On paper, Dell's new XPS 13 seems impossibly good for the $US800 starter price. It leaves you thinking "what's the catch?" I just saw it in person, and to be honest I couldn't find it. This thing seems fantastic.
The first thing to notice about the new XPS 13 is that screen. Not so much what's there — its 3200x1800 QHD+ screen is high-res and high-end but nothing special — but what's not. There's practically no bezel here. It's not quite an edge-to-edge display, but it's close enough to really give a nice pop when you look at it. A little bit of oooOOOooo what's that?
The rest of the new XPS's design is equally fantastic. The aluminium exterior and polished edges make it look slick as hell when it's closed. It's got the kind of angular handsomeness I like in my laptops. Open it up and the black carbon-fibre keyboard frame and the soft-touch palm rests stretch out into a simple expanse of black. It reminds me of the inside of a Lenovo Yoga Pro, which is a high compliment as far as laptops go.
That keyboard, by the way, is great. I only typed a couple dozen words, but it felt instantly familiar. The keys have a short but deliberate throw that makes them feel appropriately sensitive, not squishy and soft or too shallow and rattley.
It helps, too, that the build quality is all-around rock solid. I could hardly find a bit of flex in the XPS, and I tried pretty hard. The keyboard frame can hold up against a hard push. Try to twist the display and it holds up way better than my MacBook Air. Close it up and I'm pretty sure you could beat someone to death with it. At 2.7 pounds, it's actually a bit lighter than a Macbook Air, but its design is so hearty and deliberate that it feels super robust.
We'll see how it holds up to day-to-day use once we get one in to review, but from a quick little get-to-know-you feel-up session, the Dell XPS 13 seems every bit as nice in person as it does on paper. This is one slick machine.