Dell XPS Duo 12 and XPS 10 review: first look

30 Aug 2012

2012 is shaping up to be the year of the Windows 8 tablet at IFA 2012, and Dell's seized the moment with an XPS-branded pair of convertible Windows 8 tablets. While the XPS Duo 12 delivers a, quite literally, novel twist on the form factor, the XPS 10 takes the Windows RT route to a more classic, convertible hybrid tablet.

Dell XPS Duo 12

Sharing the same carbon-fibre and aluminium clad design as Dell's classy Ultrabook, the XPS 13, the XPS Duo 12 slips in at the daintier end of the XPS range. With the same flip-screen design as the pioneering Atom-powered Inspiron Duo, the XPS Duo 12 dumps the lowly Atom in favour of Intel's Ivy Bridge Core processors and boosts the luxury quotient.

Even behind a thick pane of polycarbonate, the Dell looks fantastic. Soft touch plastics and carbon-fibre stretch all over, and unlike its convertible rivals, there's a full-sized keyboard and spacious buttonless touchpad.

The screen now has a carbon-fibre backing to aid rigidity, and despite the unusual central hinge, Dell's managed to keep the overall chassis under 20mm thick. Connectivity is a little on the frugal side, but there are twin USB 3 ports and Dell has made room for a compact mini-DisplayPort connector.

A Full-HD display with 10-point multitouch is the centre of attention, and given the wide viewing angles and vibrant colour reproduction our bets are on an LED-backlit IPS panel. We can only hope that the presence of Full HD on the Duo 12 means that the lovely XPS 13 will be receiving a Full HD upgrade in due course.

Pricing and specifications are still firmly under wraps, but Dell confirmed that the XPS Duo 12 would handle up to Core i7 processors and 256GB of SSD storage. And just as the XPS 13 straddled the business/consumer divide, we entirely expect a range of business-friendly options such as TPM security to turn up once it hits retail.

Dell XPS 10

We've been waiting to get our hands on Windows RT, and Dell has teased us by keeping its XPS 10 close to its chest. But with Windows RT under the hood, and a convertible tablet design that looks similar to Asus' Transformer Pad range, the XPS 10 is filled with promise.

The design looks spot on. The 10in tablet slots home into the keyboard dock, a physical latch just below the screen bezel separating the two with a flick of the finger. A good-sized keyboard and wide touchpad are positioned beneath.

Given the thickness of the keyboard dock, it looks like Dell's shoehorned in an extra battery -- again, just like Asus'  hybrid Android tablets -- and also found room for a USB port on either edge as well as a mini HDMI output.

Dell has promised that it'll get both the XPS 10 and XPS Duo 12 to us as soon as it can, so keep an eye on PC Pro's website for the definitive review. In the meantime, have a look at the gallery below and feast your eyes on Dell's latest Windows 8 tablet pairing.

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