A few simple tweaks make the Dell XPS 13 a near-perfect laptop
For years, the Dell XPS 13 has been one of my go to laptop recommendations.
When someone came to me and said, I want a slim 13-inch Windows laptop.
Now, it was near or at the top of the list, but it wasn't a blowout.
Even though I really like the XPS 13, there were always a couple of things that held it back from really being Just one of the best laptops you can buy right now.
However, over the last couple of years, Dell has slowly whittled away at that list of problems that I had, my complaint list, my knock list.
And eventually this year in 2019, they finally crossed a last major thing off And that is the webcam placement.
That was always the biggest problem with the Dell XPS 13.
As much as you liked it, because of the super thin bezels around the screen, they had to take that webcam and put it under the screen.
We've seen this in a few other systems as well Nobody ever likes it, it never looks good whenever you try to use it you get that weird up the nose shot, but dell said for years, listen the bezel is to thin on top.
Apparently there is something we can do about it, they created a new webcam Which allowed them to take that webcam from the bottom and put it back on the top of the screen.
Now, this top bezel, little border around the screen, is a little bit thicker than last year's.
I feel that's a very worthwhile trade off especially since the side bezels are still very thin.
So we've got now is the ultimate version of the XPS 13 now with all of the new fixes and updates and changes to really bring it back to the forefront and make it probably the best S13 inch Windows laptop you can buy.
Now that said, there's a wide range of configurations and depending at how much you're looking to spend, there may be better choices out there.
It starts at $899 which is incredibly reasonable considering this is a really high end design.
You get the great keyboard, you get the great thin bezel look, it's very thin, it's very light.
It's got kind of a very matte, almost ceramic style finish on the back.
But for that 899, you get an underpowered processor, you don't get a lot of hard drive space and a lot of RAM, and you get a 1920 by 1080, basically a full HD screen and not a touch screen.
I think you should spend another 100 bucks and trade up to the cool I5 version at least If you spend around $1,200 you can get eight gigs of RAM and a 256 gig hard drive, that's much more reasonable.
And this isn't even a higher end version with a core i7 and the big high gloss feature, this 4K touch screen.
If you want touch, you gotta go for 4K.
The regular 1080p is non touch.
Now here's the trade off, besides being more expensive, 4K screens Always have a cost in terms of battery life.
That said, this 4K screen actually did pretty well, about eight hours and change in our streaming video battery test.
So I feel like I didn't lose that much, although a regular non-4K version of this from last year ran for about 12 hours.
So that shows you the difference between a 4K screen and a non-4K screen.
Another thing I love about the XPS 13 is that a lot of super thin 13 inch laptops, including the MacBook Air and even the MacBook Pro, they've got these super flat keyboards.
Nobody likes those.
They'll deal with them, they'll bear with them, but nobody likes it.
At least here, you get a traditional island-style keyboard and the keys have some real heft to them.
It's much better than those super thin ones, if you're doing a side by side comparison.
Touch pad is about as good as you're gonna get on a windows laptop, still not as good as Apple has on their back OS laptops.
But with the touch screen you can always reach out and fiddle around like that if you're not getting what you want from the touch pad.
I always like reaching up and flicking screens to scroll down.
Or to pick my WiFi network.
Now I had to look long and hard to find complaints about this new version of the XPS13.
If I came up with a few of them, they would include this carbon fiber glass woven texture here on the wrist rest.
It's find, and you know, it's a very solid, strong material, but it doesn't look high end.
It feels kinda like plastic, and when I show it to people, they go weird, is that plastic?
And I have to explain to them that it's not, I also don't love that you have to trade up to the 4K screen in order to get touch and that is a very expensive option.
If you want this cool white design or the rose gold design well, those are an extra $50.
I figure if you're spending $1500 to $1800 on a laptop, they should throw the cool color in for free.
I'm sure that at some point this year, some fancy new, super slim, super light laptop is gonna come along and steal my eye But it hasn't happened yet.
For 2019 so far, the Dell XPS 13 is my choice.