The XPS 13 was one of the best laptops of the year, but it did have some issues, as all devices do. One that was very frustrating to deal with during the review was the aggressive Content Adaptive Brightness Control (CABC) which was enabled by default, with no way to disable it. CABC is a common method of saving power, since the backlight can be lowered depending on what content is on the display. Unfortunately, it was so aggressive that trying to accurately establish battery life was difficult, since we set the displays to 200 nits. With the CABC, brightness would vary quite substantially just with webpages flashing onto the screen.

It was also an issue when trying to calibrate the display. The calibration software first sets a baseline brightness on white (200 nits again is what we use) and then flashes various shades of gray and color to create a profile for the display. Once again, the CABC would get in the way, changing the brightness that the software was expecting.

I think for most people, it would be something that they would notice, but not something that would bother them too much, unless you were doing certain tasks where it would kick in. I am all for power saving features, but anytime you add something like this, you need to have a way to disable it for customers who don’t want it. Luckily Dell is now offering a patch to disable this feature.

At the moment, the only way to get the patch is to contact Dell support. It would be nice if they would just offer it as a link to download, but for the moment this is what we have.

Being able to remove the aggressive CABC fixes one of my biggest issues with the XPS 13, and it was already one of the best laptops of the year. With this fix, it moves up a bit more.

Update 2016-01-04: Dell is now offering the patch on their site on the source link below.

Source: Dell

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  • Pissedoffyouth - Monday, December 21, 2015 - link

    I bet that wasn't a human you reached either. Would have been a computer.
  • ik9000 - Monday, December 21, 2015 - link

    if it was a computer it may well have passed the turing test. Even misspelt my name and everything.
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - link

    As with anything else supportwise; unless its a critical need you're generally best off waiting at least a few days after a public announcement to give time for the tier 1 phone staff to be given new pages for their scripts.
  • cjs150 - Monday, December 21, 2015 - link

    Great now all they have to fix is:

    1. The screen flickering off an on randomly

    2. Possibly the worst Wi-Fi performance I have experienced in last 3-4 years, not sure if it is a driver issue (and there are some suggestions that screen flickering may be linked to Wifi issues) or just poor hardware but at time I have got better performance from a 5 yr old tablet in same location as the XPS 13
  • Pissedoffyouth - Monday, December 21, 2015 - link

    >the screen flickering off an on randomly

    ugh I had a Compaq 615 that did the exact same thing years ago. Good to know new stuff is just as bad
  • ik9000 - Monday, December 21, 2015 - link

    The flickering - is it the regular PWM cycle or random interference?
  • poemcompiler - Monday, December 21, 2015 - link

    The wifi on the XPS 13 (Dell 1560, not sure about those with the Broadcom version) is fucked up on Windows 10 because of the driver. In order to make it work you need to install an old driver version. The version for the Dell 1560 on Windows 8 works like a charm (even on Windows 10). The only problem though is that after some updates Windows overrides the driver, forcing you to install again the older one in order to have decent wifi.

    Been with the laptop since may and sincerely I think it's a great machine. Great battery life, good performance and great display (I have the UHD). The only inconvenience is the poor support from Dell (and the shipping time, about a month...).

    Key repetition was a problem that lasted months and I'm not sure it's 100% fixed.
    Wifi is still not properly fixed (in a profressional way, with a decent driver).
    I didn't even notice the brightness issue.
  • saratoga4 - Monday, December 21, 2015 - link

    Fuckup up is an understatement. The wireless simply did not work for me under Windows 10. Would connect for maybe 30 seconds, then spam a hundred errors to the Windows logs and stop working until I rebooted.

    Fortunately Dell exchanged the laptop for one with Intel wireless when I complained, which although still not great, at least has working Windows 10 support. If you have that problem, call dell and get a replacement.
  • echoe - Monday, December 21, 2015 - link

    The link says this only works specifically for the 2015 uhd version, can you confirm that this is the case or does this also work with either the fhd 2015 version or either of the 2013 models? Do you have any information beyond the github post?
  • ik9000 - Monday, December 21, 2015 - link

    which link?

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