The 4K screen we tested was also impressive: It was bright, sharp and made everything pop. It even fared well in direct sunlight while I was wearing polarized sunglasses (something competitors like the Surface Laptop have trouble with). HDR is a welcome addition. While it's far more essential in your home theater, it's still to be able to enjoy Netflix to its fullest on the go.
Thankfully, Dell didn't change the XPS 13's input options much. The keyboard is still a joy to type on, thanks to its generous 1.3mm travel distance and overall responsiveness. It's one of those keyboards where it feels like words just flow out of my fingers. The Precision touchpad is also as smooth and accurate, as we've come to expect.
In our battery test, it lasted 9 hours and 50 minutes, which is better than the XPS 2-in-1 and the Zenbook 3, but less than what we've seen from the Surface Laptop and other premium notebooks. The somewhat average performance can be chalked up to the 4K display, which takes more power to drive. The 1080p versions of the XPS 13 should get a few more hours worth of juice.
Pricing and the competition
The XPS 13 starts at $999 with an 8th gen Core i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. That's decent, but we'd recommend bumping up to the $1,200 model at least, which has 8GB of RAM and a faster 256GB SSD. It'll perform much better, and last longer without needing an upgrade, as well. Frankly, it's about time PC makers started making 8GB of RAM standard. You might have been able to survive with 4GB a few years ago, but these days, Chrome alone could gobble that up quickly.
As for alternatives, Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,300 with a seventh-gen chip, while the Surface Laptop starts at $800 (albeit with an underpowered processor). Just as we've seen for the past few years, the XPS 13 is a strong competitor both in terms of price and performance with other premium ultraportables.