IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Dell XPS 13 review

Beautiful, high-resolution Windows ultrabook takes on the MacBook Pro

There's a webcam, unusually located at the bottom left of the screen rather than the top, but it works well for video conferencing. The built-in microphone, sadly, is somewhat less useful and in our tests voices sounded muffled and quiet. You may have to resort to a USB or 3.5mm headset if you want to be able to speak clearly to colleagues.

Display

The screen is this laptop's main showpiece, and our review model is the second-from-top specification device that uses a 3,200x1,800 pixel resolution touch screen display. However, while the surplus of pixels is welcome (to a degree, see below), it's the achingly thin bezels that surround it that really stand out. Because they're completely black and only 5mm thick, your eyes barely register them, instead allowing you to focus fully on the screen itself. Dell calls it an "Infinity Screen", but whatever you choose to call it, it's a wonderful design feature that makes this 13.3in form-factor laptop about an inch smaller diagonally than its rivals, including the now rather chunky-looking 13in MacBook Pro. Our one concern with the lack of bezel is that the screen will be much more vulnerable to cracking if the laptop is dropped and lands on one of its corners.

The screen performs well in our quantitative tests, covering 92.7 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut and managing 1068:1 contrast levels that make for very pleasing and vibrant images.

While having so many pixels serves high resolution images extremely well, it's actually more of a burden for users who have to put up with legacy business applications that may not have been updated in years. Windows 8.1 does not handle scaling these applications on small and high resolution displays very well, meaning many older applications appear tiny, with illegible text and small buttons. Even with Windows' built-in scaling options, many applications simply won't be usable. This compares poorly to Apple's OS X, which is able to scale individual objects on screen very effectively.

Featured Resources

What 2023 will mean for the industry

What do most IT decision makers really think will be the important trends and challenges in the coming year?

Free Download

2022 Magic quadrant for Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

SIEM is evolving into a security platform with multiple features and deployment models

Free Download

IDC MarketScape: Worldwide unified endpoint management services

2022 vendor assessment

Free Download

Magic quadrant for application performance monitoring and observability

Enabling continuous updating of diverse & dynamic application environments

View Now

Recommended

Microsoft Surface Pro review: Still worth buying?
Laptops

Microsoft Surface Pro review: Still worth buying?

20 Jul 2022
Best business laptops 2022: Acer, Asus, Dell and more
Laptops

Best business laptops 2022: Acer, Asus, Dell and more

13 Jun 2022

Most Popular

Dutch hacker steals data from virtually entire population of Austria
data breaches

Dutch hacker steals data from virtually entire population of Austria

26 Jan 2023
GTA V vulnerability exposes PC users to partial remote code execution attacks
vulnerability

GTA V vulnerability exposes PC users to partial remote code execution attacks

23 Jan 2023
European partners expect growth this year, here are three ways they will achieve it
Sponsored

European partners expect growth this year, here are three ways they will achieve it

17 Jan 2023