Dell is finally updating the design of the XPS 13 this year — at least, a little bit. After maintaining the same look, style, and port selection for three years, Dell is refreshing the XPS 13 with an ever-so-slightly streamlined build, a new white-and-gold color option, and updated ports. It’s also supposed to be stain-resistant, since the white surface is expected to get dirty fast.
The changes aren’t immense, and you might struggle to tell the difference between a new and old machine placed side-by-side. In fact, the XPS 13 is just adopting the design that Dell used on the XPS 13 2-in-1 — a convertible version of this laptop with a touchscreen — that was introduced last year.
The benefits here are a slightly slimmer and lighter design, coming in at 0.46 inches thick instead of last year’s 0.6 inches and shaving off 0.2 pounds on the touch-enabled model. The laptop’s webcam has been moved from the incredibly awkward spot on the lower left side of the bezel to the slightly less awkward spot in the middle of the lower bezel. The XPS 13 now includes three USB-C ports. And while the new white-and-gold look is not quite as nice as competitors’ take on this color scheme, it’s at least a nice option to have.
The downside is that, in switching to USB-C, the XPS 13 loses both of its USB 3.0 ports, so you’re going to need adapters. Photographers will be frustrated too — the laptop’s SD card reader has been replaced with a MicroSD card reader, which is a lot less useful. And, seemingly to make the carbon fiber material in the laptop more evident, Dell made the white palm rest in a woven texture that looks kind of cheap in person.
Apparently, the material also gets very dirty. Dell says it’s aware of this, so it made sure the palm rest can be easily cleaned. It claims that if you get permanent marker, mustard, and other staining materials on the white surface, you’ll be able to wipe them off within a week without any issue. So just don’t leave your sandwich there for longer than seven days.
Otherwise, this year’s update is a pretty typical step forward for the XPS 13. It can be configured with either an i5 or i7 8th generation Intel processor, a 1080p or 4K display, 4 to 16GB of RAM, and 128GB to 1TB of storage. Dell says the processor can actually run faster this year because of a new cooling system, so that should add to the performance boost too. The new model goes on sale today, with pricing starting at $1,000. (A “developer edition” running Linux will also go on sale for $50 less.)