When Dell updated the XPS 13 in 2015, it stood out for its barely there screen bezel -- the frame around the display. Its 13-inch screen nearly filled the entire laptop lid, giving you more room to work, but in a smaller body just about the size of an 11.6-inch model.
And although other laptop makers like Lenovo have since adopted this near edge-to-edge screen design, the XPS 13 remains a favorite for the rest of the package. The current version includes the latest Intel seventh-generation processors (Kaby Lake) and a Thunderbolt 3 port. With the help of a dock or adapter, you can run a single cable from the XPS 13 to handle power, Ethernet, audio and video.
Available in silver or, for an additional $5o, gold, the XPS 13's pricing starts at $800 in the US, AU$1,900 in Australia and £1,000 in the UK. At those prices you get a nice 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution display with a matte finish (if you hate glare, this one's for you). The downsides are that it's not a touchscreen and you can't max out the laptop on memory or storage.
If you're looking for the full premium portable experience, you'll want to pay extra for the gorgeous quad HD 3,200x1,800-pixel-resolution touchscreen. Though there are people who don't see the value of a touchscreen on a laptop, I'm not one of them, especially on a system this small. The laptop is perfect for working in tight spaces, but too often I've found myself on a bus, train or plane unable to comfortably use a touchpad. With a touchscreen that's no problem since I can quickly scroll, tap and swipe my way around.
Dell XPS 13
|Dell XPS 13 (touch, late 2016)||Dell XPS 13 (late 2016)|
|Price as reviewed||$1,900 (AU$3,000, £1,500)||$1,150 (AU$2,000, £1,100)|
|Display size/resolution||13.3-inch 3,200x1,800 touchscreen||13.3-inch 1,920x1,080|
|PC CPU||2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U||2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7200U|
|PC memory||16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz||8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz|
|Graphics||128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 620||128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 620|
|Storage||512GB SSD||256GB SSD|
|Networking||802.11ac Bluetooth 4.1||802.11ac Bluetooth 4.1|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home (64-bit)||Windows 10 Home (64-bit)|
As for the higher resolution, it's not a necessity, but Dell doesn't offer a full HD touchscreen for this model. It is a nice, bright display that makes everything you do look sharper with better detail. The biggest downside here, outside of the increased price and reflections, is that this display really hurts battery life. With the touchscreen, the XPS 13 was able to last for just about 8 hours in our tests. Get the full HD display instead, though, and you're able to get more than 10.5 hours of run time.
If you were hoping for big performance gains by waiting for Intel's seventh-generation Core i-series processors, well, you're going to be disappointed. The overall performance differences between the last XPS 13 we reviewed running sixth-gen processors (Skylake) and these new Kaby Lake versions are minimal.