Should I buy the Dell XPS 13?

What does the Dell XPS 13 premium laptop have to offer?

Should I buy Dell XPS 13 2020
(Image credit: Dell)

If you're shopping for a laptop at the moment then the Dell XPS 13 must have come across your radar at some point: it's widely regarded as one of the best laptops on the market at the moment, and year on year Dell has added some excellent improvements to the model.

Those of you wondering whether you should buy the Dell XPS 13 are in the right place – we'll take you through everything you need to consider when it comes to this Windows laptop, so you're able to make an informed choice about whether it's right for you.

Should I buy the Dell XPS 13?

The short answer is absolutely, yes you should – we were very impressed with what the laptop had to offer when we had it in for testing, and although it comes with a premium price tag attached, it manages to justify it.

The Dell XPS 13 ticks just about every box you could want ticking: it's stylishly designed, it's packed with plenty of power, it's lightweight enough to take on the go with you, and it has a gorgeous screen for watching movies and browsing the web.

What are the specs of the Dell XPS 13?

Dell XPS 13 2020

(Image credit: Dell)

Like most of the computers you can buy from Dell, the XPS 13 is available with several different configurations of components. At the very top end of the scale, you can pack the laptop with a 10th-gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of SSD storage, with integrated Intel Iris Plus graphics – unless you're planning some heavy gaming or video editing, those specs should be enough for you.

The 13.4-inch screen is available with different resolutions, topping out with a 3,840 x 2,400 pixel, 4K version. Even with the lower resolution 1,920 x 1,200 pixel edition of the laptop screen though, this is a display that really pops with colour and brightness. We're big fans of 16:10 aspect ratio screens, as it means you can fit more in vertically, whether that's websites or documents.

In terms of ports and connectivity, there are two Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C ports here, as well as a traditional 3.5 mm headphone jack and even a microSD card reader. That's not a bad selection at all for a laptop this size, and if you do need to connect different types of peripherals then adaptors and dongles are available.

What are the best features of the Dell XPS 13?

Dell XPS 13 2020

(Image credit: Future)

We've already mentioned the screen, and it's one of the main reasons that you would pick the Dell XPS 13 over the other laptops on the market. The bezels are thinner than ever on this particular model, and you won't be disappointed with the visual impact of the display. Of course bigger displays give you more room to work with, but they add bulk as well, and make the laptop harder to carry around.

The overall design is another reason to pick the Dell XPS 13. You're not going to be in any way embarrassed to pull this out at a coffee shop or at a board meeting, and it's a pleasure to type on as well. If you are prepared to pay a little bit more for your next laptop, then it really shows in the quality of materials and construction here.

It's fair to say that every feature that the Dell XPS 13 offers adds to its appeal – the fact that it's such a good all-rounder is one of the reasons that it's topped so many best laptop lists over the last few years. We were certainly impressed with the experience of using it during our testing, and don't forget that the Windows software on board continues to get better and better over time as well.

What else do I need to know about the Dell XPS 13?

Dell XPS 13 2020

(Image credit: Dell)

You can pick up the Dell XPS 13 in a couple of different colour options, either white or black depending on the configuration that you go for. The black version has that classic, subtle, discreet look, but we're really into the white version as well, so it's hard to recommend one over the other.

Battery life isn't the very best on the market, but there are ways to mitigate this (dimming the screen brightness and so on), and you're still going to get through most of the working day away from a charging socket – it just might not last the weekend on a single battery charge. As you would expect, there's a webcam integrated in the display, so you can carry on signing into all those video conferencing calls without an additional accessory.

In summary, we'd have little hesitation in picking up the Dell XPS 13 as our next laptop. It's definitely at the more expensive end of the scale, but at the same time it gives you plenty in return for your money – this is a laptop that's going to serve you well and be a joy to use for many years to come.

What are the alternatives to the Dell XPS 13?

If you're wanting to stick with Windows rather than make the leap to macOS, then one of the most compelling alternatives to the Dell XPS 13 is the Intel version of the Samsung Galaxy Book S. It's of a similar size to the Dell, comes packed with the latest components, and is perfect for taking just about anywhere with you.

Another option would be to go as big as possible with the LG Gram 17 – this large but thin laptop gives you much more screen space than the Dell XPS 13, and rivals it in the performance stakes as well. Unless you're gaming or doing video editing, you won't be disappointed with the LG Gram 17.

If you're looking to go cheaper than the Dell XPS 13, then a Chromebook might be the way to go: there's no software bloat or slowdown, and as long as you do all your computing on the web, they should be able to take care of everything you need. We've pulled together a list of the best Chromebooks for you.

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.