The XPS 13 ships with either Ubuntu or Windows pre-installed and is a top-of-the line ultrabook, with specs similar to the Macbook Pro 13", but half a pound lighter.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Great Linux support
You can configure the XPS 13 to come with Linux out of the box. Even if you pick the Windows version, the XPS 13 has Linux drivers for all of its features and most users have reported that the whole process of installing a Linux distribution on a Dell XPS 13 is very simple.
Pro Great build quality
The body has a slick and elegant design. It's a mix of aluminum, carbon fiber and magnesium which hardly ever flexes even when held with one hand.
Pro Stunning display
Before buying you can choose between the 4K UHD- or full HD-resolution touch displays or a full HD non-touch one. However, Linux compatibility for super high resolution displays can be spotty at times, so you might be better off sticking with the full HD if you plan on running Linux.
Display quality is very good as far as viewing angles, brightness and color reproduction go. It also has a very small bevel so the screen goes more or less edge-to-edge.
It also has an output of 400 nit, putting it in the "really bright" category as far as displays go. As for color reproduction, XPS 13's display produces an impressive 107.2 percent of the sRGB color gamut.
Pro Latest generation hardware
The XPS 13 was recently updated with all the latest generation hardware which means that it won't become outdated any time soon.
Pro Uses an SSD for faster operations on disk
Using an SSD greatly increases performance for every I/O operation, especially compared to laptops that use an HDD. The laptop will boot faster, programs that need to read and write to disk will run faster and scripts will compile much faster than on an HDD.
Pro Toggleable and customizable keyboard backlighting
Users can turn on or off the backlighting of the keyboard as well as adjust the brightness.
Pro Lightweight and portable
It's weight is only 2.7 lbs, making it very portable.
Pro One of the best Windows trackpads available
The Dell's trackpad is one of the best Windows trackpads available. It has smooth and precise tracking and even supports three-finger gestures similar to the Macbook's.
Pro Great keyboard
The keyboard is high quality, feels great to type on and isn't too mushy or too shallow. Even though there's nothing very special about the keyboard, it's as good of a keyboard as you could want.
Pro Decent speakers
The Dell XPS 13 has above average speakers for a laptop, they get very loud but at max volume tend to distort the music a little too much.
Pro Plenty of RAM for all programming needs
Building software typically takes more resources than running the final product. Having a lot of RAM helps building big complex applications faster.
The build is non-glossy, so no fingerprint markings all over the thing.
Pro Great online customer service
Dell's customer service is one of the best in the industry. Especially the online customer service website. There you will find frequently asked questions which usually solve 90% of issues, if that's not enough, there's a live chat with a customer service representative, who are usually very helpful and very understanding about every issue that may arise.
Con Webcam located in an odd place
Due to the narrow bezel of the infinity display, Dell moved the webcam to the bottom left corner. This results in an odd viewing angle and the webcam getting blocked while typing.
Con Spongy keyboard
The keyboard feels a bit spongy and does not have a lot of travel to the keys. When bottoming out there is no feel of completion.
Con The touchscreen reflects light making it hard to see unless the lighting on the display is properly set
The screen for the touch-screen model is glossy instead of matte (non-touch screen). For what is a Linux notebook this does not make a lot of sense since most Linux users are the more tech savy who program. A glossy screen is more for multimedia, something Linux is not really known for excelling in.
Con 13" is too small for many kinds of development
At these sizes, it is inches which start to matter, not only pixels.
Con No upgrades
Ram is soldered on the board.
Con The battery does not last as long as advertised
The laptop never performs to the promised 11-15 hours, average usage is around 7-8 hours.
Con The battery wears out quickly
After some use, the battery continues to fall at an alarming rate, to only 5-6 hours after a couple of months.
Con Trackpad hardware (touch/feel/operation) is noticeably worse if coming from MacBook/MBP
Part of this is the hardware, and part seems to be the drivers. It's very unforgiving when accidentally brushing the trackpad with a different finger. Certain actions like double-clicks (tapping with two fingers) and scrolling (with two fingers) doesn't work reliably. This is true with other windows based laptops too. Not an issue if you spend a lot of time in a terminal/shell.
Con Phone support is very slow
Customers have reported waiting for up to 15 minutes to get connected to someone who will be able to help solve their issue.