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Dell XPS 13 9350 review

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Dell XPS 13
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  • Dell XPS 13 2015
  • Dell XPS 13 2015
  • Dell XPS 13 2015
  • Dell XPS 13 2015
  • Dell XPS 13 2015
  • Dell XPS 13 2015
  • Dell XPS 13 2015
  • Dell XPS 13 2015
  • Dell XPS 13 2015
  • Dell XPS 13 2015
  • Dell XPS 13
  • Dell XPS 13
  • Dell XPS 13
  • Dell XPS 13
  • Dell XPS 13
  • Dell XPS 13
  • DEll XPS 13

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Pros

  • Stylish aluminium case
  • 13-inch screen in a 12-inch body
  • Very long battery life
  • Great value

Cons

  • Would like one more USB port
  • Webcam in odd position
  • FHD screen isn't the very best

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Key Features

  • Sixth-generation Intel Core CPUs
  • Aluminium and carbon fibre body
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Manufacturer: Dell
  • Review Price: £849.00

What is the Dell XPS 13?

Mere months ago Dell wowed me with its first 2015 XPS 13 laptop. Featuring a slick design, powerful components and a beautiful display the XPS 13 waltzed in and won the coveted TrustedReviews Awards Best Laptop award.

In fact, the XPS 13 was so good that I couldn’t think of any serious ways Dell could improve it at the time. But with the new year approaching, Dell has done just that with its latest XPS 13 refresh.

Updated: Since our original review, a couple of new Dell XPS 13 rivals have been announced and are starting to appear on store shelves. They're worth taking a look at, particularly if you're looking for a slightly different offering with something more premium or more wallet-friendly.

First is the Asus ZenBook 3, the laptop that stole the show at Computex last month. In terms of specifications, it's very similar to the XPS 13, with similar processor and storage choices. It's also quite a lot cheaper, but you do pay for that cheapness with build quality and design that doesn't feel quite as premium. During our hands on with the new machine we were impressed with how much tech Asus has been able to cram into such a small and light chassis, and if raw performance-per-pound is what you're after, it'll probably be a great option when it goes on sale. A bottom-of-the-range model starts at £550, with Dell XPS-rivalling specifications available for around £800.

Another contender is the high-end HP Spectre 13. HP has angled its new laptop to a different class of buyer, hoping that the copper-coloured highlights, clever hinge and ridiculously thin build will be enough to tempt people away from the Dell XPS 13. During our initial hands-ons go with the Spectre 13, we were impressed by the build quality still slightly taken aback at the huge £1,129 price tag. This will push it out of the budget range of most buyers, but it's still technically quite impressive.

With all of this in mind, continue reading our original Dell XPS 13 review from 2015.

Watch – Trusted Explains: Laptops vs Tablets, which is best for you?

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Dell XPS 13 – Design

From a distance the XPS 13 looks identical to its predecessor, though this is no bad thing. The XPS 13’s metal frame and compact 304 x 200 x 15mm dimensions give it a sleek premium look that rivals Apple’s Macbook.

Dell’s InfinityEdge screen tech is another pleasing feature. This reduces the screen’s bezel size to mere millimetres and according to Dell makes the XPS 13 the “world’s smallest 13-inch laptop”.

Dell XPS 13

I’ve not verified the claim, but can tell you that, compared to competing ultrabooks such as the Lenovo Yoga 900, the XPS 13 is noticeably smaller and more travel friendly. The non-touch model I reviewed fit neatly into my satchel and survived all the usual wear and tear expected of a laptop when dragged around London, with no scratches, chips or blemishes. The laptop’s 1.2kg weight – 1.29kg for the touchscreen version – also meant the laptop never felt like a burden to lug about.

Dell’s done a decent job of taking advantage of what little surface real estate the XPS 13 offers and has loaded it with a reasonable selection of ports. Along its right and left sides you’ll find two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI, headphones socket, Noble Lock slot, SD card reader and Dell Thunderbolt 3 connector.

In a perfect world I’d have liked to have another USB 3.0. But considering the laptop’s super-slim dimensions and the fact that most competing ultrabooks don’t feature three USB connectors, this is a very small qualm and the XPS 13 will meet most users’ needs.

The inclusion of the Thunderbolt 3 connector will be useful in the future, though it’s not really a big deal now. Thunderbolt 3 aims to offer radically better performance the competing USB 3.0 and USB C standards. The connector is the same shape as USB-C, but, on paper, offers data transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps – four times the speed of USB-C.

Dell’s also managed to load more storage into its refreshed XPS 13 and is now offering it with 128GB SATA, 256GB PCIe, 512GB PCIe and 1TB PCIe SSD options.

My only other issue with the XPS 13’s design is that, once again, its front-facing webcam has been placed on the bottom left of the screen. It means whenever I take video calls on Skype or Hangouts, the person on the other end gets treated to a wonderful view directly up my nose.

Dell XPS 13

Dell XPS 13 – Keyboard and trackpad

I found the backlit keyboard comfortable to type on despite the laptop’s slightly squished dimensions.

The keys have decent travel and a pleasantly reactive, tactile feel that makes typing smooth and pleasant. The backlight also ensures you can still type quickly when using the XPS 13 in dim lighting conditions – I used the XPS 13 at some poorly lit launch events without issue.

The carbon-fibre-esque finish around the keyboard further aids the laptop’s appeal, and acts as a comfortable place to rest your hands when typing.

The trackpad is fairly large, despite the XPS 13’s limited real estate. It’s also suitably reactive and in general I never had any issues using it.

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Matthew Bunton

January 6, 2015, 7:31 pm

I'll never understand why people get so excited by slim bezels, yes they are nice but I doubt it would affect many peoples purchase decision. Surely the weight and claimed battery life are far more appealing to most users.

danielfrisbee

January 7, 2015, 12:13 am

would be nice to see something like this in a more convertible format with a digitiser, but it is nice and good that dell are moving away from their recent tacky looking design language

MattMe

January 7, 2015, 1:32 am

Other than aesthetics, like the article says, the slim bezel means that they can fit a large screen into a smaller chassis. They compare this 13" laptop to a standard 11" laptop. Portability and looks have a lot to do with a purchase of an ultrabook, particularly one that'll be as expensive as this!

Cliff Wolfstenhammer

January 7, 2015, 3:55 am

I'll never understand why people don't just carry around their home pc's with a mobile power generator.

Come on man. Portability is everything, particularly if you travel extensively. Why carry around something larger and heavier if you don't need to?

Matthew Bunton

January 7, 2015, 6:16 pm

I think you missed my point I clearly stated that weight is important.

Jason McQueen

January 8, 2015, 7:50 pm

Being able to fit more 'stuff' into a limited bag space is a great advantage. Therefore getting 13" laptop with the typical footprint of an 11" is a big a deal as it means I dont have to sacrifice screen space in order to fit more in my work bag.

cajhne

January 8, 2015, 11:12 pm

1,200mAh extends to 22 hours? Smoke crack much? My cellphone battery sports a 3,100mAh battery. Did they mean 1200Wh perhaps?

andyvan

January 9, 2015, 4:22 pm

Should read 12,000mAh. Thanks for the spot.

John

January 9, 2015, 10:47 pm

Nice machine. Ridiculous price.

No wonder Dell's profits have fallen through the floor.

John

January 9, 2015, 10:49 pm

Absolutely tragic to see that Windows Metro still persists in 2015. I thought someone at Microsoft would have the good sense to kill that given the new year!!

Jackie Cheng

January 9, 2015, 10:53 pm

Wonder if the SD card slot is a full sized one and not one of those that makes the SD card stick out half way.

cajhne

January 10, 2015, 11:56 pm

Sure thing. Wish it had dedicated graphics. That would dent the bat life, but would definitely be worth it. The XPS series used to be all about that.

cajhne

January 11, 2015, 12:01 am

They sold their last XPS13 with Ubuntu as an option hoping this one ships with it as well.

John

January 13, 2015, 1:00 am

Slim bezel = reduced overall size. I carry an 11.6" laptop whenever I can these days. Simply smaller than a standard 13.3" but if there was a 13.3" in a 11.6" form factor.....

KiwiBri

January 22, 2015, 8:11 pm

apparently 1/3 sticks out

LeeTronix

April 23, 2015, 4:27 pm

Does the average consumer actually purchase dell products and I would be interested to note what drops off first or breaks or blows up or blue screen of death counts.... I thought it was businesses who bought dell for quantity in cheap n nasty'ness!

Matthew Bunton

April 23, 2015, 6:31 pm

I'm not sure what you are on about. I have bought many Dell products over the years and they have never disappointed me. I am still using a 4 year old XPS 17 that hasn't missed a beat since I've had it.Furthermore Dell offers some of the best warranties out there. Why do you think so many people opt for Dell monitors over the competition.

Matthew Bunton

April 23, 2015, 6:33 pm

There will be a free upgrade to Windows 10 this year so its not really an issue.

Matthew Bunton

April 23, 2015, 6:36 pm

Very nice but I find anything smaller than 15" uncomfortable for web browsing. Still I wouldn't say no to one.

LeeTronix

April 23, 2015, 10:15 pm

I was being a little sarcastic about dell mainly because a lot dell equipment does tend to break or go wrong on average that is. Anyway I will not disagree about the warranties in fairness. Glad your monitor is working well and so it should :)

Brian O'Neill

April 24, 2015, 11:31 am

I had an xps 13 and i currently have a xps 12. I am seriously considering just getting a cheap chromebook or windows stream laptop as my next machine. So much stuff is now online that you only need a basic laptop. For £180 I am not worried when it breaks or gets nicked when I am travelling.

Craig Lancaster

May 23, 2015, 7:07 pm

which model number is this please, 9333 or 9343 ?

godafoss

June 10, 2015, 3:32 am

90% sRGB is very ordinary for an XPS laptop. It wasn't that long ago the Dell XPS 15 with Sandy Bridge had a superb screen that offered 96% AdobeRGB and 100% sRGB. That was the last good Dell XPS machine, which are now about style over substance. Back then you could configure the laptop's RAM, Graphics, storage, WiFI card, and even case, now you can option bugger all. I won't be buying another XPS machine.

Domdym

July 13, 2015, 2:50 pm

its called the developer edition. yes its an option.

Walter

October 29, 2015, 11:52 pm

I got this computer in Aug 2015. It has all the bells and whistles (or most of them). Very high res touch screen, good sensitivity, 8gb RAM, 256 GB SSD storoage, backlit keyboard. Overall a really nice system, if it works well.

My computer shipped with a defective keyboard. The o either does noto type when struck, or it randomly gets added to words you type, like 'storage' and 'not' above. Problem 2 is that the wifi would drop frequently. Dell service is seemingly based in India. They are polite and one gentleman tried to fix the wifi issue by downloading newer software and modifying
settings. It seems to work intermittently. It goes down less often, but still goes down. The keyboard issue was not easily fixed. After dealing with 2 different techs, and their boss, they agreed to oreplace the keyboard and wifi at my home. The meeting was scheduled, but no call or email, the tech just never showed up.

I will never purchase another Dell. Caveat Emptor.

Hugh M.

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