Ultrabooks at CES 2012: Dell XPS 13

The first post looking at the march of the Ultrabooks, focussed on the second generation Samsung Series 9.  This is a premium machine with some of the highest specifications you’ll see on any laptop that falls into the Ultrabook category, but it is by no means the be all and end all.  Next I’d like to take a look at the Dell XPS 13.

This is arguably, Dell’s first foray into the Ultrabook market, but of course the guys at Dell have no lack of experience when it comes to making computers.  As with many of the Ultrabook designs, the XPS 13 follows the style for a teardrop form, finding room for ports at the back and reducing overall volume at the front.

One choice which has been met with widespread approval, is the decision to use carbon fiber in the casing.  This has a number of benefits, firstly lowering the weight of the Ultrabook, secondly adding rigidity but also the choice of this material means that the base does not heat up quite so much, making it a lot more comfortable to use over an extended period when the Ultrabook is on your lap.

Another welcome feature is the Corning Gorilla glass on the display.  Gorilla glass has become somewhat of an industry darling, gracing the fascia of many of our most popular devices.  It’s present on a diverse portfolio of manufacturers including Apple, HTC, Samsung and Sony.  And it has been chosen by these manufacturers because it delivers such great results.  The tagline for the brand is ‘tough, yet beautiful’ and in the main, it lives up to this mantra, allowing the screen to be tactile and functional in everyday situations, whilst also remaining unscathed from the difficult conditions that can be found in the pockets and bags of the more nonchalant end user.

The XPS 13 is 18mm thick, which is not the thinnest 13 inch Ultrabook around but it’s not far off, about 3mm off in fact, so that’s a great effort.  And at 1.4Kg, you’ll have little reason to complain about the weight.  Inside you have the choice of either an Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processor, so you can decide if you want to have a friendly kitten or a raging beast of a machine.  Intel steps in again to handle the graphics with the HD 3000.  Connectivity has been addressed with a USB 3.0 and 2.0 port alongside a Mini DisplayPort.  There are also a number of clever features such as Intel’s Smart Connect and location awareness, which will make updates to relevant widgets, apps, calendars and emails when appropriate.  It manages all this whilst still being able to churn out, eight hours of battery life.

The Dell XPS 13 is an excellent Ultrabook and would make a great choice if you’re in the market for this type of laptop.

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