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Dell Reloaded: 13″ Size Zero i5 Ultrabook Hits CES

Dell’s first ever ultrabook, the new size zero ultra, ultra model, the XPS 13, weighing just under 3lbs, has just been announced at CES.

Dell says is the most compact 13.3″ HD going, with a slim bezel fits in a body size similar to the form factor of an 11 incher, and an almost “frameless” screen with edge-to-edge glass.

“Other 13.3-inch laptops offer the same viewing area but with up to a 15 percent larger footprint,” it claims.

However, rival models like Asus’ Zenbook and Acer’s Aspire S3 Ultrabook weigh in at 1.3kg and 1.35kg respectively, and both 13″ models.

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The screen also boasts hardened Gorilla Glass a la Samsung Galaxy Tab; a full-size backlit keyboard with a large glass touchpad and multi-gestural support – meaning its can recognise several points of contact on the touchpad.

The most mobile laptop in Dell’s entire portfolio, boasts second-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, 128GB and 256GB solid state hard drive options, Intel HD 3000 graphics, a bright high definition screen and runs Windows 7.

The XPS 13 also promises all-day battery life (that’s “up to” 8hrs 53mins) and in accordance with the Intel ultrabook creed has instant start up “within seconds” with Rapid Start and Smart Connecti technology, which wakes periodically to detect known networks and update calendar and email.

Dell’s new kid on the block also boasts a carbon fibre composite base and is lighter and cooler to the touch than aluminium and design wise is said to be sleek and smooth.

Project XPS 13 has been in development since 2010, and one which Dell hopes will be the best in the world, says one of its top PC execs. 

“The XPS 13 is the culmination of an extensive design and development process focused on creating the best Ultrabook on the planet,” said Jeff Clarke, vice chairman, Global Operations and End User Computing.

Dell has high hopes for this machine and hopes it will bolster its laptop business. Revenue for high end XPS laptops has increased 207% over last year and now accounts for 20% of its total consumer laptop business, it said yesterday. 

The XPS is also enterprise-friendly with features including standard Trusted Platform Module for BitLocker Data Encryption, optional ProSupport after-sales service and configuration services such as custom imaging and asset tagging.

No local pricing or availability has been confirmed by Dell Australia but a US price of $999 has been flagged.

“It is specifically engineered to help both our consumers and commercial customers – be more productive and connected in every way possible,” Clarke added.

“From the edge-to-edge frameless display that packs more screen into a compact body, to the innovative carbon fibre base that is lightweight and cool to the touch, the XPS 13 exemplifies our commitment to offering industry-leading mobile solutions that deliver durability and performance without compromise.” 

And the XPS could do the business for Dell in the fledgling ultrabook category, analysts believe:

“The XPS 13 represents the most balanced of the Ultrabook class of notebooks to hit the market so far”, said analysts Rob Enderle, from the Enderle Group.

“Ultrabooks started by forcing people to make a choice between beauty and practicality and Dell took the time to make sure their offering would not only be very attractive, but address the critical needs of business and education buyers as well. Perhaps the best way to describe the XPS 13 is ‘beautifully uncompromised’.”

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But thats not all Dell has been busy with – it is also to enter the consumer tablet market, as revealed at CES this week, although reps failed to divulge whether it will run Windows 8 or Android. Watch this space. 

Check out the full XPS 13 specs:

·    Ultrathin laptop (0.24-0.71″/6-18mm) with Microsoft Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium; precision machined aluminium with a carbon fibre composite base

·    Intel Core i5 2467M and i7 2637M processor choices

·    13.3″ HD WLED, 300-nit (1366×768) 720p; edge-to-edge hardened Gorilla Glass,

·    Intel HD 3000 video graphics

·    4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333Mhz memory

·    128 GB SSD or 256GB SSD drive options

·    Full size, backlit chiclet keyboard; glass integrated button touchpad with multi-gesture support

·    Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6230 802.11 A/G/N  and Bluetooth 3.0 wireless connectivity

·    High definition audio with Waves MaxxAudio 4

·    Built-in 47WHr 6-cell battery (Dell XPS 13 batteries are built into the laptop and are not replaceable by the customer) offering up to eight hours, fifty-three minutes of battery lifeiv; 45W AC adaptor

·    USB 3.0 (1) + USB 2.0 with PowerShare (1), mini Display-Port, and headset jack

·    Built-in 1.3MP webcam (H.264 enabled via Skype[viii]) with dual array digital microphones

·    Dell ProSupport for business customers, Dell Configuration Services and Windows Trusted Platform Module options for commercial models

·    Dimensions: Height: 0.24-0.71″ (6-18mm) / Width: 12.4″ (316mm)  / Depth 8.1″ (205mm); Weight: starting at 2.99lbs (1.36 kg)