Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook challenges the MacBook Air

Dell's first Ultrabook is out, and it's taking on the 13-inch MacBook Air

Dell's first Ultrabook, the Dell XPS 13, is now available for US$999. This lightweight laptop squeezes a 13.3-inch display into a much smaller footprint (similar to 11-inch laptops), and is competitive with Apple's MacBook Air.

Following the Ultrabook design model, the XPS 13 is super-skinny at just 18mm (0.77 inches) at its thickest, and lightweight at just under three pounds.

The XPS 13's 13.3-inch display has a resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels--lower than the 13-inch MacBook Air's 1440 by 900 pixel resolution, but comparable to the resolution of the 11-inch MacBook Air, as well as other Ultrabooks.

At US$999, the XPS 13 is US$300 cheaper than the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Air, and has similar specs: 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. The Dell XPS 13 has a 1.6GHz Intel core i5 processor, while Apple's MacBook Air sports a 1.7GHz Intel Core i5 processor--the difference is negligible.

Apple's entry-level 11-inch MacBook Air starts at US$999 and sports a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor, but comes with half the memory (2GB) and storage space (64GB).

The XPS 13 also features a backlit keyboard, Gorilla Glass display, and aluminum and fiber construction.

When compared with available Ultrabooks' features and prices, the XPS 13 is one to put on your shortlist, based on its solid specs and size for the price. It should at least be more successful than the Adamo, Dell's previous, overpriced attempt at a MacBook Air rival.

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Melanie Pinola

PC World (US online)
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