The Dell XPS 13 has been our favorite laptop for years now. Its slim bezels, luxurious modern look, attractive display options, and strong performance have been hard for other laptop manufacturers to beat.
But in the new year and at CES, Dell is one-upping itself and is introducing important changes that make a great laptop even better. Here’s everything that is new with the 2019 XPS 13, and more on how it stacks up against previous models.
Though still keeping its famed slim Infinity Edge bezels, the biggest of the design changes on the XPS 13 for 2019 is the webcam. Moving from the bottom middle part of the screen and back to a more natural place in the top bezel, it now removes the awkward in-your-nose facing shots during Skype calls.
That was not just a simple change, though. Dell spent over two years to re-engineer this webcam, moving its housing size down from 7mm from previous generations to now just 2.25 mm. It has even improved on the software side, now using temporal noise reduction to help make images clear and more concise over last years model.
Asides from the webcam, Dell also improved on the hinge mechanics with the 2019 XPS 13. Now sporting a “variable torque hinge,” it makes the laptop easier to open with just one hand. That eliminates a common problem on previous models, which needed a little extra lift when going to open the top lid.
Another subtle change to the design in 2019 are some new color options. Building on the Rose Gold color from last year, Dell is now introducing a new frost exterior and improved “Arctic White” palm rest. The palm rest is again woven in a poly-carbonate fiber glass material, but is now a brighter, more vibrant white color.
Finally, the 2019 XPS 13 is still packing options for either a 4K or FHD displays. The 4K option comes in with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 and the FHD versions 1,920 x 1,080. New this year, however, is an option for touch on the FHD model, which was previously only available on the 4K variant. We always liked the XPS 13 for its contrast ratio and color accuracy, and both screens should still look good, but Dell is now including support for Dolby Vision. Building on Dell Cinema color seen in previous models, this can make highlights in images 40 times brighter, and blacks 10 times darker in certain content on YouTube and Netflix.
On the performance side, Dell is introducing new options for eighth generation Intel Whiskey Lake CPUs on the 2019 XPS 13. Compared to last year’s models with the Core i5-8250U or Core i7-8550U, these new processors are both quad-core and have shown for a bit more power in certain laptops when multi-tasking. The configurations options now include the Intel Core i3-8145U, i5-8265U, or Core i7-8565U processors.
Memory options now range from 4GB to 16GB, and SSD storage anywhere from 128GB to as high as 2TB. That is increased from last year’s models maxed out at options for a 512GB SSD and 8GB RAM, so the new configurations will be appreciated for those looking for more storage and processing power. Specific pricing on the 2019 configurations was not made available at the time of writing, but the pricing is listed at $900. Starting configurations with the Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB RAM, and 128GB SSD of last year’s models also fall in the same price range.
With the change to Whiskey Lake processors, Dell is promising for up to 21 hours of battery life on the FHD model with Core i5 Processor, and up to 12 hours on the 4K model with Core i7 processor. On the 2018 model, we saw a total of 13 hours of battery when looping a video, and roughly about 9 hours when web browsing, so that would be a significant improvement over the last generation. The battery size is still the same at 52 watt-hour, but more time is needed to test how it holds up.
Elsewhere with portability, you’ll find the same ports as last years model. These include two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one USB-C 3.1 port with support for DisplayPort, a microSD card reader, and headphone jack. Wireless is still unchanged with Killer 1435 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2.