Story image

Review: Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook

20 Jan 2014

With a delicious 1080p Gorilla Glass screen wrapped in carbon fibre and aluminium, does the new Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook live up to its hefty price tag?

At first glance, the Dell does appear very small. I wondered if they’d sent me an 11” version. But no, this Dell has a full 13.3” widescreen. It’s blazing fast, no doubt slightly assisted by the i7 and 8GB of RAM powering this small but well formed monster!

As can be guessed with an i7, this chews through most things very easily and I hardly noticed the fan. The carbon fibre composite base also helps it keep cool so no more hot laps!

All ultrabooks appear to be converging with not much difference between them, whether they’re a Dell, HP, Toshiba or Apple. It’s more what extras can be crammed into them yet still maintain a good battery life.

The new Intel Haswell processor has been a boon for most ultra book manufacturers, with the ability to achieve a full day’s work disconnected possible. What’s amazing is the tech that can be squeezed in. With Apple being pretty much the only manufacturer without a touch screen, I wonder how long it is before they join the ranks of the dirty fingerprint brigade!

With Dell’s move to being fully privately owned, hopefully this will encourage some of the innovation that they were known for and really knock our socks off. As times get tougher for PC makers, innovation is key.


  • Small, light and powerful as hell
  • Touchscreen built-in with minimal effect on battery
  • Solid construction with carbon fibre and aluminium
  • Great for on the go business people as tough as old boots
  • Not a lot of wow factor
  • No SD slot

This ultrabook is more than capable, there’s really not much it can’t do. But I must be getting grumpy in my old age, there was just no ‘wow’ factor.

Yes it has a touchscreen and the resolution is 1080p compared to the Mac’s 900, but I was hoping for some Dell innovation, like Toshiba with its 4K screen, or HP with Beats (not to mention its partnership with Leap Motion).

I’d love to see some of Alienware rub off on Dell’s standard products, then they really would have the wow factor. I can’t fault this ultrabook as it does have everything you could really want and will stand up to almost anything.

Score: A solid 4 / 5

RRP: $2599

SingularityNET CEO discusses the future of AI
"In my view, AI will eliminate essentially all need for humans to do practical work."
Amazon puts a 'Ring' on smart home surveillance
Ring’s slick products and marketing have certainly helped it to become synonymous with security systems like video doorbells, security cameras, floodlights, and smart home security automation.
Hands-on review: Playing music with Sphero’s Specdrums
Sphero has released this year a new device calling it the ‘Specdrums’. Sphero as a company wanted to branch outside of making Star Wars droids and this gadget is what the company came up with. 
Google Assistant's clever ways to help smart homes go green
Pairing ENERGY STAR-certified smart bulbs with Google Assistant can help you control the lights with just your voice, or set lighting schedules to use electricity only when you need it.
Breakthrough research to revolutionise internet communication
Every email, cell phone call and website visit is encoded into data and sent around the world by laser light.
The world loves smart speakers - and China leads the way
People across the world love their smart speakers – and we have AI assistants like Amazon Alexa to thank for the revolution.
Hands-on review: The Fitbit Versa Lite
At first glance, the Versa and the Versa Lite look exactly the same. For someone who is not a Versa user, the two can be easily mistaken.
Farmers looking for data to help change bad habits
It is no secret that agriculture is a massive cause of environmental issues in NZ. Farmers say they are willing to change, if they get the right data.