Hello Dell XPS 13

Once I’d resolved the Surface Pro 3 had to go, I had to decide what to replace it with. I’ve had a Dell XPS 12 for two years now and love it, apart from one drawback. It’s heavier than a “normal” touch ultrabook because of the swivel screen (it needs a sturdy frame). My wife has been using one of the original XPS 13s for three years and it’s wonderfully light, and I bought her one of the new ones with the “Infinity display” earlier this year to replace it. I’d have to say it’s a beautiful machine: the display is crisp and clear and extends to the edge of the screen. Bloody marvelous.

So – my reasoning went – if she can have one, why not me?

Dell XPS 13 (2015)

Dell XPS 13 (2015 edition)

Hence the proceeds from the sale of the Surface were ploughed right back into a Dell XPS 13. Infinity display at 3200×1800 with touch, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD. I went for a refurbished one rather than a new one and saved nearly $600 on the deal so I’m well pleased. (In the interests of full disclosure, there’s a half-inch scratch on the lid, but other than that it’s as new. I might cover the scratch with a DevExpress laptop sticker.)

And how is it? To quote myself, bloody marvelous.


1. It’s light and thin.

2. It’s fast – an i7-5500U powers it.

3. The screen is gorgeous and crisp. Color rendition was excellent as far as I could tell with these ancient eyes. I’ll probably calibrate it when I’ve finished with my travels to Build, etc – I have a Datacolor Spyder Pro for exactly that.

4. Excellent battery life. I was finishing off the installs and updates (you can’t imagine how many updates Office 365 Home needs) today, and I did it all on battery power. No issue. After some four hours of this, there was still 20% battery left.

5. No driver issues – I was using a USB Ethernet connection via a USB 3.0 hub with no issues. Even connected an external DVD drive.

6. The trackpad is very responsive, however I still use an external Arc mouse.


1. Because of the resolution of the screen, I’m running it at a larger text size than standard. Windows 8.1 doesn’t actually tell you what it is, but I’m guessing 150% (In fact I can’t read it at 100%.) Bloody hell but we developers have to get it together with non-traditional DPIs. It makes a strong case for browsers and web apps, that’s what it does.

2. There’s no pen digitizer, hence no pen. Can’t say, I miss that from the Surface, but then again, I’m no artist.

All in all, then, a much better machine for my peculiarities and travels. I’ve got it in an Acme Made Macbook Air 13 sleeve to protect it from any further scratches…

Album cover for Radio RetaliationNow playing:
Thievery Corporation - The Numbers Game
(from Radio Retaliation)

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2 Responses

#1 Michael said...
27-Apr-15 5:11 AM

Same here. 13 diopters. When I take off my glasses I see what I want to see. Almost nothing.

I use a similar device but from Toshiba. This device does not offer the same resolution but 2048 * 1152 works. It's better to reduce the resolution and stay 1:1. The native resolution is 3840* 2160. There are still many applications that have troubles with different DPI settings. MS Media Player for example, maybe MS already fixed that.

On my gaming PC I also went back to 4k 1:1 at 27". An amazing PC with a cons ... the side panel made of glass juddered. So I took a clamp. Now the computer is almost silent. Solutions can be found for every cons.

Touch will work anyway. You will love 16GB.

In general such a high resolution is not the best idea. Assuming you have a second device with a very different resolution the head starts to spin. That's cool...

#2 Steve Maughan said...
28-Apr-15 4:35 AM

Dealing with high dpi monitors is IMHO the tsunami heading towards us as developers. My apps (which use dev express bars), are either unreadable at 100% or blurred if scaled. I'd be interested to know of dev express have any plans to tackle the high dpi issue for users of their ribbon control,

  • Steve
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