Top positive review
Good performance in such a tiny, light body!
11 May 2018
I am delighted! I spent hours reading reviews on tech websites about the best 13 to 14-inch laptops and so many "best laptop" lists consistently include the Dell XPS 13 in their top 5, top 7, top 8 and top 10 lists. I was somewhat wary about buying one given that a few Amazon reviewers had experienced faults with theirs. In the end, I reasoned that I could simply return anything that was genuinely faulty, so I bought the i5 model - and I'm very pleased.
Some of the features that I like most include:
LIGHTNESS OF THE LAPTOP
I have been carrying the laptop around in my work bag as well as using it around the home and I'm so pleased by how light it is.
LARGE, (FAIRLY) BRIGHT SCREEN
The size of the screen is of course a major benefit within this small casing. The screen gets fairly bright too. For example, I have been using the laptop outside in the sunshine (but sat under parasol). Turned up to full brightness, I can still make out words clearly enough. The screen is not really bright enough to be visible in direct sunlight, but I can cope with that.
The keyboard works well. I can touch type very quickly indeed on proper keyboards and my speed is not too badly affected on the Dell XPS 13. The right shift key and the backspace are taking just a bit more getting used to, but these amount to a small number of errors. (I also seriously considered buying an Asus 14-inch laptop, but had major problems with the right shift key, which completely put me off buying one as I reasoned that it was reducing my typing speed by far too much).
The backlight is toggled to bright, dim and then off with successive presses of the F10 button. It's a useful function when I'm typing in a dark room (for example when we're watching a film at home and the lights are turned down.)
GOOD BATTERY LIFE
The battery life is very good. Battery life of course depends on what you are doing and the brightness of the screen. However, I easily getting through a day without having to take my charger with me. I probably use the laptop for 4 to 6 hours during the day and the battery level is around 20 to 40 per cent by the time I get home and charge it.
I mainly use my Dell XPS 13 for Word and PowerPoint with the occasional (small) Excel spreadsheet. Of course I check social media, watch YouTube and Netflix too. And the laptop performs admirably with hardly any lag for all of those functions.
My (i5) laptop also takes around 20 seconds to start up, which I find plenty fast. I know that there are laptops which can start up in under half of that time. But of course you may have to pay more for that. I'm very happy with the performance I get for the price I paid.
My only (minor) gripe is that the built-in speakers are extremely quiet. It is just about loud enough to watch a clip on YouTube when I'm alone at home and the room is completely quiet. But if there's any background noise at all, I can't really hear what my Dell is playing. This is disappointing as the speakerphone on my 5-year-old smartphone are louder than the Dell! It's not a major problem for me as I usually wear headphones to listen to content anyway. But if you are looking for a laptop with speakers that can get up to a moderate (let alone loud) volume, then this is NOT for you.
I have a USB 3.0 and a full-sized SD card slot on the right side of the laptop. On the left, I have another USB 3.0, a Thunderbolt connector, and the headphone jack. One of the things that slightly put me off from getting the Dell XPS 13 was that it does not have a HDMI connector as I sometimes connect to a larger screen or projector. However, I solved this by buying an adaptor that plugs into the Thunderbolt - the adaptor was around £16 - and I don't use it all that often so I don't have to carry it around with me.
I'm incredibly pleased with the Dell XPS 13. It meets all of my work needs. But it's also light and fairly fun to use too!