The Dell XPS 13
The Dell XPS 13

Dell XPS 13
Cool factor 5/5
Usability 5/5
Value for money 3/5

It has been two years since the FM first laid eyes (and hands) on the Dell XPS range for review. At the time we called it a "serious work laptop". We handed it five stars for its cool factor and were particularly impressed with the then new InfinityEdge screen. How can the 2019 version top that?

Let me count the ways.

Before we dive into it, though, take note: Dell refreshes the range while keeping the XPS name. This review is of the latest version, namely model number 9380.

That scene-stealing InfinityEdge screen is back. For the 2019 XPS 13 (named after the 13.3-inch size of the screen) it comes in "UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD" (3840 x 2160) or full HD (1920 x 1080) versions, and also the option of having a touch-screen or not.

This year’s model is even smaller and more compact than before, with a profile of just 7.8mm-11.6mm, depending on the model. Its weight starts at 1.23kg. The webcam has been shrunk, too, to just 2.25mm — Dell’s smallest in a laptop — to move it to a better position at the top of the screen.

The XPS 13 packs the latest quad-core eighth-generation Intel processors (i3, i5, and i7 models).

And it comes with reduced consumer guilt: Dell is keen to emphasise that "the silver aluminium model includes Dell’s Ocean Plastics Packaging — [manufactured by using] plastic trash that’s been recovered from waterways and remade into useful materials".

It remains a striking, capable laptop, and is built for mobility. The nip and tuck and battery improvements mean that you really can play around with it all day, getting up to 21 hours’ use on a charge.

Even on my realistic day-to-day tasks test it cruised through the work day with life to spare.

Dell’s improvements on this range have been iterative, rather than radical or overhauling. But they add up to a machine that seems to have done something quite remarkable, namely to impress the world’s picky tech journos and reviewers almost universally.

The price of a laptop with entry-level configuration starts at R24,999.