Dell XPS 13 Touch (2014) Review
Dell introduced the first XPS 13 ultrabook at CES in 2012 and a lot has changed since then. XPS 13 Touch (2014) is the third in the series and the first one with a touchscreen display. With the price tag of $1299, it is the cheapest of the three generations. Dell XPS 13 Touch is a nimble machine with premium design and considered as one of the best high-end ultrabook.
Design and Features
XPS 13 Touch features a strong and attractive design and thanks to its aluminum chassis, XPS 13 Touch has a very slim and light profile. The palm rest is fashioned out of magnesium alloy, while the bottom panel is designed from carbon fiber. At only 0.71 inches thick, it is slimmer than MacBook Air 13-inch and weighs just 2.9 pounds, making it lighter and smaller than Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus. The ultrabook feels solid in hand and there is almost no sign of flexing, no matter how it is used. Unfortunately Dell XPS 13 Touch comes with a very limited number of ports, it has two always-on USB 3.0 ports, stereo headset jacks and a Mini-DisplayPort for video output.
The most fascinating feature of Dell XPS 13 Touch is its 13.3-inch touchscreen glossy display with Corning Gorilla Glass and 1920 x 1080 pixel full HD resolution. Although the resolution is lower than most of the competition, but the display has the highest contrast ratio in its category. The touch screen is very accurate and quickly responds to touch. The display is very bright and manages to give near perfect black levels. It can reproduce up to 94 percent of sRGB. The colors are rich and vibrant, while the blacks are majestic to look at. Dell XPS 13 Touch comes equipped with good quality stereo speakers, which are loud enough to fill a small room. The speakers deliver rich sound and there is little distortion at maximum volume.
Below the gorgeous 13.3-inch display, there is a large keyboard with matte black island-style keys. The keys are comfortably spaced and convex in shape for a better typing experience. The keys are backlit with two brightness levels for easier use in low-light conditions. When typing the keys provide a reasonable amount of tactile feedback and key travel. Below the keyboard is a large multi-touch trackpad with gesture support. It comes with easy to use integrated mouse buttons and it responds to multi-touch gestures without any lag. Dell XPS 13 Touch is free of bloatware and comes with a limited number of pre-installed applications, which include McAfee Internet Security and some of Dell’s own applications. It also includes PocketCloud, which comes with 2GB of lifetime cloud storage and through PocketCloud app, users can control XPS 13 Touch remotely from any Android or iOS device. Dell XPS 13 Touch (2014) is covered by one-year warranty by Dell.
On the inside Dell XPS 13 Touch comes equipped with Intel Core i5-4200U processor clocked at 2.6GHz and 8GB of memory. For storage, XPS 13 Touch features a 128GB SSD, out of which only 76GB is available for users. This combination of hardware makes Dell XPS 13 Touch a really fast laptop and it takes about 10 seconds to boot into Windows 8.1. In PCMark 7 test, it scored a respectable 4847 points, which is slightly lower than 4907 points of Samsung Book 9 Plus. It completed the Handbrake test in 1 minute 23 seconds, while it took 4 minutes 50 seconds to complete the Photoshop CS6 benchmark test.
XPS 13 Touch features Intel HD Graphics 4400, which is more than enough for handling basic 3D games and other graphic intensive tasks like photo and video editing. In 3DMark’s CloudGate and FireStrike benchmark tests, XPS 13 Touch scored 4507 and 627 points, respectively. With these figures, XPS 13 Touch stands above other ultrabooks like Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon and HP Spectre 13T. Dell XPS 13 Touch comes with a 55Whr 6 cell non-removable battery and on full charge the battery lasted 9 hours and 31 minutes during a battery test, while Samsung Ativ book 9 Plus and Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro lasted only 8 hours 15 minutes and 5 hours 52 minutes, respectively. While the battery life is great, the laptop has heating problem and at full load the temperature goes above 105 degree Fahrenheit.
Dell XPS 13 Touch (2014) is a compact and nimble laptop with a gorgeous touchscreen display and luxurious design with thin bezels. Due to its slim and light profile and premium build quality, XPS 13 Touch is a perfect travelling companion for the rich class. It is best suited for frequent travelers who prefer to take their work with them. Although it lacks some of the important ports and the storage capacity is limited, it is still worth every penny and it is considered as one of the best high-end ultrabooks.
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