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Dell XPS 13 (2020) hands-on review

The new Dell XPS 13 ditches all the bezels and gets slightly smaller with even more power.

XPS 13 2020
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The latest Dell XPS 13 ditches all the bezels, gets slightly smaller with even more power.

For

  • Attractive, slightly smaller chassis
  • Virtually no bezels
  • Improved keyboard
  • Brighter display

Against

  • No concrete battery information

You’ve got to hand it to Dell; the company never stops innovating. Bold decisions went into making the Dell XPS 13 the powerhouse it is today. But at CES 2020, Dell takes its innovation to the next level by removing the last bezel on the company’s InfinityEdge display. That means the laptop is virtually borderless, the first of its kind to do so. 

Combined with promising specs such as a 10th Gen processor, the new XPS 13 has a strong chance of extending the line’s reign on our best laptops and best 13-inch laptops pages. 

Dell XPS 13 (2020) pricing and availability

The latest Dell XPS 13 will be available for pre-order starting January 7 with a ship date sometime in February. There will be several iterations of the system, including a $999 base model and a $1,199 Developer Edition, which will feature Ubuntu 18.04LTS. 

The base model will feature a 10th Gen Intel Core i3 processor with 4GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a non-touch, 1920 x 1080 display. However, the system can be configured with up to 2TB of storage, an integrated Intel Iris Plus GPU and a 4K, HDR touchscreen.

Dell XPS 13 (2020) design

XPS 13 2020

(Image credit: Future)

At first glance, it seems like not much has changed about the XPS 13’s design. But it turns out that a lot of little tweaks adds up to a bunch of big changes for one of our favorite systems. Yes, it’s still made from that oh-so-alluring anodized aluminum with either carbon fiber or woven glass fiber for the interior. However, thanks to some clever engineering, the new notebook is 2% smaller than its predecessor. 

The display is now a larger 13.4-inches and is made of Gorilla Glass 6. The keyboard now extends edge-to-edge and the touchpad is 17% larger. 

Although we don’t have weight or size information, if the laptop is smaller than its predecessor, it’s a safe bet that the laptop will be potentially lighter and thinner than competing systems.

Dell XPS 13 (2020) display

XPS 13 2020

(Image credit: Future)

At long last, the final bezel has gone the way of the dodo. Dell’s InfinityEdge display now extends edge to glorious edge. And the bezels that are left only measure a minute 0.5 inches. Without that pesky bottom bezel, Dell has successfully squeezed a 13.4-inch screen into an 11-inch form factor. It’s also important to note that Dell got rid of the last bezel without relocating the IR webcam to an inconvenient location.

The new Gorilla Glass 6 panel has a 16:10 aspect ratio and is 25% brighter than previous models. During my brief demo, the display looked plenty bright with rich color, but I’m eager to see how the screen fares on our in-house tests.

Dell XPS 13 keyboard

XPS 13 2020

(Image credit: Future)

Another subtle change on the XPS 13 can be found on the keyboard or rather under it. The full-size island-style keyboard swapped out the proprietary maglev keyboard for rubber dome keycaps. The result is a typing experience that offers less key travel with more resistance. Typing felt good initially, but I’m curious how my fingers will feel after a full work day.

Dell XPS 13 (2020) battery life

XPS 13 2020

(Image credit: Future)

On its own tests, Dell reports that the XPS 13’s battery lasted 10 hours running Netflix and 19 hours on the MobileMark benchmark. If previous scores are anything to go by, we’re expecting at least 12 hours from the 1080p version of the laptop and about 8 hours from the 4K OLED version. 

Bottom line

Smaller, sleeker and sporting the tiniest bezels on all sides, the new Dell XPS 13 shows that Dell still knows how to push the envelope without going too far. The new laptop is an exercise in patient restraint, improving the notebook in a bunch of small ways that add up to a big leap for the system. We’re excited to put this new system to the test when it launches in February.