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The Dell XPS 13 is first to get a 16:10 OLED display, but there’s a catch

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The best laptop you can buy has a new, exciting feature you can purchase: A 4K OLED display. This is a first for the Dell XPS 13, which remains one of the most forward-thinking premium laptops on the market.

The new display option is a 13.4-inch panel, matching the other 16:10 screen options Dell sells. The company says this new OLED panel has a max brightness of 400 nits, a 0.65% anti-reflective coating, and a 100% DCI-P3 color gamut. Because it’s OLED, of course, the screen’s black levels and contrast are unbeatable. Unlike standard LED, OLED allows the individual pixels of a screen to be turned off entirely.

So, what’s the catch? Well, this 4K OLED screen comes in at an odd 3456 x 2160 pixel resolution, which Dell calls “3.5K” instead of 4K. The 16:10 aspect ratio of all of Dell’s laptop displays makes for some non-standard resolutions, but this one is particularly strange. It’s not that Dell doesn’t have a high-resolution option. The company still offers a “4K+” LED model, which has a resolution of 3840 x 2400. It’s not immediately clear why Dell has chosen the difference in resolution, but it makes the choice for the buyer quite complicated.

Someone who wants the highest-end display will be forced to choose between sharpness and contrast. Meanwhile, the lower resolution means photographers who want to see the full resolution of their 4K photos will need to opt for LED. The LED screen option also is the brighter of the two.

Still, it’s great to see OLED come to more laptops, especially in the 13-inch form factor. Dell hasn’t announced pricing yet, but the computer maker clearly intends OLED to be a highly premium display option.

The Asus ZenBook 13 OLED offers an 1080p model, which gets better battery life and is considerably cheaper. The ZenBook also is a 16:9 aspect ratio laptop. The HP Spectre x360 13 is one of the only other 13-inch OLED laptops, which also has a 16:9 screen.

Fortunately, this OLED XPS 13 still features everything I’ve loved about this design since it launched — super-slim bezels, the edge-to-edge keyboard, and the diamond-cut side walls. The updated Dell XPS 13 also still includes the latest Intel 11th-gen Tiger Lake processors, integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, up to 32GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage.

Along with the XPS 13, Dell also has announced a new line of redesigned Inspiron laptops that take inspiration from the XPS design.

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Luke Larsen
Senior Editor, Computing
Luke Larsen is the Senior editor of computing, managing all content covering laptops, monitors, PC hardware, Macs, and more.
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