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Of all the devices the CRN Test Center has looked at that call themselves an Ultrabook, the Dell XPS 13 bears the most similarities to Apple's MacBook Air. That's a good thing: The XPS 13 is fast, thin and light, and it winks instantly to life the moment its razor-thin lid is opened for business.
The Dell XPS 13 also reliably delivers a good five to six hours of constant use on a single charge of its battery, according to most accounts (although we had a different experience), and is what we believe to be the best Ultrabook device we've seen for a much-needed laptop-industry shot in the arm.
The first thing we noticed about the Dell XPS 13 out of the box was how relatively small it was compared with other 13-inch Ultrabook devices we've tested. Chalk that up to an (almost) bezel-free design that has its edge-to-edge Corning Gorilla Glass encased by a thin rim of machined aluminum, similar to many tablets. Overall, the Dell XPS 13 is about a half-inch shorter in length and width than the Acer Aspire S3, which the CRN Test Center also liked.
To be exact, the Dell XPS 13 measures 12.4 x 8.1 inches, compared with the Aspire S3's 12.75 x 8.5 inches and the MacBook Air's 12.8 x 8.94 inches. In terms of thickness, Apple has the edge with a 3mm to 17mm range compared with Dell's 6mm to 18mm spread. At a starting weight of 2.99 pounds, the Dell XPS 13 weighs about the same as devices from Apple and Acer, due in part to a lightweight and durable carbon-fiber base.