CNET First Look
Dell's new XPS 13 slick, but missing touchAn improved processor, razor-sharp 1080p display, and same great looks are in Dell's little laptop...but why no touch screen?
-Hi, I'm Scott Stein and what you're looking at here is the Dell XPS 13. Now, we looked at this laptop last year. And at the time when Ultrabooks were a new thing, the XPS 13 was a bold really nice design from Dell in a very compact form. You're talking about a laptop that has a smaller footprint than a 13-inch MacBook Air and very similar stylings as a lot of Ultrabooks do, but you have a really nice look for Dell or really for any Windows laptop. The drawback last year was the fact that for the price, the XPS 13 had a lack of certain ports. It also had a subpar battery life compared to others and it didn't have the-- it had an okay screen, but it didn't have a great high res screen. Well now in 2013, this laptop, which we did see at CES, is available. And the nicest part of it is that it has a 1080p display. And the 1080p display looks really nice, bright, sharp, vivid, great from any angle, wonderful. But there's a problem with display and that's this. It doesn't have touch. Now, some of you may be celebrating that because maybe you don't like touch on the laptop, but the fact is, you know, you don't need to use touch on any Windows laptop. Windows 8, it's nice to have. And when a laptop lacks it, it just feels like a dropped feature. And this configuration is not cheap. You're talking about $1,600. Yeah. For a 256 gig SSD, 8 gigs of RAM, core i7 processor, nice specs, but still that's MacBook Air territory and high-end Ultrabooks, and it's a lot to pay when you're leaving out touch. Aside from that, the improvements are nice. You're gaining about a half hour plus in battery life. Not tremendous. And you are getting newer Intel processors, the third gen, so you're not looking at anything that's, you know, brand new coming down the pipe. But, you know, nice upgrades, you know, for the landscape right now. You're still not getting a lot of great ports. You're getting 2 USB 3.0, mini display port, and that's it. No SD card slot, no Ethernet, and no HDMI because this is targeted at small businesses and business traveler. So, that's probably a bummer. The one I am most disappointed about is the lack of an SD card slot because, come on, this thing couldn't fit one. But you see, it has literally the same styling as last year, very sleek, nice metal, soft touch design, slightly better battery life. The price in these configurations does start at 999, but you're not gonna get the 1080p screen. 1,399 is where you gotta go to get the 1080p display. And really, that's the biggest reason to upgrade on this, but I'd say without touch, a little bit of a deal breaker. I'm Scott Stein and that's your look at the new Dell XPS 13 2013 edition.