On paper the Dell XPS 13 is an extremely similar critter to the Asus ZenBook. It’s a very similar size, adopting the 13.3 inches ultra portable format to go head to head with Apple’s new MacBook. Packing what is apparently comparable hardware to your ZenBook. However, after spending quality time aided by the XPS 13, we have to say that it’s definitely the better of the 2. First of all, the XPS 13 has more of reasonably limited feel and finish to it, bringing it more in accordance with the superb build quality of the MacBook. The fact that the display stretches all the way towards the edges makes a huge visual difference, foregoing the unattractive edge located on the ZenBook. The polished aluminium also feels a little sturdier than the ZenBook UX305, although some may dislike the rubberised finish around the keyboard. Make no mistake, that is an ultra-portable device, tipping the scales at just 1.18kg. It’s slightly much deeper compared to the competition, calculating 20mm at its thickest point, which definitely seems chunkier than the ZenBook and MacBook. However, this extra girth has allowed Dell to cram in a few of the fastest components around, but more about that in a moment.
The chiclet keyboard design is fairly standard, and each key feels reassuringly sturdy. Dell has wisely adopted a backlit design, feasible most likely due to the extra depth of the base. The touchpad is superb, being both responsive and accurate, and is definitely superior to the one found on the ZenBook. The screen is superior as well, not just due to the borderless “infinity” design employed by dell. It simply has better color and comparison performance, though offers exceptionally wide watching angles courtesy of the IPS panel utilized within. Our version included the standard HD panel, with a resolution of 1920 x 1080, but Dell also offers a Quad HD panel that packs in 3200 x 1800 pixels. We can just imagine how sharp such a screen seems, but should point out that Asus offers a similar panel upgrade with the Zenbook. Unlike the MacBook, the XPS 13 has a healthy range of input/output ports, starting with the twin USB 3.0 ports (Dell also offers a USB dock to increase the number of ports). A mini DisplayPort output handles connectivity for a second monitor, as the usual SD card reader occurs on the right side of the beds base. Finally, an there’s an audio jack to handle headphone duties.
To date, so great, but it is the hardware within that propels this laptop to legendary status. Considering it is one of the tiniest laptops in the roundup, we had been surprised only at that machine’s performance. The Intel i5-5200U is unique to your XPS 13, as well as its twin-cored, HyperThreaded design boosts all the way as much as 2.7GHz under load. This really is actually slower compared to the ZenBook’s maximum frequency, but the doubling of RAM up to 8GB of DDR3 1600 seems to have helped performance. Or perhaps it’s that the 256GB SSD within the XPS 13 is faster than compared to the Asus, but irrespective the XPS 13 blew the ZenBook away when it comes to performance. Our PCMark 8 Home benchmark revealed that the XPS 13 is the fastest laptop in our roundup, remarkable considering its tiny proportions. This responsive is evident during use, where applications load without hesitation, and swapping between open applications is instantaneous. It also came 2nd in the PCMark 8 O£ ce tests, testimony towards the i5 processor used within. Despite this blazing performance, battery life hasn’t suffered much at all, publishing an impressive consequence of 369 minutes, only one hour less than the Asus. When this blazing performance is factored into the equation, there’s simply no debate about which is the most effective ultraportable laptop in our roundup. Coupled with its better display, more reaction trackpad and backlit keyboard, the XPS 13 runs rings around the ZenBook. Considering that it’s only $100 more expensive, and there really isn’t any room to argue; Dell’s XPS 13 is easily the best ultra portable Windows 8 laptop computer into the roundup today.