Design and Layout
Dell’s XPS series has been known for using premium materials such as machined aluminum, carbon fiber, and hardened Corning Gorilla Glass NBT on its display. This combination gives the XPS series a high-end look and feel. Dell continued this look and feel on the XPS 13, complete with a machined aluminum finish with Dell’s logo on the center of the bezel and the top of the lid. All four corners of the notebook are rounded, making it easy to slip the XPS 13 in and out of your bag. The lid is nice and sturdy and the notebook had solid positioning staying open at any angle.
As you can see from the pictures, the XPS 13 uses a tapered design. At its thickest point, the XPS 13 measures 0.7 inches. Near the front, it’s a mere 0.2 inches thick. Our high-end model with touch weighs in at 3.03 pounds.
Our test unit featured the 13.3-inch FHD (1920x1080) touch-enabled display. This display features a brightness of 350-nits and excellent viewing angles at up to 178 degrees. Like the previous generation XPS 13, the 2014 version supports a 72 percent color gamut. Color fidelity is decent in this panel, though there are wider range displays on the market, which of course would command a premium. During our time with the XPS 13, the display was very crisp, sharp, and vibrant. Above the display, you’ll find a widescreen HD webcam as well as dual array digital mics.
The Power button for the system is located to the left of the Esc key. The keyboard is backlit and features slightly curved keys that are comfortable to type on. Centered below the keyboard is the roomy glass touchpad with integrated buttons and gesture support. A magnesium alloy palm rest with soft touch paint surrounds the touchpad and keyboard. This finish is cool and smooth and perhaps best of all, it doesn’t attract fingerprints.
On the left edge of the XPS 13, you’ll find the power jack, a USB 3.0 port with PowerShare, and a headset jack. The right edge of the ultrabook contains a battery gauge indicator (press the tiny circular button to see the battery indicator lights), USB 3.0 port with PowerShare, and a mini DisplayPort. The PowerShare ports are a nice addition, giving you the ability to charge USB devices even if the ultrabook is turned off or in standby mode.