Editor's note, March 28: After this review was published, Dell managed to resolve one of my few remaining complaints by adding an option for a 1,920 x 1,080 pixel touchscreen that is now available as a $ 100 add-on to the base model. The March 20 review published earlier follows, including these reservations. We will visit it again in the coming days.
The Dell XPS 13 has been one of my recommendations for a slim Windows general-purpose laptop for years. However, this list was shared with equally good computers from HP, Acer, and others. A handful of things prevented it from being as universally useful as it should have been. Over the years, the size and weight had lagged behind the competition, and the narrow bezels led to some unflattering compromises on the webcam.
However, the 2019 version is a different story.
I had to search long and hard to find something that I didn't like about it, To make a list, I would say that the woven fiberglass wrist rest doesn't look or feel as high-quality as it should. The white backlight shining through the white buttons (on the white and rose gold versions) sometimes makes it more difficult to see the buttons, not easier. I originally complained that you have to trade for a touchscreen model up to a 4K display (which is more expensive and not as battery-friendly). Since then, Dell has added a 1,920x and 1,080 pixel touchscreen option. So you can delete something from my list.
Apart from that, Dell has done almost the impossible with this latest version of the XPS 13 – it's a laptop that I have almost nothing to complain about. Since Dell introduced ultra-thin screen bezels in its 2015 model (the XPS 13 has been around since 2012), the company has been continually reviewing my laundry list with complaints, making the XPS 13 smaller, lighter, and more powerful. TheReduced size and weight, and now for 2019 the most critical remaining issue has been fixed.
The nose job
The biggest problem with the system for a long time was the webcam. Due to the very thin edge of the screen (also known as the bezel), the webcam was moved to a location below the screen and not above it. This resulted in an unflattering angle that made the XPS 13 less useful for Skype calls, YouTube videos, or other video recording or streaming needs.
After Dell said for years that it was a problem that could not be solved while maintaining the thin bezel look, Dell solved it. The new webcam somehow fits into this very narrow upper edge thanks to a new lens design that is only 2.5 mm high. This adds a hair to the width of the top of the screen, but it's a fair compromise.
A few initial test shots already show that the angle is much more natural and the image is clear and free from noise. Both video and photo are displayed with a resolution of 720p. If this button is pressed, I would prefer to see HD in full 1920×1080 resolution. However, compared to a photo from the previous generation XPS 13, the difference is clear.
A familiar way for plugs
If you're one of the people affected by the rapid switch to USB-C in laptops at the expense of almost all other port types, the tide doesn't look like it's coming back soon. Three USB-C ports take over the entire heavy lifting, including the power supply. However, two of them are also Thunderbolt connectors for connecting high-speed peripheral devices.
There is still a microSD card slot, which is a rarity these days. This is especially useful because the cheaper configurations only contain 128 GB of SSD storage, so you will need at least more hard drive space. The MacBook Air used to have an SD card slot that was often used for the same reason. Unfortunately that is no longer the case.
The price is right (mostly)
If you were to bid on this sleek design with a high quality aluminum / carbon fiber case, multiple Thunderbolt ports, and an almost borderless screen in a showcase showdown, you could easily outbid. The new XPS 13 costs $ 899 or $ 300 less than the base MacBook Air ((
$ 1,149 at Amazon
), Prices start in the UK at GBP 939 and in Australia at USD 2,069.
However, please note that the entry-level model loses some important functions. The FHD display (Full HD or 1,920 x 1,080) cannot be touched. The processor is an Intel Core i3 of the lower U-series, and the 4 GB RAM and 128 GB SSD don't feel particularly future-proof for some users or even safe today.
It's a breeze to gross an additional $ 100 to prepare for a current-generation Intel Core i5, which is the mainstream sweet spot. An upgrade to 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB hard drive currently costs $ 1,209. It is more like the latest MacBook Air and is probably the best configuration.