Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
A superb, practical convertible, but a bit too slow for an outright recommendation
SCORE ✪✪✪✪✪ PRICE £1,191 (£1,429 inc VAT) from dell.com/uk
It might not be the flashiest 2-in-1 hybrid in town, but there’s still something quietly miraculous about the way the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 crams a 13in screen into an 11.6in body. It’s a practical design, too, with the machined aluminium lid and base protecting the carbon-fibre body, and the soft-touch palm rests making this one of the most comfortable small laptops around for long-term use. What’s more, the lightweight design makes this a hinged 2-in-1 that actually convinces as a tablet, helped no end by the 1.24kg weight.
The screen on our test model had a modest 1080p resolution – not the QHD+ InfinityEdge display of the most expensive models – but it’s still a beauty. The 245cd/m² brightness level is nothing to write home about, but there’s no shortage of clarity or contrast. Just be aware that, while the screen has a decent colour gamut – we measured it at 81.6% of sRGB – actual colour accuracy isn’t so good, partly because the screen cleverly switches brightness levels to optimise what’s being shown. That’s fine when you’re watching video, which looks fantastic, but might not be so great if you’re doing tasks such as grading video and editing photos.
It doesn’t take long to find more positives, however, starting with the keyboard – a backlit affair with a slightly soft but snappy action – and the touchpad, which is big, smooth and lag-free. Sound doesn’t match the quality we’ve heard from, say, the Surface Laptop, but it’s clear and surprisingly powerful. And while some might be frustrated by the connectivity, with just two USB-C ports, one of which must be used for charging, this is very much the way the industry is headed in the future. Moreover, Dell supplies a USB-C to USB-A dongle plus a tiny power supply, which you won’t mind carrying around.
Battery life is another strength, with the XPS 13 2-in-1 managing nearly nine hours of video playback Sadly, performance isn’t as impressive. Here’s another machine with a Core i7-7Y75 processor that visibly struggles with intensive, multi-application workloads.
Still, in general use it’s more than fast enough, making the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 a real contender for those who don’t need outright power; it’s lighter and more versatile than your average laptop, as well as more practical than many hybrids.
ABOVE As the name gives away, the XPS 13 2-in-1’s lid flips around to become a tablet
BELOW The practical machined aluminium lid protects the Dell’s carbon-fibre body