Here’s how Dell made the XPS 13 2-in-1 great

Dan Baker/Digital Trends
We recently reviewed Dell’s new XPS 13 2-in-1 machine and found it to combine all of the best things about the XPS 13 notebook with the features that make a Windows 10 2-in-1 device most usable. Our review confirmed our decision to name the XPS 13 2-in-1 a “Best of CES 2017.”

A closer look at how Dell developed the machine now shows that the firm didn’t simply add a hinge to the XPS 13 so that it could swivel around into tablet mode and leave it at that. Instead, the company worked closely with suppliers to make sure that its new 2-in-1 would provide an optimal experience, as Tom’s Guide reports.

For example, as we covered in our review, the XPS 13 2-in-1 introduces a new Dynamic Power Mode that pushes the Intel Core Y-series processor to greater levels of performance. The Y-series processors were renamed, separating them from the previous “Core M” designation, after that line developed a reputation for poor performance.

Although Intel Core Y processors are also low-powered CPUs, Dell worked closely with Intel to implement the Dynamic Power Mode, and we found that it indeed provides some performance advantages over other manufacturers’ machines with the same CPUs. Basically, Dynamic Power Mode lets the CPU run temporarily at a thermal design power (TDP) of 9 watts versus its normal 7-watt TDP, squeezing out a little more performance when it’s needed the most.

The performance isn’t enough to move the XPS 13 2-in-1 into a faster category of machines running Core i-series processors, but it’s a significant advantage over other similarly equipped thin and light 2-in-1s. The design decision results in a machine that maintains a low power profile overall but can still perform when called upon.

Another area where Dell worked closely with a supplier was with respect to the display, which is produced by Sharp. As Ed Boyd, Dell’s senior vice president for product design, told Tom’s Guide, “We didn’t go to Sharp and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to make a computer. What do you guys have?’ We said, ‘We want to make this.'”

Except for the display’s relatively low brightness and higher-than-average color error, Dell’s efforts seem to have paid off. We found the display to offer solid results in other metrics, including 97-percent sRGB and 75-percent AdobeRGB color gamuts, along with an excellent contrast ratio of 1,120:1.

It’s not perfect, but Dell’s assertion that it paid serious attention to the display seems warranted.

Finally, pursuit of thin designs has reached a tipping point where too much functionality is sacrificed for ultimate thinness — but Dell chose not to go all the way down that rabbit hole. While it did remove legacy ports in favor of all USB Type-C ports (which we consider a weakness at this stage of the new standard’s adoption), Dell stepped back from hampering the typing experience.

As XPS Director Donnie Oliphant put it, “We were looking at shaving, literally, just one-tenth of a millimeter off of the travel. But (the keyboard) didn’t test to our satisfaction, so we threw that 0.1 millimeters back into the design.” The XPS 13 2-in-1 is meant to be used as a tablet, and so being thinner and lighter is worth some compromise, but generally speaking Dell did what it could to maintain a quality keyboard and good battery life.

The Windows PC ecosystem is particularly competitive today, with an unprecedented number of new form factors and excellent designs, and no manufacturer can afford to rest on their laurels. The XPS 13 is a great notebook, but Dell recognized the need to make the 2-in-1 version even better — and it took some steps to get there.


Our best laptop deals for July 2019, including the discounted Dell XPS 13

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work, we have you covered. We've put together a list of the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.

Amazon Prime Day slashes prices on AMD Ryzen 7 and Intel Core i7 CPU systems

Amazon Prime Day is back and it's better than ever with some amazing deals on AMD and Intel processors. Looking for a Ryzen 7 or Core i7 CPU? These are the best deals we could find with them inside.

AMD or Intel? We take a look at the pros and cons of both processors

When it comes to selecting a CPU for your PC, there's no shortage of chips for you to choose from. With Ryzen, Threadripper, and Core i9 CPUs though, the AMD vs. Intel argument is muddier than ever.

Dell launches $200 discount on XPS 13 and Inspiron laptops for Prime Day 2019

If you're in the market for a new laptop, Dell's Cyber Monday in July sale might be worth considering along with your Prime Day 2019 shopping plans. Dell's sale has a wide variety of discounted laptops, including its XPS 13 laptop.

Wage war on a budget with these fun and free first-person shooters

We all know about Halo and Call of Duty by now, but what about quality titles that won't cost you upward of $60? Check out our picks for the best free first-person shooter games from Paladins to Quake Champions.

PDF to JPG conversion is as quick as a few clicks with these simple methods

Converting file formats can be an absolute pain, but it doesn't have to be. We've put together a comprehensive guide on how to convert a PDF to JPG, no matter which operating system you're running.

Listen up Apple: Here’s how to fix the Touch Bar once and for all

If you’re wondering what the point of the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar is, you’re not alone. We know it’s got potential, but it’s never managed to hit the heights of what it promised. Here’s what Apple must do to change it for the…

Gmail's unsend email feature is one of its best. Here's how to use it

Everyone has sent a message they wish they could take back. How great would it be if you could undo that impulsive email? If you're a Gmail user, you can. Here's how to recall an email in Gmail.

How to change your Gmail password whenever you want in just a few quick steps

Regularly updating your passwords is a good way to stay secure online, but each site and service has their own way of doing it. Here's a quick guide on how to change your Gmail password in a few short steps.

Lost without Print Screen? Here's how to take a screenshot on your Mac

Whether you prefer to use keyboard shortcuts or applications such as Grab and Preview, this guide will teach you how to take a screenshot on a Mac. Once you know how, you'll be able to capture images within seconds.

Converting files from MKV to MP4 is quick and easy. Just follow these steps

MKV files have their place, but if you would rather convert your videos from MKV to MP4, there are two methods we consider the best and most efficient for getting it done. In this guide, we'll walk you through them step by step.

Google Chrome 76 will stop websites from seeing users in Incognito Mode

Google Chrome 76 will implement a fix that will stop websites from detecting visitors who are in Incognito Mode. Google acknowledged that the change will complicate matters for publishers who have metered paywalls on their news websites.

Be forewarned, these free MMORPGs will slay your spare time

Have ample time on your hands and an unquenchable thirst to beat, battle, and blast your way through worlds of fantasy and sci-fi splendor? Check out our picks for the best free MMORPGs.

Here's how to download a YouTube video to watch offline later

Learning how to download YouTube videos is easier than you might think. There are tools you can use both online and offline. This step-by-step guide will instruct you on how to use them.