Dell - Dell XPS 13 (2018)


Dell XPS 13 (2018): the routine of excellence

Aprox. 1349€

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The Dell XPS 13 is often considered one of the best ultraportable PCs on the market. Like every year, 2018 sees the arrival of a new model on the market which must honor the range. And it is not this year that Dell will be left behind by the competition.

Our review


In the field of laptops, Dell XPS are what we can call safe values. The 13-inch model, already present on the market for many years, has always been able to evolve with innovations. The latest is the edge-to-edge screen, which always impresses. With this XPS 13 2018 edition, Dell changes its formula little and seeks above all to offer an efficient PC, with updated components and improvements as discreet as effective.

Unsurprisingly, the Texan manufacturer delivers a computer that never fails and is surprising on a few points. In short, the Dell XPS 13 (2018) is the culmination of a range that manages to achieve excellence every year.


Regarding design, the Dell XPS 13 changes little compared to the 2017 model and blends in with the visual identity that characterizes the range. If it has gained a few curves, in particular at the angles to remind the very first XPS, it takes again the finish in brushed aluminum and the black edges in carbon fiber.

The real change in design is actually invisible from the outside. Dell has in fact chosen to place Gore-Tex, a material with breathable properties used among other things in mountain clothing. The point here is to dissipate the heat even better, as we will see below. The XPS 13 (2018) also keeps its "classic" laptop look, very "pro" oriented. We are not dealing here with a convertible PC or two-in-one, but with a laptop format. Note: this is not the case with our test model, but Dell also offers a version equipped with a touch screen.

By opening the PC, the user comes across a very well finished keyboard. In carbon fiber, the keyboard part is very pleasant to the touch and we find the feeling of specific softness to the range. Here, Dell has included what it calls a "magnetic key" keyboard that theoretically provides better typing - the keys only sink when the user presses well in the center. In practice, typing is at first sight extremely confusing; it does not reveal its potential until after a certain time of use, to finally become very effective and pleasant. The trackpad is classic for its part, up to the previous models, that is to say well integrated and very comfortable to use.

On the connection side, the USB-A disappears in favor of "all USB-C". There are thus three ports on the sides, including two Thunderbolt 3 and a USB-C 3.1. In addition, there is a microSD card reader and a jack. Excluding connectors, we also note on the sides the presence of 5 small LEDs indicating the battery level of the ultraportable, without it being necessary to open or turn it on. Convenient. Last point: Dell accompanies his PC with a USB 3.0 to USB-C adapter.

The use of Gore-Tex to keep the chassis cool proves its effectiveness during our test. Tested according to our protocol (Unigine Heaven benchmark loop for one hour), the XPS 13 (2018) knows how to manage its temperature perfectly. Only the rear grille rises to 46 ° C at a specific point, while the rest of the PC is limited to 39 ° C. Noise side, the PC does not exceed 40 dB, an honest score for an ultraportable as thin, but a little high all the same. The breath is therefore audible, although discreet and not very annoying.

Ultimately, the improvements of the Dell XPS 13 are tenuous compared to the previous model, but very present. The result is a computer that is still as well designed and very pleasant to use.


The screen is one of the highlights of the Dell XPS 13 since 2015 and, in 2018, the "wow" effect is still there. Our test model is equipped with a 13.3-inch (33.8 cm) glossy IPS non-touch screen with a definition of 1,920 x 1,080 px. It should be noted that Dell also offers a version equipped with a 4K and touch screen. This year, Dell announces that it has gained another 5% on the edges of its screen, which brings the screen / frontage ratio to 87%. A very impressive score, the highest we have had so far.

Delta E colors = 3.2 Contrast 1535: 1 Temperature 7130 K

Under our probe, the Dell XPS reveals an excellent screen, which however lacks nothing to be exceptional: the contrast, excellent, ensures good vision of the details; the average Delta E stands at 3.2, a very good score which attests to faithful colors, and the brightness is high, at 466 cd / m². The only disappointment is the color temperature which, at 7,130 K, is quite far from the 6,500 K reference, which results in a slight bluish drift. The remanence is finally 24 ms; it's high but it has little importance for this kind of PC, which is not dedicated to video games.


Our test copy of the Dell XPS is equipped with an Intel Core i5-8250U processor supported by 8 GB of RAM. Note that it also exists in Core i7 with a maximum of 16 GB of RAM. Not surprisingly, it is equivalent to its competitors equipped with a CPU of the same generation, without however being extraordinarily powerful.

After our usual battery of tests (file compression, video and audio conversion, 3D calculation and processing of several photos), the Dell XPS 13 (2018) reaches the index of 139. It is therefore placed just behind the Lenovo Yoga 920 equipped of the same processor, and almost on par with the Acer Swift 5, also equipped with a Core i5-8250U. The solid performances will be able to support advanced office automation tasks requiring a certain computing power, as well as photo or video editing.

Note, the XPS 13 (2018) has an Intel HD 620 iGPU that will be able to run small games with very little power consumption, no more.

Mobility / Autonomy

The 2018 Dell XPS 13 is not the lightest ultraportable on the market with its 1.21 kg, but its weight remains reasonable and it can be transported everywhere without difficulty, especially since it comes with 'a very small charger.

In terms of autonomy, the Dell XPS 13 (2018) is doing very well and there is a clear progress compared to previous models. During our usual test protocol (Netflix on Chrome, headphones plugged in, backlight off, brightness at 200 cd / m²), the Dell ultraportable took 9 hours and 42 minutes to shut down. It is still far from the champion in the field, the HP Specter x360 (2017) with its 12 hours 02 of autonomy, but it is in a very good average for its category.


The speakers, trapped in the computer chassis, have tiny grids to communicate with the outside. This results in far too high distortion, therefore an aggressive sound. To this is added to a very unbalanced rendering, which certainly guarantees a certain intelligibility to the vocal remarks but does not respect their timbre. As for power, it is relatively low; however, audio software preinstalled on the PC saves the furniture.

The headphone jack, on the other hand, offers a very satisfactory rendering. Our measurements reveal above average results, whether in terms of distortion, dynamics (difference between the weakest and loudest sounds) or crosstalk (width of the stereophonic scene).


Always in excellence, the Dell XPS 13 improves from year to year, in small touches. So certainly, we could blame the Texan manufacturer for a lack of risk taking on this 2018 version, but in the end we can only forgive him, as this ultraportable convinces. Screen, design, finishes: the Dell XPS 13 (2018) is again an excellent vintage, which shows Dell's expertise in the field of ultraportables in Windows 10.