Dell has been refining the XPS 13 since the Ultrabook was announced as back in 2012 and it shows. The price, form factor and durability have make it easy to recommend to a wide range of users. But it’s hard for us to get excited about a notebook that every year makes small modifications to a solid design. Sure they’ve improved the chassis durability, changed the camera position around to get the bezels down, but overall there is no massive evolution in form factor.
Let’s face it, sure the white looks sharp, but what is there to say? They got rid of the logo, updated the processor, put a fingerprint in the power button, made the trackpad a little bigger, included HDR display options, and made the only evolution left for the notebook: They made it a two in one. The notebook that you’re hardpressed to find anything to improve on just got a lot more versatile.
We don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but the reason the XPS 13 is so boring is that it’s pretty much perfect. It doesn’t need to put a display in the trackpad like the ScreenPad+ which invaded ASUS’s entire lineup of notebooks or add in a second display above the keyboard like the ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo. There is no learning curve on using the XPS 13, you don’t need to imagine how you’d use the device, it just works really, really well. It doesn’t need any fanfare to drive interest. It’s boring and at Computex that’s what makes it great.
Safe and predictable are two words that I would want used to describe my productivity machine. My workhorse.
There are just a lot of little things that make this a great notebook, it’s a little taller it features a 16:10 screen, which makes it more useful for spreadsheets and other productivity apps. Its case feels even more refined than the XPS 13, with more metal than any XPS case Dell has produced. The screen is also closer to the keyboard now, due to moving the webcam up top, as well as less prominent hinges. The XPS 13 2-in-1’s keyboard sports an edge-to-edge MagLev design, with even bigger keys and a 19 percent larger touchpad. It loses some key travel from earlier XPS models, but the keyboard still feels more responsive than Apple’s flat butterfly keys.
It could be that this is the most refined XPS 13 since it’s now a 2-in-1 and because it’s Dell’s first machine to use Intel’s 10th Gen 10nm CPUs. That includes the Core i3-1005, i5-1035 and i7-1065. Dell claims it’ll be around 2.5-times faster than the last XPS convertible.
Another reason the design is tighter than before is that they gave up on the fanless design. Now there’s a dual fan cooling system, which works together with an ultra-thin vapor chamber. Gone are the days of the bottom getting too warm on your lap.
The XPS 13 2-in-1’s taller 13.4-inch display should make it more useful as a tablet, and it’s nice to see Dell exploring other screen aspect ratios beyond 16:9. While it’s not as square as the 3:2 screens we’re seeing on Microsoft’s Surface devices, it’ll still be more usable than traditional widescreen displays. The 1080p+ (1920 by 1200 pixels) LCD screen will offer Dolby Vision and 500 nits of brightness, and there’s also an optional 4K+ (3,840 by 2100 pixels) panel as well. The latter will only have HDR 400 compatibility, though, and not Dolby Vision.
What’s even better is that it’s $1000 and should be arriving soon! Boring is best, especially when it comes to something as important as your laptop.