Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 Review
The Good
  • Really well built with quality materials
  • Fantastic screen for media consumption
The Bad
  • Battery life isn't enough for a full working day
  • The processor is inferior to other 2 in 1 laptops from Lenovo and HP
3.9Overall Score

What’s sitting in front of me now is probably one of the world’s best, sleekest 2 in 1 laptops. Combining a traditional laptop and the ability to flip the screen back on itself to become a tablet, the Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 is packing all the features, yet it doesn’t seem to keep up with some other competitors on the market, and we will explain why in a bit.

So opening the plain Dell cardboard packaging is rather dull. It’s not as flashy and doesn’t sport much colour. Once inside that outer shell, I was greeted with a smaller, this time pure black box with the Dell logo on top. Inside was the perfectly thin, Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 machine, in all its glory. This is one good looking PC, and seemingly well protected thanks to its all metal exterior.

The Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 is definitely got that Dell quality about it. Its all metal shell feels extremely premium, although could be prone to scratches if put down on the wrong surface. The bottom of the laptop does have rubber feet to combat this.

Of course its biggest feature in terms of design is the 360-degree hinge that enables the screen to fold back on itself to be used as a tablet. I think this is where the webcam issue can be fixed too as the cam is placed at the bottom of the screen in the centre. Not a great position to be honest, especially if you want to use the keyboard while on Skype, but if you fold the screen, prop it up like an open book, it can at the top of the screen.

A nice touch is the fact the keyboard and track pad are disabled when in tablet mode so I didn’t find myself accidentally pressing keyboard or mouse buttons when holding it. It was pretty comfortable to use in my hands, and actually pressing action buttons like close windows was pretty simple and very accurate. I found myself using the tablet landscape to keep the resolution of the desktop.

The hinges are an absolute treat to use as well. They are incredibly sturdy, and do not move unless you move them yourself, making the screen quite tightly hold in place, unlike other laptops which have a bounce to the screen when moved. This will definitely ensure that the hinges stay in tact, as you will undoubtedly twist the screen to tablet mode quite often.

Down the left hand side you can find from back to front your power input, which doubles as a microUSB port, a headphone jack and something else. Down the right again from back to front is a kensington lock port, another microUSB input, your microSD card slot which is hugely useful as the power button. Notice I didn’t mention USB ports. That’s because there is none. Instead, Dell has taken an influence from Apple and has stuck a USB port on the end of a dongle, designed for one of the microUSB ports. This has purely been made this way to keep the weight and thickness to a minimum.

The Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 laptop can come in quite a few configurations, starting at £1,379 which will get you a 7th series i7-7Y54 processor, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. Changing the parts to their top model will set you back £1,749 which will get you the i7-7Y75 processor, 8GB RAM again and a 512GB SSD. We were sent through one slap bang in the middle at £1,449 which houses a i7-7Y75 processor, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. I will say here that the top model laptop will give you a 4K screen, whereas we were only treated to Full HD.

But speaking about the screen, the colour-rich display is definitely great for consuming media such as HD Netflix or a movie off of Amazon Prime. The screen is incredibly sharp, and is one of the stronger points on this Dell laptop. Sound however for immersion isn’t up to scratch as the speakers on this thing are tiny. A pair of headphones is required I think.

The biggest downfall in Dell’s decisions to use the Y series i7 processors is the fact that other machines of similar calibre like the Lenovo Yoga 910 for example are using full-sized Intel chips, rendering them much faster machines. The Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 laptop isn’t bad in terms of word processing, but users will experience some slow down lag when trying to multitask on this machine. Dell has concentrated too much on the fact that they wanted a fanless laptop, albeit one that looks absolutely stunning, and have sacrificed using much faster components because of it.

 

Also, the fact that there is only an Intel HD graphics 615 then gaming is pretty much out of bounds. Although when running the 3DMark Cloudgate benchmark, designed for regular computers, I got a score of 4,076. The frames per second however didn’t hit above 24. So don’t expect to play the latest titles on this machine.

Battery life was actually pretty passable, as a PCMark benchmark test with a score of 2,310 produced a pretty decent battery life compared to comparable models mentioned throughout this review. Okay, it won’t last a full day of work, but it will at least get you through a several hour meeting no problem.

So is it worth the hefty price point? On some level it is. Speaking about the one we received, for £1,449 laptop you’re getting a very nice looking, very well built 2 in 1 laptop with an incredibly sharp and colourful screen. I found the touchscreen to work well, and media consumption looking great. However, due to the thickness, or lack thereof, and Dell using lesser Y series chipsets compared to other manufactures in the 2 in 1 market, notably Lenovo and HP, I found the laptop to be somewhat sluggish during multitasking. If you would like to know more, you can visit the Dell website for up to date information and prices.

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Stef Murphy

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