Dell XPS 13 User Guide

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One of our favorite laptops, the Dell XPS 13 offers strong performance and long battery life in an incredibly compact design with a gorgeous Infinity display. We gave this 2.6-pound, 13-inch laptop an Editor's Choice award and frequently recommend it to those who want the best of the best.

xps 13 front

Whether you already own an XPS 13 or are strongly considering one, you'll want to know how you can make the most of it. Use our advice below to improve the laptop's battery life, take better webcam pictures, find helpful accessories and much more.

Reviews

If you’re still considering the Dell XPS 13, you’ll want to check out our reviews of both the touch and the non-touch versions of this powerful portable. We loved almost everything about the non-touch version of the XPS 13, from its fast performance to its long battery life and bezel-free screen. The only thing we didn't like was the awkwardly placed webcam.
MORE: Dell XPS 13 (Nontouch) Review

We also like the touch screen model of the XPS 13, giving it the same 4-star rating and Editor’s Choice award. This higher-end model has a sharp 3200 x 1800 touch display that’s a sight to behold, but you’ll pay at least $1,399 and sacrifice some battery life.
MORE: Dell XPS 13 Review

Get Even More Battery Life

The XPS 13 lasted for 11:54 on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves surfing the Web continuously at 100 nits of brightness (for the XPS 13, that's 44 percent of total brightness). This laptop outlasts several of its competitors by hours, and we're impressed by it.

Still, you want to squeeze every last drop out of the battery, so we ran more tests to find the battery settings that will make your XPS 13 last the longest on a single charge. Find out how turning down the brightness, tweaking the power settings or making other changes can give you longer endurance.

MORE: How to Increase Battery Life on the Dell XPS 13

In December 2015, Dell released a BIOS update that adds up to 2 hours of battery life. We tested it and found that it worked, so you should definitely learn how to install it.

Great Accessories

Dell XPS 13 SleeveWe rounded up some of our favorite accessories for the XPS 13, ranging from a keyboard and mouse, a traveling case, and even a USB Type-C charger. Whether you're buying for yourself or need a gift for a Dell XPS 13 owner, you'll find a worthwhile companion to your computer on the list.
MORE: Best Accessories for Your Dell XPS 13

Upgrading

The XPS 13 is a mixed bag when it comes to hardware upgrades. The RAM is soldered to the motherboard, meaning you’ll never have the opportunity to add more. We recommend buying a configuration with at least 8GB of RAM, which should be more than enough for productivity work and web browsing.

upgrade

You can upgrade the storage, however. Our guide shows how to clone your original drive, install a replacement inside your XPS 13 and restore your data to the new SSD.
MORE: How to Upgrade Your Dell XPS 13’s SSD

Bloatware Removal

It's not atypical for laptops to come with some bloatware, and that's the case with the Dell XPS 13, too. We found Flipboard, Groove Music, iHeart Radio, Twitter and Candy Crush Saga all preinstalled on the laptop. If you don't want or need these apps, you can easily uninstall them. See our guide to software removal in Windows 10 here and eliminate wasted space on your SSD.

MORE: How to Uninstall Programs in Windows 10

Display Driver Problems

Does your display flicker? Do you get error messages that your display driver has crashed? This bug was somewhat common among early machines, but Dell has issued a fix for it. Using our guide, you'll learn to where to find the new drivers and how to install them.

MORE: How to Fix Dell XPS 13 Display Driver Problems

Webcam Hacks

webcam

In order to achieve a near bezel-less design, the Dell XPS 13's camera lives in the lower left hand corner of hinge, which makes it shoot pictures from below your chin. If you've played with angles and haven't fixed it, consider some of our fixes, a combination of MacGyvering and using other hardware.

MORE: How to Turn the Dell XPS 13's 'Nosecam' Into a Webcam

Author Bio
Andrew E. Freedman
Andrew E. Freedman,
Andrew joined Laptopmag.com in 2015, reviewing computers and keeping up with the latest news. He holds a M.S. in Journalism (Digital Media) from Columbia University. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Twitter @FreedmanAE.
Andrew E. Freedman, on
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1 comment
  • Fred Reitman Says:

    I'm planning to purchase an XPS 13. I use iCloud for email. Any compatibility issues I need to know about?
    Thanks?

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