Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1 finally lets you turn the best laptop into a tablet

best laptops of ces 2017 dell xps 13 2 in 1 header
Dell enjoyed a solid 2016, with the XPS 13 maintaining its place at the top of the Windows 10 Ultrabook market and enjoying a nice refresh at the tail end of 2016, and the company generally putting out well-built machines that more than refurbished its reputation as a quality PC vendor. Now, it’s becoming obvious that Dell is serious about continuing to leverage the revitalization of the Windows ecosystem.

For example, Dell is jumping into the Windows 10 2-in-1 market with some gusto, with a new XPS 13 2-in-1 model that takes what’s best about its traditional notebook sibling and adds in some flexibility. In addition, the company has introduced the “world’s overall thinnest” monitor, the S2718D, for good measure, taking advantage of the InfinityEdge tiny bezel design to offer a display that’s perfectly matched to the excellent XPS line.

dell xps 13 2 in 1 ces 2017 image

If you’ve ever used an XPS 13, then you might have found yourself thinking about how nice it would be if that lovely screen could just swivel around for use as a tablet. Or, maybe you wanted to flip it around to tent mode for watching a video, and the screen just wouldn’t comply. After all, that incredibly thin InfinityEdge bezel makes for a nicely sized chassis for a machine with a 13.3-inch display.

If that’s something that would appeal to you, then you’re in luck. Dell has done exactly what you want — they’ve taken the excellent XPS 13, massaged the design to accommodate a 360-degree hinge, and pushed out a new XPS 13 2-in-1 that looks like it’s the best of both the traditional notebook and convertible tablet worlds.

Just looking at Dell’s new machine, you wouldn’t be blamed for mistaking it for the XPS 13. It has the same aluminum chassis and carbon fiber palm rest, and the same conservative good looks. It’s a small device — in fact, Dell calls it the “smallest 13-inch 2-in-1 on the planet” — and you’ll notice the lack of USB 3.0 port and additional USB Type-C port that takes its place. There’s also a new battery gauge button and indicator borrowed from the XPS 15 along the right-hand side. But otherwise, it’s a very familiar design.

Dell didn’t stray too far from the XPS 13 in terms of the display. The XPS 13 2-in-1 offers the same 13.3-inch screen in an 11-inch chassis with UltraSharp QHD+ (3200 x 1800) and Full HD options. Touch, of course, is standard on both, as is Gorilla Glass NBT to keep the display scratch-free.

Where things get different, of course, is in the ability to transform the XPS 13 2-in-1 into the now-common notebook, tent mode, presentation mode, and tablet configurations. The steel hinge is nondescript compared to, say, Lenovo’s Yoga 910, but it nevertheless makes for a distinctive new aesthetic element that gives away the machine’s intended use.

Another difference is in Dell’s selection of Intel’s Kaby Lake Core i5-7Y54 and Core i7-7Y75 processors. As has been noted with some other 2-in-1 machines like the Acer Spin 7, these processors provide the benefit of being cool-running and so enabling fanless and ultra-quiet systems, but their performance leaves something to be desired.

Time will tell if the 46 watt-hour battery that Dell has put in the XPS 13 2-in-1 will be sufficient to provide better battery life than we’re seeing from other very thin machines in this class. Dell promises 15 hours with the Full HD display for productivity applications, and nine hours of Netflix streaming, which would be superior battery life if that’s not just marketing fluff.

Finally, the XPS 13 2-in-1 display supports the optional Dell Active Pen with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, making it a true competitor to Microsoft’s Surface line of 2-in-1s and some other manufacturer’s machines that support pen input. And, Dell has included a fingerprint scanner for Windows Hello support. Unfortunately, the first 2-in-1 use of Dell’s InfinityEdge thin bezel design also means the webcam is in the same unfortunate position at the bottom of the screen.

Computing

Nose cam no more. How Dell avoided a notch and fixed the XPS 13’s biggest flaw

The new Dell XPS 13 moves the webcam from the below the screen to the top, finally vanquishing the one obstacle facing thin, sleek laptop displays. We have the exclusive story on how it was done.
Product Review

LG Gram 14 proves 2-in-1 laptops don’t need to sacrifice battery for light weight

The LG Gram 14 2-in-1 aims to be very light for a laptop that converts to a tablet. And it is. But it doesn’t skimp on the battery, and so it lasts a very long time on a charge.
Computing

Dell XPS 13 vs. Asus Zenbook 13: In battle of champions, who will be the victor?

The ZenBook 13 UX333 continues Asus's tradition of offering great budget-oriented 13-inch laptop offerings. Does this affordable machine offer enough value to compete with the excellent Dell XPS 13?
Computing

Chromebook 13 vs. Google Pixelbook: Acer model takes on the king

Acer's Chromebook 13 is throwing tons of speed at the Chrome OS market, to go with a midrange build and traditional clamshell design. Is that enough to challenge the Google Pixelbook?
Computing

Faster new PCIe 5.0 standard leapfrogs the best feature of AMD’s Ryzen 3

PCIe 5.0 will bring even faster data transfers, but it may only be found on HPCs and servers initially. The standard is four times faster than your current PC at transferring data, and new devices could appear later this year.
Deals

From Chromebooks to MacBooks, here are the best laptop deals for January 2019

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some post-holiday shopping, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.
Computing

Keep your laptop battery in tip-top condition with these handy tips

Learn how to care for your laptop's battery, how it works, and what you can do to make sure yours last for years and retains its charge. Check out our handy guide for valuable tips, no matter what type of laptop you have.
Computing

Protect your expensive new laptop with the best Macbook cases

If you recently picked up a new MacBook, you’ll want something to protect its gorgeous exterior. Here, we've gathered the best MacBook cases and covers, whether you're looking for style or protection.
Computing

Watch out for these top-10 mistakes people make when buying a laptop

Buying a new laptop is exciting, but you need to watch your footing. There are a number of pitfalls you need to avoid and we're here to help. Check out these top-10 laptop buying mistakes and how to avoid them.
Computing

Don't spend a fortune on a PC. These are the best laptops under $300

Buying a laptop needn't mean spending a fortune. If you're just looking to browse the internet, answer emails, and watch Netflix, you can pick up a great laptop at a great price. These are the best laptops under $300.
Gaming

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.
Computing

The Asus ZenBook 13 offers more value and performance than Apple's MacBook Air

The Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 is the latest in that company's excellent "budget" laptop line, and it looks and feels better than ever. How does it compare to Apple's latest MacBook Air?
Computing

AMD Radeon VII will support DLSS-like upscaling developed by Microsoft

AMD's Radeon VII has shown promise with early tests of an open DLSS-like technology developed by Microsoft called DirectML. It would provide similar upscale features, but none of the locks on hardware choice.
Computing

You could be gaming on AMD’s Navi graphics card before the end of the summer

If you're waiting for a new graphics card from AMD that doesn't cost $700, you may have to wait for Navi. But that card may not be far away, with new rumors suggesting we could see a July launch.