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CNET First Look
Dell finally gets the 13-inch ultrabook rightAfter two years of incremental upgrades, the XPS 13 gets a touch screen revamp that works.
I'm Dan Ackerman and we are here taking a look at the Dell XPS 13. If that name sounds familiar, that's because we reviewed an XPS 13 last year and the original model the year before that and these systems actually kind of all look the same. The changes are internal, but they're very important changes because, for a slim 13-inch Ultrabook, the first version and even the second version were missing some very important features and I feel like, this time, Dell has finally listened to our feedback and packed in probably the two most important things that you need in a small light portable laptop like this. The first version of the XPS 13 just had a 1366x768 screen, very low res, even though it's about $1,000. Then, they added a 1080p screen that's really what you want, but it wasn't a touchscreen, even though this was the very beginning of kind of that Windows 8 touchscreen laptop era. In this new version of the XPS 13, they've combined that high-res screen with a touchscreen so that, combined with the fact that this is a really nicely made laptop with aluminum and carbon fiber body, really makes it probably one of the top-end Ultrabooks I can think of right now, especially because it's a little bit smaller than what you think a 13-inch Ultrabook would look like. It's smaller than a MacBook Air. Dell says it's closer to an 11-inch laptop, so it's-- I don't know if it's quite there, but it's definitely a smaller footprint than you expect from even a regular 13-inch system like this. It's also a bit more business friendly than some of the other Ultrabooks out there. It's got a DisplayPort instead of HDMI that's pretty standard for a business laptop and you get an optional TPM chip and that helps your IT Department hook it up to like all your corporate network stuff. Attention, we've called this the-- jokingly, the Dell Book Air over the years because, especially when closed, it really looks a lot like a MacBook Air and the design hasn't changed in a couple of years. I don't think it needs it just yet, but for right now, I'm happy that they finally have a high-res touchscreen, and even at about 1,300 bucks for this particular configuration, that still makes this one of my favorite current Ultrabooks. I'm Dan Ackerman and that's the Dell XPS 13.