Everyone wants to get a slice of the ultrabook pie and the latest to join the club is Dell. Having launched the XPS 13 ultrabook a few days ago in India, Dell hopes to grab some of the limelight that Lenovo and Asus have been enjoying.
While Dell has created an incredibly sexy notebook, it looks quite similar to the Apple MacBook Air. The lid is crafted from aluminium and base is protected by carbon fibre. This makes it extremely sturdy and durable, while still possessing a slim profile. The notebook measures about 18mm in depth at its thickest point and weighs around 1.36kg. While this may seem light on paper, it feels quite heavy, which is rather odd.
Connectivity in this XPS is the best among other ultrabooks in this range. It’s nice to see USB 3.0, though there are just two ports. While Display Port is a nice addition, it would have been better to have HDMI since cables are easier to find and cheaper as well. In addition, there’s also no card reader present.
Inside, we’re greeted by a 13.3-inch display with Corning’s Gorilla Glass for protection. This ensures your display remains free of unwanted scratches overtime. The edge-to-edge glass gives the screen a seamless look and also allows Dell to fit a larger screen into a smaller chassis.
The keyboard area has a nice rubber finish to it that extends onto the trackpad as well. However, we found that while typing, the right palm tends to touch the edge of the trackpad, which annoyingly engages the vertical scroll that moves the page and the cursor all over the place. Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut to quickly disable the trackpad.
Dell offers the XPS 13 in three models. The base model (tested here) packs in a Core i5 processor from Intel’s ultra-low voltage range. The other components include a 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. This makes the ultrabook lightning quick. Typing is relatively stress-free and the keys are responsive, which doesn’t cause fatigue even after long hours of typing.
As far as performance goes, we noticed that the exhaust fans placed on the underside tend to spin wildly as soon as any multimedia is played. This makes the laptop noisy. Dell has thrown in a non-removable 6-cell battery that will last for about 4-5 hours of average use.
The new Dell XPS 13 range starts from Rs 79,900, which is too expensive for what’s on offer. Granted, it’s very well put together and has looks to die for, but if thin and light is your main priority, Acer’s TimeLine X series offers good value for money. It’s not as classily constructed, but gets the job done. Apple’s MacBook Air that starts at Rs 56,900 is still the best option if you don’t mind switching to the Mac platform.