First look

Dell XPS 13 (2015) hands-on

Dell's svelte MacBook rival gets a Skylake-flavoured performance boost

Dell has recently overhauled its XPS range of business ultrabooks, including the XPS 13.

The 13 inch notebook has been a business favourite in recent years for its compact size and sleek design, but has now had a performance upgrade to bring it back to the cutting edge.

The last refresh of the XPS 13 introduced the virtually edgeless Infinity' display, a 5mm-bezelled screen that has now made its way to others in the XPS lineup.

It still looks as gorgeous as ever, and is available in either 1080p HD, or Quad HD Plus', with a 3200x1800 resolution sitting neatly between Quad HD and 4K. It looks great, with a matte finish for glare reduction and good viewing angles. 

Much remains from the previous XPS 13 in terms of design. In addition to the Infinity screen, the carbon-fibre palm rests and machined aluminium body are still present and correct. However, the body has now been shrunk down to an 11in form factor, thanks primarily to the lack of borders around the screen.

On the hardware side, Dell has added Skylake CPUs in Core-i3, Core-i5 and Core-i7 variants, all the way up to 3.4GHz models available in January. That is supplemented with up to 16GB dual-channel memory and SSD storage up to a maximum capacity of 1TB.

It comes with Windows 10 preinstalled as standard, and Dell is also packing in a couple of additional features. Two USB 3 ports are included as standard and Thunderbolt 3 ports are available as an optional extra. The XPS 13 also boasts a maximum 18 hours of battery life, with a further 7 available via the portable Dell Power Companion.

The XPS 13 really is a fantastic-looking machine. While not quite rivalling the MacBook in terms of visual appeal, it nevertheless looks elegant and professional.  It's also unbelievably light and thin, and no trouble to carry around.

From what  we saw of the performance, it seems equally capable in terms of hardware. We'll know more once we test it out fully, but for now, we're confident that the XPS 13 will be able to handle moderate to heavy business workloads, especially at higher-specced configurations.

The XPS 13 is available to order from Dell's site today, and starts at 707.50 ex-VAT.

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