Dell’s new XPS 13 is made from the same material as your running jacket

The Dell XPS 13 has been one of our favorite notebooks for a few years now, regularly scoring well in our reviews and regularly winning our Editor’s Choice award. We had to note in our most recent review, though, that the machine’s design was getting a bit stale. Dell apparently agreed, and it’s introducing an updated XPS 13 that looks like it addresses those design concerns — and then some.

To begin with, Dell shaved some size off of what was already one of the smallest and thinnest Windows 10 notebooks around. It’s now significantly thinner, less deep, and less wide, and its weight has gone down as well. That makes it, as Dell attests, the “smallest 13-inch on the planet.” That’s a significant improvement over what was already a very thin and light notebook, but Dell didn’t stop with the machine’s dimensions.

In terms of pure aesthetics, the carryover version of the XPS 13 also received a serious bump up. Dell retained the same model with black carbon fiber keyboard deck and chassis bottom and silver aluminum lid, but it smoothed out some lines and improved some angles. What was always a sharp notebook now seems more modern as well. There’s a new version that sports a Rose Gold aluminum lid with an Alpine White woven glass fiber palm rest, using a material that was specially developed for Dell. We’ll know in our hands-on experience if the new Rose Gold version is as comfortable as the older design’s carbon fiber build.

In addition, both machines sport a new Gore Thermal Insulation material that Dell says provides a thermal conductivity level that’s lower than air, which services to direct air out of the machine with greater efficiency. That promises to coax even better performance out of the latest eighth-generation Intel quad-core i5 and i7 processors.

Also new to this generation is a 13.3-inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160 or 331PPI) resolution display that’s a real step up from the previous model’s QHD+ (3200 x 1800 or 276 PPI) maximum. Dell promises some serious quality from the new display, which offers 100 percent sRGB gamut coverage, 400 nits of brightness, and 1,500:1 contrast ratio. A new suite of “entertainment-enhancing technologies” dubbed “Dell Cinema” is also along for the ride.

All told, Dell is also calling this the “most powerful 13-inch laptop in its class,” while still promising great battery life at up to 19 hours and 46 minutes. The addition of a higher resolution display and new materials should help to keep the Dell XPS 13 at the top of our list of the best notebooks.

You can order the new XPS 13 today and it starts at $1,000 for the base configuration. Dell will also be selling an Ubuntu-based developer edition with Linux preloaded, starting at $950.