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

Four strategies for building a hybrid workplace that works

All indications are that the future of work is hybrid, if it's not here already

Free webinar

The digital marketer’s guide to contextual insights and trends

How to use contextual intelligence to uncover new insights and inform strategies

Free Download

Ransomware and Microsoft 365 for business

What you need to know about reducing ransomware risk

Free Download

Building a modern strategy for analytics and machine learning success

Turning into business value

Free Download

Recommended

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

Best laptops 2022: Acer, Asus, Dell and more

29 Apr 2022
Microsoft Surface Pro review: Still worth buying?
Laptops

Microsoft Surface Pro review: Still worth buying?

1 Sep 2021

Most Popular

Russian hackers declare war on 10 countries after failed Eurovision DDoS attack
hacking

Russian hackers declare war on 10 countries after failed Eurovision DDoS attack

16 May 2022
Researchers demonstrate how to install malware on iPhone after it's switched off
Security

Researchers demonstrate how to install malware on iPhone after it's switched off

18 May 2022
Windows Server admins say latest Patch Tuesday broke authentication policies
Server & storage

Windows Server admins say latest Patch Tuesday broke authentication policies

12 May 2022