The new XPS 13 is slicker and speedier than last year’s model – and has the smallest camera Dell’s ever made
Not much has changed with the Dell XPS 13 over the last four years. When a device is so popular and so close to perfection, there’s really no need to mix up the formula. Instead, the American tech titan continues to make minor – but meaningful – adjustments with each new model.
What’s new with the 2019 XPS 13, then? As you’d expect, not a huge amount. Yet there is one improvement which will make fans of the ultrabook series happy: the webcam is back up top, instead of at the bottom of the screen, where it caused a million unfortunate double chin-exposing video conference calls.
Dell XPS 13 (2019) review: Key specifications, price and release date
- Display: 13.3in, up to 3,840 x 2,160, touch and non-touch available
- Processor: Up to 8th-Gen Intel Core i7-8565U (4.6GHz)
- Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620
- Storage: Up to 2TB PCIe SSD
- RAM: Up to 16GB LPDDR3
- Connectivity: Killer Wi-Fi 802.11ac [2×2], Bluetooth 4.2
- Dimensions: 11.6 x 302 x 199mm (HWD)
- Weight: From 1.23kg
- Audio: Stereo speakers x 2
- OS: Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro
- UK price: From £999
- UK release: January 2019
Dell XPS 13 (2019) review: Design, key features and first impressions
Anyone familiar with previous versions of the Dell XPS 13 will see from my photos that the overall design hasn’t actually changed that much. Like the outgoing 2018 model, the latest XPS 13 comes in a ‘Rose Gold’ exterior and ‘Alpine White’ interior, or in the more traditional ‘Platinum Silver’ and ‘Black Carbon Fibre’ colour scheme. There’s also a new ‘Frost’ chassis finish which shares the ‘Alpine White’ interior. The dimensions of the new model are identical to last year’s, but it has gained weight. Considering it’s only 0.02kg heavier, however, I’d hardly say that it’s letting itself go.
With such a slim chassis it can be difficult to incorporate a healthy range of ports, and in 2019 the XPS 13 continues to suffer from a chronic case of connectivity deficiency. You do get 3 x USB-C ports, all of which work as display ports (and 2 of which are Thunderbolt 3), but there are no HDMI or USB 3.0 slots. A microSD slot and 3.5mm audio jack are still there in the same places as before.
One major improvement, though, is the shrinking and subsequent relocation of the 720p webcam. Instead of languishing below the screen, it now sits in its rightful place above the 13.3in display, smack in the centre of the upper InfinityEdge bezel. I was told that this development took over two years and that the result is Dell’s smallest ever webcam. This will come as a relief to those who want to make the upgrade to the 2019 XPS 13. No longer will they have to place their laptop on a stack of textbooks to avoid looking like Jabba the Hutt whenever they tune in to a meeting remotely.
Internal specifications have seen a jump from last year, of course. The top-spec XPS 13 is now powered by an Intel i7-8565U, the same super-speedy CPU inside the phenomenal Razer Blade Stealth 13. So it’ll be nippy, no doubt about that. Unlike that laptop, there will be no discrete graphics option with the Dell XPS 13, so it won’t be anywhere near the same league as the Stealth 13 in the gaming department. It should help keep that battery life going, though – Dell claims the latest XPS 13 runs for up to 21hrs on a charge.
The new Dell XPS 13 comes with up to 16GB RAM and 2TB PCIe SSD, so you can expect it to handle work tasks with high-performing excellence. But it will also be a Netflix-streamer’s dream. The top-spec model has a 3,840 x 2,160 (4K) touch display, which is paired with Dolby Vision and Dell Cinema software to improve vibrancy and dynamic range when viewing video content.
Dell XPS 13 (2019) review: Early verdict
From what I’ve seen of it so far, this is evidently the best Dell XPS 13 to date. But then again, you could say the same thing every year! Although it’s not yet perfect, there’s less room for improvement than there was last time; the miniaturised webcam is a lovely innovation, and the new colour scheme is a nice touch, too.
Until I get a 2019 Dell XPS 13 in for review I can’t say for sure how it stacks up against the competition, but based on the benchmark scores of the Razer Blade Stealth 13 (which also has the i7-565U processor) I’d say the XPS 13 is going to be up there with the best-in-class. Details of UK release and pricing will be coming soon, as will my full review.