Dell XPS 13 2018 hands-on

Since changing its look, Dell’s XPS 13 has been one of the best laptops of the last three years. It’s one of the main challengers to the various MacBooks for those wanting a powerful laptop that is also all about premium materials, zingy screens and tasteful design flourishes.

And let me tell ya, I’ve seen the 2018 model, and it delivers.The latest model comes in HD and UHD versions and houses a choice of Intel 8th Generation Quad Core processors. While it might not feel like a huge leap forward from the (already pretty oomphy) previous one in terms of innards, it is actually now “twice as powerful” as the first ever XPS 13, which only dropped in 2015. Which goes to shows you that all those seemingly minor processor improvements actually add up pretty quickly.

We can take it as read nowadays that a laptop costing over a grand is going to be powerful enough for most non-gamers’ needs, but laudably, Dell really tries to push the envelope, and is claiming that the new XPS 13 is the most powerful in its class, the smallest 13-incher ever (‘a 13-inch laptop in an 11-inch case!’) in terms of total surface area, and also has the best battery life of any such device at up to 20 hours for the HD model and 11 for the 4K one.

The longevity is attributed in part to Dell’s Battery Manager and the performance is aided by GORE Thermal Insulation. This is used for insulation on the Mars Rovers and Hyper Velocity Particle capture in the Stardust Probe, whatever that is, and now sucks heat out of your XPS 13 when it’s working hard.

But never mind all that butch stuff. More importantly, the new XPS 13 comes in a choice of silver or, even better, rose gold with a white interior. When I met Dell late last year they suggested the latter was aimed more at women but I think it’s okay for fellas to enjoy colours other than black or grey these days, isn’t it? While the silver model is all machined aluminium, the rose gold and white XPS 13 has an aluminium exterior, but the white portion is made from a new crystalline silica material with the white colour literally woven in, like a fabric, in nine composite layers.

To ensure durability, the alpine white glass fibre weave has titanium oxide coating for a pearlescent sheen and UV and stain-resistant protection to prevent yellowing or staining over time. In fact, if you get a pen mark or other stain on the white interior you can just wipe it off. And with a heat resistance superior to metal, woven glass fibre also stays cooler to facilitate longer performance.