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Dell XPS 13 ultrabook with high-res display due next week

Dell's XPS 13 ultrabook finally gets the high-resolution display the design deserves.

The Dell XPS 13 ultrabook will now be offered with a 1,920x1,080-pixel, 13.3-inch display for $1,299.
The Dell XPS 13 ultrabook will now be offered with a 1,920x1,080-pixel, 13.3-inch display for $1,299. CNET

Dell will start selling a high-resolution version of the XPS 13 ultrabook next week, the PC maker told CNET today, addressing an issue that dogs more than a few Windows 8 laptops.

The display will be upgraded to a resolution of 1,920x1,080 from the current 1,366x768 format. That roughly doubles the pixel density to just over 2 million from just a bit more than a million.

Other improvements include widening the viewing angle to 178 degrees from 80 degrees on the current 1,366x768 display, upping the brightness to 350 nits from 300 nits, and increasing the color gamut to 72 percent from 45 percent, a Dell representative said.

Many 13-, 14-, and 15-inch Windows 8 laptops from top-tier PC makers are still stuck with low pixel density displays -- a throwback to the Windows 7 era when resolution wasn't a major factor for most consumers and businesses.

That's beginning to change now because of market pressure. The most popular smartphones and tablets now boast high pixel densities, typically exceeding 200 pixels per inch (PPI). Far greater than the 117 PPI on a 1,366x768 13-inch laptop. And Apple is now offering high-resolution Retina displays on its 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros.

So, PC makers are starting to follow suit. Acer and Asus are already ahead of the curve, offering both high-resolution Windows 8 laptops and tablets.

Dell's new XPS 13 will be available starting next Tuesday for $1,299, Dell said.