Slice Of Power: A Traveler’s Review Of The New Dell XPS 12 2-In-1 Laptop

February 25, 2016 by Anil Polat  

dell xps 12

Most of the power put into laptops sits as dead weight in your backpack, since aside from a bigger battery, the extra horsepower is seldom used. The Dell XPS 12 is one of the more powerful, yet light, 2-in-1 tablet-laptop hybrid computers that should sufficiently blur the lines between the two for many business travelers.

Dell recently sent me an XPS 12 prior to it’s official release to travel test physically while working it out digitally.

Even Tablet-Laptop Split

In case you’re not familiar with them, 2-in-1 tablet-laptop hybrids are essentially powerful tablets with detachable keyboards designed to run PC operating systems. The Dell XPS 12 weighs .79 kilograms (1.27 pounds) tablet-alone; 1.28kg (2.8lbs) with its standard keyboard. (There’s also a lighter slim keyboard option.)

dell xps 12

A Monitor Worth Looking At

As your probably guessed, the XPS 12 has a 12.5 inch screen but what’s remarkable about it is that it’s a 4K resolution. Many new cameras and most smartphones (welcome to the party late Apple iPhone 6s) can shoot videos in 4K resolution but without a display to view them on, you’re not able to view the difference. A pretty impressive – and currently rare – tablet or laptop feature.

The XPS also has two cameras, one user-facing 5 megapixel (MP) and a rear facing 8MP. You can’t shoot 4K video with the XPS 12 but you shouldn’t be taking pictures with a tablet either, unless you want to advertise being technologically awkward. (On that point, I wish Dell had reversed the cameras, so the 8MP was user-facing. You’re much, much more likely to use it for activities like Skype calls.)

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Port Slim

Providing the power behind Windows 10 running on all versions of the XPS 12 is a 6th Generation Intel Core 2.7 GHz, 8GB of RAM, with 128 or 256GB solid state drives for storage. To keep the XPS thin, Dell’s opted to go with two Thunderbolt 3 ports (USB-C connectors) and SD card slot.

dell xps 12 slim keyboard

You can’t open up the XPS 12 so the configuration you order is the one you’re stuck with. Again, for most people who change computers every 2-4 years, this isn’t going to be an issue and tablet parts aren’t the sort you should be mucking around with anyway.

Charge Light

Although a lot of effort has gone into keeping both the tablet and lap-creating keyboard light, Dell has cut a few battery grams I would rather not diet. The 30WHr battery with a good amount of use provides about 4.25 hours of power (closer to 8 would be nice); manageable but for longer flights you’ll want to charge up prior.

dell xps 12

The top facing stereo speakers are a bit weak which is too bad when you’re watching amazing 4K resolution without the sound quite up to par. But these are minor gripes.

dell xps 12 thunderbolt 3

I can’t not mention the Dell Premier Backpack, one so good it could replace my beloved Swissgear. Full of pockets, TSA-approved, and sleek in itself, even if you’re not on the market for a new computer, this backpack makes a nice home for your current gear.

dell premier laptop backpackDell Premier Backpack

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The XPS 12 is powerful enough to run pretty much any application, aside from heavy video editing, in my tests. The magnet keyboard attaches and detaches easily plus the touchscreen is a feature I’m accepting should be a laptop standard by now. Depending on the storage size you’re looking for, the XPS 12 will run you anywhere from $999 to $1299 (the latter if you want 4K resolution). In case you’re asking yourself, the Dell XPS 12 can make a good primary laptop for many frequent travelers as it brings power with portability without sacrificing much of either.


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  1. Ilene says:

    Hi thanks for the great Thunderbolt review! My name is Ilene and I work at Intel on the Thunderbolt team. Just wanted to clarify one point, the two Thunderbolt(tm) 3 ports are USB-C connectors and in addition to supporting Thunderbolt (40Gbps), those same connectors also support USB 3.1(10Gbps), 3.0 (5Gbps), 2.0 (0.48Gbps) and DisplayPort.

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