Dell XPS 13 review

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

There are other problems with the screen, too, although how much they affect you will depend on how you use it. First, there's a lot of backlight bleed on the bottom corners of the screen, with light leaking around the screen panel, lighting it up from the front. This affects both light and dark images and is noticeable even when the screen is set to a relatively low brightness setting. There's also an irritating automatic screen brightness adjustment feature that can't be switched off, although its effect is subtle in most cases. 

Performance and battery life

Processing performance comes from a fifth-generation dual-core Intel Core i7-5500U processor paired with 8GB of RAM. It runs at a base clock speed of 2.4GHz, boosting to 3GHz when needed. It's a very quick mobile chip, particularly considering the size of the XPS 13. It gives off some heat and fan noise is audible when it's working hard, but neither are extreme.

Performance in single-core tasks such as web browsing and working in productivity applications is very fast, with web pages loading in an instant and switching between programs a breeze. Things slow down a little when the laptop is subjected to tougher tests, such as rendering video, but it's still no slouch and you'll get simple to moderately taxing tasks done in no time.

Battery life is a slight weak point on the XPS 13, although it can hardly be blamed considering its potent processor and bright screen. We averaged around seven hours of use when performing basic tasks including document editing, reading emails and browsing the web, dropping to 5h25m when playing video on a loop with the screen at half brightness. It's a shame that the battery isn't replaceable, as that would have significantly increased the laptop's appeal to frequent travellers.

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