Dell XPS 13 (2020) review: A top-quality ultraportable gets even better Review

Matthew N. Henry

The new 2020 variation of the Dell XPS 13 is a premium ultraportable notebook with a starting up rate of £1,399 (inc. VAT £1,one hundred sixty five.eighty three ex. VAT), soaring to £1,799 (inc. VAT £1,499.17 ex. VAT) as the functions are piled on. In the US, the rate assortment is $one,199.ninety nine-$2,149.ninety nine. Again in 2018 I found the Dell XPS 13 in close proximity to-ideal, so it is really a quite tricky act to abide by: how does the latest product measure up?

Provided that mid-assortment laptops can deal with day to day computing demands with relative ease, premium ultraportables are an more and more tricky sell. A major-conclude technique demands to get design, battery daily life, monitor and keyboard high-quality, and inner functions spot-on though shoehorning every thing into the smallest achievable chassis for the monitor sizing on present.

In conditions of design, Dell is bang on here. The XPS 13 (2020) is small and exceptionally light. The starting up excess weight of one.2kg for units devoid of a touch-monitor and one.27kg for touch-monitor types like my overview unit is not very as close to the 1kg mark as some could possibly like, but Dell is forgiven for this since the aluminium chassis is quite sound. I couldn’t bow the lid in my fingers at all, and the palm relaxation was rigid below tension far too.

My overview unit experienced a silver lid and black interior, with the signature woven carbon fibre composite patterning to the palm relaxation that lends it both of those a distinct look and a non-slip come to feel. There is also a silver (lid) and white (palm relaxation) variation of the XPS 13 (2020).


The 13.four-inch XPS 13 (2020) runs on tenth-technology Intel Main i5 or i7 CPUs with built-in UHD Graphics or Iris Moreover Graphics. Screens are available with FHD+ (1920×1200) or UHD+ (3840 x 2400) resolution.

Impression: Dell

Dell is executing its little bit to steer clear of environmentally unfriendly resources in the establish, and suggests 90% of this notebook is recyclable. The ethic is extended to the packaging, which is 100% recyclable. Just one working day all laptops will at the very least meet this conventional, and many much more need to be publicising qualifications like this these days.


Left facet (major): USB-C/Thunderbolt three and MicroSD card. Appropriate facet (above): USB-C/Thunderbolt three and three.5mm audio in/out.

Visuals: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

The XPS 13 (2020) will just about conceal below a pad of A4 paper, as it measures just 296mm huge by 199mm deep. It is really slender far too, currently being just fourteen.8mm at its thickest point, tapering to the front. This thinness implies there’s small house for ports and connectors, and all you get is a pair of USB-C/Thunderbolt three ports, one on each and every facet, with a MicroSD card slot on the still left and a three.5mm headset jack on the ideal. Both of the USB-C ports can be used to charge the battery, and Dell offers a USB-C to USB three converter in the box. You should not glance for a SIM card slot on this ultraportable though: there’s no cellular broadband possibility for the XPS 13.

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The 13.four-inch monitor sits in a surround that’s as close to bezel-cost-free as I have observed. Dell does not give bezel measurements for its Infinity Edge display, but does quotation a ninety one.five% monitor-to-physique ratio. Even the base bezel, which can normally be reasonably large in small-bezel laptops, is impressively small here, and I calculated the facet bezels at all-around 3mm.

The monitor in my overview unit was a touch panel with three,840-by-2,four hundred-pixel resolution (UHD+, 338ppi). There are also non-touch and one,920 x one,two hundred (FHD+, 169ppi) choices. All of the XPS 13 (2020) screens have five hundred-nits brightness and some are anti-reflective, some anti-glare. I found the monitor on my substantial-conclude overview unit to be quite responsive to touch and pin-sharp in viewing, if relatively reflective. 

The audio subsystem provides a lot of volume, but the stereo speakers are lacking in bass tones. It is really fantastic for do the job-primarily based video clip contacting (a necessity at the existing time), but if you want to use your notebook for both do the job displays or capture-up video clip viewing, you may will need an external speaker, or to glance in other places.

On the matter of video clip contacting, we’re pleased to see that Dell has relocated the webcam to the small bezel above the monitor — a welcome go from its place beneath the monitor in the prior variation, which sent a less-than-flattering ‘up the nose’ digicam angle except the notebook was lifted up on a stand or a pile of publications. A sliding privateness include would be a pleasant touch, but sadly Dell will not consist of one. There is certainly also an infrared digicam for Windows Hi there login, or you can use the fingerprint scanner that’s neatly disguised in the on/off button that sits in the major ideal corner of the keyboard.


The keyboard is backlit, responsive and relaxed to variety on at speed. It is really also reasonably tranquil.

Impression: Dell

The backlit keyboard has an exceptionally light touch, and the keys have the pleasant bounceback I obtain conducive to quickly touch-typing. The action is about as close to silent as it receives, with just a slight ‘thunk’ sounding as each and every crucial is used. If you do the job in tranquil environments, you may take pleasure in this. The relaxed wrist relaxation properties a large and responsive touchpad that labored faultlessly during the overview interval.

There are no less than 11 preconfigured iterations of the XPS 13 (2020) available off the site. All operate on tenth technology Intel Main processors and consist of Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth five, but they vary noticeably in other specs — some even working Ubuntu Linux. As normal with Dell, you can blend and match specs to customise the configuration.

Listed here are the entry-stage and major-conclude off-the-site types:

  • Intel Main i5-1035G1, Windows 10 Property, 13.four-inch one,920 x one,two hundred non touch monitor, Intel UHD Graphics, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD
    £1,399 (inc. VAT £1,one hundred sixty five.eighty three ex. VAT)
  • Intel Main i7-1065G7, Windows 10 Property, 13.four-inch three,840 x 2,four hundred touch monitor, Intel Iris Moreover Graphics, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD
    £1,799 (inc. VAT £1,499.17 ex. VAT)

My overview unit was the major-of-the-assortment Main i7/16GB RAM/1TB SSD product with the substantial-resolution touch monitor. Not amazingly, this executed quite properly when working my normal mainstream productiveness workloads.

The 52Whr battery executed pretty properly, far too. In one five-hour stint involving writing into a internet application, streaming new music and looking at the occasional video clip, the battery went from 95% to fifty seven%, depleting 38% of its ability. This suggests a full figure of all-around twelve.five hours. I still left the monitor at the default brightness setting for this examination, which was just a shade underneath fifty%, but in day to day usage I would want this at closer to 60% for comfort and ease in my household place of work. This would decrease battery daily life, as would heavier-duty workloads. If this is probable to be a challenge, take into consideration opting for the lessen-resolution FHD+ monitor, which will desire substantially less from the battery.


Lack of ports and connectors on the XPS 13 (2020) will be an problem for some folks, and the reasonably poor audio high-quality may also rankle. Battery daily life may also be an problem with the substantial-resolution display if you flip up the brightness and/or operate demanding workloads.

In all other respects this is a superb major-flight ultrabook: it is really compact and moveable, however sturdy, and it is really quickly, with a terrific monitor and an superb keyboard. You can have to invest a fair sum about the base rate to get a substantial-resolution touch monitor and much more than 512GB of SSD storage though.

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