Dell XPS 13 (9343) Developer Edition Review

Background:
My last laptop was a Lenovo T530 that I purchased in October of 2012. When I ordered this laptop I was torn between the X1 Carbon, X230 and the T530. What tilted the scales for me was the 1920×1080 resolution on the T530 and the quality of the panel. The laptop weighed in at more than 5.6lbs and I decided I wanted a lighter weight laptop.  Earlier this year I replaced my work laptop, a Lenovo W520, with a Lenovo X1 Carbon. At that time the Dell XPS 13 Developer Editiion was not available, This time around the contenders were the Lenovo X1 Carbon, Lenovo X250 and the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition. The options were the X1 Carbon at $1,268.10 (14″ 1920×1080 non-IPS screen), the X250 at $1,259.10 (12.6″ 1920×1080 IPS Screen) and the Dell XPS 13 at $944 (on sale).

Ordering, Shipping and Packaging:
The first thing I have to mention is that Dell was extremely quick in delivering the laptop. I ordered the device on Friday June 12th and it was delivered Thursday June 18th. The ordering process was quick and easy. I made use of the pop-up chat offer and discussed the options with the Dell sales representative. In addition to the sale price and $100 off coupon I was offered free next day shipping. The device came in a rather plain brown exterior box, but inside was a smaller elegant black box. The specs of the XPS 13 I orders are:

8GB DDR3L-RS 1600Mhz
DW 1560 Wireless
SAMSUNG SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
Intel Core i5-5200U CPU @ 2.20GHz
13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) infinity display
52 WHr, 4-Cell Battery (integrated)
Price $944.10

Initial Experience:
The XPS 13 comes with Ubuntu 14.04 preinstalled and has several backports as well to ensure that the unit functions properly. The initial startup was quite impressive (see video below). The unit worked out of the box, but I wanted to install Ubuntu 15.04. The first step was to use the Dell recovery utility, but this did not work until after I did an apt-get update and apt-get upgrade. The Dell recovery utility makes and image of the computer and places it on a USB flash drive and after the quick upgrade worked flawlessly.

Screenshot from 2015-06-20 11:29:43

Upgrade to 15.04:
I decided to install a fresh copy of 15.04 instead of doing an in-place upgrade. The process was very smooth and I had no issues. I chose to use UEFI and secure boot. Everything I have tested is working properly. Function keys (including being able to toggel the function key lock), wireless, microphone, trackpad (including pinch to zoom), screen brightness, volume control, keyboard backlighting, wireless toggle and multimedia control.

Final Impressions:
Every day I go to use this laptop I am struck by how much smaller it is than the Lenovo T530 it replaced. It is absolutely stunning with the infinity display. It packs the same screen resolution as the T530, but an insanely small chassis. Where I used to dread taking my T530 to conferences and meetings this unit will be a pleasure to carry. It will likely weigh less than the other items I bring.

Coming Up: A comparison of my work Lenovo X1 Carbon (2015) from work and my personal Dell XPS 13 (9343) Developer Edition.

This entry was posted in FOSS, Linux, Ubuntu and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Dell XPS 13 (9343) Developer Edition Review

  1. scaine says:

    I have the same laptop running 15.04, but find that it will hard-crash with a blinking Capslock key if you set an IP address to the wireless card, instead of using DHCP. I wish they’d put an Intel WIFI card in this.

    • Charles Profitt says:

      I too, wish that they had used the 7265 for the Developer Edition. I am debating buying the card myself and putting it in.

  2. I’ve been contemplating getting this. I want the touch-version simply because I want a glossy, edge-to-edge glass display but I really don’t want to power draw of a touch screen. Stuck between a rock and a hard place:/

  3. Nanfei says:

    Hello! I found your review while researching good ultrabooks that support linux (http://www.slant.co/topics/3138/~ultrabooks-for-running-linux), would you mind if I add some of your pro/cons from both this review and your other reviews regarding experiences using linux laptops? I will attach references that go back to your blog. You can also feel free to author the information yourself on Slant, if that’s what you’d prefer. Thanks so much!

  4. Pingback: Dell XPS 13 DE Running Linux Mint 17.3 | todgermanica.com

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