By Stephen Pate – The new Dell XPS 13 Core i5 Signature Edition Laptop
Using Intel’s 5th generation Core i5-5200U processor at 2.2 GHz, the XPS 13 achieves a full 13&Prime display with the smallest laptop by having almost no border around the screen.
Compare that to a MacBook Air 13&Prime at $999 with the older and slower 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor. The MacBook Air desperately needs an upgrade which is rumoured to be coming this spring. Until then even MacRumors and 9to5Mac have issued cautions on the current MacBook Air.
Of course, there are Mac fanboys who will never use Windows but many Apple MacBook users have Windows on their desktops and are quite willing to look at a quality laptop with Windows.
Especially now with Windows 10 in the offing, Microsoft is developing a new cache for cool. I mean, Microsoft Windows 10 will be the home of Hololens which is not a toy like the iWatch but the future today. Virtual holograms puts us in the world that George Lucas imagined with Star Wars.
So what has Dell put together in the XPS 13? It’s a sleek, sexy even laptop that tips the scales at 2.6 lbs. The screen is full 1920 x 1080 resolution with options to go as high as 5.7 million pixels on its UltraSharp QHD display at $1,599.
Like the MacBook Air, it has an all-aluminum body that is strong and stylish so that thin does not mean fragile. The base is carbon-fiber which is tough and thin but cooler to the touch so your lap won’t get hot. The gorgeous screen a Corning Gorilla Glass.
The XPS 13 looks and feels like a high quality laptop, one that will turn heads and keep working no matter where you go with it. Good bye plasticky Windows laptops which is where Apple made a difference. A MacBook Air may be thin but it feels substantial.
Apple still struggles with cooling that thinness which will hopefully get better when Apple adopts the new lower-power and lower heat-producing Intel 5th generation Core i5. For now, Dell has the advantage at a price that’s almost too good to resist.
Dell is claiming a 15 hour battery, which seems a little rich. I think 9 hours of regular use will be the real results you get which means a day of use away from home or office. Again, this is one of the benefits of the new Intel 5th generation Core i5 – lower power and better battery management.
If you want one, you’ll have to visit a Microsoft Store or be ready for a back-order wait. The original inventory sold out in days.
A bit surprising, the only model available is the $899 Dell XPS 13 9343-2727SLV Core i5 128GB Signature Edition Laptop. The touch screen version – hey this is Windows 8.1 right – is “coming soon” at $1,299 with 8GB of RAM and the higher resolution QD touch screen. That’s still a bargain and something you will wait a few years to see from Apple.
Touch is strange. On a phone or tablet you really use touch. On my two touch equipped desktops I only use touch as a break from the mouse and keyboard. On my MacBook Air I have to stop myself from touching the screen because its right there. Hey Apple, why not touch?
You may have guessed I am very eclectic on computers. I was a Compaq Windows and Apple Mac dealer for years so I use a Windows Phone, iPad Air, 3 Windows 8.1 desktops and my MacBook Air. I love the all for what they do. For me it’s get the job done with style and no hassles. I my swap the Windows Phone for an iPhone 6 Plus and the MacBook Air for a Dell XPS 13.
The only “con” on the Dell XPS 13 is the trackpad is a tad twitchy and needs adjustment to match the MacBook Air. They say, and I haven’t seen it yet of course, the QD touchscreen has lower battery life.
Engadget wrote that “with a starting price of $800 (pretty reasonable for a flagship laptop), it seemed poised to become one of our new favorite Ultrabooks. And you know what? It actually is.” Engadget
“Dell XPS 13 review: MacBook Air fanboys, look no further for your rumored unicorn,” said PC Magazine. “Few Mac users may cross over to the light side, but at least there’s finally a PC with better specs and a better price in the world. Which is the way it’s supposed to be.”
“The new Dell XPS 13 isn’t perfect, but it’s freaking incredible for the $800 you’ll spend to bring one home,” said Gizmodo.
Dell XPS 13 9343 Core i5 128GB Signature Edition Laptop available from Dell.com and the US Microsoft Store and Microsoft Store in Canada.
Dell has a slightly slower processor, the Intel i3 50100, for $799 if cost is the main object. In Canada the i5 XPS 13 is $50 more from at $949. Dell is micro-pricing each model. Microsoft is sticking to 3 models that are better equipped and more likely to make customers happy.
This looks like the second home run product for Microsoft after the Surface Pro 3.