Dell's new XPS 13 packs power, the 15 gets an incredibly sharp screen (hands-on)

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October 2, 2013 9:36 AM PDT / Updated: October 2, 2013 1:22 PM PDT

Dell's new performance-minded XPS laptops get Intel's latest processors and, in the case of the XPS 15, an incredible screen. Both models launch with Windows 8.1.

XPS 13
Dell says its XPS 13 is the thinnest, lightest ultrabook ever built and with a 0.7-inch thickness, I wouldn't soon argue that point. The body is black inside with a silver finish on the outside, and is made from reinforced carbon and aluminum.

Packed into that slender frame, the 13-inch laptop still houses a lot of power, thanks to Intel's new Haswell processor and with an Intel HD 4400 GPU. Onboard there's also a solid-state drive with either 128GB or 256GB storage capacity. There are two full USB 3.0 ports and a Mini DisplayPort as well.

The superthin XPS 13 James Martin/CNET

This year's XPS 13 houses a 1,920x1,080-pixel-resolution capacitive touch-screen display with a wide viewing angle and noticeably small bezels. The screen itself is made from Corning's Gorilla Glass, a material commonly found in modern smartphones, and works with Windows 8.1 touch gestures.

Dell is also playing up the XPS 13's optional security features, such as data encryption, hoping that corporate IT departments will flock to it. Anyone who's still using a borderline ancient PC at work knows that most big companies aren't jumping at the chance to upgrade to the latest sleek technology, but hey, you can't blame Dell for trying.

XPS 15
The larger XPS 15 goes big with an incredibly sharp 3,200x1,800-pixel resolution stretched across 15.6 inches of screen. Dell boasts that the screen has 5.7 million pixels, or more than enough to make images look sharp. Like the XPS 13, the 15's has a Gorilla Glass touch screen.

The XPS 15 has a impressively sharp screen. James Martin/CNET

At 0.7 inch, the XPS 15 still manages to be impressively thin and include most everything you'd want in a laptop these days. It features three USB 3.0 ports, a full SD slot, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, and a single USB 2.0 port. The palmrest is large with plenty of room for your hands with a wide key array.

With the XPS 15, you'll have your choice of going with an integrated Intel graphics option or going with a discrete Nvidia Geforce 750M. You also get to pick either a 500GB or 1TB hard drive with a 32GB solid-state drive, or you can go with just a 512GB SSD.

The XPS will retails for $1,499, while the XPS 13 costs $999. Look for more on the Dell XPS 13 and 15 soon.

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Where to Buy See All

Dell XPS 13 (Fall 2013)

Part Number: FNCWP1238S
    MSRP: $1,299.99 Low Price: $1,299.99 See all prices

    Quick Specifications

    • Weight 2.99 lbs
    • Installed Size 8 GB
    About The Author

    Sarah Mitroff is a CNET associate editor who reviews Android and Windows Phone software and, occasionally, hardware. In the past she's written about everything from Android apps to startups Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat. She loves pretty space photos, the San Francisco Giants, and apps that organize the recipes she compulsively hoards.