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Convert
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Laptop comparable to an XPS 13?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:03 pm

We’ve been through 4 Intel 7th gen XPS 13 laptops and just today took delivery of an Intel 8th gen XPS 13. They have all had exceedingly loud coil whine and the new 8th gen’s touch pad rattles when you move your finger over it. Dell also kept sending us rose gold with windows 10 home even though we bought silver with Pro but that’s another matter…

I’m done. So done. We have been dealing with this fiasco for 4 months with our Dell rep and I’m over it.

What would you gerbils recommend as a suitable replacement?

Things I’d like:

Backlit keyboard. 13inch 1080p screen (no touch). 8 GB of ram. I7 (8th gen would be nice). SSD. Need to be able to do Miracast, though I think all of them do by default.

I really liked the XPS13. The 7th gen ones were solid built and felt great. The edge was a bit “sharp” where you rested your hands to type but it wasn’t a deal breaker. The webcam that points up your nose was a dumb idea but I don’t really use the webcam so it wasn’t a problem.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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ludi
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Re: Laptop comparable to an XPS 13?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:40 pm

Have you looked at the Lattitude 7280 (12.5") or 7480 (14")? I hate clickpads. The high-end Lattitudes can be built out to nearly the same specs as the XPS line but are business-targeted, meaning they provide actual mouse buttons, less frou-frou options, and Win 10 Pro.
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Pagey
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Re: Laptop comparable to an XPS 13?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:53 pm

Not sure this will help you find an exact model, as it's probably a little too general, but Anand recently put up their updated "best laptops" guide. It might, at least, give you a starting point to narrow down your choices: https://www.anandtech.com/show/9798/best-laptops

Ignore the XPS 13 and 15 recommendations, obviously. :D
 
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Re: Laptop comparable to an XPS 13?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:09 pm

Ludi - I hadn't, mostly because they looked a bit thicker than what I really wanted, but I could change my expectations. The 7380 actually has a comparable model, but no backlit keyboard which is kind of a deal-breaker. I have to work late at home in the dark quite often, so a light up keyboard is invaluable. But dang, $1800 for a comparable model. Guess it's worth the extra money for the better build quality!

Pagey - Thanks for the link! I actually looked at the Surface laptop as well, but I've had a lot of experience with the Surface products and they have pretty bad quality as well. The last few we've had take about 7 attempts to boot past the BIOS screen and have phantom touch issues. I guess I'm definitely looking for a premium ultrabook.
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Pagey
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Re: Laptop comparable to an XPS 13?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:13 pm

I have an older Asus Zenbook UX305 that is based off the CoreM (Broadwell) series. It's got 8GB of RAM and a 256 SSD. I have to say that it's been a fabulous piece of kit. With that said, it does not have a backlit keyboard, and I've never used it in a "production" environment. I transcode my movie collection and store my favorites on the Samsung FIT USB drives. Those go in the Zenbook's bag, and it goes to the family cabin with me.
 
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Re: Laptop comparable to an XPS 13?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:14 pm

I'm fairly partial to the higher-end HPs like the Spectre and Envy models. The screen's color gamut isn't quite up there with the XPS', but the machine otherwise owes little to the Dell in the remaining departments. More affordable, too. IMO the latest XPSs have mostly priced themselves out of the arena, though it's possible that the amounts have changed in recent months. Here are our picks in the last Mobile Staff Picks.
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DancinJack
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Re: Laptop comparable to an XPS 13?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:23 pm

There are a few Lenovo models that are worth looking at. X1 Carbon for sure and X1 Yoga? I'm not terribly familiar with their stuff other than the Carbon. It's a fair bit more expensive than the XPS 13 though.
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weaktoss
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Re: Laptop comparable to an XPS 13?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:39 pm

Disappointing to hear about those issues. I haven't experienced them with my XPS 13 (1080p, i5-6200U), but your experience certainly makes me wary about buying another down the road.
 
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Re: Laptop comparable to an XPS 13?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:17 pm

I have an Inspiron 13 7000 series 13" which is bigger than the XPS 13, for sure, but I still find it to be very portable. Specifically I have this model (7378) but I only paid $800 for it in February. I am very happy with it, but I do need to point out that the screen brightness seems kind of uneven. The top 10% or so seems a little dimmer than the rest regardless of viewing angle. Might just be my unit and I probably should have taken it back for replacement.

Depending on how soon you have to buy it might be worth waiting for 8th-gen systems to start appearing. Those 15W quad-core processors are intriguing.
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Kretschmer
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Re: Laptop comparable to an XPS 13?

Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:49 pm

weaktoss wrote:
Disappointing to hear about those issues. I haven't experienced them with my XPS 13 (1080p, i5-6200U), but your experience certainly makes me wary about buying another down the road.

I had a similar SKU (i5 Skylake 1080P) and had to RMA for a power charging issue. Still the best damn laptop that I've owned. Unfortunately, the replaced" battery from the RMA drains pretty quickly.

If I need a new laptop I'll look at the XPS 15; the extra space and oomph would be nice for work, and a 1050 should be sufficient for visiting friends to play games..
 
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Re: Laptop comparable to an XPS 13?

Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:02 am

weaktoss wrote:
Disappointing to hear about those issues. I haven't experienced them with my XPS 13 (1080p, i5-6200U), but your experience certainly makes me wary about buying another down the road.


I accidentally got the top-end model when trying to make sure I got 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, so i7-7500U and the high-res touchscreen (neither feature of which I want), but I got a great deal regardless as they were putting out the 7-series revision.

I love it, and the only issue I've had was a combined update reboot with a Dell update and a Windows 10 update. The UEFI 'lost' the SSD, which took some Googling to fix.

I'm also honestly surprised that you've had persistent issues with Dell's service. I don't blame you for looking elsewhere in light of your experience, but I'd hope that that isn't the norm these days!


[you might try escalating your issue, if you care to- this might result in Dell going out of their way to address the issues]
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Convert
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Re: Laptop comparable to an XPS 13?

Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:10 pm

The HP Spectre actually looked like the best choice, but then I saw the battery... 38WH, blah.

As for escalating it, Dell has internally decided that certain design flaws are acceptable. Our Dell rep flat out said that Dell internally knows of the rampant quality issues with the XPS but it's a product with razor thin margins in a competitive space. He doesn't agree with it as he thinks it just causes more headaches with returns and complaints, but I guess it's worth it.

The Inspiron line will probably end up being what I choose, but I think I will wait for everyone else to release their 8th gen models to see. I'm not too worried about the size, I bet it will be more comfortable on the palms too.

*EDIT* Just saw the Spectre post on the FP, looks like a winner with the upgraded battery!
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morphine
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Re: Laptop comparable to an XPS 13?

Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:55 pm

Convert wrote:
The HP Spectre actually looked like the best choice, but then I saw the battery... 38WH, blah.[...] Just saw the Spectre post on the FP, looks like a winner with the upgraded battery!

Well, I was going to point out that Kaby Lake (and presumably 8th-gen) CPUs are really easy on the juice, so a 38 Wh battery isn't half as small as it may look if you're coming in from a historical perspective.
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lex-ington
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Re: Laptop comparable to an XPS 13?

Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:48 am

For what its worth....I just bought an Acer Switch Alpha (I know....its Acer), but it is working out well right now. It replaced an 8 year old Gateway laptop (wife stepped on it 5 years and cracked the screen, but it was always connected to the TV). This is my first Intel machine ever so I don't really know what my expectations are. My last machine was a quad-core A6,...this one is a core i5.

Apparently the Switch is an alternative to the surface machines so the ports are very limited - I only see a TYPE-C port, a USB port and a microSD card reader...I can't speak to the battery life yet, but he screen is crisp and the attached keyboard is backlit although a little flimsy.

All I have this machine for is connecting to the VPN router to watch U.S. content so productivity is a non-topic from me.
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Dieter
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Re: Laptop comparable to an XPS 13?

Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:54 am

I second the Lenovo X1 Carbon. I used an XPS 13 (9350, I think?) for about 18 months and now have a 5th gen X1 Carbon. Slightly larger due to the 14" screen instead of 13.3", but *much* better keyboard, crazy lightweight, and well built. It also has great battery life, and generally I like it a lot more than the XPS 13 in every way, and I really liked the XPS 13. I've almost always purchased Dell laptops, but they're not innovating on their business line so we went with Lenovo and have been very happy. The XPS is prosumer, I know, but Dell doesn't make a business equivalent.

Also, even though the specs are roughly about the same between the two, the X1 Carbon seems quite a bit faster than the XPS. I think they both have NVMe SSDs, but maybe the XPS' is SATA?

The biggest downside of the Lenovo is the price, which is steep! But I've seen them on sale for reasonable prices (reasonable for thin & light business-class hardware, of course).

So if you can accept the slightly larger screen, give the X1 Carbon (5th gen) a look.
 
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Re: Laptop comparable to an XPS 13?

Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:25 pm

Convert wrote:
As for escalating it, Dell has internally decided that certain design flaws are acceptable. Our Dell rep flat out said that Dell internally knows of the rampant quality issues with the XPS but it's a product with razor thin margins in a competitive space. He doesn't agree with it as he thinks it just causes more headaches with returns and complaints, but I guess it's worth it.

That's an interesting position for them to take given that XPS is purportedly a "premium" brand that also shares many components with one of the big-boy Precision workstations.

The main gripe I have with non-XPS ultrabooks is they typically have even crummier hinges than regular laptops, which is saying something. I think one of the HP models has an XPS style hinge, so all other things being equal I'd probably go with that or a lightweight Lenovo. HP is my least favorite of the three business-grade vendors, but their biz stuff is still far better than consumer junk.

Clevo/Sager has a few lightweight-ish laptops too, that might be worth looking into if you're okay with the shell not being made of Glorious Metal.
 
Kretschmer
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Re: Laptop comparable to an XPS 13?

Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:54 pm

I would wait until the Covfefelake refreshes. You'll either get a lot more in your laptop or can buy an older SKU on the cheap.

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