1 March 2017
Smallest 13" 2-in-1 on the planet
Thin, light & incredibly mobile
Sleek, silent design
Premium 360-degree hinge
Machined aluminium, carbon fibre
Widescreen HD (720p) webcam with dual array digital microphones
8GB LPDDR3 1866MHz
512GB Solid State Drive
7th Gen Intel Core i7-7Y75 processor, 4M cache, up to 3.6 GHz, 64 bit, Dynamic Power Mode, Intel Rapid Start Technology, Intel HD Graphics 615
Infinity Edge display
UltraSharp QHD+, IGZO IPS panel
3200 x 1800 resolution
5.7 million pixels, 276 ppi
72% color gamut, 1000:1 contrast ratio
Corning Gorilla Glass 4
Windows 10, touchscreen display, touchpad, Accidental Activation Prevention, backlit keyboard
Bluetooth 4.2, Intel 8265 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi
15 hrs of productivity
10 hrs of Netflix streaming
8 -13.7 x 304 x 199 mm
Weight: 1.24 kg
2 USB Type C ports, Thunderbolt 3, MicroSD Card Reader
Thin, light, sturdy design
Edge to Edge display
Average battery life
A look at the Dell XPS 13 in a hybrid 2-in-1 laptop, how different is it to the standard XPS 13 inside?
If you liked the Dell XPS 13 then you’ll like the new 2-in-1 version, aside from the obvious difference the name suggests the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 looks just like it’s sister laptop, from a distance it would be hard to tell the difference. Dell states it is the smallest 13″ 2-in-1 on the planet, while that’s a wide sweeping claim and one that could be proved wrong tomorrow even if it’s correct today, the XPS 13 2-in-1 is very small for a 13″ hybrid laptop. Even though you enjoy the versatility of a 2-in-1 laptop Dell have managed to keep the design very thin, light and incredibly mobile, just the design features you want in a hybrid to make holding the 2-in-1 in your hand easy when in tablet mode, or indeed using any of the other four modes available. The XPS 13 2-in-1 holds most of it’s weight in the premium 360-degree hinge, which you may expect, Dell’s design allows the hybrid to easily hold it’s position in any of the four modes without you feeling like it may move or collapse at the slightest touch…… as you may have experienced previously, I know I have but the XPS 13 2-in-1 is quite sturdy. It’s not just the hinge that feels secure, even though the laptop is very thin and light it is also quite sturdy as it’s made from a combination of machined aluminium and carbon fibre so it doesn’t feel flimsy at all, it has a very premium feel to it. What adds to the sturdy build is the fact that Dell have not had to add cooling fans or grill, the processor cools passively, but we’ll get to that later. While the 2-in-1 hybrid laptop looks so much like it’s sister laptop the Dell XPS 13, Dell has made the new 2-in-1 with seamless lines between the laptop and lid when closed, while this looks sleek it also makes it difficult to open with one hand, which happens more than you think as you hold a coffee in the other hand or your mobile phone, it’s not a deal breaker in the design but Dell should look at this for the next release.
The XPS 13 2-in-1 comes with a 720p Widescreen HD webcam with dual array digital microphones. While it’s not the first time Dell has placed the camera in the bezel below the screen rather than on top (just where we like it), we are disappointed to see it appear in the bottom bezel again, even if it is a more centred position. While I understand the infinity edge display doesn’t leave much room for a camera up top, with the camera placed below the screen you get some awkward angles when using the camera in the laptop position and if you’re typing your friend may also see your hands moving about. Of course in the tent position the camera angles are perfectly fine. This issue aside, and some may not be bothered by this, the camera quality is quite good for a laptop, though good lighting is needed for a clear picture as always.
This particular XPS 13 2-in-1 came with 8GB LPDDR3 1866MHz or memory with 512GB Solid State Drive which is more than enough for general users and quite generous for a hybrid laptop.
Dell has packed this XPS 13 2-in-1 with a 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7Y75 processor with 4M cache, up to 3.6 GHz and 64 bit, this is the top model currently available. As you would expect with this processor the XPS 13 2-in-1 is fast, smooth with no noticeable lagging at all. Standard daily tasks run with ease even with multiple tabs open, however the hybrid is not as powerful as it’s sister laptop, the standard XPS 13 wears the crown here. Where you will see the 2-in-1 struggle is if you try to edit pictures or film while doing other tasks, the hybrid just isn’t powerful enough for this so if you require this level of multi-tasking you should look at another laptop and preferably not a hybrid. Games play well with no noticeable frame drops however, the Intel HD Graphics 615 will struggle a little with some modern titles which are graphically intense. Overall the XPS 13 2-in-1 is powerful and runs very smoothly, however rival hybrids like the Microsoft Surface Book are more powerful.
One of the XPS 13 2-in-1 best features is the Infinity Edge display, it’s a 13″ UltraSharp QHD+ with IGZO IPS panel, 3200 x 1800 resolution, that’s 5.7 million pixels, 276 ppi. The lower models do come with an option of a lower spec display but the top model is only available with the Ultrasharp QHD display, which looks amazing but does cost that bit extra. If you like a crisp, sharp display with unbelievable detail then the QHD display is the way to go and with the ultra thin bezel the Infinity Edge display looks amazing whether in laptop mode or tablet. Dell boasts 400-nit brightness with 72% colour gamut, 1000:1 contrast ratio and the colour really does pop, however like with other XPS models the hybrid automatically changes brightness to suit surroundings and what’s being displayed which can be annoying and disappointingly cannot be turned off. The display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4 which makes it very tough, so you need not worry when in tablet mode your screen is still protected, though I wouldn’t go sitting on it.
Ease of Use
The XPS 13 2-in-1 comes with Windows 10, which will suit a lot of users now that a lot of teething problems have been ironed out and the benefit of cross-platform activity will entice those who already use Windows on their PC or phone. The hybrid has a touchscreen display which is easy to use and very responsive to multi-touch gestures. The full backlit keyboard is comfortable to use though the travel is short and some may need to get used to this, especially if you type hard, the touchpad is also easy to use and quite responsive. The benefits of having a hybrid laptop mean you can use it in 4 modes – laptop, tablet, tent and presentation, all of which are easy to set and feels stable in all modes thanks to Dell’s new hinge. Dell has packed the hybrid with 2 USB Type C ports, Thunderbolt 3, and a MicroSD Card Reader. The XPS 13 2-in-1 also has a Dynamic Power Mode which is designed to save on battery, however like many I have found this does not work too well and at times the hybrid will activate in tablet mode when it should be sleeping, something Dell needs to address for the next model.
The XPS 13 2-in-1 supports Bluetooth 4.2 and Intel 8265 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi, good strong connection with no noticeable drops.
Dell boasts 15 hrs of productivity and 10 hrs of Netflix streaming with the XPS 13 2-in-1 which sounds quite impressive for a hybrid laptop and it is however in reality this is a little exaggerated. The XPS 13 2-in-1 will get you around 10 hours on average before needing a charge, with standard daily use, that’s a bit of editing, browsing and watching movies. This isn’t disappointing but about average for a hybrid.
Weighing a decent 1.24 kg the XPS 13 2-in-1 is light for a 13″ hybrid laptop but not so much that it feels flimsy, in fact due to the premium materials used it is very sturdy. The thin design means the hybrid is comfortable to have sitting on your lap for long hours at a time or even held in your hand/arm while being used in tablet mode, however it’s not a light as a standard tablet so you won’t be holding it in one hand for hours.
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