Dell XPS 13 2018 review
Last January at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, Dell launched their newest reboot to the XPS series, the XPS 13 2018, which is dubbed as the world’s smallest 13-inch laptop. Will it carry over the fame of the series? Read our full review down below to find out.
Design and Construction
Dell made an interesting improvement in the XPS 13’s design by making it slimmer, lighter, and sexier than its previous version. Oh, by the way, did we mention that it’s thinner? With just 11.6mm in thickness and 2.68lbs in weight, we can already say that it’s great as a travel companion.
Now let’s talk about that elegant Alpine White color surrounding the entire chassis of the laptop. It complements the whole look of the device as everything is seamless and connected, you have no dual tone color and the gold outer shell blends well with the Alpine White. It’s a stunning device, for sure.
Lifting the lid with one hand is relatively easy, which is a sign of solidly built hinges. Dell lessened the side bezels even further making the screen-to-body ratio at 80.7%. The reason for those slimmer bezels is the camera placement at the bottom. It’s somewhat weird that whenever we open the webcam, our chins would the first thing that we would see.
There are two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a Kensington lock, and LED lights for measuring the battery percentage on the left while on the right is the 3.5mm audio port, SD card slot, and another USB Type-C 3.1 port. The bad news is that Dell removed the USB-A port but the good news is that they provided a USB Type-A to Type-C converter as compensation.
Personally, the keyboard is the most aesthetically pleasing part of the laptop thanks to the woven glass fiber chassis it sits on. The keys are clicky and feel good to type on. The trackpad that also serves as a clickpad is glossy which feels great as there is little resistance when we slide our fingers across it. Overall, the keyboard is solid and has little flex, which is a sign of sturdy construction and build.
In the hands, the XPS 13 feels flawless and premium. It’s not heavy so we can simply carry it with only one hand. It’s elegant and even though it could be a dirt magnet because of its color, it is fingerprint and smudge resistant.
Display and Multimedia
The XPS 13 2018 has an impressive 13.3-inch touch display with a 4k (3840 x 2160) resolution, which has good color reproduction and accuracy, and viewing angles are nice. Watching videos and movies are immersive due to the slim side bezels and generous screen-to-body ratio.
Audio quality is nice but not that impressive. It’s loud and crisp and highs, lows, and mids are present but, clarity is lost at max volumes. There’s a Dolby Atmos application but it needs internet access to function.
OS, Apps, and Storage
The Dell XPS 13 2018 runs on Windows 10 64-bit with some pre-installed applications such as Dell Power Manager, Dell Mobile Connect, an antivirus software, and Office. There are also some pre-installed games such as Minecraft, Candy Crush Saga, and Disney.
It comes with a 256GB SSD with around 230GB free storage, which is a little low but considering the size of the device, we won’t complain.
Performance, Benchmarks, and Thermals
Handling performance is an 8th-Gen Intel Core I7-8550U processor paired with 8GB DDR4 RAM. It doesn’t have a dedicated GPU, instead, it has an Intel UHD Graphics 620. By the way, the touchscreen feature of the XPS 13 2018 is snappy and accurate.
We tested the Core i7-8550U’s performance by subjecting it to the Cinebench R15 synthetic benchmark. It received a decent mark for a low power processor. We opted not to test it too much when it comes to gaming since that’s not it’s purpose. Either way, it can run games such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on low to moderate graphics settings.
We tested real-world performances by rendering a 3 minute and 30-second video in 4K. Rendering lasted for about 15 minutes and 26 seconds, which is almost 5 times longer than the edited video but, is definitely faster mainly thanks to its processor and SSD.
The sides of the XPS 13 2018 warm-up when doing heavy tasks such as gaming, multi-tasking, and video rendering but Dell did a good job by improving its exhaust and cooling system. We didn’t notice that much of an increase in temperature even after continuous usage although internal temps tell a different story.
During our Prime95 stress test, internal temperatures maxed out at 99-degrees, which is dangerously high. Thankfully, the fans aren’t noisy enough to become a disturbance.
Connectivity and Battery Life
Even with the absence of an RJ-45 port, the XPS 13 2018 makes up for it due to consistent wireless connection and fast speed. The device has WiFi 802.11ac and Bluetooth connectivity, a standard for every laptop nowadays.
In our video loop test (running a 1080p video in mp4 format, 50% brightness, 50% sound, w/ earphones), it lasted 10 hours and 15 minutes, which is an impressive feat. This further amplifies the XPS 13 2018’s prowess for being a perfect traveling companion.
The XPS 13 2018 proves to be one heck of a professional laptop capable of bringing out fast performance, quality entertainment, and long-lasting battery life. The camera placement may seem out of place and weird but we can live with it. We can see why Dell placed a Php99,999 price on the XPS 13 because it’s every bit of a premium thin and light. It definitely carries over the fame of the XPS series.
Dell XPS 13 9370 specs:
- 13.3-inch IPS Display @ 4K Ultra HD
- Intel Core i7-8550U 1.8GHz quad-core
- Up to 4.0GHz Turbo Boost
- Intel UHD Graphics 620
- 8GB DDR4 RAM
- 256GB SSD
- WiFi 802.11ac
- 2 x Thunderbolt 3 with PowerShare & DC-In & DisplayPort
- 1 x USB-C 3.1 with PowerShare, DC-In & DisplayPort
- 1 x Card reader
- 1 x Audio port
- 1 x Noble lock slot
- 52 WHr Li-Ion battery
- Windows 10 Home Pro 64bit
- 302 x 199 x 11.6mm
- 304 x 200 x 9-15mm
What we liked:
- Solid construction
- Premium design
- 4K display resolution
- The touchscreen is responsive and snappy
- Clicky keyboard
- Smooth trackpad
- Light mass
- Long-lasting battery life
- Decent performance
What we didn’t:
- Lacks USB Type-A
- Lacks dedicated GPU
- Audio quality gets distorted at max volume