Dell Studio XPS 13 Ultraportable Notebook

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Summary and Conclusion

Frankly, the statistics don't lie. In almost every single benchmark, the Studio XPS 13 outperformed similar machines that typically had more room for cooling and discrete parts. Considering just how small this notebook is, we were blown away by the performance. No, it won't double as a bonafide gaming machine, but it will handle light duty titles if you're willing to scale back the resolution a bit.  And of course, that's not the target audience for this product either.

All around performance was better than expected for a 13.3" ultraportable, as we really felt like we were working with a full sized machine at an ultraportable form-factor. Unfortunately, that luxury comes with a price: heat. The one glaring issue with this otherwise amazing machine was the amount of heat that was emitted from its underside while in use. As we stated before, it's not like this should be a shock -- loads of power + a small mechanical area = lots of heat buildup. Still, you should definitely be mindful of that before pulling the trigger. If you just want an ultraportable to type up Word documents and prepare PowerPoint presentations while flying to your next meeting, the Studio XPS 13 may be overkill. If you like to enjoy 720p multimedia, the occasional 3D title and tuning into OTA TV signals while having a notebook that's only 4.85 pounds and barely one inch thick, this is your rig.

Basically, you're going to have to accept the heat factor if you're demanding this much performance out of an ultraportable. And in our opinion, it's a fair price to pay for the amount of horsepower you receive. The little extras really add up to a lot: the display is gorgeous, the keyboard is marvelous to type on and the left/right click buttons are definitely amongst the nicest we've used. The trackpad could use a little work, and we wouldn't cry over seeing a few more USB 2.0 sockets, but overall we think Dell has a victory on its hands here. It should also be noted that we never managed to crash the machine or see any signs of instability -- a few hiccups here and there, but nothing more. The only real hesitation we have is with the price: starting at $1099, this is definitely no budget machine.  As it stands, we can only recommend this for true perofrmance-minded folks who are willing to pay a premium for potency in a highly portable package. If that's you, however, you're in for a real treat.

  • Fast Seagate 7200 RPM Drive
  • HDMI, VGA and DisplayPort Outputs
  • Build Quality
  • Amazing Design
  • Stellar Keyboard
  • Thin And Light
  • Great Overall Performance

  • Steep Starting Price
  • Unimpressive Battery life
  • Overly Glossy Display
  • Practically No Bundled Accessories
  • Fingerprints Easily Accumulate

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