shipped our test system with Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
. That is a $60 upgrade over the base Windows 10 Home (also 64-bit) option, so if you don't need the added features that come with Pro, you can save a few bucks here.
A first boot is always telling, both in how long it takes to load Windows, and how much clutter-ware the manufacturer shoveled onto the system. As we have become accustomed with Dell's XPS line, the XPS 13 keeps things clean. Well, mostly anyway. Dell is still peddling McAfee software and includes a 12-month subscription to McAfee LiveSafe. Otherwise, however, you won't find a bunch of cruft outside of what already comes with Windows 10.
Dell does include some of its own software bits, such as its Cinema Color utility that we already discussed, and its Mobile Connect
software for connecting your Android or iPhone handset to the laptop. Once configured, your smartphone and PC will communicate via Bluetooth and WiFi Direct technologies.
To help keep your XPS 13 up to date, Dell includes a handy utility that will hit the company's servers for any available BIOS updates, drivers, application updates, and so forth. We are told that Dell is working on a firmware upgrade that will add battery life optimizations for Intel's Whiskey Lake
architecture, but it was not quite ready when we evaluated this system.
There is also a Power Manager utility to keep tabs on battery health, configure different charging schedules, adjust the balance between battery life and cooling performance, and a few other things.