Dell XPS 13 – Hands on, First Thoughts

 

Even if you’re not a Windows fan, you can say that the Dell XPS 13 elbows past the new MacBook, the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, and even the ASUS Transformer Book Chi T300 5Y71 (with all three running Intel M). For starters, there’s barely any borders – the Dell XPS 13 has a 13.3-inch display inside an 11-inch laptop body (talk about compact design). And then there’s the ready-for-anything 5th Generation Intel Core i7 inside (not Intel M). Lastly, it can’t hurt that the battery lasts beyond 9 hours (on paper, the claim is 15 hours).

I had some hands-on time with one variant of the Dell XPS 13 at the Dell Solutions Tour 2015. This is the non-touch screen and non-QHD+ display version but running on still-impressive specs.

Dell XPS 13, Dell XPS 13 Review, Dell XPS 13 Price

Dell XPS 13

5th Generation Intel Core i7-5500U Processor (4M Cache, to 300GHz)
13.3-inch FHD (1920×1080) Infinity Display
Windows 8.1
8GB Dual Channel DDR3L-RS 1600Mhz (On Board)
256GB Solid State Drive
Intel HD Graphics 5500
Integrated Stereo
52 WHr, 4-Cell Battery (Integrated)
1yr ProSupport : 24×7 phone support, NBD Onsite Service
SRP P74,990.00

For comparison, the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, which has a battery life of about 4 hours and runs on Intel M (heavy multi-tasking is not its thing) costs P77,000.00. The ASUS Transformer Book Chi T300 5Y71, also running on Intel M but has a detachable tablet display, costs P47,000.00.

The Dell XPS 13 with non-touch and non-QHD+ display costs P74,990.00.

Some quick thoughts:

  • The hefty price tag feels justifiable, more so than that of the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro. With the XPS 13 you get an Intel i7, ready for real, no-hiccup multitasking, and (most likely) more than 9 hours of battery life.
  • The compact body is amazing. Tight, solid, no flexing, with just the right heft. And the whole thing fits in a smaller bag – smaller than the usual backpack or messenger bag I often carry around.
  • The near-borderless design (the bezels are 5.2mm thin) never fails to turn heads. You wonder why Apple never tried this. I am imagining how the XPS 13 looks when placed side by side with the MacBook Air 11.6″ – the latter’s borders will look enormous by comparison.
  • The backlit keyboard is full-sized and the trackpad is generously sized. Typing feels comfortable.

Harjeet Singh Rekhi, Dell Solutions Tour 2015, Dell XPS 13

Harjeet Singh Rekhi (General Manager, Client Solutions Business, Dell South Asia) showcases the Dell XPS 13 at the Dell Solutions Tour 2015 media briefing.

  • The Dell XPS 13 is only a hair lighter (at 1.18 kg) than the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro (1.19 kg), even though the former is smaller. But I have no problem with that. The ASUS Transformer Book Chi T300 5Y71 weighs 1.43 kg (tablet and keyboard dock).
  • I don’t mind the lack of touch-screen display. If you’re a touch typist and are used to switching between open windows and running apps via Alt+Tab, that works just fine on the XPS 13. Also, with the responsive trackpad, you might not miss the touch screen at all.
  • The Full HD resolution display is fine by me, since the QHD+ version eats into the battery life of the XPS 13, just as the QHD+ display of the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro eats into its battery life. QHD+ also tends to make some menus and text too small to read or to tap on with a finger.
  • The non-detachable display – this is not like the ASUS Transformer Book Chi T300 – is not something I miss, even though I thought I would. With the T300 Chi, I could enjoy just surfing on the tablet with the keyboard set aside. That’s not possible with the XPS 13, but it’s not a problem.
  • The glare on the display is not as bad as I thought it would be.

I’m going to request a review unit. (Keeping my fingers crossed.)

Dell XPS 13, Dell XPS 13 Review, Dell XPS 13 Price

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Author

Irwin Allen Rivera loves his wife's cooking so much he's now twice the man he used to be. His English essay won a Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature in 2012. His philosophical-horror story appeared in Philippine Speculative Fiction 8 (2013). He was managing editor and lead writer of Sites and Symbols 2 (2005), a coffee-table book about buildings in UP Diliman - his alma mater (BA Philosophy; MA Creative Writing continuing). He worked at the UP Diliman Information Office before shifting to web content writing. His sudden fiction, "Notwithstanding Pigs," initially a Friendster testimonial, appeared in Philippines Graphic (2006) and in Very Short Stories for Harried Readers (2007). He used to write for www.technoodling.net.