The first generation of Dell's XPS 13 laptop broke cover at CES in 2012, so it seems fitting that the most powerful 13-inch laptop in its class has been announced ahead of next week's Las Vegas consumer tech expo. The new XPS 13 gets a refresh both inside and out that's sure to attract praise from pundits and users alike.

First the aesthetics – the 2018 XPS 13 laptop is wrapped in an aluminum chassis in silver or rose gold, the former rocks a carbon fiber palm rest while the latter features a white woven glass fiber palm rest designed to retain its fresh looks over time. The "smallest 13-inch laptop on the planet" is 11.6 mm tall at the back, which tapers to 7.8 mm at its front edge, and features a 13-inch InfinityEdge display squeezed into an 11-inch frame.

Screen configurations are available at Full HD or UHD, powered by Intel UDH Graphics 620, while processing grunt comes courtesy of 8th generation Intel Core i5/i7 options, supported by up to 1 TB of fast-boot SSD storage and up to 16 GB of LPDDR3 RAM. And Dell says that the XPS 13 is the world's first laptop built with GORE Thermal Insulation, the same heat diffusion and dissipation technology used in the Mars Rovers.

Users can look forward to as much as 20 hours of per charge life from its 52 WHr battery, with the option to tweak performance to balance battery life, charging, thermals and acoustics or engage Dynamic Power Mode to kick in maximum power.

Logging into the system can be undertaken using voice, touch or facial recognition, though an optional fingerprint reader can be configured in, which resides in the Windows Hello power button. Elsewhere, the XPS 13 has both a 720p webcam and a Hello-compliant IR camera, Bluetooth and 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless connectivity, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one USB-C port and a microSD card reader, and a full-size, backlit chiclet keyboard with 1.3 mm of travel. And all this with a starting weight of just 2.7 lb (1.21 kg).

The Windows 10-based XPS 13 is available now for a starting price of US$999.99, though there's a slightly cheaper Linux-based developer system also up for grabs for $949.99. Those heading to Las Vegas next week can see the new laptop for themselves at Dell's CES booth in the Venetian. In the meantime, the video below shows the main features.

Product page: Dell XPS 13

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