Microsoft Tribe


Ars on the Dell XPS 13: "Stand aside Apple, Dell's just built the best ultraportable laptop"


Just in case folks wanted an alternative take on the XPS 13:

The touchpad is surprisingly decent, too. It supports Microsoft's Precision Touchpad spec, which means that its behavior is largely governed by built-in Windows drivers and not custom third-party drivers. This in turn means that it's a lot more predictable; it performs similarly to other Precision Touchpad hardware, taking "device manufacturer" out of the picture. Tracking accuracy is good, and the glass surface is smooth and low in friction. The only weakness, and this is as much personal preference as anything else, is the clickability. I would have liked a more positive click action, something with a little more bite to it.


Dell claims that the battery life of the XPS 13 is an impressive 15 hours for the 1920×1080 model and 11 hours for the 3200×1800 version. Our own battery testing is a little more punishing than Dell's, but the company's numbers seem to be in the right ballpark. In our test of light Web browsing, the XPS 13 came in just shy of nine hours, and in a more intensive WebGL test, it hit five hours on the dot.

Interesting that Ars didn't seem to have the trackpad or battery life issues that Dan reported in his review. I'm not going to accuse The Verge of being intentionally misleading - I'm sure that if Dan saw these issues, then he certainly encountered them during the review period - but it does make me wonder why people are seeing such stark differences.

For what it's worth, Gizmodo's review was right in the middle - they saw battery life issues, but not trackpad problems.

One thing that might contribute, at least with regards to discrepancy between The Verge and Ars - Ars runs battery tests based on nits of brightness, but we don't know how The Verge runs theirs.

Anyway! Just food for thought, especially for those who might have been discouraged by The Verge's review.