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Dell Studio XPS 13 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £799
inc VAT


13.3 in 1,280×800 display, 2.2kg, 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400, 3.00GB RAM, 250GB disk, Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit


Dell’s Studio XPS 13 has a few features that set it apart from its rivals.

The most obvious one is the 13.3in display, which although smaller than the others in this price group, has the same 1,280×800 resolution of larger screens. It has an LED backlight that produces a very bright image, unlike those on the two Asus models reviewed in the £650 and £800 groups. We were dumbstruck by the picture quality in our side-by-side tests. Colours were deep and vibrant, but a high contrast ratio kept details pin sharp, and the only downside was a slight blue tint to whites.

The small screen makes for a smaller case, which in turn means this laptop weighs just 2.2kg. With a battery life of over four hours, the XPS 13 is a good travelling companion.

The 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo P8400 and 3GB of DDR3 RAM (the only laptop here to use this new memory standard) are a powerful combination and the XPS 13 achieved the third highest Windows benchmark results here.

The Nvidia GeForce 9400M G graphics managed 8.8fps in our Call of Duty 4 test. While it won’t run the latest first-person shooters, older games and less demanding strategy titles should be fine.

The XPS 13’s build quality is superb. There’s no flex in the keyboard or case, and the subtle, white LED controls and indicators ooze class. A slot-loading DVD drive looks good but can’t load 8cm discs. The touchpad is small, but at least its buttons have a light action. The full-size keyboard has a standard layout, and although we’re not fans of the flat-topped keys, they provide good feedback for touch-typists.

The 250GB hard disk is the minimum we’d expect for a laptop in this price range, and there are only two USB ports, one of which doubles as an eSATA port. You’ll need to invest in a USB hub if you want to connect several peripherals to the XPS 13.

With its excellent build quality, great performance, light weight and decent battery life, Dell’s Studio XPS 13 is fantastic value and wins our Best Buy award.

Basic Specifications

Rating *****
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo P8400
Processor clock speed 2.26GHz
Memory 3.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 8GB
Size 37x320x244mm
Weight 2.2kg
Sound IDT HD Audio
Pointing device touchpad
Power consumption standby 0W
Power consumption idle 18W
Power consumption active 48W


Viewable size 13.3 in
Native resolution 1,280×800
Graphics Processor Nvidia GeForce 9400M G
Graphics/video ports VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort
Graphics Memory 256MB


Total storage capacity 250GB
Optical drive model TSST TS-D633A
Optical drive type DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 2
Total Firewire ports 1
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11a/n
PC Card slots 1x ExpressCard/54
Modem No
Supported memory cards SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo
Other ports eSATA (shared with USB socket), 2x minijack audio output, minijack microphone input


Carrying case Yes
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore option restore partition, restore disc
Software included Microsoft Works 9, Roxio Creator DE 10.2, Cyberlink Power DVD 8.1

Buying Information

Warranty one year onsite
Price £799