Nice Machine

A few weeks ago, I starting using a Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition as my laptop development machine. I have some thoughts on the machine.


The XPS 13 is as solid as and as well designed as Apple MacBook Pros. The keyboard, trackpad, display, etc. are all very nice. The machine is light and mostly balanced nicely.

Excellent Battery Life

The XPS 13 running Linux has excellent battery life. I routinely get 5-6 hours of work done without recharging. Particularly nice for a Linux box and Linux has historically had worse power management than Windows or OS X.

Runs Linux Perfectly

Not a glitch. The machine sleeps/wakes perfectly every time. The wireless works every time. The volume and display brightness buttons just work.

Haven't Used my Macs Much

I've used my Macs on three occasions since I got the XPS 13. Once because my kids needed to use Microsoft Word to write a school report. Once to configure my AirPort Extreme. And once because I needed to work on a large Scala codebase and needed the speed/memory of my 15" Haswell MBP.

Areas for Improvement

Stuff that needs some attention/improvement:

  • A 16GB option. Come on. How hard would it be to have a 16GB memory option? I'd buy a second XPS 13 tomorrow if I could get it with 16GB of RAM.
  • Supporting more than the LTS versions of Linux. It'd be nice if I didn't have to run a 2 year old version of Linux... that Dell would officially support more versions of Linux.
  • Better support for disabling the trackpad when typing. Sometimes the cursor goes wonky because my palm taps the trackpad. There's a community fix for this, but I don't have the hour to track down all the pieces.
  • Ability to disable the touchscreen... it's annoying to have to remember to sleep the machine before cleaning the display.

As you can see, the above areas for improvement are someplace between trivial and flat-out whining on my part.

Buy One

I still strongly recommend buying a Dell XPS Developer Edition. It's a very, very sweet development machine and it's a light, solid piece of hardware.