Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

A su­perb, prac­ti­cal con­vert­ible, but a bit too slow for an out­right rec­om­men­da­tion

PC Pro - - November 2017 Issue 277 -

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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

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