Sometimes focusing on fundamental problems can make the product better. While it may look simple to achieve at first, that’s the hardest part to achieve in product design. But when I see the new XPS (13), I know it is a laptop that sticks to the fundamentals. However, at the same time, it feels like the first “new” XPS 13 since the original XPS.
Here’s what it’s like to use the new XPS 13.
Dell XPS 13 (2020) price: Rs 122,619 onward
Dell XPS 13 (2020) review: Design and build quality
The new XPS 13 is a thin and light notebook, and it feels a lot better than its predecessor. It measures 0.58 by 11.6 by 7.8 inches and weighs 1.27kg. The notebook is made from a single block of CNC machined aluminum, and it feels sturdy and solid. What I really liked about the XPS 13 is Dell’s InfinityEdge display. I don’t know how but Dell is able to put a 13.3-inch panel into an 11-inch form factor. Except for the bottom bezel, Dell has significantly reduced side bezels on all three sides, resulting in a screen-to-body ratio just shy of 93 per cent.
The surprising part is that Dell has managed to place the webcam above the screen. The new XPS 13 is available in two color options: Platinum Silver with a black carbon-fiber palm rest and Frost White with an Alpine White composite-fiber palm rest. We got the Platinum Silver finish for review.
The reduction in size and weight comes at a cost, though. There are fewer ports on the new XPS 13. On the right is a Thunderbolt 3 port and a 3.5mm headphone jack, and on the left is another Thunderbolt 3 port and a MicroSD card slot. The notebook lacks a traditional USB Type-A port. That means you’ll need an adapter to use a USB Type-A accessory like a thumb drive or mouse.
Dell XPS 13 (2020) review: Display and speakers
As for the display, our review unit had a 1,920-by-1,200-pixel non-touch-enabled panel. The screen aspect ratio of 16:10 adds screen real estate, which is a welcome move. The XPS 13’s screen is sharp and bright enough to watch Netflix, flip through photos, and browse the web. This is the best screen I’ve seen on a notebook in a long time.
The 720p IR web camera is located above the center of the display. It’s an average web camera, though perfectly fine for video calling on Zoom. The notebook comes with side-mounted speakers. They are loud enough but the audio quality suffers at the top end.
Dell XPS 13 (2020) review: Keyboard and trackpad
The chiclet keyboard style offers a solid typing experience. I was able to type a lot faster on the XPS 13 than on my Surface Pro. The keycaps are larger and there is a decent amount of spacing between each. The backlit keyboard is very responsive to use. Below the keyboard is the trackpad, which has a much larger surface area It has the right amount of tactile feedback.
Dell XPS 13 (2020) review: Performance and battery
The test unit came with Intel’s 10th gen Core i5-1035G1 processor, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, which is the configuration available in the base version. I have been using the XPS 13 as my primary work machine for the entire week, and haven’t encountered a single issue that freezes the laptop.
The notebook is perfectly fine for running day-to-day tasks like web browsing, editing documents, attending meetings on Zoom, and watching movies. But in case you want a laptop for gaming, I would urge you to look at other options. I think the XPS 13 is best suited for light gaming.
The XPS 13 help up pretty well on days when I pushed the notebook to its limit. It gets warm but doesn’t produce so much heat that it becomes uncomfortable.
Battery life depends on how you use the laptop. I got nearly 8 hours of battery life, which involves continuous web browsing and a lot of music streaming over Wi-Fi. Keep in mind that certain programmes running in the background may drain the battery faster, and factors such as screen brightness may also impact battery life.
Dell XPS 13 (2020) review: Should you buy it?
I really enjoyed using the XPS 13. It has a distinctive look yet it feels familiar. I think mobile workers, journalists, and frequent travelers will appreciate the XPS 13. If you want the thinnest and lightest Windows notebook with beautiful design and all-around performance, the Dell XPS 13 is your best option. But that experience comes at a significant cost, even more, premium than Apple’s new MacBook Air.