Dell Studio XPS 13 Ultraportable Notebook

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For the longest while, Dell seemed perfectly content to continue producing notebooks with a minimalist design. Sure, they were perfectly up to snuff internally, but externally they lacked the more agressive lines and personality captured in some of the high-fashion machines from the likes of Alienware, HP and a few other boutique notebook makers. And then, the Studio line was born.

As we saw last fall with the company's Studio Hybrid small form factor desktop, Dell's Studio line of products is a breath of fresh air to anyone who remembers the company's tendency toward "beige boxes" from days gone by. The hip, modern look embodied by the Studio moniker has rubbed off on the new Studio XPS 13, a tight-fitting ultraportable with loads of style and plenty of power to go around, including a Hybrid SLI graphics engine. Without question, Dell has gone its own way with the Studio XPS 13. It's not trying to compete with the MacBook Airs and MSI X-Slim X340s of the world; instead, it's hoping to spark another trend and lead the way, which is exactly what Dell needs to be doing if they seriously hope to regain its place atop the PC notebook heap.

The 13.3" Studio XPS 13 is more than just a miniaturized version of the XPS M1530. It's a blend of portability, power and style, something that's rarely offered together in a form factor this small. Typically, users gunning for a 13" machine have to sacrifice extra power to get a machine that's thin, or they have to sacrifice style for a machine's that widely available at a reasonable price. Dell's attempting to do an awful lot within a single 13" notebook.  We're going to explain just how well we feel they've succeeded, in the pages to come.

Dell Studio XPS 13 Notebook
Hardware Specifications - As Reviewed

  • Windows Vista Home Premium (SP1) 64-bit
  • 1067 MHz FSB, 3 MB L2 Cache
  • 4GB of 800 MHz Memory (2 x 2GB DDR3)
  • NVIDIA GeForce MCP79MX Chipset
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9500M (256GB) - GeForce 9400M + GeForce 9200M GS
  • 13.3 Inch Glossy WXGA WLED Display (1280x800)
  • VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort Output 
  • Seagate Momentus 7200.3 320GB Hard Drive - 7200 RPM
  • 8x Slim DVD±RW Slot Load Drive with 1080p DVD Upconversion
  • Dell 1510 Wireless N Mini Card (Wi-Fi)
  • Integrated 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 2.0
  • 4 Watt Integrated Stereo Speakers, 2W x 2 Channels
  • 1.3 MP Camera
  • Integrated Dual Digital Array Microphones
  • 8-in-1 Multimedia Card Reader
  • ExpressCard 54 Slot
  • 1 x USB 2.0 Ports; 1 x Mini 1394(FireWire); 1 x USB 2.0 compliant / eSATA port with PowerShare
  • 12.56" x 9.3" x 0.88" (front) / 1.35" (back) (W x D x H)
  • 4.85 Pounds - Weight
  • 6-Cell  56Wh Battery
  • Retail Price As Tested: $1567.00 (before rebates and discounts; starting price $1099
  • 2 Year Warranty

The model we received for testing is definitely geared towards multimedia related tasks and perhaps some light duty gaming.  It came equipped with an Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 2.4GHz processor, 4GB of DDR3-800 memory, a 320GB  Seagate Momentus 7200.3 7200 RPM drive and a LED-backlit, widescreen, 1280x800 resolution LCD. Our unit was also equipped with an NVIDIA Hybrid SLI GPU system, with an integrated GeForce 9400M alongside a discrete GeForce 9200M GS. Together, they make up the GeForce 9500M system. Our Studio XPS 13 shipped with Windows Vista Home Premium, 64-bit.

Users looking for more power can opt for a 2.53GHz P8700 or 2.66GHz P9600 processor, 6GB or 8GB of DDR3 system memory, a 500GB 7200 RPM HDD or 128GB/256GB SSD drive, built-in WWAN Mobile Broadband connectivity (AT&T, Verizon Wireless or Sprint options), a built-in AVerTV NanoExpress TV Tuner and a larger 9-cell battery.

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kid007 5 years ago

based on the looks Dell finally got the point that the XPS needed to be redesign. XPS 1330 which i have is beautiful but it is full of details that make it sometimes not wortht he price. With the XPS Studio it seems that they have fix that plastic feeling keyboard and use a one like the Sony laptops! which is great also the hinges look that they took their time to be done properly so they won't have a gab like the xps1330.

overall love the review! probably would be something that i would buy

cmthomas68 5 years ago

I'm currently locking at getting this notebook, and would like to know whether it can power two external monitors using both the VGA port and the HDMI port. Apparently the existing M1330 XPS could power two external displays do this. Dell customer service won't say whether it can or not, so was wondering if either someone knew if it did, or could test this for me.


Thanks in advance.

mentaldisorder 5 years ago

Welcome to the forums.  If I were you, I would send Shawn (the author) a personal email.  He will most likely be of more help.

cmthomas68 5 years ago

 Thanks for your help. I've sent him an email with my question.


mentaldisorder 5 years ago

Sure thing, post back with what he says, I'm curious about whether that would work.

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