight hours, one USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0, mini Display-Port, 1.3-megapixel Webcam, and dual-array digital microphones.

Dell's 13-inch Adamo was announced in March 2009.  That was also pretty thin at 0.65 inches.
Dell's 13-inch Adamo was announced in March 2009. That was also pretty thin at 0.65 inches. Dell

How does that stack up against Apple's MacBook Air on a pure spec-to-spec basis? Well, the Air is priced at $1,299 for a similar configuration.

And the HP Folio 13 ultrabook, another close rival in the specs department, is $100 less but is bigger and weighs more.

A higher-end XPS 13 configuration ($1,499.99) includes a 1.7GHz Core i7-2637M processor and a 256GB solid-state drive.

All configurations include a 4G hot spot, according to Dell's site.

This isn't Dell's first flashy super-svelte laptop for consumers. In March 2009, it introduced the 13-inch Adamo that was one of the few laptops from a first-tier PC vendor that competed directly with Apple's MacBook Air.

And, as a reference point, the Adamo came with a power-efficient Intel Core 2 Duo chip (which eventually hit a top clock speed of 2.1GHz), a 1,366x768 display, Intel 4500 graphics, 128GB SSD, 2GB of memory, and started at $1,999.99.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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