Boasting a modern lightweight design, the Dell XPS 13 proves to be a competent device to meet your productivity and entertainment needs. The laptop comes in three sophisticated colours: frost, rose gold and platinum silver. The frost and rose gold laptops come with arctic white woven glass fiber while the silver one is fitted with a black carbon fiber interior.
The XPS 13 is equipped with Windows 10 operating system. It has also been awarded as a CES® 2019 Innovation Awards Honoree in the Computer Hardware and Components category. It’s already out in stores, selling at $2,799.
But how does it really fare in everyday use? I got a XPS 13 in rose gold to take it for a spin so here’s what I think!
I really love that the XPS 13 is light. As a writer and part-time student, the weight can be a deal breaker because I don’t want to lug around a heavy laptop. And I like how clean it looks too. The white interior is a great choice but I’m not sure how that would be like after months of constant usage.
I also like that using it for 3 hours still leaves the laptop cool. This is thanks to its built-in GORE™ Thermal Insulation that directs heat out of the laptop and its dual fans and heat pipes that help to lower its temperature.
As a regular Mac user, I was a little worried about using a Windows-operated laptop but I had no trouble at all setting it up. Connecting to the Wi-Fi at home and in school was so easy, almost intuitive.
I was immediately taken by the touchscreen capability. I think this is my favourite thing about the laptop. It makes using it an experience. As a frequent laptop user, I’m so used to using the trackpad to do everything including photo-editing. But with the touchscreen, I didn’t once use the trackpad. Which makes me wonder, why doesn’t the XPS 13 come with a stylus? It would have been a cool accessory option for users who’d like to do some drawings.
The usage/productivity test
I tried doing some handwritten notes. Again, it was very easy and I could save and retrieve them later using OneNote. But it seems that the option for hand-drawing is limited to writing notes. This is honestly great for on-the-go professionals who need a laptop that’s both light and enables ease of note-taking for meetings and brainstorming sessions. Works perfectly for students too! To have the ability to edit straight on webpages or documents like that and then quickly save them on the laptop is a blessing.
As a writer, I constantly have multiple tabs and programs open at the same time. Besides the need for note-taking at a whim, I’ll need my laptop to be able to run fast and smoothly with my typical workload. And the XPS 13 can do just that. It’s no wonder since it has 16GB of memory.
As a part-time student, I brought the XPS 13 to class once to try it out. I love the fact that it’s light and starts up fast. And as mentioned before, connecting to the internet was easy too. But when it got down to doing some group work, two problems immediately arose. Firstly, there’s no standard USB port as the laptop only has USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 ports so it was not convenient for class discussions where everyone still uses the regular USB. Secondly, after saving a document on the laptop, I couldn’t trace where it’s actually stored. This might be a default settings problem, not the laptop itself. But it still took me a while to finally locate it in the drive.
Another minor bump in the road is connecting my AirPods to the XPS 13. It was quick but for some reason, I couldn’t connect them back to my usual iPhone. I used a customised name for my AirPods but when connecting to the XPS 13, it didn’t show up. I didn’t think much of it until connecting them to my iPhone afterwards because it shows up as the default name. Besides that, they gave me audio problems so I decided to reset the them. Not sure what happened, maybe some sort of glitch when it was connecting to the XPS 13 or something. I tried again and the AirPods sound fine.
I also tested video-editing on the XPS 13. I transferred some clips I filmed for an event coverage and downloaded a song for the soundtrack. I didn’t use the software that I normally used, which is Final Cut Pro. Instead, I just used the in-built Windows video editor for testing purposes. Putting the clips together was fine. But once I added in the song, the program crashed. I restarted it and tried cutting another clip. The program crashed again. This happened a third time later so I decided to call it.
Either the laptop couldn’t handle the workload of editing a few clips and a song or it’s the software itself. I wasn’t expecting much from the editor anyway since it’s not for professional use. But then again, the XPS 13 has only up to 16GB of memory which is considered to be a minimum for editing videos. So it might be advisable not to multi-task during video editing.
Rest assured, I did manage to load up graphics-heavy games and watch streaming videos and the XPS 13 works smoothly without any issues. The colours look fantastic and the sound quality is wonderful! Even though the speakers are on the sides, they are supported with Waves MaxxAudio® Pro that provide a beautiful stereo sound quality. Even though I was sitting in the open-spaced living room, the music and sounds come out clearly without much loss.
The XPS 13 boasts a 13.3″ screen in an 11-inch form factor with an 80.7% screen-to-body ratio, which doesn’t immediately grab my attention when I read it on paper. But after settling down with a video playing on the screen, I could really see and feel the difference. This is made even more impressive with its InfinityEdge display and vibrant colours that make images appear sharper and more definitive. And sitting in the bright living room didn’t pose any problem, thanks to its anti-reflective screen.
+ Great sound quality and graphics
+ Touchscreen capability
+ Still feels cool after 3-hour usage
+ 16GB of RAM
– No regular USB port
– No stylus for touchscreen
– Depending on video editing needs, 16GB of RAM may not be enough.