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

The best laptop ever, yet again, hammers the competition in performance.

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When we wrote our review, Dell was offering four versions of the New XPS 13:

  • $999, Core i5-8250U, 4GB LPDDR3/1866, 128GB SSD, 1080p screen
  • $1,199, Core i5-8250U, 8GB LPDDR3/1866, 256GB NVMe SSD, 1080p screen
  • $1,399, Core i7-8550U, 8GB LPDDR3/1866, 256GB NVMe SSD, 1080p screen
  • $1,999, Core i7-8550U, 16GB LPDDR3/1866, 512GB NVMe SSD, 4K touchscreen

So which would we buy? That’s easy: The one we just reviewed, and here’s why. This Core i5 is so fast, we’re not really sure the Core i7 is going to get us enough to truly  justify its $200 price increase. If Dell sweated that deal with a 512GB NVMe SSD we might change our mind, but it’s probably going to be pretty tough to justify. We admit we haven’t seen how it performs but it really feels like you should get something else for that $200.

The $99 model is likely fast, too, but with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, it’s quite pricey compared to similar models—even if faster. It also shows you how far Dell has crept up on XPS 13 pricing. When first introduced, this same configuration could be had for as low as $700. 

We’re also unlikely to be that interested in the 4K version. Although having the larger SSD is a big bonus, few users need 16GB of RAM in a tiny laptop. That 4K panel will eat into battery life, too, so for us at least, we can’t justify it.

In the end, the almost-perfect New XPS 13 is the one you see right before your eyes. Add touch, a 512GB SSD (maybe for $1,300), and, well, a square USB-A port, and you'd reach nirvana

New XPS 13 Adam Patrick Murray
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At a Glance
  • Dell's New XPS 13 is slightly thinner, slightly lighter and a whole lot faster. With higher performance cooling, this Core i5 is easily as fast or faster than many Core i7 laptops. Add to it a Windows Hello camera, luxurious Alpine White keyboard deck and great battery life and you have a laptop that still sets the bar for how its done.


    • Better performance than most Core i7 laptops with just a Core i5
    • Improved keyboard over previous generation XPS 13
    • Tiny foot print


    • Can be loud at times
    • No USB-A port
    • Slightly pricey
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