It’s been three years since Dell led the charge for what a modern, ultraportable laptop should look like. The XPS 13 set the standard for compact, no-compromises laptops, with its small footprint, tiny bezels, and full-power performance. Since then, other laptop makers have caught up, with their own tiny-bezel, big-screen designs, cramming ever larger displays into ever smaller chassis. At this point, it seems unfathomable to purchase a laptop with giant borders around its screen.

The original XPS 13 wasn’t without faults, however, and many of Dell’s competitors have come out with thinner, lighter, even more modern designs. So an update to the XPS 13’s design has been overdue for some time, and for 2018, Dell’s delivered. The new XPS 13, which starts at $999 and can be configured to over $2,000, looks familiar, but it’s thinner, lighter, and even smaller than before.

But for every step forward Dell has made, it’s taken a half-step back, which makes the latest version of the XPS 13 not as appealing as it could be.


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