Dell’s XPS 13 has a keyboard you won’t hate typing on

Dell'' s XPS 13(2018 )laptop computer is a strong maker with a kickass display screen and keyboard that isn'' t flat as hell.
Image: raymond wong/mashable
Dell XPS 13 (2018 )

The Good

Fantastic 4K touchscreen with extremely slim bezels • Comfortable keyboard • Built-in finger print reader • Has microSD slot

The Bad

Trackpad is a little small • Average battery life

The Bottom Line

Unlike the brand-new MacBook Pros, Dell’s XPS 13 (2018) has a keyboard you will not dislike and a screen with incredibly slim bezels.

Mashable Score 3.75

Cool Factor 4.0

Learning Curve 5.0

Performance 3.0

Bang for the Buck 3.0

Once the gold requirement of laptop computers, Apple’s MacBook Pro has actually ended up being the most aggravating laptop computer in the last few years.

The Touch Bar is gimmicky. There’s no SD card slot (not any longer, anyhow). Most significantly, the keyboard is too flat and can quickly break if pieces of dust get caught beneath the secrets. It’s messing up a great deal of individuals’ lives .

The only redemption is to obtain a Windows 10 laptop computer or a Chromebook. Microsoft’s Surface Laptop and Google’s Pixelbook are 2 of our favorites from in 2015.

And sure, you might get a Lenovo Yoga or an HP whatever, however when it concerns stabilizing efficiency, density and design, Dell’s revamped 2018 XPS 13 is a winner.

Hot from all angles

Whereas the Surface Laptop attempts to impress with its expensive Alcantara fabric-covered keyboard and the Pixelbook with its 2-in-1 style, the XPS 13 does not pretend to be anything however a durable clamshell laptop computer.

Its machined aluminum, carbon fiber, and fiberglass body building and construction is long lasting and attractive. Dell offers the XPS 13 in silver with a black palm rest, however even I need to confess the rose-gold aluminum with white palm rest design I evaluated has actually grown on me. It’s kinda absurd increased gold expenses a $50 premium.

Some individuals would happily trade thinness and lightness for more power, however not me. I like seeing computer system makers constantly outshine themselves and their rivals to squeeze more efficiency into significantly compact devices. To me, that’s noticeable development that everybody can value. Otherwise we ‘d all still be carrying around five-pound leviathans with dreadful battery life.

The light hoax here makes the XPS 13 look gold. It’s really increased gold.

Image: raymond wong/mashable

That’s why I liked bring the XPS 13 around. At 0.46 inches thick and 2.67 pounds, the laptop computer’s thinner and lighter than a 13-inch MacBook Pro. I bring a lot equipment around and absolutely nothing makes me better than lightening my load.

The XPS’s strong compact style would not be possible without its focal point: the InfinityEdge screen. Without its thin bezels (23 percent thinner than the previous design), the XPS 13’s footprint would’ve been bigger.

The bezels are so, so thin.


Dell’s been doing this entire thin bezel shtick for several years — it’s overwhelming that it’s taken so long for others like Huawei to get on this style pattern — and the XPS 13’s screen stays among the very best I’ve ever seen on a laptop computer.

The display screen can output 100 percent sRGB color and has a 1,500:1 contrast ratio. My evaluation system has a 4K display screen rather of the basic complete HD panel and it’s tack sharp. Text is incredibly sharp without any fuzziness, and videos and pictures truly pop off the screen. Not to discuss the screen’s truly intense — I typically left it at 50 percent brightness; otherwise it was too blinding — and it has large seeing angles.

Touch, Type, Track

For a laptop computer to obtain even a passing grade, it requires 2 things: an excellent trackpad and a fantastic keyboard. Any laptop computer that cannot get these 2 vital functions right isn’t really worth purchasing. A touchscreen is icing — great, however not required.

Fortunately, Dell did a strong task on both the keyboard and trackpad. Unlike on Apple’s MacBooks, the XPS 13 has chiclet-style secrets with real essential travel, much like the ones on the MacBook Air and old MacBook Pros. Which is to state typing on the XPS 13 is a lot more satisfying experience.

One of the much better laptop computer keyboards to type on.


I had the ability to type much faster and more properly on the XPS 13’s keyboard, however it wasn’t without some extremely small faults in my viewpoint. I didn like the Page Up and Down secrets above the best and left arrow secrets; I kept mistakenly pushing them and leaping up and down on the screen. Older XPS 13’s didn’t have these buttons. Some secrets, like the Backspace secret on my system, likewise sounded squeaky when pushed, like they might have utilized a splash of WD-40.

As for the trackpad, it was responsive and rather smooth. I didn’t see any sort of the unease I generally see on HP laptop computers. My only problem is I wanted the area of the trackpad was a little bigger. I’m utilized to the kindly sized trackpads on MacBooks so the one on the XPS 13 felt quite little in contrast.

Trackpad is strong too.


On my test system, the screen was likewise a touchscreen. Just the highest-end design features a touchscreen, which’s a genuine embarassment since I believe every PC needs to have one requirement. Purchasing the touchscreen design contributes to the general expense, however there’s still absolutely nothing rather like tapping playback buttons on a YouTube video or utilizing a finger swipe to scroll up and down on a site.

Pushing efficiency to the edge

I might have ran criteria to see how the XPS 13 compared with other laptop computers, however it’s simply not a great way to properly determine how well it carries out in the everyday work grind.

Instead, I utilized the laptop computer for numerous weeks, putting it through my rather extensive day-to-day work, including great deals of e-mail, a minimum of 2 lots active and open tabs in Chrome, a reasonable quantity of YouTube and Spotify streaming, data processing and image processing.

My specific evaluation system is the specc-ed out design with an eighth-generation Intel Core i7-8550U processor, Intel UHD Graphics 620,16 GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD amounting to about $2,200. The entry-level XPS 13 starts at $1,000 and features an eighth-gen Intel Core i5 chip, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage, a complete HD screen and no touchscreen, however I would not advise that a person. 4 gigs of RAM is inadequate anybody in 2018.

The finest worth is the $1,200 XPS 13 with an Intel Core i5-8250 chip, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, as well as a complete HD display screen without touchscreen.

Power button functions as a finger print sensing unit.


For my heavy work, the XPS 13 held up quite well. When I had 2 lots Chrome tabs open, I do not believe I ever heard the fan kick in even. More stunning was that the laptop computer likewise remained reasonably cool throughout the day. It got warm from time to time, however never ever annoyingly hot.

Like any laptop computer pressed to its limitations, the XPS 13 did decrease a number of times, however it was absolutely nothing major that closing a couple of Chrome apps or tabs could not rapidly repair. Due to the fact that you cannot include more later on, this is another factor why 4GB of RAM is insufficient and you need to constantly get as much as you can.

You can for sure quickly modify complete HD and 4K video on this device, however anticipate the battery life to drain pipes rapidly. Dell promotes 19+ hours of battery life on the complete HD designs for apps like Word and Excel, however I didn’t get anywhere near those figures. Generally, the XPS 13 lasted about 4-5 hours for my explained use, which is on par with exactly what you ‘d get with a lot of other laptop computers in this class.

One thing you’ll see is that this year’s XPS 13 has just USB-C ports. You get 3 USB-C ports in overall, all which can be utilized to charge it up, and 2 which (the ones left wing) are Thunderbolt 3.

Yes, there’s a microSD card slot. Much better than absolutely nothing!


The XPS 13 likewise has an earphone jack and — fortunately — a microSD card slot on the. A full-sized SD card would have been much better, however I’m completely all right with having a slot than none at all. Many of my memory cards are now microSD, anyways, and slip into a full-sized SD card adapter to fit into my electronic camera.

About the only thing that Dell spins as an enhancement, however still is a loser to me, is the cam situated on the bezel listed below the screen. It’s now fixated the XPS 13 rather than off to the side on previous designs, however the angle is still intended right up your nose, which leads to extremely uncomplimentary selfies and video calls.

Dude, you’re getting a Dell

Webcam still looks right up your nose.


I evaluate a minimum of a handful of laptop computers every year and hardly ever does anybody ask me exactly what I’m utilizing. A laptop computer’s a laptop computer.

But I cannot even keep count the variety of times I’ve been inquired about this laptop computer. I indicate, it’s plainly a Dell (the logo design’s right there on the hood), however individuals still asked with interest.

I had numerous discussions with good friends who informed me how they utilized to own a Dell laptop computer in the early aughts however then changed to MacBooks. (Good ol’ Dell Dude … those actually were the days.)

Our talks normally went something like this:

“Wow, that’s a truly good looking laptop computer. Who makes it?”

I ‘d respond with: “It’s the brand-new Dell XPS 13, and yeah, it’s quite. Take a look at the screen!”

“That’s an actually good screen.”

“It’s a touchscreen. The keybaord’s great, too.”

“I didn’t even understand Dell made good laptop computers any longer. What does it cost? is it?”

“This one resembles $2,200. It begins at $1,000. You do not desire that one. The $1,200 one is the very best worth. You do not get the touchscreen.” If they ‘d purchase this computer system, #peeee

I ‘d then ask individuals. Practically all of them utilize among the brand-new MacBook Pros and dislike its flat keyboard or Touch Bar. Much of the actions were, along the lines of “Yes, I ‘d consider it.”

Maybe it’s time Dell revived Dell Dude. It’s been making slick laptop computers for several years. Now it simply has to inform youths why they still exist.

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