Laptops

Dell XPS 13 (2019) Review: It’s always about the little things

Power-packed, premium-looking

Published

on

Dell’s XPS 13 remains as one of the top premium laptops in the market. While this is my first time using an XPS 13, I was constantly in awe with how people revere it as one of the crown-holders for the best laptops you can buy.

Of course, I’m not in any way an expert to say anything about this laptop, but as an everyday user whose career relies heavily on the hands of a laptop, I have a lot of things to say. Without any further ado, here’s my review of the Dell XPS 13 (2019).

Fine details that scream premium

When I first saw the XPS 13, I was awestruck. Gorgeous is an understatement to describe how I was stunned with its sleek and premium look. It’s even more captivating when your fingers run across the silver outer shell. Touching it felt like touching a Ferrari Pininfarina Sergio. You literally get lost in a daydream.

The unit I have is the black/silver variant and I hope Dell kept a pure silver finish. Seeing a black interior takes away the astonishment I found upon first seeing this laptop. It’s like meeting someone hot and totally gorgeous on Tinder based on their profile photos, only to be disappointed seeing them in person since it’s not what you expected. Lesson learned: Temper Expectations.

But using it for a long time, I learned to accept it just the way it is. On some occasions, I still feel the black carbon fiber makes the XPS 13 look like an ordinary laptop, and I kinda wish I opted for the Frost or Rose Gold with Arctic White woven glass fiber.

Thankfully, the keyboard is a joy to use. It’s firm but also soft that my finger is happy typing on it. I actually enjoyed writing my stories and getting things done.

Also, the touchpad works smoothly despite being small. Unlike every Windows laptop, its touchpad doesn’t lag, and it can match the speed of your fingers to ensure you get your tasks finished on time.

To further prove that this touchpad is a joy to use, here’s my testament: I’m not accustomed to touchpads and I use a mouse. (Thanks to my younger years in gaming, I forgot how to let go of it.)

However, using it made me forget the existence of the mouse, at least for the time when I’m just browsing and writing. Using it for creative projects made me still want to wish there’s a mouse I can use.

There are things I still can’t let go of yet

Here’s my thing against the latest laptops coming out: Why do you have to scrap USB 3.0 ports? Sure, turning everything into USB-C makes it future-proof, however not all peripherals have adapted to this technology, and I’m pretty sure not everyone is privileged to have the latest accessories possible.

I still use a gaming mouse worth PhP 400 (US$ 7) that I bought in 2013. I was in my college years and yes, it’s still working. Unlike other people, I don’t buy stuff to replace my stuff just because it’s outdated. Fortunately, the laptop came in with a dongle. To be exact, it’s a USB-A to USB-C adapter. At the very least, I was able to use my trusty mouse.

On another note, the Dell XPS 13 (2019) has two Thunderbolt ports, one USB-C port, a headphone jack, and a microSD card slot.

It’s always the little things that make a big difference

Whoever thought of embedding the fingerprint reader on the power button is a genius. Using it was pretty convenient since I don’t need to exert any effort in pressing the button. When you think about it: Opening your laptop seems like a common task, but finding a way to make it even more convenient for you makes this laptop the premium that it claims to be.

The laptop’s bottom is horrendous to look at, but it definitely serves a purpose: For ventilation and maintenance. There are also two parallel rubber feet to keep your laptop still when you place it on a surface.

Lastly, everyone was enraged about last year’s camera placement. This year, Dell got it right by making the camera smaller, tiny enough to fit in a little space between those ultra-thin bezels. I’m ready to take video calls now!

Entertainment just got even more entertaining

The XPS 13 has an edge-to-edge design on the top, left, and right which is a sight to behold. The thick bezel on the bottom (which only contains the logo) should have been removed and Dell could’ve placed their logo elsewhere.

A 13.3-inch screen might be small for some, but it compensates with a gorgeous 4K Ultra HD display with Dolby Vision support, providing rich contrast and colors for a cinematic experience.

It’s also equipped with an anti-reflective screen so you don’t have to worry about bright light when watching or working on something. Furthermore, its IPS panel offers a wider viewing angle so you can use this laptop to enjoy movies with your friends during pajama nights.

It has a responsive touchscreen, too, which is only available for the 4K display variant. Touchscreens may not be a staple for laptop users, but it’s helpful for someone who has used touchscreen laptops for a long time. It’s not easy to take away some habits you’ve grown accustomed to.

Overall, the 4K display was a total treat, especially if you love streaming 4K content on YouTube and Netflix. Normally, people can live without 4K, however, adding this option makes it feel like 4K is a must for those going after premium laptops.

I don’t care if it’s small as long as it performs

Despite being small, the Dell XPS 13 (2019) packs so much power. It carries the 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, equipped with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD for internal storage. It’s a capable laptop for an everyday user — and for people working on creative projects to an extent. Everything loads quickly, and my impatient self is quite happy with its performance.

It doesn’t have a powerful graphics card, which makes it an unfit choice for heavy video editing. Given that I don’t edit videos regularly, it didn’t bother me that much since I mainly use Photoshop, Lightroom, and Illustrator. The built-in Intel UHD Graphics 620 is enough to handle my basic editing needs.

The XPS 13 has etched its name on the forefront of top-performing laptops. It offers style, portability, and reliability. It might even be the MacBook of Windows!

We all need something that lasts (and won’t give up on us)

A lot of laptops I’ve used had issues with loose and overheating batteries. Aside from that, those laptops usually don’t last long throughout the day. What’s even the point of calling it a laptop if it needs to get charged all the time?

Thank heavens, the XPS 13 lasts long on a single charge. Despite being a heavy user, the laptop proves its batteries have enough juice to last for the day. It’s even better when I only browse, surf, and write throughout the day like a normal user.

On a mixed heavy and normal usage, I lasted for six to seven hours. Even if the battery drains, the XPS 13 uses a USB-C adapter for its battery and only needs roughly two hours to fully charge with its bundled 45W charger. I can attest: The XPS 13 won’t give up on you even if you have given up on your deadlines.

Go for something (or someone) who knows how to care

If you care about the environment, you’d be happy to hear this: 90 percent of the laptop’s parts can be recycled, and Dell is taking a step in minimizing our ecological footprint to save the environment.

Technology might help us in our daily lives, but our convenience shouldn’t come at the cost of our planet’s well-being.

Is the Dell XPS 13 (2019) your GadgetMatch?

If you’re looking for the best Windows laptop out there, the Dell XPS 13 (2019) won’t disappoint. It’s so sleek you’ll take pride in bringing it wherever you go. Think: Bringing your very own Lamborghini or Mercedes-Benz, but in the form of a laptop.

And by wherever you go, I mean wherever you really want to go. It’s so portable that it can fit in my Pacsafe anti-theft sling crossbody bag. It can even rival the MacBook Air in terms of size!

Having a small frame doesn’t hinder the XPS 13 from bringing so much power and performance, too. The only dealbreaker is the lack of full-size ports but dongles are here to save the day, especially in a time when laptops are being sported with USB-C and Thunderbolt  3 adapters.

The Dell XPS 13 (2019) costs PhP 100,990 (US$ 1986) in the Philippines. It might be a lot of cash to shell out, but it’s a fair price to pay for one of the best premium laptops in the market. I told you, it’s like touching a Ferrari Pininfarina Sergio. If you can’t afford it, then you can just daydream about it!

CES 2020

The ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 screams premium

Simple, clean, and light

Published

on

Despite Apple’s dig at Chromebooks, it appears to be going strong with yet another addition to the portfolio — the ASUS Chromebook Flip C436.

Simple, clean, and light

ASUS is calling this the thinnest and lightest 14-inch Chromebook. It’s only 13.7mm thick and weighs just 1.1kg.

Complementing the slim form factor are two unique finishes: An iridescent Aerogel White which changes color depending on your viewing angle, and a more subtle Transparent Silver.

The sexy look extends to the display which has an 85 percent screen-to-body ratio.

Unexpected power

One would think something this slim form-factor will hold it back from going all out in performance. Fortunately for us, that’s not the case.

Here’s a specs and ports dump: Up to 10th Gen Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD storage, Wi-Fi 6. Two USB-C ports, microSD card slot up to 2TB.

Whether you’re typing in laptop mode or writing on it in tablet mode, this will help you get your work done. Yes, write on tablet mode. This Chromebook supports any USI-compatible stylus.

The ASUS Chromebook Flip’s 42W all-day battery promises to delivery up to 12 hours of battery life.

Not just for work

When you’re done with the day’s work, you can flip it to tent mode for a Netflix session. The display along with the Harman Kardon-certified speaker setup should produce audio perfect as you unwind for the day.

The ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 starts US$ 999 will be available at around the first and/or second quarter of 2020.

Continue Reading

CES 2020

The Lenovo Ducati 5 is a racing inspired laptop

It even gets an exhaust note on startup!

Published

on

Lenovo has been partnering with Ducati on the racetrack for a couple of years now, and today, the company announced the Lenovo Ducati 5, a new Windows 10 laptop that was designed in collaboration between the two companies.

The racing stripe and additional design features come together well, and the fresh 10th-gen processor from Intel should keep it running quickly. The BIOS chime is meant to match the sound of Moto GP riders, and it comes in a Ducati gift box that has matching colors. It also comes with a sleeve that has a Ducati shield.

Apart from the Ducati branding, Ducati 5 is a standard mid-range laptop. It comes equipped with a 10th gen Intel Ice Lake Core i5-1035G1, Intel integrated graphics, 8 GB of RAM, a 14-inch display, and up to a 1 TB PCIe SSD.

Unsurprisingly given the size, there’s no discrete graphics on board, just the integrated graphics of the chip. This is not meant for serious video work or gaming.

Port selection is fairly good, offering users two USB 3.1 Type-A ports, one USB Type-C port, HDMI, an SD card reader, and a 3.5 mm audio jack.

The Lenovo Ducati 5 starts at EUR 900 and will be available in April 2020. Lenovo does not list a U.S. pricing. With a production run of just 12,000 units, the Ducati 5 is clearly a niche product.

Continue Reading

CES 2020

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold: Not just a computer

Best foldable so far?

Published

on

Last year in the midst of a foldable smartphone war, Lenovo showed us that a computer with a foldable display was also possible.

At that time it didn’t come with a name. Or specs. Or a launch date or a price. But all of that changes here at CES 2020.

What makes the Thinkpad X1 Fold so special? If you saw our preview video you would know, but if you didn’t don’t worry, we got you covered.

It’s not just a computer, its many things.

It’s a huge 13.3 tablet with an OLED display that folds close just like this. When shut, it looks just like a notebook complete with its built in leather folio cover.

You can also hold it like a book and and enjoy an e-book the way you would regular books. Use it with a pen, and it’s a notebook!

You can fold it horizontally too and the bottom half turns into a virtual keyboard. Or, and we weren’t allowed to tell you before, use a real keyboard.

When the X1 Fold is closed it fits snuggly in the middle of the display, so you can easily take it anywhere with you. Flick open the kickstand to use the tablet as a monitor and control everything with the physical keyboard.

You could also fold it horizontally and prop the keyboard on one half of the display and use it like you would any laptop. Key travel feels good and satisfying. It connects wirelessly and automatically. And it charges while tucked in the middle of the display.

The keyboard and pen are bundled and come free.

But Lenovo will also sell a stand for propping it up when you want to connect it to an external monitor. Yes you can do that do.

Another thing we weren’t allowed to show you before is its hinge mechanism. The secret sauce that allows it to fold and unfold like this.

It’s worth pointing out. While the durability of flexible displays is still questioned, Lenovo is willing to risk the name ThinkPad — a brand that’s synonymous with durability and performance.

Now that the design is final. We can also now share button and port placements: Two USB-C ports. One on the bottom, the other is on the right along with SIM card slot, volume button, and the power button.

At launch Lenovo will first be offering a model with a full version of Windows 10 Pro. A version with the upcoming Windows 10X is eventually coming.

Because many of you will ask. Here is the spec sheet: You get the latest Intel processors, up to 8GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.

While the future of computing is still being debated. A versatile device like the ThinkPad X1 Fold is exciting and makes sense. It’s an idea we can get behind. And it’s one of GadgetMatch’s Best of CES 2020 Awardees!

The question now is people will go out and buy it. Would you?

Continue Reading

Trending