Introduction, Design and Features
Dell has come a long way with its XPS range of notebooks. You might not remember, but there was a time when XPS notebooks were big and powerful machines designed specifically to blitzkrieg their way through every game you could throw at it. Not surprisingly, since the XPS acronym does, after all, stand for Xtreme Performance System.
But over the years, XPS notebooks have mellowed a fair bit, and are no longer the fearsome gaming monstrosities that we once knew. Take the refreshed XPS 13, for example. You could easily lift it with three fingers, it’s powered by energy-efficient 7th generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, and it doesn’t even have a dedicated GPU.
Now, this isn’t exactly a bad thing, because the XPS 13 is targeted at corporate executives looking for a lightweight and premium Ultrabook to accompany them on their business trips around the world. Besides, if you really wanted a full-fat gaming notebook, you could always opt for an Alienware notebook, which, in case you didn’t know, was acquired by Dell back in 2006.
But moving forward, how do you turn an already portable Ultrabook like the XPS 13 into something that’s even more portable, but no less practical? Why, by giving it a 360-degree hinge that would allow its 13.3-inch QHD+ InfinityEdge display to be rotated into four different usage positions – Laptop, Tablet, Stand, and Tent – of course. Everyone, meet the XPS 13 2-in-1.
Design and features
Apart from the addition of a 360-degree hinge, there are some hardware differences between the XPS 13 2-in-1 and the XPS 13. For starters, all three variants of the XPS 13 2-in-1 that are available in Malaysia are powered by Intel’s Y-series Core i5 and Core i7 processors, instead of the U-series processors found on the XPS 13.
Then there’s the connectivity ports. The XPS 13 has two USB 3.0 ports, a Thunderbolt 3 port, an SD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The XPS 13 2-in-1, on the other hand, has a USB 3.1 Type-C port, a Thunderbolt 3 port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and strangely enough, a microSD card reader. Fortunately, Dell is kind enough to throw in a USB Type-C to USB Type-A adapter with the XPS 13 2-in-1 – no need to replace your legacy external hard drives and peripherals just yet.
Aforementioned differences aside, everything else about the XPS 13 2-in-1 should be similar to the XPS 13, depending on your configuration of choice. Our particular unit came furnished with a 13.3-inch QHD+ InfinityEdge touch display, a 7th generation 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-7Y75 processor, an Intel HD Graphics 615 integrated GPU, 8GB of LPDDR3 1,866MHz RAM, and a 512GB PCIe SSD.
The backlit keyboard of the XPS 13 2-in-1 is actually pretty nice to type on. Its keys have just the right amount of space between them to prevent accidental keypresses, but we would certainly appreciate it if they had a tad more travel to them. We do, however, have a particular fondness for its palm rest area, which is coated in a smooth soft-touch material that’s resistant to fingerprint smudges. Its underlying carbon fiber texture makes it look pretty good, too.
Located beneath the arrow keys of the XPS 13 2-in-1 is a Windows Hello-compatible fingerprint sensor that, much to our surprise, was incredibly accurate and responsive. In fact, we dare say that it works just as seamlessly as the fingerprint sensor on flagship smartphones, if not better.