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Hands-on with the new Dell XPS 15 2-in-1, featuring an Intel/AMD CPU
By Kenny Yeo - 11 Feb 2018,11:26am

Hands-on with the new Dell XPS 15 2-in-1, featuring an Intel/AMD CPU

Note: This article was first published on 15th January 2018.

The Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 is powered by an Intel CPU with an AMD integrated GPU.

In November, Intel and AMD shocked the world when they announced that they would be teaming up to develop a processor. Specifically, it would be an Intel Core processor with discrete AMD Radeon graphics on the same package. It would be the best of both worlds, and now we have one of the first notebooks to be powered by this very processor. This is the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1.

Dell calls the new XPS 15 2-in-1 the world’s smallest, thinnest, and most powerful 2-in-1 notebook. Let’s talk about dimensions first. The XPS 15 2-in-1 is remarkably light for a 15-inch convertible notebook with discrete graphics. The InfinityEdge display ensures a small footprint and thickness is just 16mm. Weight is 1.97kg, which is pretty good for a 15-inch notebook but still feels a little hefty in my hands. Unlike the new XPS 13, the XPS 15 2-in-1 will only be available in platinum silver with a black carbon fiber palm rest.

The InfinityEdge display supports 4K resolution and also 100% of the Adobe RGB color spectrum. As you would expect, it looks super sharp and the colors are very vivid and punchy.

The display now supports 4K resolution and looks absolutely stunning.

Inside, the new XPS 15 2-in-1 is powered by an Intel Core-G processor, which consists of a quad-core Intel Core processor paired with an AMD Radeon RX Vega discrete GPU with 4GB of second-generation High Bandwidth Memory.

Specifically, the XPS 15 2-in-1 will be using the less power intensive 65W parts - the Core i7-8705G and Core i5-8305G. Both will feature the Radeon RX Vega GL integrated GPU with 20 compute units and 1,280 stream processors.

According to Intel, these new processors will outperform similar configurations with NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1050, which is impressive to hear. However, Intel has only shared benchmarks on selected titles and we will be reserving our final judgment until we test it ourselves. Nonetheless, it seems like the Intel and AMD alliance is off to a good start.

GORE thermal insulation is used to direct heat out of the notebook.

Its a powerful CPU and to keep the XPS 15 2-in-1 cool, it employs the same thermal design as the XPS 13. Inside, the XPS 15 2-in-1 features GORE thermal insulation that quickly directs heat out of the XPS 15 2-in-1. A quick peek at the internals also reveals thick copper heat pipes and a sizable fan.

The model with a Core i5 processor will come with 8GB of DDR4 memory while the Core i7 model will get 16GB of DDR4 memory. Hardcore users can spec their XPS 15 2-in-1 with up to 32GB of RAM. Storage is SSD only (PCIe, of course) and users can spec their units with up to 1TB of SSD storage.

On the left are two USB-C ports supporting Thunderbolt 3, a microSD card reader, and a battery reserve indicator. On the opposite side are two more USB-C ports supporting USB 3.1 and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

In terms of ports, we have four USB-C ports, a microSD card reader, and a regular 3.5mm headphone jack. Two of the USB-C ports support Thunderbolt 3, while the other two supports USB 3.1.

The key uses magnets in place of regular switches. However, it feels just like any other keyboard. Note also the black carbon fiber palm surrounds.

Another neat innovation in the XPS 15 2-in-1 lies in its keyboard. In place of regular switches, the XPS 15 2-in-1 uses magnets to provide feedback and to “push” the keys back into place. Dell calls this the Mag-lev keyboard, and according to them, this allows for the XPS 15 2-in-1 to have a deeper travel than what regular switches would have provided. I was expecting the keyboard to feel different - perhaps like a Topre keyboard - but it didn’t. It felt like any regular membrane-type keyboard, which I suppose is a good thing.

The Dell Premium Active Pen will attach magnetically to the side of the XPS 15 2-in-1.

The XPS 15 2-in-1 can also be paired with Dell’s new Premium Active Pen. The pen offers up to 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and with palm rejection technology and tilt support (so you can shade). The Dell Active Premium Active Pen is sold separately and is priced at US$99.99. It will be available in the US in April and then the rest of the world in June.

As for the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1, it will be available in the US in April with prices starting at US$1299.99. No word yet on local availability and pricing but we will be sure to update this article once we have further details.

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