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Dell New XPS 13 review: It’s elegant, tiny and stupidly fast

Dell made a bold statement when it claimed its completely redesigned New XPS 13 would be among the fastest laptops in its class, if not the fastest. After finally laying our hands on the New XPS 13, we’d have to officially declare that Dell ain’t just trash-talking.

How fast is it? Let’s just say the XPS 13 with an 8th-gen Core i5 is as fast, if not faster than, most 8th-gen Core i7 laptops. It’s even on a par with, or faster than, many larger, beefier laptops, too.

But that’s not all. There’s way more to this redesigned XPS 13 that’s worthy of your attention.

New XPS 13 Adam Patrick Murray

The New XPS 13 (top) is slightly thinner than the previous XPS 13 (bottom.)

New XPS 13 price and specs

Before we get into the specs, we note that our first review unit exhibited odd issues, where it appeared to freeze. We shipped our first review unit back to Dell in exchange for a second one, which ran without issue. This happens with reviews on occasion (so no, not all review units are cherry-picked), and we mention it when it does. We should also say reviews of the New XPS 13 on Dell’s own website have been somewhat mixed, but new designs often see upticks in complaints. Our review is based on the second unit.

The New XPS 13 Dell submitted for review is the $1,200 mid-range model. For the most part, this is the best bang-for-the-buck of the New XPS 13 laptops (though we’ll parse out the other models below). Our review unit’s specs include:

  • Quad-core Intel 8th-gen Core i5-8250U CPU
  • 8GB of LPDDR3/1866 in dual-channel mode
  • Samsung 256GB PM961 NVMe SSD
  • 13.3-inch 1920×1080 IPS screen
  • Killer 1435 802.11ac 2×2 wireless
  • 52-watt-hour battery

The laptop measures 11.9 inches wide by 7.8 inches deep. Dell officially puts the tapered body at 7.8mm to 11.6mm thick. Our calipers put it closer to 16.6mm at its widest, but the disparity comes down to just where you decide to measure it.That’s still a reduction from the previous versions’s 19mm.

For weight, our scale put the New XPS 13 at 2 pounds, 10 ounces. Add its newer, smaller USB-C Power Delivery power brick (also in white), and it’s about 3 pounds, 2.2 ounces.

New XPS 13 Adam Patrick Murray

The webcam moves from the far left side of the screen to the center and adds Windows Hello biometric face sign-in.

Oh, that webcam

The no-bezel InfinityEdge display that Dell’s featured in the XPS 13 since 2015 is mostly unchanged. The screen in this unit is a 1080p IPS panel that puts out a very bright 430 nits and features Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection. There’s no touch option at this price, but Dell offers it on the 4K version.

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