Dell XPS 13 (2017) review

The best laptop to date once again

Dell XPS 13 2017
Best in Class

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Now with 8th-generation Intel Core processors inside, the Dell XPS 13, rather unsurprisingly, has proven to be more powerful and longer lasting than ever. The Intel Core i7-8850U inside our review unit smashed our gamut of benchmarks and shined through real-world use.

As you can see with the benchmarks, the XPS 13 has improved in literally every regard.


Here’s how the Dell XPS 13 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark Sky Diver: 4,249; Fire Strike: 1,015; Time Spy: 415
Cinebench CPU: 521 points; Graphics: 51 fps
Geekbench 4 Single-Core: 4,697; Multi-Core: 14,587
PCMark 8 Home: 2,860
PCMark 8 Battery Life: 5 hours and 25 minutes
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 10 hours and 29 minutes


The Core i7 CPU performs better in graphical applications, like rendering video and even 3D elements, as it does in multitasking and web browsing.

While it won’t play the latest and greatest 3D PC games, you’ll be able to enjoy the XPS 13’s ability to run multiple tasks at once and run lighter indie games.

For instance, we witnessed zero lag or slow down running more than a dozen Google Chrome tabs – including word processing, spreadsheet and music streaming tabs – and the Slack chat app, even on battery.

Plus, the SD card slot practically invites photo editing on the XPS 13, and the Core i7 chip will gladly deliver on that front, too.

Battery life

That said, the most marked improvement we’ve seen in the XPS 13 from the 2016 model to this year’s is the device’s lasting power. The laptop lasted a whole hour and 22 minutes longer through the grueling PCMark 8 battery life test, and a whopping 3 hours and 16 minutes longer through our own local video playback test.

These results aren’t that much closer to Dell’s own claims of 22 hours of continuous use from the FHD model. However, they’re much stronger than the latest MacBook Pro and Surface Laptop’s results in the TechRadar movie test of 6 hours and 37 minutes, and 8 hours and 47 minutes, respectively.

So, in general use, expect the latest Dell XPS 13 – at least the FHD model – to last through short to medium-haul flights with some power to spare whenever you reach your destination.

We liked

The Dell XPS 13 puts the new, 8th-generation Intel Core processors to excellent use, enabling the most powerful and longest-lasting XPS 13 we’ve ever tested. Not to mention that it has one of the longest battery lives of any laptop we’ve reviewed – period.

We disliked

While we know that an XPS 13 redesign is on the horizon, we would have liked to see some of our bugbears with this current design resolved by now. Namely, the poor webcam position and audio performance are in sore need of work.

Final verdict

All that said, the pure marriage of panache, performance and price allows us to overlook these minor flaws and once again bestow the Dell XPS 13 with our Best in Class award. While the design remains unchanged year-over-year, this is still one of the best-feeling and- looking laptops we’ve reviewed to date.

That’s before you even get into the performance you’ll see out of this mobile machine, with massive gains in pure benchmark numbers and battery life. That this laptop outlasts the latest MacBook Pro is testament to its longevity.

With more options and a stronger price-per-part proposition than the leading-most laptops from both Microsoft and Apple, you’d be hard-pressed to find a laptop that’s more fitting for more people than the Dell XPS 13.

Joe Osborne

Joe Osborne is the Senior Technology Editor at Insider Inc. His role is to leads the technology coverage team for the Business Insider Shopping team, facilitating expert reviews, comprehensive buying guides, snap deals news and more. Previously, Joe was TechRadar's US computing editor, leading reviews of everything from gaming PCs to internal components and accessories. In his spare time, Joe is a renowned Dungeons and Dragons dungeon master – and arguably the nicest man in tech.