Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook Review
By on April 29th, 2012

Performance

Performance-wise, the XPS 13 was pretty good. With a Core i5 on the base system and a Core i7 on the top end model, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB/256GB SSD, the XPS 13 can glide through most tasks – be it multi-tasking with several open programs to virtualization. From a gaming point of view however, the XPS 13 lacks the firepower thanks to the Intel HD 3000 IGP. You’ll probably want to dial down the settings to low levels just to get the games running.
Some benchmarking results:

The real killer performance however, comes with the inclusion of the SSD. I’ve mentioned this to many a people – having a SSD instead of a traditional HDD makes a whole lot of difference. Everything is instantly faster – boot up, resume from sleep, opening new applications, switching between applications – it’s really difficult to move back to a traditional HDD-based system once you’ve gotten used to a SSD. This shows in the XPS 13 as well – closing the lid puts the laptop into sleep, and resuming it from sleep is virtually instantaneous.

The XPS tends to dissipate heat well, assuming moderate usage. The vents are closer towards the LCD hinge and work fairly well during normal usage. Load up a game or put it under heavy usage, however, you’ll want to move the Ultrabook away from your lap to avoid burn marks.

Battery Life

Ultrabooks are supposed to have pretty good battery life. However, I was fairly disappointed with the XPS 13′s battery life. Dell claims that the battery lasts for 8 hours, however a closer look at the fine print indicates that the 8-hour life is on a MobileMark benchmark on the i5 version. My real-world benchmark – using it as I would - extensive web browsing, media playing in the background resulted in the XPS 13 running out of juice in about 4 hours time. Curious to know how it’d perform under heavy loads, I ran Battery Eater after charging it to a 100%.

Dell XPS 13 Battery Eater

The result: the battery was reduced to 9% in about 2 hours.

Bundled Utilities & Other Miscellaneous Stuff

The XPS 13 comes with Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition, Dell Stage, Dell Webcam(which allows for screenshots & video captures, with various funky effects, integrated YouTube/Photobucket/Facebook/Box upload), FastAccess Face Recognition and McAfee Security Centre. At first boot, in addition to creating user accounts, you’re also prompted to take a picture for the face recognition software to work.

Dell XPS 13 Default Desktop

 

Pricing, Warranty And Availability

The XPS 13 is available in 3 different models/price points

  • Rs 79,990 – Intel Core i5, 2GB dual channel DDR3 memory, 128GB SSD
  • Rs 89,990 – Intel Core i5, 2GB dual channel DDR3 memory, 256GB SSD
  • Rs 99,990 – Intel Core i7, 4GB dual channel DDR3 memory, 256GB SSD
All three models feature a 3-year Complete Cover with phone support and on-site service after remote diagnosis.

Conclusion

The XPS 13 is a pretty neat Ultrabook. There are drawbacks – the touchpad and the battery life being the main ones, but these are dwarfed by the positives – the build quality, thickness and the weight.  If you’re on the lookout for an extremely thin, lightweight and well performing laptop, the XPS 13 is for you.

Pros:

  • Great looks
  • Good performance
  • Extremely lightweight

Cons

  • Lousy touchpad
  • Battery life not up to the mark
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Product Reviewed: Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook

Review By: Sathya Bhat
We take the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook for a spin.
Rated: 4/5
Author: Sathya Bhat Google Profile for Sathya Bhat
Sathyajith aka "Sathya" or "cpg" loves working on computers, and actively participates in many online communities. Sathya is a Community Moderator on Super User, a collaboratively maintained Q&A site which is part of the Stack Exchange network. Sathya also contributes to and is a Super Moderator at Chip India Forums. While not writing SQL queries or coding in PL/SQL, Sathya is also a gamer, a Linux enthusiast, and maintains a blog on Linux & OpenSource. You can reach Sathya on twitter.

Sathya Bhat has written and can be contacted at sathya@techie-buzz.com.
  • ashish chatterjee

    1. Simple question- Is it better than a Macbook Air?
    2. “Amusingly, even though the XPS comes with the usual assortment of CDs and DVDs, Dell has skipped on adding a DVD drive to maintain the slim form factor.” – :( . Why o why can’t people pay attention to details?

    • http://sathyabh.at Sathya Bhat

      1. Is it better? From a hardware POV, the Air’s definitely much, much better. From a software POV: That depends. I’m not much of a Mac guy & prefer Windows. So I guess it’s a tie?
      2. I know – I was baffled at that decision. Guess Dell wants us to do the juggling of getting the content from the optical media, to let’s say, a USB key.

      • ashish chatterjee

        IMHO Air is as good with software. Besides you can always multi-boot. :). So Air just wins!

        • http://sathyabh.at Sathya Bhat

          Win-win :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1200808263 Naeem Noor

    I’ll wait for the Macbook pro 2012.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=543508896 Sathyajith Bhat

      MBP and the XPS 13 cater to different segments.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1200808263 Naeem Noor

    I’ll wait for the Macbook pro 2012.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=543508896 Sathyajith Bhat

      MBP and the XPS 13 cater to different segments.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1200808263 Naeem Noor

    I’ll wait for the Macbook pro 2012.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=543508896 Sathyajith Bhat

      MBP and the XPS 13 cater to different segments.

  • russtafari

    So are there any PC laptops with similar features that outshine this one?

 
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