Why the Dell XPS 13 Is Still My Favourite Premium Productivity Laptop in 2021
March 16, 2021 Andrew Cheng

Quite a number of premium productivity laptops have been released this year, and while some of them are pretty intriguing, the Dell XPS 13 is still my favourite laptop in this segment. Not only is it one of the sleekest-looking laptops in the market now, it offers excellent user experience as well.

The XPS 13 has been my daily driver for quite some time now, and really, it’s definitely worth a gander if you’re shopping for a premium productivity laptop. As a disclaimer, I received this unit of the XPS 13 from Dell itself, but rest assured, this is my honest opinion of the laptop.

Sleek, Minimalist Design

This is one of the best selling points of the XPS 13. The InfinityEdge screen of the laptop has very, very minimal bezels, which makes for a sleek, modern-looking laptop. The slim bezels also reduce the overall footprint of the XPS 13, so it is notably more portable than its competition.

I’m also quite a fan of the XPS 13’s minimalist design. The top lid is only taken up by Dell’s logo, and I really dig the woven glass fibre palm rest area of this Arctic White colourway. Not only does it look unique – it is also soft to the touch – Dell also said that the palm rest has a “stain-resistant coating to prevent yellowing and staining.”

Solid Build Quality

Not only does it look premium, the XPS 13 has solid build quality as well. The chassis has absolutely no creaking at all, it has tight tolerances with no irregular gaps, and even the hinge feels sturdy. Basically, the XPS 13 feels like a premium laptop through and through.

Sharp and Vibrant 4K Screen

And then there’s the screen quality of the XPS 13. Featuring a 13.4-inch 3840 x 2400 touch-enabled display, it’s a very sharp, very vibrant panel that’s absolutely stunning to look at. However, more affordable variants of the XPS 13 has a 13.4-inch 1920 x 1200 non-touch screen instead, and while it won’t look quite as impressive, the tradeoff is better battery life.

Aside from that, the 16:10 aspect ratio of the XPS 13’s display also makes it ideal for productivity work. Compared to more conventional 16:9 panels, you get more vertical screen real estate with the 16:10 screen of the XPS 13. Thanks to this, the display won’t feel quite as cramped, which is a godsend on a compact productivity-focused laptop.

Good Battery Life

Throughout my time with the XPS 13, it proved to be quite long-lasting as well. On average, I can get about six to seven hours of use on a single charge. Keeping in mind that this is a compact laptop with a sharp 4K screen, this is respectable battery life. If you want even better battery life, opt for the Full HD display option – I reckon that configuration will be able to outlast this 4K model quite a bit.

Strong Performance

Just like the majority of other premium productivity laptops in the market now, the XPS 13 comes with Intel’s latest 11th generation Tiger Lake chips. When it comes to productivity tasks, this processor – whether it’s the Core i5-1135G7 or faster Core i7-1185G7 – will be able to keep up.

Paired with the 11th generation Tiger Lake chip is an Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, which lets you do some gaming on the side with the XPS 13. More importantly – to me, at least – this integrated GPU can even run Genshin Impact quite well at Full HD resolution. Of course, you will have to tweak the graphics settings quite a bit, but it’s definitely playable.

It’s Much More Affordable Now

Last but definitely not least is the value proposition of the XPS 13. When it was first made available here in Malaysia last year in October 2020, it retailed from RM6,399, which is quite a bit of money. But fast forward to February last month, the XPS 13 now starts at only RM5,399 – that’s a whopping RM1,000 price difference.

Naturally, the RM5,399 starting price is for the base model of the XPS 13. This configuration of the laptop comes with a Core i5-1135G7 processor paired with 8GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD storage, Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, and a 13.4-inch 1920 x 1200 non-touch display – reasonably good hardware for a premium laptop at this price point.

If you want the higher-end XPS 13 with a sharper 13.4-inch 3840 x 2400 touch-enabled screen and a faster Core i7-1185G7 processor, it will set you back RM6,999; you also get 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. For the sake of comparison, a similar configuration of the XPS 13 used to retail at RM7,899 when the laptop was first launched here.

With all of these in mind, the Dell XPS 13 is easily my favourite premium productivity laptop that is still very relevant in 2021. Plus, the fact that it is more affordable now makes it that much more compelling, even if it’s not exactly “affordable” with a RM5,399 starting price.

Then again, that really is how much you have to pay for a premium laptop like the XPS 13. After all, you are getting a sleek machine with solid build quality, good battery life, and most importantly, a stunning display. As I’ve mentioned earlier in this article, if you’re looking to get a high-end productivity laptop, consider the XPS 13.