Dell XPS-13 Review


I have just bought the 2015 Model XPS-13.  To save you having to read the whole review if you just want my conclusion here it is.

The hardware is excellent with my only gripes being with the touchpad.  The only thing that lets it down as a complete package is Windows 8.1.   To put it bluntly it sucks but that is for another article I think.  The main problem that relates directly to the hardware/software combination is that the screen is very high resolution and Microsoft still don’t seem to have gotten a handle on this yet.  Even some of their own Icons appear to be scaled and look really really bad.  It kind of reminds me of the old days of Linux with the dodgy font problems.

There are lots of reviews of this laptop on the internet so I have decided not to do a comprehensive one but just cover the points as they apply to us motorhomers/fulltimers.

First up is the size.  It is really small.  It is just over 30cm wide.  But the screen is much bigger than a laptop of this physical size has any right to have.  The small bezel did worry me when I read about it.  I was worried about impacts from the side cracking the screen.  However now I have it in my hands I can see this is not a issue as the solid aluminium body and lid are tough.

The keyboard is easy to adapt to.  I am a fussy sod when it comes to keyboards having been trained properly as a touch typist.  Yes, I can type while looking at anything but the keyboard.  But considering the limited dimensions of this laptop the keyboard is excellent.  The touchpad is something I really don’t like but I will have to work on getting used to.  The surround on the keyboard is a very nice semi rubbery feel carbon fibre.  It feel really really nice and doesn’t pick up finger prints etc very easily.

The wifi range on it is better than average.  I have been using it in a couple of places where my old laptop really struggled and my phone only just a connection.

The battery life is brilliant for the occasional usage most people will put it through.  I checked my emails every hour or so.  I did some browsing, played a bit of a flash game and watched 2 hours of a film.  This took the batteries down to 56% at the end of the day.  This impressed me.  I also got the extended battery pack but have not needed to use it yet.

In heavy use,  I can just about last a full 9 hour work day with none stop usage.

I would have liked having 1 extra USB port but one on each side is nice rather than having them wedged up against each other.  On my previous laptop I had 4 but could only use 2 if I wasn’t careful about which ports I plugged larger dongles into.

Now the sound on this Laptop is something else.  I have never heard a laptop put out such great sound before.  The base is better than I could have imagined from something so small.  Combined with the amazingly hi res screen it is a great laptop to watch films on.

In summary.  This is an excellent laptop for motorhomers to use on the road.  It is solid aluminium so rugged.  It is small so easily portable and will fit in any motorhome safe without taking up a lot of room.  It is powerful enough for all on the road uses.  The battery life is impressive.  The sound and screen are a real pleasure to use.  The wifi is better than average.  My only hatred of this laptop is for the Operating System.  I am fed up of Windows 8.1 getting in my way when I am trying to do stuff.  Hopefully it won’t be long before the Linux Kernel is updated to include the drivers for this laptop then I will have my dream machine.




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