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Dell's insanely small XPS 13 gets punched-up Intel performance

With new 8th-gen Intel processors and some Dell technology, the world's smallest 13-inch laptop makes big gains over its predecessor.

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Joshua Goldman
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Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice

Josh Goldman helps people find the best laptop at the best price -- from simple Chromebooks to high-end gaming laptops. He's been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software for more than two decades.

2 min read

Dell's XPS 13 is a favorite laptop just as much for its design as for its performance. But hey, we're not going to turn down the opportunity to get more processing power under the hood. 

With the roll out of Intel's 8th-generation Core i-series CPUs, Dell is refreshing the world's smallest 13.3-inch laptop (PDF) with the new chips. Dell claims the combination of the updated processors and its dynamic power mode result in a multitasking boost of more than 40 percent compared to the previous version with 7th-gen CPUs. 

While the performance gets a boost, the design doesn't change. It's still made from aluminum with carbon fiber palm rests and roughly the size of an average 11.6-inch laptop, but with a 13.3-inch screen. A big part of what makes this small size possible are its InfinityEdge displays that eliminate all but a sliver of a border around the screen. You'll be able to choose between a 13.3-inch UltraSharp Quad HD+ (3,200x1,800 pixels) touchscreen or a 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution anti-glare screen. 

Dell XPS 13 (late 2017)

The XPS 13's USB-C port supports Thunderbolt 3. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

While the UHD+ screen might be nice to have, the full HD promises far better battery life according to Dell's tests, getting up to 22 hours on BapCo's MobileMark 2014 battery benchmark as well as 13 hours and 31 minutes of Netflix video streaming (the QHD+ version streamed for 4 fewer hours). We've seen similar results in our own tests. 

Several configurations will be available with prices starting at $799. That converts to roughly £620 or AU$1,000 in the UK and Australia, respectively. The component options will include: 

  • Up to 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8550U processor
  • Up to 16GB at 1,866MHz memory
  • Up to 1TB PCIe SSD
  • Intel UHD Graphics 620, Iris Plus Graphics 640 or HD Graphics 620 (depending on processor)

Look for the updated XPS 13 in mid-September. 

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