Dell XPS 13 (2020) review

Apart from hardware omissions, the Dell XPS 13 9300 ultrabook has some gainful architecture and performance qualities.

The Dell XPS 13 (2020) is an autonomous powerhouse. That's because of the bold decision taking by Dell and the unceasing dedication to creativity. Following on the excellent XPS 13 (2019), by eliminating the last bezel on the company's InfinityEdge panel, Dell brings its creativity to the next level. Which means that the laptop is practically without borders, making it the first of its kind.

Though not all of that. At $1,749, you get a laptop with a bigger monitor and a bigger, more comfortable keyboard and touchpad, all in a case that is somehow smaller than that of its predecessor. Apart from minor improvements, the XPS 13 is powerful with a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and has a battery life of more than 12 hours.But the Dell XPS 13 is one of the best available laptops.

DELL XPS 13 (2020) SPECS

  • PRICE:$1,749.
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7
  • GPU: Intel Iris Plus 
  • RAM: 16GB 
  • Storage: 512 M.2 NVMe SSD 
  • Display: 13.4-inch, 1080p
  • Battery: 12:39 
  • Size: 11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches 
  • Weight: 2.8 pounds 

Dell XPS 13 (2020) Pricing and Availability

The base model of Dell XPS 13 has a 1-GHz Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor with 8 GB RAM, a 256 GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, and an Intel UHD Graphics GPU and a non-touch 1920 x 1200 monitor. I was able to sample the $1,749 model featuring a 1.5-GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB M.2 NVMe SSD, Intel Iris Plus GPU and a 1920 x 1200 screen display.

A 1 TB SSD ($150), 2 TB SSD ($350), and 3840 x 2400 touch panel ($300) can also be fitted to the laptop.A tricked-out XPS 13 costs $2.309 and gets you the Core i7 Cpu, 2 TB SSD, Windows 10 Pro and a super-high-resolution display.Because of the standard silver-and-black theme the laptop will also come with the Frost color scheme.

Dell XPS 13 (2020) Design

The XPS 13 is a show-stopper from its exterior to its interior. The Frost White cover, anodized aluminum finish is new to the touch and looks cool to go in and out of my bag. The colorful Dell logo looks like a trendy broach that just adds the perfect amount of sparkle. I am a fan of the twin-coil hinge which makes it as easy as turning a book page to open the laptop with one hand.

You will see more of the winter white theme once the laptop is open. The stain-proof Arctic White deck is stunning, made from Dell 's proprietary glass-fibre mesh. It's like ASMR running my fingers over the textured surface except for your hands. The keyboard is pushed up the top of the table, leaving only enough room for a touchpad with glass.

At 11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6-inches, the 2.8-pound XPS 13 is one of the smallest ultraportables available. It's 2% smaller than its predecessor. Regarding weight, it's on a par with the MSI Prestige 14 (2.8 pounds, 12.8 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches), and lighter than both the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (2.9 pounds, 12.1 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches) and MacBook Pro (13-inch 2019 with Touch Bar) (4.4 pounds, 12.8 x 8.9 x 1 inches). However, the HP Spectre x360 13 (2.7 pounds, 12.1 x 7.7 x 0.7 inches) is a tad lighter but slightly thicker. 

Dell XPS 13 Webcam

Dell also does have one of the industry's smallest integrated webcams. The 720p, 0.1-inch webcam does a fine color capture job. In my comparison shots my moist brown skin was spot-on as was my snow-white sweater. However, the imagery was a mixed bag, with the shooter showing off the knit pattern of my sweater while making my locks look like long, fuzzy blobs.

Dell XPS 13 Security

The XPS 13 uses Windows Hello to include an integrated fingerprint reader in the power button for quick access. This is a convenient, easy way to add an extra protection layer. I wish Dell had found a way to add a physical shutter to the camera, or an electronic kill switch. To use a piece of tape shows the elegance of those bezels that are barely there.

Dell XPS 13 (2020) Ports

This is a short segment, since ports have the XPS 13 short. The svelte stunner has a Thunderbolt 3 port with a headphone jack at the top. You'll find another Thunderbolt 3 port on the left, and a microSD slot. That's it, so if you're going to use a keyboard or external hard drive, then you'll need to invest in a Type-C USB hub.

Dell XPS 13 Audio

It is a big case of big stuff and small packets. While having speakers installed at the bottom, the XPS 13 provided loud, fairly clean audio. The braggadocious rhythm of Megan Thee Stallion on "Savage" quickly filled my tiny living and dining rooms. The Waves MaxxAudio Pro software has helped to ensure that even laptops of this size typically miss the bass sound. Don't get me wrong, a decent pair of headphones or external speakers won't be replaced, but the XPS 13 is perfect for watching movies or an impromptu dance party.

Dell XPS 13 (2020) Battery Life

Whether you're on the road or working from home, the XPS 13 will bring together a full day of work, and then some. On the Laptop Mag Battery Check, consisting of continuous web browsing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, the laptop lasted a whopping 12 hours and 39 minutes. As well as the Prestige 14 (9:49), the Surface Laptop 3 (9:17) and the MacBook Pro (8:41), the XPS 13 comfortably outclassed the 8:47 luxury laptop average. But the last laptop running was the Spectre x360, with a time of 13:20.

Dell XPS 13 Heat

Even if the XPS 13 looks hot it's still cold. After running a full-screen video for 15 minutes we tested the temperature of the laptop in key locations. The touchpad, middle and bottom were 79, 86 and 91 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively.

Dell XPS 13 (2020) Display

It's what you don't see when you first look at the XPS 13, that you'll note before anything else. This marks Dell's first time all bezels, including the bottom lip, have been ditched. But Dell did not only ditch the wide bottom bezel, he managed to shorten the other three bezels even more, with the side bezels measuring 0.15 and 0.2 inches, respectively, and the bottom bezel slimming down to just 0.18 inches.

You get a 13.4-inch, 1920 x 1200 screen panel with a 16:10 aspect ratio in the wake of those barely there bezels. The panel is bigger than its predecessor by 6.8 per cent. Within a 12.8-inch case, Dell has somehow managed to offer customers even more visual real estate — all while holding the camera smack-dab in the middle of the top bezel.

Yet what it looks like? Clear and sparkling. I was transfixed with the ruby-red sequined dress of actress Tracee Ellis Ross who played up her light brown skin in the film The High Note. I saw every pattern embroidered in Ice Cube's inky-black smoking jacket, the details were so precise.

I was shocked as stunning as Ross looks, that the XPS 13 wasn't as bright as I thought it was. Not just on paper, at least. In reality, 115 per cent of the sRGB color gamut reproduced by the laptop. That's more than enough to fend off the Prestige 14 (112%) and the Spectre x360 (109%), but the MacBook Pro (118%) and the Surface Laptop 3 (121%) are more vibrant as the average laptop premium is123%.
Nevertheless, by changing saturation, contrast and white balance across a variety of presets (Movie, Evening, Sports and Animation), Dell's Cinema Color functionality provides a color pop. And if that's not enough, Dolby Vision even comes with the laptop to improve the HDR.
The XPS 13 compensated for the slight lack of color with an overall brightness of 417 nits. The notebook comfortably outshone the competition and the 357-nit average. The MacBook Pro was a close second with 408 nits just behind it with the Spectre x360 (369 nits), the Surface Laptop 3 (348 nits) and the Prestige 14 (269 nits).

As much as it pained me to smudge this beautiful monitor with my fingertips, I encountered an agile touch panel with precise response.

Dell XPS Keyboard And Touchpad

No, your eyes don't trick you, the edge-to - edge keyboard of the XPS 13 sports bigger keycaps — 9 percent bigger to be precise. The keys are still well spaced given the bigger size and none of them have been downsized to make room. I like the backlight, too, which is bright enough for me to distinguish any main character in a dark room.

Typing keys proved to be a relaxing experience, although I like feedback a little bit more. Still, on the 10FastFingers typing test I hit 71 words per minute, which is slightly above my average of 70 wpm.

My fingertips glided over the Precision touchpad with ease. The touchpad is 17 per cent larger than previous versions at 4.4 x 2.6 inches, allowing me extra space to access web pages. Windows 10 gestures like pinch-zoom and three-finger swipe were in smooth execution. The Touchpad 's bottom corners provided firm, clicky feedback.

Dell XPS 13 Performance

The Dell XPS 13 strikes out like a heavyweight for such a lightweight laptop. Packing an Intel Core i7-1065G7 (Ice Lake) processor with 16 GB of RAM, the laptop let me watch an episode of Tiger King on Netflix while running 25 other open tabs in Google Chrome — all without a stutter.

On our synthetic checks the notebook even worked well. The XPS 13 scored 19,053 on Geekbench 4.3, which measures overall performance, handily beating the average 16,669 premium laptops. The Spectre x360, also having a Core i7-1065G7 CPU, scored 18,408, while the MacBook (Intel Core i5 CPU) and the Prestige 14 (Core i7-10710U CPU) scored 18,221 and 17,296, respectively. The Surface Laptop 3 (Core i7-1065G7), with 19,078, barely edged the XPS 13.
The XPS 13 transcoded a 4K video to 1080p in 15 minutes and 10 seconds during the HandBrake test, flying past the average of 19:40. It was faster than Surface Laptop 3 (24:55) and Spectre x360 (21:13), too. The MacBook Pro (14:20) and the Prestige 14 (14:01) were both quicker however.

For a transfer rate of 613.1 megabytes per second, the XPS 13's 512 GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD duplicated 4.97 GB of multimedia files in 8.3 seconds That rate is higher than the Surface Laptop 3 (541.4MBps, 256 GB M.2 PCIe SSD) and the Spectre x360 (318.1MBps, 512 GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD) category average. The Prestige (512 GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD), however, reached 978.7MBps, while the MacBook Pro (256 GB SSD) received an impressive 2.573MBps on the BlackMagic check.

Within the XPS 13, the Intel Iris Plus GPU isn't really designed to handle hard-core gaming but it works in a pinch. On the Dirt 3 gaming benchmark the laptop created 59 frames per minute (fps). That's just below the average of 60 fps, but still higher than the MacBook Pro (38 fps), the GPU-equipped Intel Iris Plus Surface Laptop 3, and the Spectre x360, all of which were 47 fps. The Prestige reached 150 fps with their Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q GPU.

Dell XPS 13 Software and Warranty

Dell has bundled the XPS 13 with a solid suite of valuable branded applications. Dell Power Manager allows you to control power consumption via preset profiles to extend battery life or squeeze out every bit of device output. Customer Connect is your conduit to a technician at Dell if you need system support. Digital Distribution keeps track of all updates of your apps, and recovers them after a system crash or scrub.

The company recently modified Dell Mobile Connect so the iPhone now plays good. You can now easily transfer pictures, documents and videos between your smartphone and laptop.

Third-party applications include the Killer Control Center which helps you to prioritize the network bandwidth. The laptop also comes with a 20 GB free one-year Dropbox storage. Of course there are some Windows 10 bloatware like Netflix, Farm Heroes Saga and Candy Crush Saga.

Upon remote monitoring, the Dell XPS 13 ships with a one-year hardware guarantee with on-site and in-Home support. In our annual special analyses, see how Dell fared: Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brands.

Bottom Line

The updated Dell XPS 13 reveals that Dell already knows how to push the envelope without going too far and is smaller, sleeker and sporting the tiniest bezels on all sides. It's a patient restraint exercise which improves the notebook in a bunch of small ways that add up to a big leap for the system.

For $1,749, you get a laptop with virtually no bezels, a powerful 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, a fast SSD, a lovely monitor, more than 12 hours of battery life, a comfortable keyboard and surprisingly good audio, all in an elegant chassis 2 percent lower than its predecessor

If you're looking for something with longer battery life, though, you'll want to find the 13-inch $1,313 HP Spectre x360. Need more strength? Perhaps the MSI Prestige 14 is more your pace. But if you're searching for the overall kit, then the Dell XPS 13 is your laptop.

A Lost Chance?

Prioritizing a collection of functions constantly means having the short end of the stick from a few other features inside a system. Unfortunately, the output of the camera leaves something to be desired for a still picture at just 0.92 megapixels, and for video recording 1280 x 720 pixels at 30 frames per second. After all, with video chat conferences being more of a routine necessity — right before the lockout — Dell could have upgraded the standard here, making it a missed chance. Anyone with the extra buck, however, can invest in a typical external webcam and hook it into the device.

With only the two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, microSD card slot, and a microphone and headphone jack, this might not be easy. When you intend on taking this around, set up an adaptor network. Although it is defending its corner in the high-end market, I still feel that the XPS 13 9300 should offer more in hardware terms, as do its competitors offering ultrabooks starting at $1,749

As more people do their best to move away from Chinese brands, Dell 's products based in the US still retain their loyal consumer base across individual users and corporate entities while assembled in China. If you're planning to get this ultrabook, the in-device support module will help you locate your nearest designated service centers and help up-to - date engineers easily, either remotely or in person, depending on your question.

Achievement, Upped

Given its diminutive size, the XPS 13 9300 is able to handle heavy-duty operation on a powerful 52 Whr (Watt hour) 'smart' lithium-ion battery, which lasts 12 hours when alternating between streaming and gaming, and 16 hours while browsing and basic work. It can, of course, differ for other users depending on standby modes and reboot routines.

This introduction to the XPS 13 family will make the staff at Windows 10 proud. The new 10th Gen Intel Core processors, depending on the ultrabook customisation, deliver between 3.40-3.90 GHz. Paired with a powerful Wi-Fi 6 router, the Killer AX1650 XPS 13 9300 allows for online workflow or downloading without interruption. Despite all that, due to the GORE Thermal Insulation, the unit didn't heat up as much.

The XPS 13 9300 is available from major retailers and starts at $1,749.

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