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2019 Dell XPS 13 finally puts the webcam back in the right spot



Dell’s XPS 13 laptop is beloved by PC users, and for good reason: It’s really thin, really light, and the super thin bezels surrounding the display make MacBooks look ancient by comparison.

But the laptop’s worst feature is easily the placement of the webcam on the bezel below the screen. It’s in a weird spot, right where the camera is always aimed at an unflattering angle, right up your nose.

Now, thankfully, Dell has listened to the complaints and put the camera back where it belongs — above the screen — on the new 2019 XPS 13.

The new Windows 10 laptop made its debut at CES 2019, and it’ll likely be a top contender for best laptop of the new year.

Available in silver with black interior, rose gold or white with white interior and starting at $899, the new XPS 13’s design is largely unchanged compared to the well-received 2018 model. Small tweaks like a new “woven glass fiber palm rest” that’s stain-resistant make the aluminum construction more premium and durable.

Rose gold still a thing?

Rose gold still a thing?

Otherwise, the new XPS 13’s still lightweight starting at 2.7 pounds and compact with a design that tapers from 0.46 inches to 0.3 inches. It also has the same number of ports: 2x Thunderbolt 3, 1x USB-C 3.1, microSD card reader, headphone jack, and lock port.

The keyboard’s the same, which means there’s more key travel for each key compared to the flat keyboards on Apple’s MacBooks. Similarly, the trackpad is top-notch as well.

At least the keyboard's not as flat as a MacBook's!

At least the keyboard’s not as flat as a MacBook’s!

Internally, the XPS 13 comes with Intel’s latest 8th-gen Core i processors, configurable with Core i3, i5, and i7 chips. For graphics, there’s only the Intel UHD Graphics 620 integrated graphics; it’s a capable graphics chip and the same one used in Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 2, but it’s no discrete graphics so don’t expect to do any kind of serious gaming with the XPS 13.

RAM can be configured form 8GB up to 16GB and SSD options come in 256GB all the way up to 1TB.

As mentioned earlier, the XPS 13’s biggest upgrade is the position of the webcam. It may sound like a tiny and insignificant change (especially in an age when everyone including Mark Zuckerberg’s taping their webcams up), but it’s a big deal if you hated how the webcam pointed upwards instead of at a reasonable eye level.

Hallelujah! The webcam is now back in the correct spot.

Hallelujah! The webcam is now back in the correct spot.

Dell says it designed a new 2.25mm-thick webcam module using precision techniques employed in smartphone cameras to squeeze it onto the 4mm-thick bezel above the “InfinityEdge” display. The tiny webcam records in HD resolution and has built-in noise reduction processing for clearer image quality.

That screen, by the way, is still available in two options: standard Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) and 4K (3,840 x 2,160) with touchscreen.

Another design change that might go unnoticed at first is the redesigned thermal solution. There’s two heat pipes and two fans on the 2019 XPS 13 for better cooling, which should mean improved sustained peak performance when the processor is going full throttle.

Dell says battery life on the new laptop is rated for up to 21 hours on the Core i5/8GB/256GB SSD model and up to 12 hours on the Core i7/16GB/1TB SSD model. It’s an impressive claim for a synthetic battery test, but we’ll have to see for ourselves how well well the new XPS 13 lasts in actual daily usage.

The new XPS 13 looks darn clean.

The new XPS 13 looks darn clean.

Laptops have seen a big resurgence over the last couple of years, particularly with displays that sport thinner bezels. 

Last year, Dell’s XPS 13 and Huawei’s MateBook X Pro really wowed with the ultra-thin laptop bezels. But both came up short with the webcam. On the XPS 13, the webcam was mounted to the bottom bezel and on the MateBook X Pro, it’s hidden in the keyboard. 

With Dell’s new XPS 13 webcam upgrade, we might see more laptops this year follow suit. Let the bezel wars begin!

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