Dell XPS 13 (2022) Review: Downgraded Performance, Keyboard, Infinity Edge

The wonderful Dell XPS 13 vary has had the identical search for a number of years now. A shakeup was most undoubtedly so as. To align with Intel’s new twelfth technology P and U sequence chips—with the previous honed for extra demanding productiveness customers, and the latter centered on skinny and lightweight designs—Dell break up the lineup in two. There was the eccentric XPS 13 Plus (7/10, WIRED Recommends) and a redesigned XPS 13.

The P-series-powered XPS 13 Plus was profitable in making doubtlessly gimmicky improvements an precise step ahead, however its efficiency flattered to deceive. For the U-series XPS 13, the brand new look has added a splash of colour—with Sky and Umber choices. Gone is the signature carbon fiber, and elsewhere there are extra key adjustments—not all for the higher.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Photograph: Dell

My first impressions of the brand new Dell XPS 13 left me each excited and intrigued. This laptop computer has been one in all, if not the finest thin-and-light productiveness machine of the previous decade, however its design had change into stale. The new look smacks of a wedding between Dell’s conventional model and Microsoft’s Surface Laptop vibes—a great-looking little bit of equipment in its personal proper, regardless of its awfully chunky bezels. However, another choices on the construct damage the brand new XPS 13.

Dell nonetheless calls this show Infinity Edge, but it surely not eviscerates the underside bezel in the identical method. It was a small contact that made the display of this 13-inch laptop computer really feel far bigger on the within than a tool this measurement ought to be capable to cram in. The Full HD show on my take a look at mannequin didn’t wow both, with the brightness falling quick in well-lit locations. The colours don’t excite, with a barely washed-out look, however strong accuracy and crisp element assist this stay panel total.

Then, there are the ports. The earlier mannequin didn’t have many extra ports than the brand new XPS 13, sporting two Thunderbolt 4, a headphone jack, and a microSD card slot. But, the newest model has ditched the latter two—leaving this newest XPS 13 a tool that’ll gamefully out-dongle even the MacBook Air. The two ports are, at the very least, on both facet of the laptop computer.

Beyond the colour change, the skin of the Dell stays largely the identical—I’ve been eager for an up to date Dell emblem for a while however no luck. Nevertheless, the burden and thickness have been lowered … somewhat. It drops from 2.65 lbs (1.2 kg) to 2.59 lbs (1.17kg) and 14.8 mm to 13.99 mm. A small distinction, however the mixture provides as much as a extra moveable really feel than its predecessor, and it’s a pleasure to hold round.

Not every part is kind of as nice with the keyboard, although. The backlight is patchy, and, extra importantly, the typing expertise is shallow. The keyboard has lengthy been an space through which rivals have managed to have the higher hand on the XPS 13, even in previous years when it was among the finest—however not the finest. But, this yr, it’s most undoubtedly not the perfect, with an actual lack of journey and underwhelming suggestions. Dell refuses to carry out wonders with the trackpad, too. It’s fairly small. Admittedly, there’s not a lot room to spare, however rivals have managed to cram bigger pads onto their 13-inch gadgets. The click on of the pad is mildly satisfying and responsive, however nothing to put in writing house about.

U Is for Underpowered

Photograph: Dell

For the previous a number of years, it’s been straightforward for reviewers like me to advise on specs for a strong productiveness laptop computer—gadgets preferrred for a scholar or employee with out larger energy necessities and who worth portability. “Nothing too serious. I just do a bit of multitasking and have plenty of browser tabs open,” I’ve been instructed many a time throughout a request for recommendation.

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