Story image

Review: Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook

20 Jan 14

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

Royole's FlexPai: So bendable phablets are a reality now
A US-based firm called Royole is delivering on that age-old problem of not being able to fold up your devices (who hasn't ever wished they could fold their phone up...)
Hands-on review: Having fun in Knowledge is Power: Decades and Chimparty
They don’t revolutionise social video gaming, but they are enjoyable enough to occupy you during a wet weekend. 
Kiwis losing $24.7mil to scam calls every year
The losses are almost five times higher compared to the same period last year, from reported losses alone.
Tile's Mate & Pro Bluetooth trackers land in NZ
If your car keys (or your tablet) have disappeared into the void at the back of the couch or if you left them somewhere in your car, retracing your steps to find them could be a thing of the past.
Government still stuck in the past? Not on GovTech's watch
What exactly is GovTech and what’s been happening in our capital city?
"Is this for real?" The reality of fraud against New Zealanders
Is this for real? More often than not these days it can be hard to tell, and it’s okay to be a bit suspicious, especially when it comes to fraud.
Hands-on review: The iPhone Xs
The iPhone Xs is a win that brought numerous new and exciting features to the market.
How much does your Amazon Prime Video subscription really get you?
For our NZ$8.90 per month, the average cost per title is US$0.00126 - but we only really get a choice of 416 TV shows and 4321 movies. Choice is a little bit limited compared to other countries.