Decide if the Dell XPS 13 laptop is the right travel laptop for you with our handy review.

Having the right travel laptop with you can make or break an adventure. If you ask any digital nomad, they will tell you that their laptop is one of the most important tools they carry around with them. For starters, it is absolutely important to stay connected while you are out exploring the world. Having a laptop that does not offer that connectivity can hinder your travels big time. Not only that, but the performance has to be on point too. After all, who wants to spend hours on end waiting for their computer to allow them to get their work done? One such computer that has been on our radar is the Dell XPS 13 laptop. Today, we are going to dive into what makes this laptop such a great buy.

If at the end of this review, you decide that the Dell XPS 13 laptop is not for you, no worries. You will find that we have conveniently included three additional laptops that we think will make great choices instead. From easy to pack laptops to durable ones that will stand the test of any adventure. We have got you covered for your next trip. 

The Dell XPS 13 Laptop Features & Benefits

The Dell XPS 13 laptop has been a popular choice for so many travelers. For starters, this laptop allows you to stay connected on the go without a fuss. In addition to that, it is a super awesome laptop that you can just pop into your travel bag and get going with. In our in depth review of the Dell XPS 13 laptop, we are going to go over all the things that make it so great. We will highlight some of the specific features and benefits that this laptop provides.

1. Design ​​​​

Dell XPS 13 Laptop Review - Design ​​​​​

The overall design of the Dell XPS 13 laptop is one that stands out quite easily. The design is very similar to that of your typical MacBook computer. This is because the Dell XPS 13 laptop is rather slim, sleek, and stylish. It has the modern look to it that many travelers love when it comes to a great travel laptop.

Since its introduction in 2012, the outer shell of the Dell XPS 13 laptop has been a crowd pleaser. Not only is the overall look of the outer shell sleek and trendy, but it has a practical function that travelers love as well. The metal casing allows it to be super durable and well supported. Many travelers will appreciate that Dell went above and Beyond in constructing a quality case that exceeds standard expectation.

The aluminum bottom allows your laptop to have optimal rigidity. Along with that, it will have the added benefit of resistance to twisting and flexing.  This rigidity is also available in the lid of the Dell XPS 13 laptop as well. The lid offers great torsion resistance and great protection. Especially when it is faced with rear pressure.

In addition to the case’s material, the standard silver and black color palette is one that works really well with this computer. It looks professional and clean. You really feel like you are working on a quality product when you set this bad boy down on your desktop.

Lastly, the materials used are quite great. The earlier models of the Dell XPS 13 laptop were made with carbon fiber. For the most part, the carbon fiber has been switched out for other material such as aluminum. The only place that you will find carbon fiber on the Dell XPS 13 laptop is in the palm rest. Travelers can appreciate this because not only does it allow the palm rest area look great, but you can steal clear of smudges from fingerprints too.

2. Connectivity

Dell XPS 13 Laptop Review - Connectivity

Like any great laptop, there are certain aspects of connectivity that you can expect to find. All your ports and connections will be found on the sides of the base of the Dell XPS 13 laptop. It should be noted that all the ports will generally be pushed towards the back end of the sides. This is because there is a slight incline in the base of the Dell XPS 13 laptop. You have the front of the base stretching out somewhat thin. And it gets thicker as you go more towards the back of the base.

On the left side of your Dell XPS 13 laptop, you will find several ports. There is the charging port, a USB 3.0, combo audio, the battery charge indicator, and a mini DisplayPort. When you switch over to the right side of the computer, you will find more ways to connect. There is an SD card reader, a USB 3.0 with power share, and a Kensington lock.

With these ports, you can virtually do most anything on this laptop. The SD  memory card reader will allow you to connect memory cards from your travels so that you can click through your photos with ease. The mini DisplayPort is also a great addition that we love. If you invest a couple bucks into an adapter, you can quickly convert from VGA, DVI, or HDMI. This is perfect for broadcasting your display on to bigger displays such as a television.

Lastly, connectivity with the internet is only available through wireless networking. This is thanks to the Dell Wireless 1560 adapter. When it comes to its power, it is an 802.11ac  dual band 2x2 WLAN adapter. Unfortunately, you do not have an Ethernet port included. However, you can easily remedy that with an additional Ethernet port adapter. Lastly, the Dell wireless adapter features Bluetooth 4.0. This Bluetooth capability will will allow you to pair your computer with other devices such as your phone and Bluetooth cameras.

3. Display 

Dell XPS 13 Laptop Review - Display

The display of the Dell XPS 13 laptop is one that is really appreciated. For this model, it features a 13.3 inch display. The sizing is perfect for getting all your work done without having to rely on a large screen. The display of the Dell XPS 13 laptop is promising. Everything from brightness to color reproduction to the contrast is right on point. A responsive display coupled with the ultra thin bezel that frames it, makes for a great screen to put in front of you when you are working.

When it comes to the specifics, the Dell XPS 13 laptop offers 96% of sRGB color coverage.  This is a rather high color coverage that travelers will notice and appreciate. When it comes to brightness, the brightness distribution is roughly 77%. However, the average brightness is roughly 372 cd/m which is rather favorable overall.

When you are outdoors, you will see that the favorability of the display does change. Because it is a glossy screen, you can expect to find reflection and distortion that will make visibility, brightness, and really everything else appear much less than. While this might be disappointing to some, it is an easy fix.  Travelers should simply opt to work indoors as opposed to outdoors for the best experience

4. Keyboard and Touchpad

Dell XPS 13 Laptop Review - Keyboard and Touchpad

When it comes to the previous models of Dell XPS 13 laptop,  the keyboard on the current model has been totally redesigned. One of the first things you will notice is the key travel is a lot shorter. For many, this difference has enabled your typing experience to be a lot better. You have a short distance for each keystroke and you will know that you have pressed it thanks to the soft audible click. For many, you can expect your typing speed to be above average on this keyboard thanks to its design. The keys feel comfortable and smooth under your fingertips. And you can work on your Dell XPS 13 laptop without too much fret.

The touchpad on the Dell XPS 13 laptop was designed with attention to detail as well. It is incredibly versatile when you are navigating with it. Not only that, but it is super responsive to all your swift movements too.  You do not have to worry about a learning curve because it's super easy to operate even with the small footprint provided.

The surface of the touchpad is finished with a matte polish that allows you to move around instinctively. The only downside that some travelers may find is a rather surprising one. When you go into the drive settings, you will find no dedicated setting made for an adjustment of the Dell XPS 13 laptop ’s touchpad. While this may be annoying to some, it certainly is not a deal breaker.

5. Processing Power

Dell XPS 13 Laptop Review - Processing Power

When it comes to the processing power of the Dell XPS 13 laptop, travelers are in for a treat. The Dell XPS 13 laptop is one of the few laptops that feature Intel’s Broadwell line of CPU’s. The Dell XPS 13 laptop offers the Intel Core i5 - 5200U. (Though depending on where you purchase, there are other options available). This system is a ULV  CPU that offers a base frequency of 2.2 GHz. Along with that, it offers a max turbo frequency of 2.7 GHz (single core) and 2.5 GHz (dual core). Lastly, this CPU offers a 15 W TDP and was created to handle temperatures that go up to 105 degrees Celsius. In addition to the processing power, memory comes standard at 8 GB RAM. Along with that, the hard drives with storage options offered are either 256 or 512 GB of storage.

With the overall processing power in mind, users have the collective opinion that the Dell XPS 13 laptop has been able to withstand the test of long running times, much like its counterparts. The overall speed of the laptop has been rather favorable as well. Users do not have to spend ample amounts of time waiting for pages to load. You can navigate from your web browser to other applications without much frustration. For travelers who rely on quick power up and effective processing, the overall conclusion is that the Dell XPS 13 laptop delivers.   

7. Price Point

Dell XPS 13 Laptop Review - Price Point

The Dell XPS 13 laptop starts at a price point of just over $1,000. For a high end laptop, this is one that delivers in more ways than one. This is hanks to its processing power, storage, and memory all collectively working together. With this power, you can expect to get a high quality product at a satisfactory price.

One great thing about the Dell XPS 13 laptop is the fact that it does feature alternative options at cheaper prices. There are in fact three other options that are available for you to consider as well. Each product offers a little something different (storage, memory, processing power) for an adjustment of the price.

For example, if the price point is a bit too steep for your budget, then you may want to consider its sister model. The Dell XPS 13 laptop silver edition is priced at just under $900. Its priced accordingly due to the fact that there are some minor setbacks. For example, the sister addition offers less storage at 128 GB as opposed to 265 GB. Not only that, but the RAM size is smaller too at 8192 MB as opposed to 8 GB. However, you can look forward to the processor speed being a little higher at 3.1 GHz as opposed to 2.2 GHz.

Whichever option you decide to go with, you should know that you do get a quality product when it comes to the Dell XPS 13 laptop. The price point is fairly assessed with what each laptop has to offer. After all, you should choose simply based on what you will need in your travel laptop.

What Travelers Are Saying About the Dell XPS 13 Laptop

Travelers who have purchased the Dell XPS 13 absolutely love it. One of the major selling points of this laptop is the fact that it is super versatile and durable. You can work with it rather easily without having to worry about it being damaged.

Not only that, but travelers love how easily you can pack it along. Because it is a 13 inch display, you can throw it into your favorite travel bag and go on exploring the world with ease. You do not have to worry about whether you will have to make extra room or not. Many standard travel bags offer a main compartment that is well padded for a 15 inch laptop. Because of its relatively compact size, you can bring it along without much worry.

Lastly, travelers love the overall design and power of the Dell XPS 13 laptop. The sleek design makes it stand out in any environment. Along with that, the Dell XPS laptop is a powerhouse when it comes to performance. You can easily get all your work done without having to worry about whether or not your laptop will fail you.

Alternative Mini Laptops That Might Work Better For You

If you find that the Dell XPS 13 laptop is not the best buy for you, then no worries. Check out some of these alternative options. All these options offer neat features that have the ability to be the best laptop for your travels.

1. MacBook Air 13 Inch

MacBook Air 13 Inch

As far as great travel laptops go, we would be silly not to include this next favorite. This next product is similar to the Dell XPS 13 in so many ways. For starters, the Dell takes an interesting approach in the fact that the design of the Dell XPS 13 laptop mimics the MacBook Air in so many ways. The similarities do give rise to the notion that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.  

Apple is known in the technology world as one of the leading laptop brands. When it comes to their awesome line of laptops, one great product that you can not go wrong with is the iconic MacBook Air. The MacBook Air is simply one of the best laptops to carry along with you on your travels. With so much to offer, you certainly can not ignore this great laptop.

It is no doubt that when it comes to computers, the MacBook Air is one of the top notch quality products on the market right now. Along with that, it has a cool design that is hard to ignore. In fact, its sleeker design is one that deviates away from the traditional MacBook Air design. When you are packing for a trip, this sleek design can come in handy as it is super easy to pack along with you for your travels.

The performance of the MacBook Air is something you should keep an eye on as well. With everything and more to offer, you can get all your work done with a breeze. For starters, the Retina display offers users a crisp and clear display that makes a world of a difference. If you are a photographer, then you are sure to love the clarity that you can expect to get when you are edition your work.

In addition to the Retina display, the performance of the MacBook Air is simply unmatched. You can work on it for hours on end without having to worry about whether or not your computer will be able to handle it. The processing power of the MacBook Air is quite impressive. Lastly, one of the most important features of traveling is making sure that your devices stay properly powered. Thanks to the two USB ports available on the MacBook Air, you can always stay connected and in sync with your external devices. Check out our in depth review of this great laptop by clicking here.

2. ASUS Zenbook 13 UX331UN

ASUS Zenbook 13 UX331UN

You do not have to look far when it comes to great laptop brands. A great brand that has been dominating the scene the past couple of years is ASUS. ASUS has been putting out great laptops that you should certainly not ignore. One of their great laptop to include with you on your travels is the ASUS Zenbook 13 UX331UN. This laptop packs a great punch. Not only for its size but for its price point too.

For starters, if you are looking for a durable laptop that can withstand the demand of all your travels, then this is the laptop to go with. To begin with, the ASUS Zenbook 13 UX331UN is incredibly great in its design. It features a sleek and modern design that looks good on any traveler. In addition to its design, it is one one of the few computers that was designed to be toted around with you. You can easily pull it out on a plane or train and get to work. The design of the ASUS Zenbook 13 UX331UN allows it to comfortably fit in your lap no matter where you are.

Secondly, the power and performance that this laptop offers will allow you to get all your work done with ease. When it comes to the detailed specifications of the ASUS Zenbook 13 UX331UN, there is so much to enjoy. For starters, the ASUS Zenbook 13 UX331UN features an Intel Core i5 - 8250 CPU. Along with that, you will find your standard RAM at 8 gigabytes. In addition, the ASUS Zenbook 13 UX331UN operates with a 250 60 GB SATA SSD. and lastly, when it comes to the graphics card, it is equipped with only the best. The ASUS Zenbook 13 UX331UN features a Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU.

In addition to the tech specs, users will find that the ASUS Zenbook 13 UX331UN can handle a wide range of activity at the same time. You can easily watch clips on YouTube while downloading music and browsing through 20 or more tabs without worry. Your ASUS Zenbook 13 UX331UN is sure to withstand the challenge.

This performance coupled with a responsive touchpad and easy to navigate screen make it one of the best travel laptops to bring with you on your travels. Digital nomads, get all your work done easily and effortlessly with the ASUS Zenbook 13 UX331UN. For an in depth review of this great laptop, click here.

3. New Microsoft Surface Go 

New Microsoft Surface Go

If you are in the market for a great mini laptop that is easy to carry around, then this next pick might be for you. This alternative option is one that offers travelers a lot of the features that you will find on the Dell XPS 13 laptop. We are talking about the New Microsoft Surface Go. This great travel laptop is a mini laptop that will certainly not disappoint. For starters, this mini laptop is a great option go with because it is incredibly portable. Not only that, but it is super versatile too. You can use it virtually anywhere without having to worry about whether or not you have an appropriate amount of desk space.

Because it comes from a reputable brand, the New Microsoft Surface Go is an awesome choice to go with. Microsoft is well known for their ability to mix creativity and innovation to create great products. With the New Microsoft Surface Pro, users are able to see the medley of these two concepts come together beautifully.

While anyone can use this computer, the New Microsoft Surface Pro works best if you are able to complete your work online. Especially if you do not rely on needing storage for files. This is because you will not have much room to save your work directly onto the screen as most computers offer. However, if you primarily use apps such as Lightroom and Photoshop to work, then this computer could be a great addition to your workflow.

Finally, You should not ignore this great laptop if you are looking for a great product but you have a modest budget. The price point on this product is one that you simply can not beat. Starting at just $529 you really get a bang for your buck. You can pack along this mini laptop and take it along with you nearly everywhere you go. If you are looking for a great product that offers ample versatile, then the New Microsoft Surface Pro is a great option to go with

Final Thoughts

You do not have to look too far for one of the best travel laptops around. The Dell XPS 13 laptop is a great option to go with. Especially if you are looking for something that is durable, versatile, and up to the demands of your travels. If you are in the market for a great travel laptop that delivers, then do not overlook this great product. Lastly, this is the laptop for you if you are a digital nomad. You can get all your work done with ease no matter where in the world you are. To get your hands on your own Dell XPS 13 laptop, click the link below. Here's to happy travels and staying connected!

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Nadia El-Yaouti is a mother, English language arts middle school teacher, writer, and photographer. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and two little girls. Although she considers herself a workaholic, Nadia’s greatest pride is being a mom. When she’s not juggling work, you can be sure to find her traveling the world with her little family.

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