Dell XPS 13 Review: A True Answer To The MacBook Air
Although the Dell XPS 13 (2022) does a great job at accomplishing what it sets out to do, some people will be extremely unhappy by some of the adjustments Dell makes to the XPS 13 (2022), and some of these changes will be complete deal breakers.
However rather than only being compared to the Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020), this model’s direct predecessor, the XPS 13 (2022) deserves to be assessed on its own merits. This is particularly true considering that laptop is perhaps the best in its class.
While we’ll eventually get to evaluating the XPS 13 (2022) objectively, it’s still crucial to recognize that the new Dell XPS 13 has a history that can’t be disregarded. The XPS 13 (2022) performs better than the model it replaces in several important areas, while it falls short in others. Whether or not any of them are totally within Dell’s control, how you feel about the new XPS 13 will entirely depend on where your concerns lie between the two.
Affordability and price
The Dell XPS 13 (2022), often referred to as the Dell XPS 13 (9315), is now offered in the US, UK, and Australia, with prices beginning at $899, £854, and AU$1,898. You can obtain an Intel Core i5-1230U with integrated Iris Xe graphics, 8GB of LPDDR5 Memory, and a 13.4-inch, 500-nit FHD+ (1920 x 1200p) display with this setup. While the UK and Australia begin with a 256GB SSD, the US has a minimum storage option of 512GB SSD.
The most expensive option costs $1,549/£1,754/AU$3,441 and includes a Core i7-1250U with Iris Xe graphics, 32GB LPDDR5 Memory, 1TB PCIe SSD, and a 500-nit, 13.4-inch, FHD+ (1920 x 1200p) display with anti-reflective coating.
The configuration we tested, which has 16GB RAM instead of 8GB, is one level above basic level and costs $1,049/£1,004/AU$2,299
The processors aren’t really powerful enough to handle the kind of heavy workloads that would require more than 16GB RAM or 512GB storage, and most people will do just fine with the starting configuration, so few people will ever need to spend more than $1,000 / £1,000 / AU$2,000 to get one of the best Dell laptops on the market. This XPS 13 model is more oriented towards value than performance (which would be the Dell XPS 13 Plus).
The Dell XPS 13 (2022) will divide the whole tech reviewer community over its design, with proponents and opponents of the device each presenting compelling arguments. Although there are certain functional difficulties that will be a problem for many, consumers don’t purchase new laptops every 18 months, therefore for everyone else, this is still a stunning laptop.
First off, the XPS 13 is incredibly portable due to its small weight and slim design, making it simple to throw in a bag before leaving the house. The most significant outward modification from its predecessor is the availability of Umber, a purplish-blue color option that complements the brushed aluminum chassis of the XPS range.
Opening it up reveals a revamped interior that replaces the carbon fiber keyboard palm rest with a sleek aluminum one that allows the hands to easily slide over its surface. The buttons and trackpad are also properly positioned and spaced to enable for fluid and comfortable typing, even for many hours at a time.
Full HD+, or 1920 x 1200p at a 16:10 aspect ratio, and a maximum brightness of 500 nits describe the display. Although it doesn’t have the same brilliant colors as the Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED because it is not an OLED display, it is still more than clear enough to view all you need to at this size.
Don’t anticipate much from the webcam’s image quality because it is the basic 720p@30fps you get on practically every other ultrabook on the market. A webcam privacy shutter, which many of the top HP and Lenovo laptops have long had, is one feature that is missing from these devices. In our opinion, Dell really has to get with the program on this.
The lack of connectors is the major problem with the XPS 13 (2022). Only two Thunderbolt 4 ports are available. While both may charge the laptop, having it connected in reduces your available USB-C ports to one, so you’ll either need a dock for more than two devices or you’ll need to prioritize which one is most necessary.
However, because they are USB-C ports, a conversion dongle is required for any USB-A or other forms of input to function. The XPS 13 comes with two USB-A to USB-C adapters and a 3.5mm audio jack to USB-C, but you’ll probably need more, which can seriously limit the portability of the laptop.
Redesign of the interior
The Dell XPS 13 has undergone extensive engineering work to get slimmer. It is now 0.55 inches thick, making it among the thinnest Windows laptops available. Although though it is only 5% thinner than the previous model, it seems much thinner in the hand. Yet as you are aware, every millimeter lost at this size requires a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes labor.
First off, according to Dell, the motherboard is now 1.8 times smaller overall, thanks to the use of a thinner PCB and technology that has been adapted from smartphone boards. It’s pretty amazing to see how little room the motherboard now occupies when you remove the rear panel. Without going into all the specifics, Dell has managed to reduce the size of practically every component, including the storage and RAM. This internal redesign required an astonishing amount of engineering work. But once more, the thickness is only reduced by 5% as a result.
Yet when it comes down to it, the performance of the new XPS 13 is what really steals the show. You only get one fan and a 9-watt processor from Intel’s 12th-generation U-series chips in an effort to reduce costs. Only two Performance cores are present in these CPUs, which is four fewer than the P-series chips found in the Dell XPS 13 Plus.
The benefits of reducing power
The XPS 13 manages heat a lot better than the XPS 13 Plus, to start. Even when performing fairly commonplace applications, the surface temperatures of that laptop were one of my main gripes. This is not a problem with the XPS 13, which also does a great job of maintaining both quietness and cooling. There is only one fan, and it never makes an excessive amount of noise.
Of course, the My Dell utility has a “Ultra Performance” thermal option that can turn up the fan a little more. Its performance option accomplishes a lot, in contrast to some seen in other laptops. For instance, I was able to finish encoding a video with Handbrake 42% faster by turning on Extreme Performance option. This brought it more in line with other 12th-generation U-series laptops, demonstrating just how heavily the “Optimized” option weights a quiet, comfortable experience.
The second advantage of Dell employing a lower-powered chip for the XPS 13 is battery life. This device’s battery life in light web browsing was well over 13 hours, which is more than 5 hours longer than the XPS 13 Plus’s. I found that I could go the majority of a day without access to an outlet as long as I didn’t have too many protracted video chats. The M2 MacBook Air will still last for a good four to five hours longer, but the Dell XPS 13 is once again the leader among Windows laptops.
Purchase it, but go cautiously
The new XPS 13 appears to be a reaction to the M1 MacBook Air’s enormous popularity in several aspects. The XPS 13 feels like it was truly created with the intention of outperforming Apple at its own game, whereas the rest of the Windows environment has carried along, almost behaving as if the MacBook Air didn’t exist.
Even if it’s still not as strong or durable as the MacBook Air, the $829 price tag makes it an incredible value. I adore the fact that Dell didn’t hesitate to use price as a weapon against Apple, even if it necessitated making a few concessions along the way. I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest this laptop to the majority of Windows laptop shoppers if I could figure out a way to add back a headphone port. Yet even as it stands, there are no other high-end laptops under $1,000 that are as good.