The Best Looking Laptop You (Probably) Shouldn’t Buy – Review Geek


Rating:
7/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 – Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price: $1,549+

Josh Hendrickson

Last yr Dell launched a nearly perfect laptop. The XPS 13 (2020) is modern, tremendous transportable, nice to sort on, and has fantastic battery life. One of our complaints? No OLED possibility. I’ve been engaged on a $1,599 OLED Dell XPS 13 for a few months, and it’s stunning. At the price of battery life.

And What We Don’t

  • Expensive
  • The Battery Life is Atrocious

This actually is identical laptop computer we reviewed last year with a brand new display. So, nearly every thing we stated there applies right here. The design is top-notch and the most effective XPS 13 but. The factor virtually has no bezel, which makes the OLED touchscreen all the higher. But after all, which means it additionally has the identical downsides, like the shortage of devoted GPU, and regardless of that contact display, this doesn’t convert to a pill mode. Battery life can also be a brand new downside to take care of, however we’ll get into that later.

Phenomenal Cosmic Power, Itty Bitty Laptop Case

A thing and light laptop on top of a much thicker and slightly larger Macbook
The Dell XPS 13 OLED on prime of a 13-inch MacBook Pro Josh Hendrickson

If you haven’t held a Dell XPS 13, it’s onerous to explain how small it feels. Thanks to the bezel-less design, Dell can cram a 13-inch show right into a case that rivals different 11-inch laptops. It’s tremendous small, tremendous mild, and nonetheless packs a punch. The mannequin I’m testing homes an eleventh gen i7 Intel processor, 16 GBs of RAM, and a 512 GB SSD. That comes out to $1,599.99, which is the least you’ll be able to spend on this mannequin. Thanks to these specs, it screams.

Unless I attempt to play high-end video games, nothing slows this factor down. I’ve thrown nearly every thing at it I’d use in my day-to-day life, and the one it will probably’t deal with are packages that require a devoted graphics card. My review unit makes use of Intel Iris Xe built-in graphics, and I’m pleasantly stunned by what you’ll be able to accomplish with that. I fired up Rocket League, and the sport ran like easy butter.

But all in all, every thing we stated in our earlier Dell XPS 13 review holds true for this mannequin. From the case to the keyboard, what you get is darn close to perfection. Unless you want one thing with a devoted graphics card or some type of convertible, the XPS 13 2020 line may be the most effective laptop computer you’ll be able to buy in the present day.

But what’s new right here is the OLED display. With it comes a better decision than the usual XPS 13 line and a success to battery life. And you’ll end up performing some math between the advantages and the prices.

Oh My What a Display

Rocket League on a Laptop
Josh Hendrickson

I hate this laptop computer. Because it’s ruined me for another laptop computer show I’ll ever have the displeasure of subjecting my eyes to once more. From the very second you fireplace the Dell XPS 13 OLED up, you understand you’re in for one thing else. You see, when it activates, you get a white Dell Logo on an in any other case black expanse. It’s a good selection that provides you a preview of what makes OLED particular.

Most shows work by shining a backlight by the pixels to create colours. That means you don’t get a “true” black; it’s one thing nearer to a gray. But OLED is completely different; every pixel is self-illuminating. And because of that occasion trick, when a picture requires black, the show merely doesn’t mild up these pixels in any respect. It’s true black (or as shut as you may get to true black at the moment). You get a draw back to that—OLED screens aren’t as vibrant. That reveals right here the place this machine maxes out at 350 nits, in comparison with the usual XPS 13’s 500 nits.

On the opposite hand, getting these “true blacks” out of your display comes with a number of advantages. Take the black bezels, as an example. The XPS 13 has a few of the smallest bezels round. But they really feel even smaller with the fitting content material on the display. Drag a window with black borders to the bezel, and you must squint to identify the place one ends and the opposite begins.

It additionally signifies that any film or TV present that incorporates a darkish scene immediately seems higher. My favourite motion pictures are attractive on this show. That’s helped by the show’s HDR help, assuming you’re plugged in. To save on battery life (extra on that later), Windows turns HDR off by default when on battery. You can manually flip that on, after all, however you’ll take a success for it. But while you’re plugged in (or in the event you flip it on for battery), motion pictures and television reveals look higher than ever.

Even typing in packages like Word, Grammarly, or immediately into WordPress, like I’m for this text, issues simply look higher. The black letters are a deep degree of black as an alternative of a gray that approaches black. Once you go OLED, you may not wish to return as a result of every thing seems higher. Well, scratch that—most issues look higher. Other issues, although, are scrunched by default.

That’s because of the show’s 3.5K decision—sure, 3.5 and never 4K. At 3456X2160 on a 13-inch display, the advisable measurement for textual content, apps, and different gadgets is 300% . Most of the time that works out fairly nicely. Other occasions it’s actually tight. Thankfully you’ll be able to change that, although you’ll must work to search out simply the fitting setting to your preferences because of the weird decision. For me, 150% resulted in textual content too tiny to learn, and I in the end settled on 200%. It’s under no circumstances a showstopper. No, the true deal breaker is the battery life.

Disappointingly Short Battery Life

A dark webpage almost the same color as black bezel on a laptop.
Can you notice the place the webpage ends and the bezel begins? That’s the magic of OLED Josh Hendrickson

As it stands, I’m available in the market for a brand new laptop computer. And so far, simply utilizing the XPS 13 for review has been accomplished a advantageous job of arguing that possibly some model of the XPS 13 needs to be my subsequent laptop computer. It’s modern, light-weight, highly effective, fantastic to sort on (for a laptop computer), and I truly assume Dell’s model of YourPhone is healthier than Microsoft’s. That’s an enormous praise. I normally hate apps that duplicate built-in performance.

But, at the least on this mannequin, all of that goes out the window after I unplug the system. On common, I get about 5 hours of labor use on battery. That’s writing articles, utilizing Slack and different messaging packages, and looking the net to search out the most recent information you might want to find out about. We’re not speaking video on a loop, thoughts you—simply common use. If I allow darkish mode, flip down the brightness (which is already dimmer than a non-OLED mannequin), flip off Bluetooth, and shut any pointless apps, I can squeak 5 and a half hours.

And that’s simply not going to do the job. That’s not a full workday; it’s barely over half a workday. And frankly, this can be a laptop computer designed for journey. If you’re spending additional on a laptop computer that weighs lower than three kilos and suits within the smallest of journey baggage, it’s since you wish to journey with it. Now, the standby time is superb. You can unplug, not use it for 3 days, and return to a tool with a cost. But the second you begin utilizing it, that battery drops like a lead balloon.

At first, I assumed it may be a problem with my review unit as a result of the followers run close to continually. I can have a single browser open with a single tab going, and the followers will begin whirring. When that occurs, I can normally really feel warmth by the keyboard. But I’ve seen two issues. One, the fan and warmth difficulty doesn’t occur as usually after I don’t plug within the system. Which suggests the fan “issue” is an influence optimization factor. And two, not one of the different critiques I’ve learn complained about followers. In truth, some say the fan by no means appears to run.

You would possibly assume, “ah-hah, so the problem IS your review unit!” But in those self same critiques, actually, in each review I’ve learn, we’ve all come to the identical conclusion. You can count on 4 to 5 hours of battery life out of the OLED model of the Dell XPS 13. That’s a whopping 4 hours shorter than the 1080p variant. Maybe it’s the contact display. If that’s the case, I nearly want I may get an OLED display with no contact show. I by no means use that function.

You Probably Should Get An XPS 13, Just Maybe Not This One

The XPS 13 OLED laptop sitting on a table with a toy train on a traintrack behind it.
Josh Hendrickson

At the top of this review, I discover myself struggling to find out who the XPS 13 OLED is for. The show is, for sure, attractive. Video seems higher, textual content seems higher, every thing seems higher when you tweak it sufficient. But if what you care about is a great-looking show whilst you’re plugged in, you possibly can buy a pleasant monitor, which might additionally offer you extra room and doubtless fewer scaling and backbone points. You’d in all probability take pleasure in motion pictures and TV reveals on an even bigger show, too.

At the identical time, that five-hour battery life hurts. It’s a brilliantly small laptop computer that weighs virtually nothing. It screams to be unplugged and brought in every single place. But you’ll be able to’t depend on it on the go. Sure, you possibly can buy a conveyable battery to prime it up, however that defeats a few of the level of an ultra-portable laptop computer.

Losing 4 hours of battery life for a great-looking show simply doesn’t appear to be a superb trade-off, particularly when the usual 1080p show is greater than serviceable. If you’re the type of one that needs a laptop computer solely for house use and also you don’t thoughts staying tethered, then the OLED mannequin is maybe the most effective XPS 13 you’ll be able to buy, albeit at a $170 premium.

But though $170 isn’t that a lot, I nonetheless assume most individuals can be higher off stepping again to the 1080p non-touch model. And that’s assuming you don’t pull again on specs to avoid wasting on cash, which you’ll’t do with the OLED mannequin. Even with all different specs the identical, you’ll get almost double the battery life. Plenty to make it by a workday or a visit out and about.  And on the finish of the day, one factor stays true: it doesn’t matter how fairly a display is when the battery is lifeless, and it gained’t activate.

Rating: 7/10

Price: $1,549+

Here’s What We Like

  • The similar modern case as different XPS 13 Models
  • Gorgeous Display
  • Touch display

And What We Don’t

  • Expensive
  • The Battery Life is Atrocious





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