Dell’s XPS 13 laptop is the ultimate execution of the traditional thin-and-light clamshell laptop design. It’s sleek and compact, has a great keyboard and trackpad, and has excellent performance.
Two-in-one convertible laptops are fairly popular in the market and over the years we have seen some interesting iterations from companies like HP, Lenovo, and Dell. Despite that, the market has been mostly dominated by Microsoft’s Surface Pro laptop which offers a convertible laptop in its most accurate form, that is, a tablet that can also be used as a laptop. However, in recent times, we have seen companies upping their game and launching some noteworthy laptops in the market. One such model is the Dell XPS 13 two-in-one (2022) laptop.
At a starting price of Rs 1,39,990, the Dell XPS 13 two-in-one laptop has all the hallmarks of a classic two-in-one laptop. It has the power of a classic laptop, the agility of a convertible device, and the sensibility of a tablet, all of which give it an edge over a lot of two-in-one convertibles in the market. These features also make it a strong competitor to the Surface Pro laptop.
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Dell XPS 13 laptop: Specifications
Display: 13-inch touchscreen display, 2880×1920 pixel resolution, 500 nits peak brightness, Gorilla Glass Victus, stylus support
Processor: Up to 12th-gen Intel Core i7 processor with Intel Iris Xe graphics
RAM: 16GB of LPDDR4x RAM
Storage: Up to 1TB of PCle 4×4 SSD space
Operating System: Windows 11 Home
Connectivity: WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
Cameras: 5MP front camera, 11MP rear camera
Battery: 49.5 Whr with a 45W USB Type-C adapter
Price: Starts at Rs 1,39,990
Dell XPS 13 laptop: Pros
- Premium build quality and design
- Gorgeous 16:10 4K display
- Fast storage
- Great keyboard and trackpad
- USB-C charging with Thunderbolt 4 support
Dell XPS 13 laptop: Cons
- Disappointing thermal performance
- No USB-A port
- Below average battery life on 4K display model
- Soldered RAM
Dell XPS 13 laptop: Design, Build Quality, and Display
When I first saw the Dell XPS 13 laptop, I marveled at how beautiful it was. Four months later I feel the same way. The CNC machined aluminum and anodized edges make it stand out from the crowd, but not in a flashy way. Instead, it looks professional, premium, and elegant. It feels dense but lightweight enough so that I don’t have any issue carrying it around all day.
Dell hasn’t made any significant changes to the exterior when compared to the 2020 model, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. The 2020 model was one of the best-looking and best-built laptops in the industry, and that continues to be true for the 2021 model.
Over my usage period, I picked up some scratches on the lid of the laptop, so that is something to be careful about. This is an issue I faced with the 2020 model, and I hope Dell can do something about it this year. I had no problem with the inside surfaces, however. The carbon-fiber composite palm rest still looks great, even though it is white. The white keys have picked a few finger oils and dirt, but that is normal and is cleanable with a soft cloth.
Gorilla Glass 6 protection on the display is great, and I did not pick up any scratches during my review. The hinge has perfect tension, not only for opening the laptop with one finger but also for keeping the display in place when using the touchscreen. The ports are mostly the same, with two Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C ports, one on each side, along with a 3.5 mm jack and a microSD slot.
The XPS laptops offer some of the best displays in the market, and that is certainly true here. Our model has the 4K touch-screen display configuration, and it is gorgeous. The 16:10 aspect ratio is great for productivity applications. Watching 4K content is amazingly sharp and it does a good job with HDR content too. It has very high color accuracy which is perfect for professional work, and having a touch-screen is convenient. With all this said, I still believe 4K resolution for a 13-inch display is overkill, and I would strongly recommend getting the 1080p panel.
The bezels are thin on all 4 sides and the webcam placement is still the same. Signing into the laptop is still quick thanks to the presence of both the IR cameras and the fingerprint sensor.
Dell XPS 13 laptop: Performance and benchmarks
The Dell XPS 13 laptop 9310 has been updated with Intel’s 11th Gen Core i7-1185G7 processor, paired with 16GB of faster 4267MHz RAM and a 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. Like the 2020 model, the 2021 XPS 13 excels in light tasks such as browsing, text editing, or streaming content. However, the thermal solution of this chassis design is starting to show its age when it comes to heavier tasks. I used the laptop as my main office machine, and I could mostly finish all my work without noticing slowdowns. However, if I turned on a render or tried to encode a video, I could notice a slower performance.
Dell is bound to update the XPS line-up with Intel’s 12th Gen Core CPUs, and I expect the engineers at Dell will build a better thermal solution for it. The Alder-lake CPUs are known to run quite hot, and the current thermal solution of the XPS 13 would severely limit its performance. While it is fine for regular tasks, Dell is leaving performance on the table and I hope it improves with the next model.
Dell XPS 13 laptop: Keyboard and Trackpad
The keyboard is easily one of my favorite parts of the Dell XPS 13 laptop. During my review, I greatly enjoyed typing on it. The keystrokes feel nice, and it has good key travel. Key stabilization is excellent, and the backlighting shows through the keys perfectly. The keyboard is an aspect that some laptop manufacturers don’t give enough importance to, but the Dell XPS 13 laptop keyboard is simply excellent. Typing on this keyboard makes me feel more productive, so it’s thumbs up all around.
The trackpad continues to be some of the best on any Windows laptop too. Good size, smooth glass surface, and accurate tracking. I have no complaints.
Dell XPS 13 laptop: Battery
The battery performance of the Dell XPS 13 laptop 9310 is similar to the previous model, maybe a bit weaker. The 52Whr cell lasted about 4.5 to 5 hours during regular use, which meant I had to carry the 45W USB-C adapter with me to get through the day. Charging was a bit slow, taking nearly 2 hours to go from 0-100%, and I wish Dell would introduce faster charging with the next model.
I typically use a lot of Chrome, a bit of streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime, along with some work in Microsoft Word. For a thin-and-light laptop, the battery performance is below average, but when you factor in the 4K panel and the Core i7 CPU, this is expected. If you do require an all-day battery, the 1080p screen option is sure to last you longer.
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Dell XPS 13 laptop: Conclusion
If you want a premium Windows thin-and-light laptop, the Dell XPS 13 laptop continues to be one of the best in the market. There is a lot to appreciate with this laptop, such as the keyboard, display, and of course the design and build quality. It is the kind of laptop that functions great as a “tool”, and by that I mean it is a device that enhances productivity without distracting you.
I still believe that the Core i5 model with a 1080p panel offers better value among the various configurations. I would recommend the Intel Core i7 model if you need that extra boost in performance, and only choose the 4K panel if you really can take advantage of those extra pixels.
For this premium experience, you are certainly paying a higher price. The Core i5 model is available on AMAZON for Rs. 1,12,450.