Dell's entrant into the Ultrabook fray is now available. The XPS 13 has a smaller price and footprint than the Apple MacBook Air, but Dell is hoping for its same wow factor.
Dell XPS 13 Ultrabooka lithe and lovely laptop that Dell hopes will bring
about a rebirth of its brand image within the consumer space, and very well may
do exactly thatis now available.
XPS 13 weighs less than 3 pounds, is less than a quarter of an inch at its
thickest point and features a 13.3-inch high-definition WLED display, with
edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass. The look of it quickly brings to mind the 13.3-inch
Apple MacBook Airwhich actually has a larger footprint than the Dell. By some
engineering and design hocus-pocus, Dell has squeezed the 13.3-inch display
into a 12-inch chassis, for what it says is a footprint similar to that of an
11-inch laptop. Stack the XPS 13 on top of the MacBook Air, and Apple's beauty
suddenly looks, well, larger.
XPS 13's perks and specs have been well-documented by this point: Dell
introduced it at the Consumer Electronics Show in January
. And while
they're notablemore than eight hours of battery life, up to an Intel Core i7
processor, Intel HD 3000 graphics, up to a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) option
with Intel Rapid Start Technology and 100GB of cloud storage through Dell DataSafe
among themit's the notable attention to design that was lavished on this
machine, and the balance of brains and beauty, that may enable Dell to succeed
in its goal.
XPS 13 is made of lightweight, precision-crafted machined aluminum with a
carbon-fiber base, has a full-size, backlit chiclet keyboard and a glass,
integrated-button touch-pad with multi-gesture support. The surface materials
are said to feel rich and soft and to look understated while impressive.
Technologies Analyst Roger Kay, writing on the Forbes
site, enthused: "Starting with the bottom ... one can see right away that
this is a different type of animal. The dark-gray carbon-fiber base is a
study in meditation. The polymer is clear, letting the viewer see the
weave of the fiber itself in what Dell calls an 'authentic material
Jason Cross wrote, "Its a system that is so un-Dell-like (and I mean that
in the best possible way) that Ive actually carried it around the office to
show it to co-workers, most of whom are similarly impressed."
called it the "first Very Important Laptop of 2012."
Mossberg, with All Things D,
wrote that he found it to
be "solid and well built, speedy and with a good, backlit keyboard, a
bright screen and good looks." Yet a major downfall was battery life.
Despite Dell's advertised 8 hours, 53 minutes with a six-cell battery,
Mossberg's aggressive testing yielded just under fourthe worst battery life
he's seen on an Ultrabook to date.
his same tests, the Lenovo IdeaPad U300 turned in after five hours and the
MacBook Air after nearly six.
complaints have been about Dell's decisions to leave off a Secure Digital card
slot andwhile not a whole-hearted complaintto debut the device before the
arrival of the Intel's Ivy Bridge chips.
may assuage some critics on the price front, however, offering the XPS 13, with
the Intel Core i5 processor and 128GB SSD drive, at a starting price of $999.
Apple's 128GB 13-inch MacBook Air, by contrast, starts at $1,300though it was
introduced eight months ago, and who knows what Apple has up its sleeve in the
the first 10,000 customers to purchase an XPS 13, Dell will also sweeten the
deal with a free T-Mobile Mobile HotSpotgood for connecting up to five
WiFi-enabled devicesand 90 days of free 4G mobile broadband service.