Dell XPS 13 (10th Gen Intel) review
A small but significant upgrade on a modern classic
Should I buy the Dell XPS 13 (2019)?
Outside of Apple’s own hardware or HP’s uber-pretty Envy x360, the Dell XPS 13 is still pretty much as good as 13-inch Macbook-style laptops get. It delivers plenty bang-for-your-buck on performance without compromising on style and design.
The new Dell XPS 13 offers all the same strengths and weaknesses of the previous model but pairs it with Intel’s 10th Gen Core processors to great effect. There’s probably not enough here to justify an upgrade if you bought one of the more-recent models but, you’ve yet to make the jump, it’s a great excuse.
Price when reviewed
In Australia, pricing for the new Dell XPS 13 starts at AU$2038.
Dell XPS 13 (2019) full review
All things told, the Dell XPS 13 is a pretty unassuming laptop. There are no gimmicks here or attention grabbing buzzwords. It’s a laptop that all but perfects the fundamentals. It excels at the everyday.
If you’re a repeat customer, the only real difference you need to care about is the new 10th Gen Intel Core processor that beats at the heart of this thing. Alternatively, if this new XPS 13 is your first exposure to Dell’s most premium consumer sub-brand, then there are a few things worth taking note of.
Dell’s XPS range is about providing a premium Windows laptop experience that doesn’t just deliver the fundamentals but excels at them. It doesn’t just have a nice display. It’s got an excellent one. It doesn’t just have a nice trackpad. It’s got an excellent one. It doesn’t just have a nice CPU. It’s got an excellent one.
The Dell XPS feels premium but it also feels resistant to the wear and tear of the everyday.
The one potential catch here is that, aside from assuming you have enough money to pay the premium on the price-tag, Dell’s new XPS 13 also assumes you’re ready to go all-in on USB Type-C.
In Australia, you can buy the new Dell XPS 13 through the following:
Design - Look, Feel and Features
On one hand, the design, look, feel and featureset of the new Dell XPS 13 is pretty much unchanged from the last few models. You still get the slick and sleek form-factor. You still get the softly-rubberised wrist-rest and full-sized, LED-lit keyboard with 1.3mm travel. You still get the thin bezels on the effortlessly-beautiful 13.3-inch FHD InfinityEdge display.
Everything that worked about the previous XPS 13 models works just as well here. The new version is as iterative as they come. If you’re a repeat customer, the only real difference you need to care about is the new 10th Gen Intel Core processor that beats at the heart of this thing. If you’re after more information about that, you’re probably best served scrolling down to the section labelled Performance.
However, on the off-chance that this new XPS 13 is your first exposure to Dell’s most premium consumer sub-brand, then there are a few things worth taking note of here.
Unlike certain other brands, Dell’s XPS range is about providing a premium Windows laptop experience that doesn’t just deliver the fundamentals but excels at them. It doesn’t just have a nice display. It’s got an excellent one. It doesn’t just have a nice trackpad. It’s got an excellent one. It doesn’t just have a nice CPU. It’s got an excellent one.
The trick here is that the Dell XPS feels premium but it also feels resistant to the wear and tear of the everyday. It’s not something you want to put behind glass to keep in mint condition. It’s a nice laptop that’s designed and ready to be used in the real world.
To handle, the XPS 13 is lighter than you expect - but that’s not to say it feels cheap. It feels sturdy, significant and cohesive. It’s soft on the inside, tough on the outside.
As for ports, the new Dell XPS 13 features the following:
1x Micro SD
1x Headphone Jack
2x USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 3)
1x USB Type-C (Display)
As that list might indicate, opting for this year’s Dell XPS 13 is going to involve going all in on USB Type-C. Two of the ports here are Thunderbolt 3 enabled - so Dell have stuck what many would consider to be the nicest USB Type-C ports around on this thing but, all the same, whether or not you’re willing to cross that bridge
There’s also a fingerprint reader built-into the power button - which is fast becoming standard - and a micro SD slot on the side, which just might be enough to seduce the dollars of select amatuer photographers. It’s not as good as a full blown SD card slot but it’s something.
All things told, the Dell XPS 13 is a pretty unassuming laptop. There are no gimmicks here or attention grabbing buzzwords. It’s a laptop that all but perfects the fundamentals and pairs it with just enough grunt that it’ll excel at the everyday.
Performance - Specs, Benchmarks and Battery Life
Processor: Intel Core i5-10210U
Operating System: Windows 10 Home
RAM: 8GB LPDDR3
Storage: 256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics
MicroSD slot: Yes
Display: 13.3-inch FHD Infinity Edge Non Touch Display
Battery: 52 WHr
Connectivity: Killer Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
Front-Facing Camera: Widescreen HD with 4-array digital microphones
Since Geekbench recently updated their trademark software to a new version, we actually don’t have a huge amount of data samples to compare the Dell XPS against. Still, you can see from the above the different in multi-core performance offered by the newer 10th-gen Intel CPU in the XPS 13 as compared to the 9th-Gen CPU in the Lenovo Thinkbook 13s and Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop 3.
Anecdotally, the Dell XPS 13 delivered great battery life that reliably carried me through through a regular work day.
When subjected to the usual Battery Eater testing tool, which gauges the minimum battery life of a given notebook PC, the Dell XPS 13 lasted for 2 hour and 12 minutes. That’s slightly above average but more or less in line with where the previous generation XPS 13 was.
The Bottom Line
In our review of Dell’s last XPS 13 - which ran on 8th Gen Intel hardware - our biggest complaint was that it felt like a more advanced CPU was just around the corner. Now that that’s played itself out, the new XPS 13 easily cements itself as one of the best professional work laptops you can buy.
It’s got an effortlessly beautiful display, premium-yet-prepared design smarts and delivers close to the best performance in a laptop of its class. You just have to be willing to make the jump to USB Type-C.
If you are, I doubt that there’s any aspect of the Dell XPS 13 that’s going to disappoint.
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