Top 10 laptops of 2016

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Top 10 laptops of 2016
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Dell XPS 13

Price: from $1,799

Screen 13.3in (Full HD or 3,200 x 1,800 pixels) touchscreen
Processor Intel Core i5-6200U or i7-6560U
Storage 128–512GB SSD
RAM 8-16GB
Weight 1.29kg

Dell was tantalisingly close to ultraportable perfection with the previous XPS 13, but it has well and truly cracked it now with this new, improved model. The sixth-generation Intel Core (Skylake) processors improve performance and extend battery life, and an array of minor tweaks has pushed the XPS 13 towards ultraportable perfection.

The new lighting-fast NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) SSDs have had a huge impact, and while the new Skylake processors are more about greater efficiency than dramatic performance improvements, the combination of the two makes for a laptop that feels staggeringly fast and responsive.

Connectivity is relatively minimal, as you'd expect for such a slim, light laptop, but the twin Thunderbolt 3 ports add a lot of flexibility. It's tempting to gripe about needing to buy a whole new set of USB Type-C graphics adapters, but the benefits of having access to a wide variety of high-end external devices, such as super-fast storage arrays, external graphics enclosures and professional-class video and audio devices, is ample reward.

Battery life is something of a weak point – it's certainly nowhere near as long-lasting as the 13in MacBook Pro, for instance – but it's not bad by any means. If it's a stunning Windows ultraportable you're after, there's no better option than the Dell XPS 13.

Next review: Apple MacBook Pro 13in with Retina Display.

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