I’ve carried a 2018 XPS 13 to more meetings and conferences than I want to remember. Not because I didn’t have any other choice, but because the XPS 13 was (is) lightweight, ran for a day so I didn’t have to tote a charger or backup battery, has fast face recognition log in (the thing I hate the most THE MOST is passwords), and has two kinds of holes in it: HDMI and USB-C. My only complaint was the screen resolution. The screen itself is plenty bright and sharp. We pass down computers we get to test, the 2018 XPS 13 will be one of the last ones, it’s that good.
Well, now I may be willing to let it go. Dell has come out with a new and improved version.
At just 0.58 inches (14.8 mm) thick and 2.8 lbs (1.27 kg) weight, the new XPS is extremely thin and light. The entry-level XPS 13 has an Intel Core i3-1005G1 10th Generation Ice Lake, 4GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and sells for $1000.
The Platinum Silver version comes with a black carbon-fiber-composite wrist rest, while the Frost color has a snowy white one, made of woven glass. In addition, Dell says it has applied a UV-resistant and stain-resistant coating to the wrist rest.
The entry-level model has a 13.4-inch 1920 × 1200 pixels display, which is 120 more lines or 11% more resolution than the previous version. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it really makes a big difference. The screen is rated for 500 nits and has a 1800:1 contrast ratio. Dell offers a glossy-surface, touch-enabled version or an anti-glare non-touch version. That’s a poor compromise: I don’t like glossy screens and I do like touch. However, Dell says the screen has a 0.65% anti-reflective coating, so you have a beautiful glossy screen without the glare for working outside or in bright indoor light. Dell is claiming that this new Dell XPS 13 can get up to 19 hours of battery life.
The high-end configuration of the XPS 13 9300 features a 3840 × 2160 UHD (90 DCI P 3 color gamut) touch screen. It has a slightly lower contrast ratio (1500:1), but has 500-nit peak brightness. You can configure the laptop with a 10th-Generation Core i7 processor, 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD.
The new XPS laptops have Dell’s Eyesafe display technology which manages light energy at the source and selectively reduces blue light by dispersing it across the light spectrum. Dell has come up with a unique solution that combines RGB hardware and software adjustments to protect against blue light while maintaining color integrity. Dell says they are the first to offer this integrated solution.
Regardless of which screen is chosen, the machines have a 720p top-mounted webcam and IR sensors for Windows Hello face recognition.
XPS Linux—Project Sputnik
Dell has also introduced a developer’s edition of the XPS with Linux that is the 10th generation of Project Sputnik’s developer targeted XPS 13s. This new edition is very much the same as its Windows counterpart, however, the system comes with Ubuntu 18 04 LTS preloaded straight out of the factory.
Project Sputnik began nearly 8 years ago as an exploratory skunk-works project driven via social media by community input. Besides, the svelte XPS 13 developer edition the Sputnik portfolio includes the line of Ubuntu-based Precision mobile workstations. While project Sputnik is the most visible set of Linux-based offerings from Dell, it is a small fraction of the over 150 systems that make up Dell’s Linux portfolio.
Dell says that from the project’s beginning the guiding principles for the effort have been:
- directly engage and involve the developer community and
- conduct the project out in the open via public blogs and forums
As a direct result of feedback and input from the community, the project became an official product. As the project has progressed, the team has continued to solicit and incorporate feedback from the community
Being a good open source community member has been a key tenant of the initiative. As a result, the device drivers that are written are pushed upstream into the mainline Linux kernel. This allows customers to run other Linux distributions on the systems, like Linus Torvalds runs Fe.dora on his XPS 13 developer edition. The special developer’s edition starts at $1200.