I live my life from day-to-day on a computer. Which computer I choose to use determines whether or not I have a productive day. I do not have time for under-performing computers. When I have to pick a machine for my own use, I have minimum requirements that I look for. RAM, processor speed, and hard drive size are very important to me. The Dell XPS 13 has exceeded all of my needs. I already told you all about specs and why they made me drool. Now let’s talk about how I get the most out of it.
I’ve been using my Dell XPS 13 now for over a month. This means that I have had a chance to really use it! Not just tinker with it, but use it as my primary machine. I’ve installed my Adobe Photography Creative Suite, Microsoft Office 365, Evernote, Google Chrome, and more. I synced my Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive. Don’t ask why I use so many Cloud services! I have really put this machine to the test. Along the way I’ve figured out a few things that make me love this machine even more. Below are tips and advice for getting the most out of the Dell XPS 13.
Tips for Getting the Most of of Your XPS 13
Update Your Bios
The Dell Update tool which runs at system startup will alert you when it finds updates for your computer. However, you can manually check for updates at any time by clicking on the icon in your system tray. Be sure to install any updates, especially the BIOS update. I’ve only had this computer a little over a month but there have already been 2 BIOS updates which improved functionality of the machine.
Run Windows Update
Yes, we all have a love/hate relationship with Windows updates. But they are necessary. Making sure that your computer is up to date ensures that you have the latest drivers for your network adapter, graphics card, and more. This is also how critical Windows security updates get pushed out to your computer.
Tweak Your Touchpad Settings
I am a simple touchpad user. I guess because of my typing style I sometimes accidentally tap my touchpad causing the mouse to jump. One of the first things that I do when I switch to a new laptop is adjust the touchpad settings to meet my needs. While some people love the new touchpad technologies that allow them to drag, double tap, etc. I prefer to keep my touchpad running more like an old school mouse. In addition, when working at a desk or table I usually use an external mouse, so I turn on the setting to disable my touchpad when an external mouse is plugged in.
Invest in a Keyboard Protector
After falling in love with it, I knew that I would be giving it a beating so to speak so I quickly ordered a silicone keyboard protector skin to make sure that I don’t wear down these keys. 🙂 The keyboard has taken a little bit of getting used to. Even though the laptop has a much smaller footprint than other 13″ ultrabooks, the keys are just a tad smaller than what I’m used to. But, it is a full-sized keyboard, so you will not miss out on a thing. Having a silicone keyboard protector keeps my fingernails from scratching the keys, and quiets my typing.
Invest in a Great Laptop Sleeve
I am a firm believer in taking great care of your electronics. Keeping them clean, without scratches, and in good working order is very important to me. This means that when I take my Dell XPS 13 on the go it is well protected.
I use the Dell Premier Laptop Sleeve. I love it because it is well padded. And the snazzy red interior is a nice touch. I always use my sleeve, even if putting the laptop into my backpack. It uses a magnetic closure to keep the laptop securely inside. Of course it makes a great standalone case as well.
Get the Power Companion & Dell Adapter
I already mentioned how great these 2 accessories are. The Dell Power Companion can extend the battery life on your Dell and even allows you to charge your USB devices. You can even leave your AC adapter at home!
The Dell Adapter adds a HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, and USB 3.0 port to your XPS. This means you can hook up a monitor, television, or plug into a hardwired network when needed.
Adjust the Size of Your Screen Elements
The screen is incredible! It is amazing how much of a difference the InfinityEdge display makes when viewing. The amazing resolution (3200 x 1800) does take some getting used to. Most things adjust well, but some programs like Photoshop had to be tweaked so that items appear more normal size. Otherwise, the menus and some buttons are really tiny!
I also adjusted the size of my Windows icons up to 225%. This makes the icons on my desktop a more normalized size. Unfortunately, there appears to bug in Windows 10 that only allows icons in folders to be enlarged to 256 pixels without hacking the registry. So, when viewing photo icons in a folder they are still quite small.
Now of course videos are incredible. There is not a lot of 4k content available on the web just yet. However, watching HD videos on Netflix, Hulu, or Xfinity On Demand are a great experience. This screen also makes photo editing a great experience.
Use Battery Saver Mode
The battery on this unit can keep you going all day. However, it can be extended a bit more by turning on battery saver mode. This lowers the screen brightness, limits background activity, and limits push notifications to extend the battery life. Of course the more programs you have open, the more battery power that will be used, so if you are looking to make your battery last longer, close some programs.
I have had only one issue with my XPS so far and I think that it is probably more of a common Windows problem than a problem with this machine because I’ve had the same issue with other Windows laptops. Sometimes it does not abide by the set power rules and go to sleep when it should. This means that when I think that laptop should be asleep, it’s not which can lead to a dead battery. I’m certain that there will probably be a Windows update to address this issue very soon. Until then, before I close the lid which would normally put the machine to sleep I just tap the Windows key–>Power—>Sleep.
Where to Buy
The Dell XPS 13 is available right now. Order a fully loaded ready to go unit starting at $799.99.
As you can tell I am totally in love with this machine! The specs meet all of my needs and then some. I have had no problem switching over. Whether it be from my desk to my bed to my couch, or on the road, it is awesome having one machine that can handle everything that I throw at it.
Disclosure: The Dell XPS 13 and accessories were provided to me in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.