LAS VEGAS — Dell has entered the Ultrabook race in a big way at CES 2012 with the XPS 13, a superslim aluminum and carbon fiber notebook that crams a 13-inch screen in a body that’s 15 percent smaller than the MacBook Air. The XPS 13 stands out from other Ultrabooks with its durable Gorilla Glass display and Intel’s Smart Connect Technology, which updates data in the background even when the lid is closed. Starting at $999, the XPS 13 will go on sale at the end of February.
Learn more about the XPS 13 below, and check out our full gallery and hands-on video.
Dell’s sleekest laptop yet, the XPS 13 measures 0.24 inches to 0.71 inches and weighs 2.99 pounds. It’s not the lightest Ultrabook around but it’s certainly one of the thinnest. The lid is made of sturdy aluminum, while the base uses carbon fiber to keep things cool. Dell includes a full-size backlit keyboard and glass touchpad for navigation. The screen uses the standard 1366 x 768-pixel resolution, but we like the edge-to-edge glass look.
The left side of the XPS 13 houses the power jack, USB 2.0 port and headphone jack, while a Mini DisplayPort, USB 3.0 port and battery gauge indicator line the right side. Unfortunately, Dell didn’t include an SD Card slot, which is a pretty big omission.
Like other Ultrabooks, the XPS 13 boots quickly, thanks to its 128GB SSD, but Dell goes further than the competition by being the first to include Intel’s Smart Connect Technology. This feature allows the notebook to wake periodically and update important info like your email and calendar.
The XPS 13 will have multiple processor options, including Core i5 and Core i7 and will come with 4GB of RAM standard. Dell promises up to 8 hours of battery life. The Core i5 model will cost $999 and go up to $1,299 for a 256GB SSD. No word yet on pricing for the Core i7 model.
If you can live without an SD Card slot, the XPS 13 looks like one of the most compelling Ultrabooks yet. We really like the idea of Intel’s Smart Connect, because your data will be updated as soon as you open the lid. Stay tuned for a full review.