A Week With the New Dell XPS 13
I admit it. I’ve been an Apple Fanboy for quite sometime now. Somehow I’ve avoided putting another brand under my fingertips unless for a review or the occasional checking of the email at a friend’s house. This all changed recently when Dell sent me their 2015 CES Award Winner, the new Dell XPS 13 Ultabook ($799+ USD). Matter of fact, I’m typing this article from it right now.
Dell not only wanted me to try the XPS 13, but they challenged me to use it for an entire week replacing my normal laptop. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit concerned. When you run your entire business from a computer like I do, you have to know everything is going to work just right.
Worrying aside, I accepted their challenge and decided I would use the Dell XPS 13 exclusively for an entire work week. Here is what went down:
Day 1: Can I Pull This Off?
The day started off like any other work day. Rolled out of bed, made a cup of coffee, and started checking emails. The only difference was using the Dell XPS 13 rather than my usual MacBook Air. Which as I previously stated, made me a little uneasy. A question that kept coming to mind was, “Can I actually pull this off for an entire week?” The answer was yes.
I found using the touchscreen on the infinity screen was a nice change. Being able to quickly swipe, select, and move with just my finger made it a fun experience. Not to mention far easier than constantly moving back to the trackpad. It was definitely a feature I didn’t realize I was missing.
The first day was spent merely getting my feet wet with the machine. Luckily for me my emails were quite light that day and I was able to spend more time figuring out how to use the XPS 13 in place of my usual MacBook Air.
Day 2: A Day Out of the Office
One of the things I’m always battling with my current laptop is the lack of battery. If I don’t have my charger in tow I’m left stranded and forced to try working just from my smartphone. Which I can tell you never works out great for me.
I decided to test out the Dell XPS 13 battery by going on a little adventure and leaving the charger at home. Every now and then I like to leave the home office and work from coffee shops. I’ve always found I get more work done when I’m not being distracted. So I started off by visiting my local Starbucks.
The Dell XPS 13 has an unprecedented battery life. If you can believe it, this baby can last up to 15-hours. For me this is key when on the go. Knowing I can have anywhere between 11-15 hours on my laptop depending on the amount of use, and not feeling panicked to find an outlet, well that’s just huge.
If the amount of battery the Dell XPS 13 provides you out of the box doesn’t seem like a enough, well they have an accessory for you. And personally, this might be one of my favorite things they included with the laptop. The Dell Power Companion will provide you an additional 7-hours of battery life, giving you roughly around 22 total hours on a single charge.
After my two hour stay at Starbucks, three hour stay at Deus Ex Machina, and one hour at my friend’s office, I had close to 75% battery left upon arriving back at the Joe’s Daily office. If you’re wondering what I was doing while working at these places, I can assure they were power intensive. Just to give you a little taste: I tested out a game my friend is working on, streamed music from Spotify, and watched at least a dozen YouTube videos.
Despite the amount of things I was doing with it, the Dell XPS 13 never really got hot like most laptops do. And if there was any heat coming from it, I missed it thanks to the under-bar that props up the laptop enough to give it some breathing room.
Day 3: But Will the Dell XPS 13 Game?
Did I mention I play a lot of video games? When you think of a 13″ laptop you probably don’t consider it to be good for gaming. Unless of course, you bought a gaming laptop. Duh.
Since I’m constantly playing games and streaming them to my Twitch account — yes it’s considered work — I thought I’d try downloading one and playing it from the Dell XPS 13. The game of choice was Counter Strike: Global Offensive, which happens to me one game that is notorious for lag due to poor system performance. But there were no issues here.
The Dell XPS 13 I’m using has a 5th Generation Intel® CoreTM i7-5600U processor (4M Cache, up to 3.2 GHz), Intel® HD Graphics 5500, 8GB of Ram, and a solid-state hard drive. Add that to its 13.3-inch UltraSharp™ QHD+ infinity touch display, and you have yourself a pretty sweet gaming laptop.
Day 4: Light as a Feather
Maybe not a feather, but the XPS 13 is 2.6 lbs, and that’s lighter than my MacBook Air.
When you travel as much as I do you would understand why having a light computer is refreshing. Traveling from airport to airport, terminal to terminal, your shoulders get tired and your back starts to ache. I can’t tell you how many times I regretted carrying my computer with me because of its weight. This ultrabook is light enough for you to forget you even have it with you.
Day 5: Conclusion
The Dell XPS 13 is a great laptop for someone who wants to be mobile but not sacrifice the performance and productivity you would normally get in a desktop computer. Early adopters will love its design and performance for whatever you’re doing whether it be for work or play. But don’t take my word for it. The XPS 13 did take home seven awards at this year’s Consumer Electronic Show (CES).
Stay tuned for another feature on the Dell XPS 13 featuring a closer look at the computer and its accessories. Learn more about the XPS story here.