Dell XPS 12 review
Dell’s XPS 12 is a stylish, ingeniously designed hybrid, but it’s still a better Ultrabook than it is a tablet
Recent months have seen all manner of hybrid devices make their debut, but none are quite like the Dell XPS 12. Dell’s split-personality hybrid is a laptop capable of transforming from a sliver-thin Ultrabook into a 12.5in tablet with a mere prod of a finger.
Open the lid, push firmly upon the display’s upper half and, with a soft click, the magnets and latches disengage, allowing the panel to pirouette through 180 degrees. Snap the lid shut, and the XPS 12 assumes its tablet guise; swing the base around, and, just like the Lenovo Yoga 13, the Dell’s hinged base doubles as an adjustable stand.
While you might expect such a design to feel flimsy, the XPS 12 exceeds expectations. The base not only looks great, but it feels taut and flex-free, and the combination of a metal frame and carbon-fibre construction does a great job of keeping the display and bezel feeling more solid than you might expect. It’s only once you compare it to Lenovo’s Yoga 13 that the XPS 12’s flip-twist design begins to feel fragile.
The display is one of the best we’ve seen on any Dell laptop. With a Full HD resolution on a Gorilla Glass-covered 12.5in panel, everything is pin-sharp. We had to increase Windows’ DPI setting to avoid painfully tiny text, but the image quality is gorgeous. With a contrast ratio of 681:1 and a gleaming maximum brightness of 395cd/m2, the XPS 12 is only a tad behind the best laptops money can buy.
In laptop mode, the XPS 12 is excellent. More accident-prone purchasers will appreciate the spill-resistant keyboard, the backlit keys illuminate when the lights go down, and the slightly concave keys partner with a firm, crisp feel to make the XPS 12 a typist’s delight.
The glass touchpad is equally luxurious, with a silky finish that makes for a lovely feel under the finger. It’s almost flush with the wristrest, so invoking Windows 8’s edge-swipe gestures is easy and reliable. We had to do some fettling in the control panel to get the sensitivity just right, though, and experienced the odd hitch with two-fingered zooming and scrolling, with gestures occasionally not recognised.
|Dimensions||317 x 214 x 20mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i7-3517U|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel QS77 Express|
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||0|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,920|
|Resolution screen vertical||1,080|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Graphics chipset||Intel HD Graphics 4000|
|Graphics card RAM||N/A|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||0|
|Internal disk interface||SATA/600|
|Hard disk||Samsung PM830|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||N/A|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||no|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||0|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||1|
|SD card reader||no|
|Memory Stick reader||no|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||no|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad/Touchscreen|
|Camera megapixel rating||0.9mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||7hr 1min|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||0.65|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 8 64-bit|
|OS family||Windows 8|
|Recovery method||Recovery partition|