Dell XPS XPS13-1500sLV 13-Inch Ultrabook Review

Dell XPS XPS13-1500sLV 13-Inch Ultrabook

The Dell XPS XPS13-1500sLV 13-Inch Ultrabook is every inch a premium product, from its classically stylish design to its impressive performance.

Inside the machined aluminum and carbon fibre case lurks a dual core, 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U processor, a generous 8GB of DDR3 RAM and 256GB Solid State Drive (SSD), while the Corning Gorilla Glass display is driven by Intel’s integrated HD 4000 graphics system.

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The Intel Core i5-3317U processor is an ultra low voltage component, specifically designed to provide a good balance between power consumption and performance in small laptops and Ultrabooks. Intel’s Hyper-threading technology allows the processor’s two cores to handle up to four threads in parallel, making it easier for you to get more done.

8GB of RAM is more than adequate to accommodate the supplied 64-bit edition of Windows 8, giving plenty of room to show off its new features while multi-tasking your favourite applications with ease.

Similarly, the 256GB SSD is large enough to cope with almost all of the storage demands you are likely to make of an Ultrabook, whilst also providing impressively rapid access to your applications and data – the machine boots in as little as 8 seconds, resumes from sleep in just 1 second, and from deep sleep in up 4 seconds. It is true that many laptops offer much larger hard drives, but the trade-off of speed and reliability (SSDs are not so easily damaged by shocks and knocks as a conventional hard drive) against gigantic capacity is reasonable, particularly for an Ultrabook.

The Intel HD 4000 graphics are, again, easily capable of handling day-to-day applications, HD video and casual gaming. Despite being DirectX 11.1 compatible, however, many of today’s most demanding games are beyond its abilities, and even less demanding titles will need to be played at greatly reduced detail settings to get anything like reasonable performance.

Pros :

  • Small, powerful Ultrabook
  • Fast, reasonably large SSD
  • Plenty of RAM
  • Windows 8

Cons :

  • Graphics inadequate for serious gaming
  • No optical drive
  • WiFi only – no Ethernet port

Then again, this is not a gaming laptop. It is an Ultrabook aimed at providing easily portable computing capabilities for users who need to work on the move – an objective that it meets easily. Measuring 12.4″ (W) x  8.1″ (D) x 0.71″ (H) and weighing 2.99 lbs, there should be no difficultly in taking this machine just about anywhere.

Of course, such a small machine would be impossible without making some sacrifices. As is often the case with Ultrabooks, there is no optical CD / DVD drive built in to this laptop. Nor is there room around its exceptionally slimline edges for an Ethernet port or card reader. 802.11 b/g/n WiFi is built in, however, along with Bluetooth 3.0, for wireless connectivity.

Two high speed USB 3.0 ports allow for wired peripherals to be connected, including an external optical drive and, if necessary, an external hard drive to increase the available storage space. There is also a headphone jack, and a Mini DisplayPort for connecting to external monitors or HDTVs.

A webcam makes this machine video chat capable right out of the box, while a backlit keyboard makes it easy to work in poor lighting conditions. The Multi-touchpad supports scrolling and gestures, making it very easy to get to grips with the new, touch-oriented features of Windows 8.

Overall, this is a beautiful, powerful and easily portable Ultrabook. It’s small footprint means that some features have inevitably been omitted, but that is to be expected – Ultrabooks routinely sacrifice features for portability. If you really need those features, then a standard laptop may be better suited to your needs than an Ultrabook. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a small, powerful, lightweight laptop that is not burdened with features that you do not need, the Dell XPS XPS13-1500sLV 13-Inch Ultrabook Review could well be the machine for you.

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