The Expert Guide to Technology


Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook

Posted October 10, 2014 by Alina Moldabaeva in Hardware




Company: Dell
Price: Starting at $799 direct


Extremely portable, 13.3 inch screen in a small body, good materials used.


Cramped mouse pad, subpar battery life, no HDMI/SD Card port.
Bottom Line

It’s Dell’s first official Ultrabook, is it a solid laptop? Our staff puts it to the test.

by Alina Moldabaeva
Full Article

The XPS 13’s has a strong aluminum cover which has a rich feel. Underneath the laptop is a smooth rubberized texture that limits any unnecessary movement and stays cool to the touch. When the laptop is opened, the basesurrounding the keyboard has a soft rubber feel, with a flush screen which felt very durable. The keyboard has a great feel that allows for quick typing. The laptop came with a neat battery meter on the right side of the laptop next to a USB port that tells you how full your battery is. When available, usually these batteries meters are underneath, attached to the battery itself, so it was nice to be able to use it without lifting the laptop.

The best part of the laptop is the screen. While the screen measures in at 13.3 inches diagonally, the laptop is almost 1 inch shorter than a MacBook Air 13 inch in height when closed, even narrower by just under half an inch. Dell is able to do this by using a much thinner border surrounding the screen. With a lightweight feel of almost 3 lbs., this allows the Dell XPS 13 to be extremely convenient and mobile.

We were quite disappointed with the size of the mouse pad. We have seen laptops have a large mouse pad section for a number of years now and unfortunately the XPS 13’s mouse pad measures at a below average 4 inches diagonally. In comparison, the MacBook Air’s is 5 inches. It turned out to be quite uncomfortable after a number of hours using a small area. Similar to most laptops on the market now, you can click the whole mouse pad rather than clicking at the bottom. Dell made the click less towards the top, so you will feel uncomfortable clicking anywhere near the top section of the mouse pad.

With a small footprint, the Dell XPS 13 does not include a few features. The subpar battery cannot be removed. This may be an issue as our unit did not last long in comparison to other laptops. Also, a few features missing include no CD/DVD Drive, HDMI port, or SD card slot. For some people the lack of these features may be a deal breaker. On the left side, the laptop includes the charging port, a USB slot, and a headphone jack. On the right side it has a mini Display-Port, a USB slot, and a battery meter. Overall, 2 USB slots may not be enough, especially if you are using an external mouse leaving you with one other USB slot.

After spending some time with the Dell XPS 13 we had a very positive outlook. The Dell XPS 13 is a strong competitor on the market if you are looking for a lightweight, durable, and portable laptop that can be used anywhere. We strive for perfection, and although the Dell XPS 13 is not there yet, it’s certainly the closest Ultrabook in our eyes.

About the Author

Alina Moldabaeva