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Hands-on with the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 convertible notebook (Updated with local pricing!)

By Kenny Yeo - 8 Jul 2017

Hands-on with the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 convertible notebook

Note: This article was first published on 7th Jan 2017 and later updated on 15th Mar 2017 to include local availability and pricing.

Going convertible

This is the new Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. Looks just like the regular XPS 13, doesn't it?

Dell’s XPS 13 notebook is easily one of the best 13-inch notebooks available now. It has a wonderful display, it is supremely compact and portable, and it offered decent performance and battery life. There is really very little not to like about the XPS 13. 

However, the XPS 13 is a traditional notebook, and for the longest time, Dell didn’t have a premium hybrid notebook that could compete with the likes of Lenovo’s Yoga 910 and HP’s Spectre x360. That all changes today because Dell has finally released a convertible version of the XPS 13. It’s a markedly different device so let’s take a closer look at here now.

What’s new?

Thanks to the hinge, the XPS 13 2-in-1 can be used in tent mode.

From across the room, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between the new XPS 13 2-in-1 and the regular XPS 13 notebook. In terms of design, the XPS 13 2-in-1 sticks closely to the winning formula of the XPS 13, which means it’s incredibly compact and sleek.

The key difference lies in the hinge, which allows the XPS 13 2-in-1’s display to be folded flat against its back and turn itself into a tablet. Admittedly, convertible notebooks aren’t quite as handy as tablets as compared to detachable notebooks like the Surface Pro 4, but at least you don’t have to mess and worry about that detachable keyboard. 

The XPS 13 2-in-1 has a sizable trackpad and a keyboard with full-sized keys.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 retains the 13-inch InfinityEdge display that we love so much from the XPS 13. The bezel measures just 5.2mm, allowing the XPS 13 2-in-1 to achieve an incredibly small footprint. Consumers will be able to choose from two touchscreen display options: Full-HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) or QHD+ (3200 x 1800 pixels)

Perhaps what is most amazing is that the XPS 13 2-in-1 is even lighter and than the regular XPS 13. It weighs just 1.2kg and is just 13.7mm thick at its thickest point. This compares favorably to the XPS 13’s comparable measurements of 1.29kg and 15mm.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 remains remarkably slim at just 13.7mm thick. On the left, there's a single USB Type-C port, 3.5mm audio jack, and battery level indicator.

Unfortunately, though the XPS 13 2-in-1 is slimmer than the regular XPS 13 notebook, it is also less powerful. The XPS 13 2-in-1 is powered by Intel’s newest Core i5 and Core i7 Kaby Lake processors, but note that these are actually Core M-class processors and are not as powerful as the mainstream Core processors found in the regular XPS 13. On the flip side, these low-power processors can be passively cooled, which negates the need for a fan, which in turn also explains why the XPS 13 2-in-1 can be made thinner than the regular XPS 13. 

In addition, the XPS 13 2-in-1 also gets Dynamic Power Technology, which ramps up the clock speeds for the times when you need extra juice. Thanks to this, Dell claims that the new XPS 13 2-in-1 will offer comparable or more performance than the first generation XPS 13 that was launched in 2015. Finally, the XPS 13 2-in-1 can be configured with up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage, and battery life is rated at 15 hours.

On the right is another USB Type-C port and the micro-SD card reader.

In terms of ports, the XPS 13 2-in-1 loses full-sized USB ports and instead gets two USB Type-C ports, both of which supports Thunderbolt 3. There’s also a micro-SD card reader and a standard 3.5mm audio jack.

Based on our first impressions, the XPS 13 2-in-1 is an incredibly polished convertible notebook. The display is great and it retains all of the things that we love about the XPS 13.  Most all, it’s notably more compact than its rivals in this segment, which also means it feels handier and more tablet-like than say the Lenovo Yoga 910 and HP Spectre x360. 


Pricing and availability

Thanks to its extremely compact dimensions, the XPS 13 2-in-1 is one of the handiest convertible notebook in tablet mode.

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is available stateside now with prices beginning at US$999. We are awaiting local availability and pricing details and will update this hands-on accordingly when we receive them.

**Updated on 15 March 2017**

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 will be available for pre-order at the upcoming IT Show 2017. Two SKUs will be available. The entry-level Core i5 model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD is priced at S$2,499. The higher spec Core i7 model with 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD is S$2,999.

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