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Dell XPS 13 OLED review

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CNN
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How do you make the best Windows laptop round even higher? Slapping on an immersive OLED show isn’t a nasty solution to begin. The Dell XPS 13 OLED (beginning at $1,518; dell.com) does simply that, packing a virtually borderless 13-inch display screen that makes watching motion pictures, enhancing images and even catching up on Slack chats extra engrossing — although it does include some caveats.

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Fancy new display screen apart, this is identical XPS 13 that has lengthy been our favourite Windows laptop computer, due to its svelte design, quick general efficiency and comfy keyboard. However, the laptop computer’s audio system and webcam are nonetheless missing, and this specific mannequin’s battery life suffers a bit as a result of its high-resolution OLED display screen.

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Is the XPS 13 OLED well worth the splurge over the usual mannequin? Here’s what we expect after weeks of working and enjoying on Dell’s newest laptop computer.

Who it’s for: The Dell XPS 13 OLED is for folk searching for the most effective general Windows laptop computer for primary work and leisure, and who don’t thoughts splurging for an extra-immersive show. Those who don’t care about OLED will probably be high-quality with the standard XPS 13.

What you could know: The Dell XPS 13 OLED delivers the identical attractive and compact design, comfy keyboard and speedy efficiency we’ve loved on the latest XPS 13, however with an OLED display screen for extra vivid visuals. However, this laptop computer’s battery life isn’t fairly nearly as good as rivals (seemingly as a result of that OLED show), and its webcam and audio system are underwhelming.

How it compares: The XPS 13 OLED outshines its shut competitor within the Surface Laptop 4 (beginning at $999) by way of construct high quality, general efficiency and show richness, although Microsoft’s laptop computer has a taller display screen, deeper keyboard and higher battery life. Dell’s laptop computer makes a terrific Windows various to the MacBook Air (beginning at $999), although Apple’s pocket book provides extra general energy and endurance in addition to a superior webcam.

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The Dell XPS 13’s show has at all times been a stunner, particularly ever since Dell chopped off practically the entire bezels within the 2020 fashions to ship really immersive viewing for work and play. It was onerous to think about this pocket book’s display screen getting any higher, however Dell managed so as to add OLED to the combination — and the outcomes are superior.

OLED (natural light-emitting diode) shows are recognized for delivering particularly deep blacks and excessive distinction, two perks that instantly turned obvious as quickly as we laid eyes on the 13.3-inch InfinityEdge display screen on the XPS. The black backgrounds of Slack and Twitter regarded extremely daring and wealthy in darkish mode, permitting messages and tweets to return by way of with a satisfying and legible white pop with none of the fuzzy “blooming” impact that may generally occur when these colours conflict. The reverse additionally regarded nice — black textual content popped properly on prime of white backgrounds in Google Docs — however in case you’re somebody who finds darkish mode extra pleasing and simple on the attention, you’ll particularly love this show.

Of course, the XPS 13’s OLED display screen is sweet for extra than simply studying textual content. An 8K nature video exploded with vivid colour and true-to-life element on Dell’s show — the orange-brown fur on a pack of deer and the brilliant greens of a forest had been particularly placing, and we might make out each strand of fur on a lion’s mane throughout a close-up. When watching the identical video on a Surface Laptop 4, there was a stark distinction in saturation and vibrancy that made Microsoft’s still-impressive show look boring by comparability.

While the XPS 13 OLED makes a terrific show even higher, the laptop computer’s audio output continues to be simply OK. Energetic rock tracks like Real Friends’ “Nervous Wreck” acquired lots loud but additionally turned muddy as soon as the crunchy guitars kicked in, whereas the quieter indie melodies of Julien Baker’s “Relative Fiction” fared a lot better. The XPS 13’s audio system made it simple to listen to colleagues throughout work calls, however it’s best to most likely attain for a devoted pair of headphones or speakers in case you plan on bingeing plenty of music or motion pictures on this laptop computer.

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OLED display screen apart, the most recent XPS 13 is extra of the identical — and that’s largely a terrific factor. Dell’s flagship laptop computer stays probably the most engaging PCs you should purchase, with razor-thin edges and a snug inside that appears particularly gorgeous in Arctic White (there’s additionally a extra subdued black choice). And if you end up on the go extra lately, the XPS 13 could be very travel-friendly at 2.8 kilos and simply over half an inch skinny.

Just because the XPS 13’s lovely design stays untouched, so does its comparatively slim port choice. You get two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports, which can be utilized for all the pieces from charging the laptop computer as much as connecting a number of 4K displays, in addition to a microSD card slot and a headphone jack. While that’s not lots of connectivity, we do respect that Dell features a USB-C to USB-A adapter within the field for utilizing older equipment.

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We’ve loved typing on numerous variations of the XPS 13 for years now, due to keys which are particularly smooth to the contact and have a pleasant quantity of bounce to them. The textured wrist wrest definitely doesn’t harm both. However, after spending time with the deeper, snappier keyboards on newer laptops just like the Surface Laptop 4 and Acer Chromebook Spin 713, we do want that the XPS 13’s keys provided a bit extra suggestions and journey.

(*13*)

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We’ve at all times discovered the Dell XPS 13 to be greater than highly effective sufficient for our day by day workflow, and that development continues with the brand new OLED mannequin. Our review unit got here loaded with an eleventh Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of solid-state drive storage, which translated to snappy and clean multitasking regardless of what number of issues we did directly.

We frequently had 30 or extra Google Chrome tabs throughout a typical workday, and by no means seen any hiccups as we bounced between numerous paperwork, web sites, Twitch streams and a browser-based picture editor. The XPS 13 continued to carry regular as we added eight apps to the combination, together with Slack, Spotify, Discord, the Audacity audio enhancing app and a 4K video working through VLC participant.

Simply put, you’re going to have a tough time slowing this machine down. One phrase of warning, nonetheless: The XPS 13 acquired noticeably scorching on the underside below this heavy load, so we’d advocate engaged on a desk somewhat than your lap in case you’re doing plenty of intensive multitasking.

While the XPS 13 OLED can chew by way of nearly any mixture of on a regular basis work duties, you’ll need to hold its charger useful in case you plan on working lengthy hours on this factor. Dell’s laptop computer lasted a reasonably underwhelming six hours and eight minutes on our battery take a look at, which consists of enjoying a 4K video on a loop at half brightness with Wi-Fi off. That’s a notable step down from the 8.5 hours we acquired from the Surface Laptop 4, and under Dell’s 8-hour ranking for streaming content material from the comparable XPS 13 4K mannequin.

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The newest XPS 13 configuration additionally fails to repair one of many laptop computer’s few evident weaknesses: the webcam. Photos we took on the pocket book’s 720p digicam had been darkish and noticeably pixelated, even once we had been going through direct daylight. The XPS 13’s digicam works high-quality in a pinch, however we’d advocate springing for a devoted webcam for essential interviews or conferences — or contemplating the superior digicam within the MacBook Air.

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The Dell XPS 13 OLED (beginning at $1,518; dell.com) provides an much more immersive show to our favourite laptop computer, with vivid colours and deep blacks that make motion pictures, pictures and textual content come to life in a manner that basically stands out from the bottom mannequin. If you’re large on inventive work or just need the very best laptop computer display screen to your subsequent Netflix binge, that is the XPS 13 configuration to get.

However, that stunning OLED display screen can suck up battery life fairly quick, as this model of the XPS 13 doesn’t final so long as the beginning 1080p mannequin or rivals such because the Surface Laptop 4 (beginning at $999; microsoft.com). We additionally nonetheless want Dell would enhance the laptop computer’s underwhelming webcam and audio system, which pale compared to what you get on the MacBook Air (beginning at $899; amazon.com).

If you’d somewhat avoid wasting money, the usual XPS 13 (beginning at $949; dell.com) nonetheless delivers most of what we love about this PC, together with an extremely slim design, a terrific keyboard and zippy eleventh Gen Intel efficiency. But in case you’re keen to splurge to get an extra-gorgeous show on the most effective general Windows laptop computer round — and don’t thoughts taking successful on battery life — the Dell XPS 13 OLED provides a complete lot for its premium value.

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