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Dell XPS 13 (2019) hands-on review

LAS VEGAS: PC MAKER Dell’s XPS 13 has long been regarded as one of the best ultraportables on the market, despite one major, glaring flaw: a webcam located underneath the screen that gave a detailed look inside your nose. 

At this year’s CES, Dell has finally fixed this problem. The firm unveiled an all-new XPS 13 laptop that sees the webcam relocated above the display; arguably where it should have been all along. 

We got our mitts on the new model during the Las Vegas tech show, and while we haven’t yet put the laptop fully through its paces, it looks like Dell might have finally perfected its already-stellar flagship laptop. 

Design and display
The latest Dell XPS 13 is, incontestably, the firm’s best-looking laptop yet. Not only is it available in a striking new white variant, alongside its usual Black/Silver and Rose Gold/White options, but as we mentioned previously, the webcam is now where it belongs. 

Until now, the XPS 13’s super-skinny bezels have left no room for an integrated webcam, but Dell has adopted what it claims is the “smallest ever” 2.25mm HD webcam, allowing it to embed the lens above the laptops’ InfinityEdge display; no more showing your parents the inside of your nostrils when you’re on a video call. 

Elsewhere, the design remains largely unchanged; it’s just as thin and light as last year’s model, adopting the same anodized aluminium lid and base paired with a woven carbon fibre keyboard deck and glass-coated touchpad. You’ll find the same ports, too: two Thunderbolt 3, one USB-C 3.1, a microSD card slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

And like the 2018 model, the new Dell XPS 13 has a power button to the right of the keyboard which also acts as a fingerprint scanner; a welcome feature considering the laptop’s lack of Windows Hello support. 

Naturally, the bezel on the XPS 13 still just as impressively teeny at just 4mm, and this surrounds the laptop’s new and improved 13.3in 4K display (FHD also available) which boasts Dolby Vision support for the first time, which Dell claims “delivers colours never before seen, highlights that are up to 40 times brighter, and blacks that are 10 times darker”.

It’s not wrong, either; the display on the new XPS 13 is one the most vibrant we’ve seen on a laptop, with vibrant colours, impressive levels of brightness and deep blacks.  

Performance and battery life
The Dell XPS 13 has also received an under the hood upgrade, and will now ship with the latest the latest quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core processors – Intel has yet to reveal ninth-gen laptop Core chips – paired with up to 16GB RAM, Intel UHD 620 graphics and up to 1TB storage. 

While we didn’t have long to fondle with the laptop, everything was just as smooth and slick as you’d expect; unless you’re planning on using the laptop for video editing or hardcore gaming, it’s unlikely you’ll have any complaints performance-wise. 

Naturally, we didn’t get a chance to put the laptop’s battery to the test, but Dell is promising 21 hours of battery life from the model with a Full HD display and Core i5 processor, and up to 12 hours from the 4K model with the Core i7 chip. We’ll be sure to test these bold claims when we get our hands on the laptop for a full review. 

First impressions
In our review of 2018’s Dell XPS 13, we hailed the laptop as one of the best we’d tested in a long time, criticising only its ill-positioned webcam and lacklustre battery life. Now, with its ideally-mounted webcam and bold claims of all-day battery life, it looks like Dell may have finally perfected its flagship ultraportable.

Of course, we’ll reserve full judgement until we properly put it through its paces. µ

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