Dell XPS 13 (2017) Full Review : Exceptionally Thin and Light

Dell’s XPS 13 continues to be our favorite notebook overall for the last couple of decades, because of its light weight, long battery life, beautiful InfinityEdge display and superior design. To keep up with the times, Dell has updated its 13-inch flagship using Intel’s brand new 8th Gen Core (aka Kaby Lake R), quad-core chip platform. Although the brand new, $1,299 model is otherwise no different in the 7th Gen-powered XPS 13 which Dell continues to market, it offers considerably stronger performance and longer battery life while keeping all of the features which make this the best consumer notebook you can purchase.


Dell has not changed the layout onto the XPS 13 within a couple of decades, but there is a lot to enjoy about the aesthetic. The lid and bottom surface of the notebook are manufactured from CNC machined aluminum that is either silver or rose gold, depending on which color you pick.

I especially enjoy the deck, that has a subtle crosshatch pattern along with a palm rest that is among the softest and most comfortable I’ve ever used.

The display uses Dell’s great InfinityEdge screen, which has virtually no bezel whatsoever on the top and sides but puts the webcam below the monitor. The hinge which goes the lid is the strongest and tightest I have ever seen, which provides the notebook a high-quality feel but additionally requires two hands to open.


The Thunderbolt 3 interface is handy because it allows you to control the notebook, output to multiple screens and join to high-speed USB-C and Thunderbolt peripherals over one cable.

Sad to say, the XPS 13’s Thunderbolt port supports just two PCI Express lanes as opposed to the four you get on other notebooks. Therefore Dell’s system does not support GPUs. (it is possible to use a number of these later bypassing a caution, but they run at lower speeds.)


The XPS 13’s base-level 1080p, touch display offers richly colored, detailed graphics and extremely wide viewing angles. As soon as I watched a trailer for Thor: Ragnarok, colors like the purple at a statue along with the mint green at Thor’s armor stood out. The matte surface of the panel created subtle details, like Bruce Banner’s stubble, very sharp. Having practically no bezel on the top and sides of this display also will help improve your experience.

Because the panel does not signify a good deal of ambient lighting and the display is bright, seeing angles were a few of the strongest I have seen. Colours did not vanish at all from 90 degrees to the right or left, and they even remained true when I transferred the lid forward a little bit. Thus, if you are using the XPS 13 in an airplane tray as well as also the person in front of you leans back, forcing you to lower your display, you are still able to see a movie.

In accordance with our colorimeter, the XPS 13 can replicate a lively 112 percent of this RGB color gamut, which can be more than the group average (101 percent), and what we saw from the Lenovo X1 Carbon (104 percent) and also the 7th Gen XPS 13 we tested annually (94 percent).


The XPS 13 outputs vibrant sound that has been loud enough to fulfill my living space. As soon as I played with AC/DC’s “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You),” the guitars and percussion were pure and layered, with no of the distortion we all experience when enjoying hard rock tunes on some different notebooks.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The included Waves Maxx audio software provides you good control over the equalizer and includes presets for more than a dozen types of music.
Computer Keyboard and Touchpad

Despite its keys’ shallow, 1.22 millimeters of travel (1.5 to 2 mm is more average for a standard notebook), the XPS 13 offers a fantastic studying experience, thanks in part to a few of the very comfortable palm rests I have ever tested.

The woven carbon-fiber deck felt just like a pillowed soft-touch mattress, cradling my wrists since I clacked my solution to a robust 106 words per second and 1.3 percent error rate on the 10FastFingers. Com typing evaluation. The eloquent visual feedback and 71 grams of required actuation force (60 to 70 grams is average) also helped me accomplish that score, which can be in the top end of my customary selection.

The 4.1 x 2.3-inch buttonless touchpad includes a beautiful, slate-black surface that is extremely easy but has only enough friction to maintain your finger out of slipping all around the area. As I navigated across the background and socialized with programs, the pad has been extraordinarily accurate and reacted instantly to expressions like pinch-to-zoom and three-finger swipe.


The XPS 13 is among the first laptops with Intel’s brand new 8th Gen Core chip platform (aka “Kaby Lake Refresh”). In jumping from 7th to 8th Gen, Intel has doubled the number of processor cores on its own mainstream U series chips from 2 to four, improved their turbo clock speeds, added several optimizations and made them more power-efficient.

Its Core i7-8550U CPU created our XPS 13 review unit significantly quicker than an XPS 13 using precisely the same specs aside from a Core i7-7500U while adding more than 2 hours into the battery life.
Using its new CPU, a 256GB PCIe solid-state driveway and 8GB of RAM, our XPS 13 configuration has been extremely speedy in regular usage. Despite more than a dozen tabs open along with a 4K movie playing, there was no delay once I switched between websites and windows.

When I switched a 4K movie to 1080p utilizing the HandBrake movie transcoder, the older XPS 13 took 31 minutes and 36 seconds to finish the job, whereas the new one completed in only 19 minutes and 35 seconds. That is a 62-percent performance gain it probably occupies much of the additional cores since the task used all eight CPU threads (two threads per core).

Single-threaded tasks, like the spreadsheet macro evaluation, were still faster, but not just as much. The 8th Gen-powered XPS 13 took only 3 minutes and 9 seconds to finish the spreadsheet macro evaluation, which matches 20,000 titles using their addresses with OpenOffice Calc. That is much faster than the group average (5:49) and about 10 percent faster than the 7th Gen Core-powered XPS 13 (3:29).

Possessing a speedy processor is very good, but mixing that CPU using a blazing PCIe SSD is much better. The XPS 13’s 256GB drive took only 10 seconds to replicate 4.97GB of documents, for a speed of 508 MBps. That is more than twice the group typical (219 MBps) and also the rate of the X1 Carbon (242 MBps). The ZenBook 3 (508 MBps) offered precisely the same speed.


The integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 GPU to the newest XPS 13 is not powerful enough to play high-end games, but it might run more casual titles and play a movie with aplomb. The Lenovo Yoga 920 returned a speed of 35 fps.

The XPS 13 using 8th Gen Center will continue through a whole flight from New York to Taiwan without having to be recharged. The notebook endured an epic 16 hours and 5 minutes to the Notebook Mag Battery Test, which entails continuous web browsing over Wi-Fi.

The two XPS 13 models blow away the ultraportable-laptop category typical (8:29), in addition to the runtimes of this Asus Zenbook 3 Deluxe (7:05) along with also the Apple MacBook (9:29).

Battery Life

Although we have not tested the 8th Gen-powered XPS 13 using all the optional 3200 x 1800 touch display, we expect its battery life to become much worse. A 7th Gen-powered XPS 13 with this display endured just 9 hours and 11 minutes, and it is 4.5 hours on the other side of the configuration using a 1080p, non-touch screen.


Do not make video calls using the XPS 13 if you’ve got a double chin or some other feature that is unflattering when seen from below.

The awkwardly put lens sits below the lower-left corner of this display and stares up at you. Worse, the pictures that I captured it in my home throughout the daytime were equally dark and full of visual sound. That is the trade-off you create to acquire a virtually imperceptible top bezel.

Wi-Fi Performance

The Dell XPS 13 comes equipped with a Killer 1535 AC Wi-Fi card, which guarantees better relations compared to Intel or Broadcom radios which many laptops include. The Killer card prioritizes specific forms of internet traffic over the others so that, as an instance, your streaming movie or Skype telephone gets more bandwidth compared to the Windows upgrade running in the background.

Inside my home, I did not notice a difference in connection between the 8th Gen-powered XPS 13 along with a perfect ThinkPad T440s I utilized at the same times and locations. Both notebooks did their fair share of streaming once I tried streaming a 4K video while running the standard in a different window. But, Editor-in-Chief Mark Spoonauer got significantly superior connectivity on the past year’s XPS 13, that has the same Wi-Fi card, compared to an Apple MacBook.

Software and Warranty

The XPS 13 includes a couple of pieces of Dell-included bloatware, a couple of useful first-party utilities along with the conventional set of Windows 10 preloads.

Dell includes its assistance and Support program, along with the Waves MaxxAudio management panel for sound, but also, it adds trial versions of McAfee SecurityCenter, Microsoft Office, and Dropbox. Microsoft drops on its regular pack of unwanted programs, such as Sweet Crush Soda Saga, Bubble Witch Saga, Asphalt 8 and freemium variations of AutoDesk SketchBook and Keeper password supervisor.

Dell backs the XPS 13 using a conventional, one-piece mail-in guarantee.


For the price, you receive our inspection arrangement, which includes a 1080p touch display, a Core i7-8550U CPU, a 256GB PCIe SSD and 8GB of RAM. You are also able to get a model with a 3200 x 1800 touch display and 16GB of RAM for $1,749 ($1,549 available).

If you’d like a less-expensive XPS 13 using a Core i5 or Core i3 chip, you can get one; Dell proceeds to market those configurations using 7th Gen CPUs (see our overview of this 7th Gen variant here). For $799, you can find an XPS 13 utilizing a Core i3-7100U CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, also for $999 ($899 available), you can purchase a model using a Core i5-7200U CPU and 8GB of RAM.

At some point, Dell will begin selling variations of this XPS 13 using 8th Gen Core i5 chips, but these weren’t available at press time. The business will also finally have components with SSDs around 1TB and Intel’s business-friendly vPro feature.

Bottom Line / Verdict

Dell’s XPS 13 stays our favorite notebook overall, as a result of its epic battery life; blazing-fast performance; attractive, lightweight design; and stunning screen. While the business has retained the same layout on the outside of the notebook, if you receive a model using an 8th Gen Core chip, that is a massive improvement on the interior.
If you are tired of this XPS 13’s metallic decorative but otherwise enjoy the notebook, you might choose to wait till next year, if Dell will unveil a fresh white model which claims to become thinner but does away with regular USB ports. And, if you would like a company and productivity notebook using a superior typing experience, think about Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon. But if you would want the best customer clamshell notebook you can purchase at this time, look no farther than the XPS 13.


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