Everyone wants to get a slice of the Ultrabook pie and the latest entrant to join the club is Dell. They launched the XPS 13 Ultrabook just the other day in India in the hope to grab some of the limelight that Lenovo and Asus have been enjoying for a while now. Dell’s Ultrabook hails from their XPS line-up, so you’ll notice many of the design cues are borrowed from their current offerings. Let’s see if it has what it takes to claim the top spot in the market.
On Video: Dell XPS13
There’s no getting away from the fact that Dell have created an incredibly sexy looking notebook. It doesn’t matter from which angle you look at it, the XPS 13 is definitely a head turner. This is mainly due to the choice of materials used to build the chassis. The lid and most of the base is crafted from machined aluminium and base is protected by carbon fire. This makes it extremely sturdy and durable, while still maintaining a very slim profile. The notebook measures about 18mm in depth at its thickest point and weighs around 1.36kg. While this may seem light on paper, it feels quite heavy, which is a bit odd. If you hold it folded down like a book, then you won’t notice it, but if you move it around with the lid open, it feels heavy. The fit and finish of everything is impeccable and Dell has given a lot of attention to detail.
No fingerprint headaches
Connectivity is the best among Ultrabooks. While it’s nice to see USB 3.0, there are just two ports when we normally have three. DisplayPort is a nice addition, but it would have been better if we had HDMI, since the cables are easier to find and are cheaper as well. There’s also no card reader present, which is a shame. Other ports, include a headphone jack and a battery status indicator.
USB 3.0 is a nice addition
Inside, we’re greeted by a 13.3-inch display with Corning’s Gorilla Glass for protection. This ensures your display remains free of unwanted scratches overtime. The edge-to-edge glass gives the screen a seamless look and also allows Dell to fit a larger screen into a smaller chassis. Along with the 1.3MP webcam, there’s an ambient light sensor as well that automatically dims and brightens the display, based on the amount of light in the room. The keyboard area has a very nice rubber finish to it and the same extends to the trackpad as well. While the keyboard is comfortable and backlit, the trackpad could have placed a little more towards the left instead of the center. We found that while typing, your right palm tends to touch the edge of the trackpad, which engages the vertical scroll, moving the page and at times the cursor, all over the place, which is quite annoying. Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut to quickly disable the trackpad either. Overall, the build and finish of the notebook is very good and is right up there, along with Lenovo’s U300s.
Dell is offering the XPS 13 in three preset flavours. We got the base model, which packs in a Core i5-2467M CPU from Intel’s ULV range. The other components include a 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. There’s not much in terms of customization on the hardware front as Dell has already configured three offerings for you. Software-wise, you get some utilities from Dell, like DataSafe Online backup and webcam utility. You also get McAfee Security Center (30 day trial) and Office Starter 2012, which includes Word and Excel. Other services include one year Dell Online Backup up to 2GB.
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