The surprise ultraportable laptop this year is the Dell XPS 13. From the moment it was introduced at CES, it wowed critics and consumers with the fact that it was a 13-inch laptop that fit into the casing of one usually reserved for 11-inch laptops. The International Business Times called it an Apple MacBook Pro killer. BGR cut to the chase and claimed that the XPS 13 was better than the MacBook Air.
“I can say that the new Dell XPS 13 is good enough to pry a MacBook from my — albeit animate — hands. I’ve been using the redesigned 2015 XPS 13 for the last several months and it was surprisingly easy to relegate my MacBook to backup status.”
Some users had issues with early versions of this year’s Dell XPS 13, including problems with the trackpad and the adaptive brightness. However, Dell fixed those with a firmware update and XPS 13 users were living happily ever after — that is until they found out that Dell just updated it’s top laptop with a sixth-generation i7 processor, a glass trackpad, a faster SSD, and a better battery. The device looks just the same as the previous Dell XPS 13. Computer Shopper gave the updaded XPS-13 an almost perfect review.
“If a great, state-of-the-art traditional laptop is what you’re after, Dell’s XPS 13 remains one of the best you can buy running Windows.”
The review adds that the webcam is still awkwardly placed below the screen, which could cause a problem for users who always use Skype. Perhaps Dell should post a warning for those to shave their nose hairs before going live. Since the XPS 13 practically has no bezel, there is no way Dell could have put the webcam where it normally goes.
Dell’s updated XPS 13 comes just in time to challenge Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. The Sydney Morning Herald notes how the Surface Pro 4 has improved the Surface’s already excellent brand.
“It’s impressive Microsoft has been able to establish the Surface as a premium brand in just three years. We have hundreds of satisfied Surface Pro users in my day job, and the name Surface has become synonymous with quality. The Pro 4 is worthy of the Surface name, it’s better in every way than the model it’s replacing: better screen, better keyboard, better stylus, better battery, all in a lighter shell.”
Then, there is the Surface Book, which is — perhaps — more of a Dell XPS 13 competitor than the Surface Pro 4. The Surface Book has a solid keyboard and a detachable 13.5-inch screen with a near 4K resolution. The screen actually gets noticeably brighter than the screen on the Dell XPS 13. However, like the earliest versions of this year’s XPS 13, the Surface Book has a lot of bugs.
Just a couple years ago, Dell was a fading brand. Thanks to the XPS 13, Dell has revitalized itself as a major contender in the laptop world. The updated XPS 13 shows just how far Dell is willing to go in order to build the ultimate ultraportable laptop.
[Feature photo via Daryl Deino]