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Dell XPS 13 (2018) UK Review: The best new portable laptop

Written by  Jan 09, 2018

Dell has updated its excellent Dell XPS 13 ultraportable laptop for 2018. This latest model brings a number of changes including a refreshed design, faster processor and new colour options.

Tech News Europe was on hand to check out the new XPS 13 ahead of its official launch.

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Dell XPS 13 (2018) Review

Updated design

It is claimed to be the smallest 13-inch laptop in existence, the latest XPS 13 features the same-size edge-to-edge display as before but there's a more refined design all round.

The design is still very similar to the previous model but it now features an aluminium casing in either silver or rose gold.

The rose gold offering is similar to Apple's MacBook line but does add a touch of glam to the proceedings. It also features a white keyboard and palm rest.

Underneath there's the upgraded edge-to-edge 13.3-inch 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) InfinityEdge touch display, offering a 1500:1 contrast ratio as opposed to the old model which was 1000:1.

Those that don't want a touchscreen will be able to choose a standard, non-touch version. The touchscreen model, however, now comes with an anti-reflective coating to reduce glare.

It comes with a full-sized keyboard and, depending on the colour option, either a black carbon fibre palm rest or an alpine white woven glass fibre one instead.

At the bottom of the screen Dell has moved the camera from the side to the centre for video calling. Annoyingly, the alpine white version features a black camera and sensor model which jars against the brilliant clean lines the white otherwise produces.

The woven glass fibre of the rose gold and white model isn't as smooth a finish as the black carbon fibre option, but still works well. It also means that unlike standard plastic it doesn't show the marks as much.

Apart from the new materials, there are a couple of other differences that make this year's model a little different from the previous model.

Dell XPS 13 2018 a
Dell XPS 13 (2018) Review

The USB option has gone

While the 2017 Dell XPS 13 featured both USB-C and USB sockets, that is now in the past. In making the laptop thinner, Dell has opted to omit the standard USB-A socket altogether, replacing it with USB-C. So the XPS 13 features three USB-C sockets, any of which can be used to charge the laptop. Thunderbolt 3 is also supported as previously.

Gone this time around is the popular SD card slot and, which seems a little odd, it won't be a popular ommission for photographers. Now there is a microSD card slot instead, which is all part of the space saving approach to make the device thinner. Thankfully, you still get a 3.5mm headphone jack.

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Dell XPS 13 (2018) Review

Underneath the hood

The Dell XPS 13 (9370) has a choice of configurations. You can opt to have Intel's latest 8th Gen Core i5 and i7 quad-core processors, between 4-16GB of memory, and up to 1TB of storage.

In our hands-on we weren't able to test performance, but they will be sure to follow.

There's also a fingerprint reader option. The screen works with Dell's new accompanying Pen, and that will work seamlessly with Windows Ink in Windows 10.

Dell is promising around 19 hours of battery life on a single charge, 11 hours for Quad HD screen, we will have to wait and see on these claims. 

Price when reviewed:
from £1649
Check current price

Verdict

The new Dell XPS 13 is the result of Dell refining an already good laptop and ensuring that it remains a popular favourite.

The alpine white model certainly offers a refreshing change to the more usual black and silver combo.

The only downside as we see it, is the decision to replace the SD socket with microSD, it is not a deal breaker and will only affect a small number of Dell's customers.

The new XPS 13 is available on Amazon UK or Dell.com, starting at £1,649. The Rose Gold edition is available from February, starting at £1,669. 

Also see: Apple 13in MacBook Pro (2017) UK Review: Oozes quality once again

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