Dell XPS 13 (2015 Skylake) User Review

Dell XPS 13 (Model 9350) Touch 13-inch notebook computer (Dino 2 XPS) on a wooden bench out side, with Dell Power Companion PW7015M (Dura Ace) and Dell Adapter USB Type-C HDMI/VGA/Ethernet/USB 3.0 (Slayer 2.0). A person seated beside the computer can be s

I have been using my Dell XPS 13 for a few months now.  This laptop features the new Skylake processor and a USB-C port.  I use this laptop for all the usual things plus I travel a lot, write some code and often present on external displays.

Overall this is a great device, it’s plenty powerful enough thanks to the Skylake chip and copious memory and it is easy to slip into a shoulder bag.

The entry level model starts at £849 in the UK, however the model discussed here features a i7-6500U processor, 16Gb memory and a 512GB Solid State Drive at £1399.  The XPS 13 can be bought online here:

Amazon (USA): Dell XPS 13 on Amazon USA

Amazon (UK): Dell XPS 13 on Amazon UK

dabs.com (UK): Dell XPS 13 on dabs.com

ebuyer (UK): Dell XPS 13 on Ebuyer

Portability

This is key with this type of laptop and the Dell really excels here. The 13 inch display has been crammed into a case more similar in size to an 11 inch MacBook Air. The shell is sturdy enough to deal with the inevitable knocks and bashes that will occur when travelling.  It’s also super light so you don’t get laptop shoulder ache.

One of the quirks of the unique size of this laptop is that it makes it rather hard to find a well fitting sleeve. It’s too small for normal 13 inch laptop sleeves but a tiny bit too big for the 11 inch MacBook Air sleeves…. And the Dell one is simply ugly. In the end I bought this one custom made from Etsy and it is fantastic quality:

Dell XPS 13 custom laptop sleeve

Performance

The model I have  features a dual core i7-6500U processor with 16GB memory. This is more than capable, I even run complex data analytics software on it which it handles with ease.

Geekbench gives a single core rating of 3115 and a multi-core rating of 6596.  What’s impressive here is the performance per CPU core, which is very good.

Connectivity

All the usual suspects are here from a wireless perspective: fast wifi and Bluetooth. No problems here. It does get more interesting when you get to physical ports; the XPS 13 is ahead of its time and features a USB-C port, which is great. However there is no mini display or hdmi port. This means that to connect up to an external display you will need a usb-c to vga or hdmi adapter, which there are not many of at the moment.. And those that are available are rather pricey:

VGA: Apple USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter

HDMI: Google USB-C to HDMI adapter

Alongside the USB-C you have the power adapter, a couple of USB 3 ports, an SD card reader and a headphone socket.

Dell are also releasing a USB-C docking station which had all the display, charging, network and use ports you’d expect.  It is, however, not available at the time of writing.

Display

Quite honestly, the display is lovely. The screen is a QHD+  Which has a resolution of 3200 x 1800, and it produces a fantastically vibrant and crisp image.  This really is the highlight of this laptop.  It is also a touchscreen which I don’t find I use that often, but is occasionally handy for lazy web browsing.

Windows 10

This is finally the good Windows. This isn’t a review about Windows 10, but it is worth mentioning as the OS is much easier to use than Windows 8.1 and looks brilliant on the XPS’ display.

Overall this is not just a great laptop on paper, but is also great to use on a daily basis.

I would highly recommend checking it out.


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