Hands on: Dell XPS 13 (2020) Review

The king of the ultrabooks just got a facelift

First Impressions

The Dell XPS 13 2020 looks to set a very high bar for laptops this year. It has admittedly seen minor improvements, making it pointless for XPS 13 2019 owners to upgrade, but the taller display, smaller bezel and larger keys still combine to make 2019’s best laptop even better. 

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £1399
  • 13.4-inch Full HD or 4K display
  • Ice Lake Lake 10th-gen Intel CPUs
  • Up to 32GB RAM
  • Up to 2TB SSD storage
  • Weight: Starting at 1.2kg

What is the Dell XPS 13 2020?

The XPS series has long dominated our best laptop lists, perfectly balancing performance with portability. The Dell XPS 13 2020 is the latest entry in the family, with subtle improvements ensuring this ultrabook remains best in class.

These improvements include a taller 13.4-inch display, seeing the XPS 13 adopt a 16:10 display ratio for the first time. Dell has achieved this without seeing the overall laptop size increase after dramatically cutting down the width of the bezel. 

The new Dell XPS 13 2020 also sees an edge-to-edge keyboard and larger trackpad, which looks to further improve the typing experience.

Admittedly, the Dell XPS 13 2020 doesn’t feature a performance boost over the previous generation model, but since it already boasts Intel’s 10th Generation processors, the aesthetic tweaks still look more than enough to ensure the Dell XPS 2020 will remain king of the ultrabooks. 

Related: Best Laptop 2020

Dell XPS 13 2020 price – How much will it cost?

The Dell XPS 13 2020 is confirmed to have a £1399 starting price in the UK, and a $999 base price in the US. 

Dell XPS 13 2020 release date – When will it launch?

The Dell XPS 13 2020 will be available to buy from 7th January 2020 in the United Kingdom, United States, France, Germany and Sweden.

Other regions will have to wait until February for the Dell XPS 13 2020 to ship. 

Dell XPS 13 2020

Hands on: Dell XPS 13 2020 review

In December 2019, I was invited to meet Dell in New York to get hands on time with the new Dell XPS 13 2020. 

The most obvious change when seeing the Dell XPS 13 2020 is that it’s lost its chin. Previously the XPS 13 had a thick bezel beneath the screen, displaying the ‘Dell’. That’s all but gone now, with Dell implementing a 4-sided InfinityEdge display. 

Having the screen fill out the laptop makes the XPS 13 look more striking and generally more appealing. This also means the screen size has been increased from 13.3-inch to 13.4-inch – that’s hardly enough to make any difference to the viewing experience when streaming Netflix, iPlayer or YouTube.

One benefit of the new screen size is that the Dell XPS 13 2020 now features a 16:10 display ratio. Whether you think this is a good improvement is a matter of personal preference. 

Dell XPS 13 2020

Traditionally the XPS 13 display has used a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is best for displaying video content. The new 16:10 aspect ratio, meanwhile, is taller and thus better for viewing websites and social media as you can fit more content on screen. Microsfot’s Surface Laptops and Apple MacBooks use this aspect ratio and is generally a popular design choice. 

As for picture quality, the Dell XPS 13 2020 seems to be unchanged from previous iterations, offering Full HD and 4K options, while claiming 90% DCI-P3 colour coverage, 1500:1 contrast and 500 nits peak brightness. If all of these figures prove to be true, you can be confident this is one of the best displays you can find on a laptop. 

The other Dell XPS 13 2020 improvements aren’t immediately obvious, but Dell has also increased the size of the keyboard and trackpad. With the keyboard now stretching to each edge of the laptop’s deck, Dell has been afforded the space to make the keycaps 9% larger. This should in theory result in a better typing experience, but it’s hard to say that for sure following my limited time with the ultrabook. I can at least say I enjoyed typing on the new keyboard. 

Related: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 13

Dell XPS 13 2020

Despite a bigger display and larger keys, the Dell XPS 13 2020 laptop is miraculously 2% smaller than the 2019 model. That Dell has been able to improve this ultrabook without compromising on its portability strengths is incredibly impressive. 

That sums up the improvements for the Dell XPS 2020, with all the integrated components remaining the same following the 2019 Q4 refresh. That means you get Intel’s 10th Generation Ice Lake processors under the hood, which are not only capable of blitzing processing speeds, but also feature a graphics engine for low-level gaming and media tasks. 

The Dell XPS 13 2020 also sees RAM options up to 32GB and SSD options with up to 2TB storage. You’re getting high-end specs wherever you look with this ultrabook. 

If there’s any downside here, it’s that Dell hasn’t addressed any of the key criticisms of the Dell XPS 13 2019, as this laptop still doesn’t feature any USB-A ports, instead opting exclusively for the more future-proofed USB-C. Dell claims it isn’t able fit USB-A ports without sacrificing the slender frame of the XPS 13. It’s a good argument, but I have seen other laptops – including the Acer Swift 5 – overcome this issue without sacrificing the ultra-portable design. 

Related: Intel Ice Lake 

Dell XPS 13 2020

Should you buy the Dell XPS 13 2020?

Since I’ve only had limited hands-on time with the Dell XPS 13 2020, I won’t be able to say for sure whether this laptop is worth buying until I’ve tested it thoroughly. 

However, it’s quite clear Dell has made improvements to its flagship ultrabook, with the 4-sided InfinityBezel helping the already stylish XPS 13 look even better. The larger keys and trackpad should also improve the typing experience. 

You could bemoan the Dell XPS 13 2020 for a lack of internal improvements, but it’s hard to see where the XPS could be improved upon – this is already an almost perfect laptop. 

I am disappointed Dell hasn’t found a way to include USB-A ports though, given that’s the biggest issue with the Dell XPS 2019. But if you’re willing to overlook that minor blemish on an otherwise seemingly superb laptop, this could well be one of the best devices of the year. 

Initial verdict

The Dell XPS 13 2020 looks to set a very high bar for laptops this year. It has admittedly seen minor improvements, making it pointless for XPS 13 2019 owners to upgrade, but the taller display, smaller bezel and larger keys still combine to make 2019’s best laptop even better. 

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