Dell XPS 13 (2015) Ultrabook Review, It's Hot Hardware

Article Index

Performance Summary And Conclusion

Performance Analysis:

When it comes to straight-up performance metrics, the new 2015 Dell XPS 13 offered some of the best results we've seen from a 13-inch Ultrabook, generally speaking. Specifically, with respect to CPU and general compute scores, the new XPS 13 leads its class of machines and would only improve on those numbers if you elected to go with a higher-end Broadwell-U Core i7 config. In terms of graphics and multimedia, the XPS 13 we tested, with Intel's integrated HD5500 graphics core, offered performance on par with some low-end discrete GPU configurations and can handle pretty much whatever you could reasonably expect to throw at this class of notebook. It's not a gaming notebook per se, but you knew that. The 2015 Dell XPS 13 does have some game going on though, that's for certain.

XPS13 keyboard

Dell basically went through the new XPS 13 and revamped and improved almost every area of its design, from it's near bezel-less, 400 nit QHD+ display, to its carbon fiber backlit keyboard area and new, more angular-shaped machined aluminum skins. They thankfully also saw fit to drop in an SD card slot as well, which was our primary gripe with the previous generation model. However, inside the new Dell XPS 13 there's a lot of new-found capability courtesy of Intel's Broadwell-U platform, which offers the latest features like 802.11ac WiFi, better CPU throughput and a beefed-up graphics core, at a lower power envelope. It didn't equate directly to better battery life in our testing versus the previous generation XPS 13, but that's a significantly larger and slightly heavier machine. And that's essentially what Intel's 14nm Broadwell-U can do for notebook platforms as a whole; enable manufacturers to developer smaller, thinner and lighter machines with more horsepower and features than the previous generation.

XPS13 Front Edge

In our opinion, the new 2015 Dell XPS 13 is the notebook to beat currently, for 13-inch machines. It's quite frankly as near "perfect" a design as we've ever seen in an utlralight notebook. Though its smaller 11.9-inch form factor and keyboard area may take some getting used to for those with larger hands that like a roomier typing deck, it's an easy learning curve worth making an effort for, without question. Just picking-up and handling the machine, on first glance you get an immediate sense of super premium build quality and then when you flip the lid open and light up that gorgeous near bezel-free display, you're hooked. Of course the location of the XPS 13's web cam isn't the best, but a trade-off had to be made in an effort to trim that bezel down. Perhaps Dell could have thought outside the box a bit more and fashioned some sort of flip-up camera on top, but it would have broken the otherwise very clean lines and sleek styling of the design; not worth it, in our opinion.

Regardless, it's fair to say we're rather fond of the new 2015 Dell XPS 13. Starting at $1399 as configured and delivered to us for testing, it represents about a $100 premium over other flagship ultrabooks currently in market, many of which don't measure up spec-wise (Apple's current gen MacBook Air 13, for example). However, starting at $799 for the standard HD, non-touch display model and $1299 for the base model with Dell's 3200X1800 Infinity Touch display, we're more than confident recommending this machine for its great performance, premium build quality, gorgeous good looks and strong value proposition.

In fact, the 2015 Dell XPS 13 isn't just recommended Hot Hardware, it's an easy Editor's Choice.
 

hothardware editors choice

     
  • LOVE the no-bezel QHD+ display
  • Excellent performance
  • Fast boot-up
  • Fantastic build quality w/ carbon fiber
  • Solid battery life
  • Great sounding speakers
  • High-end SKUs are pricey
  • Web cam location a bit awkward


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