Editor choice

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 Review

Is Dell’s new detachable tablet good enough to be a real Surface Pro competitor? Read our Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 Review.

2-IN-1 LAPTOP

The 2-in-i market certainly isn’t what it used to be, and with so many players dropping out of the race Microsoft has been left with little competition to its Surface Pro range, but Dell might be about to change that with a new XPS 13 2-in-1 detachable tablet and cover keyboard. The new device could be just good enough to sway users from the Surface Pro 9, with Dell promising a 5G variant to be released following the initial Wi-Fi 6E version release – though local Dell people tell us there are sadly no plans to have that model sold here.

Dell sent us a WiFi XPS 13 2-in-i with an Intel Core i7-i250U CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB PCIe SSD that retails for $.30. This price point is virtually identical to the Surface Pro 9 offering, but if you’re looking at an entry level i5 model, you can actually get comparable specs on Microsoft’s offering for $ less. This isn’t too surprising considering how long the Surface Pro range has been around, but it does make it harder to justify this newer and riskier offering.

Fortunately Dell has a lot of experience to draw on, so the device held up perfectly in general work benchmarks by keeping up with anything an Intel Core i7-1265U CPU on a Surface Pro 9 can muster. This is more than enough for intense web browsing, heavy document processing and lighter photo or video editing. There’s not really a gap between tablet and Ultrabook performance these days, and while the Surface Pro range has always sold the keyboard separately, Dell bundles the Folio Backlit Keyboard and XPS stylus in with the device, which effectively makes it $ more competitive.

“Dell bundles the Folio Backlit Keyboard and XPS stylus in with the device, which effectively makes it $ more competitive. “

W11 Home; 13-inch 500 nit touch display at 2880 x 1920 pixel resolution; Intel Core i7-1250U CPU; 16GB RAM; 512GB PCIe SSD; Folio Backlit Keyboard and XPS Stylus included;47Wh battery (7h7min 1080p movie playback); 29.3 x 20.1 x 0.74cm; 751g tablet, 1.314kg (inc keyboard folio).

This competitive inclusion does a lot to put the XPS 13 2-in-1 ahead of its competition, but there are a couple of caveats that go some way to counterbalance the full weight of that bonus. The first is a disappointing GPU performance with a lower clocked Intel Iris Xe Graphics GPU giving this device graphical performance between 20 and 45 percent lower than the i7 Surface Pro 9. Dell’s included keyboard and trackpad are nice enough to use, but they lack more advanced features like offering an elevated keyboard angle and the stylus isn’t overly ergonomic. These little niggles combine with a sub-optimal folio-based magnetic interval stand that works well enough, but which is a long way from the best tablet stand you can get in 2022.

Battery life is pretty good offering up to nine hours and 15 minutes in light work tasks which should get you through the better part of the work day, but it’s still 10 percent behind the Surface Pro 9. The tablet itself is lighter than the Surface Pro 9, but it’s 141g heavier as a package with the keyboard and stylus. The one area where the XPS does significantly outpace the incumbent 2-in-1 is storage speeds offering much faster 5,000/4,000MB/s read and write speeds. All up it’s an amazing first attempt that is competitive if you’re happy to live with limited tabletop screen positions and you don’t care much for games.

Joel Burgess

 

Dell XPS 2-in-1

Surface Pro 9 i7

Geekbench 5 – Single-core (score)

1,685

1,215

Geekbench 5 – Multi-core (score)

7,022

6,630

Cinebench R23 – CPU (multi-threaded)

6,856

6,891

3DMark – Time Spy (score)

999

1,779

Geekbench 5 – Open CL (score)

14,174

17,905

Battery life – 1080p video playback (h:min)

07:07

08:29

CrystalDiskMark Read (MB/s)

5,078

3,502

CrystalDiskMark Write (MB/s)

3,952

2,527

8 Total Score
Editor choice Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 Review

A solid alternative tablet 2-in-1 to the Surface Pro range.

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