Hardware

Dell shows off new 'world's smallest' 13" laptop in anticipation of CES 2018

The new XPS 13 laptop is filled with improvements, and Dell manages to pack them all into a smaller machine.

Dell has unveiled its new XPS 13 one week prior to CES 2018. The new ultra-small 2-in-1 laptop improves on last year's model in a number of ways and will be available to see in person at CES.

The new device is, like last year's model, the "world's smallest 13.3" laptop" according to our sister site CNET. The new device is 24 percent smaller by volume, all with what Dell XPS GM Frank Azor says are substantial improvements in every area, including a reported 80 percent performance increase.

2018's XPS 13 is available in black and in white, the latter of which Dell says is a completely new material it created: woven glass crystalline fiber. The black option is made of carbon fiber, but both models still sport an aluminum exterior, though the colors vary (black for the carbon fiber model and rose gold for the woven glass).

The thinner size (0.46" as compared to 2017's 0.66") does naturally come with some tradeoffs: Gone are the twin USB 3.0 slots of last year's model, and in their place is a single USB-C port and two Thunderbolt-3 ports, and one of those three will have to be sacrificed to the AC adaptor.

SEE: IT hardware procurement policy (Tech Pro Research)

Dell has added cooling fans back to the new XPS 13, and it claims to have made more cooling improvements by pairing them with Gore cooling technology (from the same company that makes Gore-Tex fabric for insulating clothes) that moves heat out of the device instead of just away from electronic components.

The screen has improved as well—It's now made of Corning Gorilla Glass 4 and the bezel is a mere 4 millimeters.

The new XPS 13 is also a 2-in-1, which means it has a fold-behind keyboard and can double as a (touchscreen optional) tablet.

Hardware specs

It's worth heading to Dell's website to compare the 2018 XPS 13 to the 2017 model. If you just want to know what the new machine is packing, here are the most essential stats:

Processor: 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8250U, Core i7-8550U optional

Memory: 4GB LPDDR3 RAM, 8GB, 16GB optional

Hard drive: 128GB SSD, 256GB, 512GB PCIe SSD optional

Video card: Intel UHD Graphics 620

Display: 13.3" FHD InfinityEdge Corning Gorilla Glass 4 screen (touch optional)

Camera: Widescreen HD 720p webcam, Windows Hello compliant

Ports: 2x Thunderbolt 3, 1x USB-C 3.1, card reader, headphone jack, Noble lock slot

Security: Optional Windows Hello compliant fingerprint reader in power button

Dimensions: 0.3"-0.46" high, 11.9" wide, 7.8" deep, 2.67 lbs (non-touch)/2.68 lbs (touchscreen)

Battery: 52Whr, 20 hour battery life

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Image: Dell

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About Brandon Vigliarolo

Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.

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