Dell updates its popular XPS 13 notebook with Kaby Lake CPUs

— 3:01 PM on September 16, 2016

Dell has refreshed its competitor to Apple's Macbook (Air), the XPS 13 notebook. The updated model utilizes Intel's latest Kaby Lake silicon in place of Skylake chips. The existing XPS 13 can be optioned with Core i3, i5, and i7 CPUs. Core i3-7100U, i5-7200U, and i7-7500U Kaby Lake chips will be available when the updated XPS 13 begins shipping in the first week of October. All available CPUs in the existing and new models are dual-core, four-thread parts.

Battery capacity increases from 56 watt-hours to 60 watt-hours, and CPU power consumption is reduced in Intel's latest and greatest laptop chips, leading to  an estimated 22-hour battery life. Both the old and the new XPS 13s are available with Dell's "InfinityEdge" narrow-bezel displays in standard 1080p or optional 3200x1800 resolutions. Don't plan on around-the-clock battery life with the upgraded panel, though. Unplugged runtime with the 1800p screen drops to a more pedestrian 13 hours. Dell did not describe the test methology used to obtain those figures.

Wi-Fi snobs may lament a shift away from Intel Wi-Fi controllers towards solutions from Killer Networking. The Wi-Fi solution offers support for 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO and Bluetooth 4.1. Existing and new models include a single USB 3.1 Type-C Thunderbolt 3 port, PCIe solid state storage with up to 1TB capacity, and as much as 16GB of system memory. The memory type for the new model has not yet been specified, but Skylake models use DDR3 RAM.

If the laptop's diminutive dimensions didn't tell you the machine is intended to lead Dell's charge against the Apple's Macbook, perhaps the silver, gold, and new rose gold chassis color options make it more obvious. The new machine will start at $799 when it ships on October 4. Expect prices of the upgraded i5 and i7 models to mirror their counterparts in the current generation: current i5 models start at $899, and high-end i7 models with the QHD+ display will require forking over just short of $2000. While nearly all XPS 13 machines will likely ship with some variation of Windows 10, a Developer Edition with Ubuntu 16.04 preinstalled will also be available. 

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