Dell slathers on factor XPS 13 to reveal new shiny with... ooh... a 0.1 inch bigger screen

And, oh shucks, is that Corning's Gorilla Glass 6?


Dell is kicking off 2020 with a significant refresh of its XPS 13 laptops, including the Ubuntu-powered XPS 13 Developer Edition.

The XPS 13 9300 boasts Intel's 10th generation Core processors, ranging from the i3-1005G1 on the basic model, all the way to the quad-core i7-1065G7. It's worth noting that the pricier XPS 4K ships with Chipzilla's latest silicon. However, the standard 1080p lineup has languished on Intel's eighth-generation kit for some time. This update promises to give a welcome boost to performance, graphics and battery longevity.

Similarly, the entry-level storage has been raised from a paltry 128GB to 256GB, although the base model still comes with a somewhat stingy 4GB of RAM. God help you if you buy this and use the notoriously memory-hungry biz productivity app Slack.

Arguably, the most significant changes are found in the actual industrial design of the XPS 9300. Plenty of attention has been heaped on the display, raising the size of the panel from 13.3 inches to 13.4 inches. And while that sounds like a fairly modest increase, every extra centimetre of screen real estate is helpful, particularly when working on the hoof.

It also comes encased in Corning's Gorilla Glass 6, which is a step up from the previous model, which used the fifth generation of the notably hardy glass. This should protect it from the inevitable scuffs and prangs that life throws at you.

Dell managed to increase the actual size of the viewable display area while shrinking the bezels, giving the new XPS 13 a screen-to-body ratio of 91.5 per cent and an aspect ratio of 16:10.

This allows the XPS 13 9300 to occupy the same footprint as a standard 11.6-inch laptop. No doubt this will be welcome news to productivity-focused business travellers, who regularly have to contend with the ever-shrinking nature of airline seats. We're looking at you, British Airways.

Moving on, the XPS 13's keyboard has been slightly reworked to incorporate the fingerprint reader into the actual key layout, rather than have it floating to the side, or underneath. It now sits embedded in the power key, adjacent to the "delete" and "backspace" keys. This is a relatively minor design change, but it does look vastly better, which is important given that business laptops increasingly compete on aesthetics.

It's worth noting that the fingerprint reader doesn't work on the Ubuntu 18.04-powered Developer Edition. That's a bit of a major oversight, and it's not immediately clear if Dell has plans to remedy it in a future update (we've asked).

To allow for the smaller body, the keyboard on the XPS 13 9300 now stretches to the sides of the device, which Dell calls an "edge-to-edge" keyboard. That said, the keys themselves haven't been shrunk. Quite the opposite — they're 9 per cent bigger. Meanwhile, the touchpad has been stretched 17 per cent.

Like the latest XPS 4K (and, indeed, the Butterfly-less 16-inch MacBook Pro), it has 1mm of key travel. That's a bit shallower than I would like, but it's not a deal-breaker, nor is it particularly unusual for an ultrabook.

With this refresh, Dell (perhaps controversially) clings to Rivet Networks' Killer Wi-Fi cards, which have proven unpopular with users in the past over perceived reliability issues. This prompted many (including this reviewer) to replace them with reliable Intel cards.

The XPS 9300 uses the AX1650 chipset, which supports Wi-Fi 6. For what it's worth, reviews of the AX1650 have been relatively promising, so don't count it out just yet.

The Dell XPS 13 9300 will be unleashed on 7 January in the US, UK, France, Denmark and Sweden, with the rest of the world getting it at some unspecified point in February. It'll retail at $999.99 for the entry-level model.

Like your computing with a bit of Linux flavour? The Dell XPS 13 9300 Developer Edition goes on sale in the US, Canada and Europe on 4 February, with a starting price tag of $1,199.99. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • NASA's InSight doomed as Mars dust coats solar panels
    The little lander that couldn't (any longer)

    The Martian InSight lander will no longer be able to function within months as dust continues to pile up on its solar panels, starving it of energy, NASA reported on Tuesday.

    Launched from Earth in 2018, the six-metre-wide machine's mission was sent to study the Red Planet below its surface. InSight is armed with a range of instruments, including a robotic arm, seismometer, and a soil temperature sensor. Astronomers figured the data would help them understand how the rocky cores of planets in the Solar System formed and evolved over time.

    "InSight has transformed our understanding of the interiors of rocky planets and set the stage for future missions," Lori Glaze, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division, said in a statement. "We can apply what we've learned about Mars' inner structure to Earth, the Moon, Venus, and even rocky planets in other solar systems."

    Continue reading
  • The ‘substantial contributions’ Intel has promised to boost RISC-V adoption
    With the benefit of maybe revitalizing the x86 giant’s foundry business

    Analysis Here's something that would have seemed outlandish only a few years ago: to help fuel Intel's future growth, the x86 giant has vowed to do what it can to make the open-source RISC-V ISA worthy of widespread adoption.

    In a presentation, an Intel representative shared some details of how the chipmaker plans to contribute to RISC-V as part of its bet that the instruction set architecture will fuel growth for its revitalized contract chip manufacturing business.

    While Intel invested in RISC-V chip designer SiFive in 2018, the semiconductor titan's intentions with RISC-V evolved last year when it revealed that the contract manufacturing business key to its comeback, Intel Foundry Services, would be willing to make chips compatible with x86, Arm, and RISC-V ISAs. The chipmaker then announced in February it joined RISC-V International, the ISA's governing body, and launched a $1 billion innovation fund that will support chip designers, including those making RISC-V components.

    Continue reading
  • FBI warns of North Korean cyberspies posing as foreign IT workers
    Looking for tech talent? Kim Jong-un's friendly freelancers, at your service

    Pay close attention to that resume before offering that work contract.

    The FBI, in a joint advisory with the US government Departments of State and Treasury, has warned that North Korea's cyberspies are posing as non-North-Korean IT workers to bag Western jobs to advance Kim Jong-un's nefarious pursuits.

    In guidance [PDF] issued this week, the Feds warned that these techies often use fake IDs and other documents to pose as non-North-Korean nationals to gain freelance employment in North America, Europe, and east Asia. Additionally, North Korean IT workers may accept foreign contracts and then outsource those projects to non-North-Korean folks.

    Continue reading
  • Google opens the pod doors on Bay View campus
    A futuristic design won't make people want to come back – just ask Apple

    After nearly a decade of planning and five years of construction, Google is cutting the ribbon on its Bay View campus, the first that Google itself designed.

    The Bay View campus in Mountain View – slated to open this week – consists of two office buildings (one of which, Charleston East, is still under construction), 20 acres of open space, a 1,000-person event center and 240 short-term accommodations for Google employees. The search giant said the buildings at Bay View total 1.1 million square feet. For reference, that's less than half the size of Apple's spaceship. 

    The roofs on the two main buildings, which look like pavilions roofed in sails, were designed that way for a purpose: They're a network of 90,000 scale-like solar panels nicknamed "dragonscales" for their layout and shimmer. By scaling the tiles, Google said the design minimises damage from wind, rain and snow, and the sloped pavilion-like roof improves solar capture by adding additional curves in the roof. 

    Continue reading
  • Pentester pops open Tesla Model 3 using low-cost Bluetooth module
    Anything that uses proximity-based BLE is vulnerable, claim researchers

    Tesla Model 3 and Y owners, beware: the passive entry feature on your vehicle could potentially be hoodwinked by a relay attack, leading to the theft of the flash motor.

    Discovered and demonstrated by researchers at NCC Group, the technique involves relaying the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signals from a smartphone that has been paired with a Tesla back to the vehicle. Far from simply unlocking the door, this hack lets a miscreant start the car and drive away, too.

    Essentially, what happens is this: the paired smartphone should be physically close by the Tesla to unlock it. NCC's technique involves one gadget near the paired phone, and another gadget near the car. The phone-side gadget relays signals from the phone to the car-side gadget, which forwards them to the vehicle to unlock and start it. This shouldn't normally happen because the phone and car are so far apart. The car has a defense mechanism – based on measuring transmission latency to detect that a paired device is too far away – that ideally prevents relayed signals from working, though this can be defeated by simply cutting the latency of the relay process.

    Continue reading
  • Google assuring open-source code to secure software supply chains
    Java and Python packages are the first on the list

    Google has a plan — and a new product plus a partnership with developer-focused security shop Snyk — that attempts to make it easier for enterprises to secure their open source software dependencies.

    The new service, announced today at the Google Cloud Security Summit, is called Assured Open Source Software. We're told it will initially focus on some Java and Python packages that Google's own developers prioritize in their workflows. 

    These two programming languages have "particularly high-risk profiles," Google Cloud Cloud VP and GM Sunil Potti said in response to The Register's questions. "Remember Log4j?" Yes, quite vividly.

    Continue reading
  • Rocket Lab is taking NASA's CAPSTONE to the Moon
    Mission to lunar orbit is further than any Photon satellite bus has gone before

    Rocket Lab has taken delivery of NASA's CAPSTONE spacecraft at its New Zealand launch pad ahead of a mission to the Moon.

    It's been quite a journey for CAPSTONE [Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment], which was originally supposed to launch from Rocket Lab's US launchpad at Wallops Island in Virginia.

    The pad, Launch Complex 2, has been completed for a while now. However, delays in certifying Rocket Lab's Autonomous Flight Termination System (AFTS) pushed the move to Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand.

    Continue reading
  • Alibaba Cloud adds third datacenter in Germany
    More Euro-presence than any other Chinese company, but still nowhere near Google or AWS

    Alibaba has pulled ahead of its Chinese rivals in Europe with the opening of a third datacenter in Germany.

    The company said the Frankfurt datacenter serves cloud computing products to Europe and "adheres to the highest security standards and the strict compliance regulations set out in the Cloud Computing Compliance Controls Catalog (C5) in Germany."

    The addition brings Alibaba Cloud to a network of 84 availability zones in 27 regions worldwide. The company's first European cloud center arrived in Frankfurt in 2016.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022