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.

Product Review

The 13-inch Acer Swift 3 struggles to find a place in a very crowded market

Acer’s 13-inch version of the Swift 3 clamshell laptop doesn’t offer much to distinguish itself from a very crowded market. It’s not faster, cheaper, better-built, or more attractive than the competition.
Computing

13 inches is the perfect size for a laptop. Here are the best you can buy

With so much choice out there, how do you know which are the best 13-inch laptops? They should have beautiful screens, long battery life, and remain light and portable. Here are our favorites.
Computing

Want a PC you can reach out and touch? These are the best touchscreen laptops

The best touchscreen laptops aren't locked to 2-in-1s and convertibles, but include clamshell designs too. We pick the best touchscreen clamshells you can find in 2018, ranging from Windows 10 PCs to Chromebooks.
Computing

Tablet or notebook? Our favorite 2-in-1 PCs give you the best of both worlds

If you can’t decide if you need a tablet or a notebook, then don’t bother. The best 2-in-1 laptops are both, and they can provide all the power you need. Check out our list for the best 2-in-1s for any user.
Computing

The Surface Centaurus might run Android apps, but is that a good idea?

A new leak hints that Microsoft's rumored Project Centaurus is a dual-screen device that will run Android apps. Is this what Microsoft needs to save its desperately-ignored Windows tablet mode?
Photography

Create apocalyptic A.I. world with this camera app that removes people from pics

What would the shots in your camera roll look like without any people? Bye Bye Camera is a new iOS app that uses artificial intelligence to remove all people from the photo., but it's not designed for practical applications.
Computing

MacOS Catalina is a worthy update but leaves us worried about the Mac's future

The public beta of Apple’s MacOS Catalina is here, and we’ve got our first impressions of Apple’s latest operating system to see if the new features are worth the hype.
Computing

A dual-screen device from Microsoft is in the works. Here's what we know so far

Would you be interested in a dual-screen Surface computer? The Surface Centaurus is a Microsoft project working on just that -- and Microsoft already has a prototype. Here's all the important information on Centaurus!
Computing

All the news, rumors and wishes for Microsoft's Surface Book 3

Want to know more about Microsoft's Surface Book 3? Here's what we know about the third-generation Surface Book, including what's likely to change, when it will be released, and more useful information!
Mobile

The best travel power adapters for international jet-setters

We recently tried out several of the best travel adapters on our journeys around the globe, and these are our favorite models so far. If you want to keep your gadgets juiced on the go, then snag one of these.
Photography

After Lightroom and Photoshop, Loupedeck brings tactile edits to Camera RAW

Loupedeck, the photo-editing keyboard, can now work round-trip for editing a photo in Lightroom, Adobe Camera RAW, and Photoshop. The new Camera RAW integration continues to add to the Loupedeck Plus roster of compatible software.
Deals

Pre-Prime Day Deal: Amazon has the best offer on the 13-inch MacBook Pro

Prime Day is less than three weeks away, but we’ve already seen some sweet Apple discounts popping up lately. If you're hungry for a deal before Prime Day, Amazon has the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro on sale right now for a nice $200 discount.
Emerging Tech

A Netflix data scientist taught an A.I. to recognize smooching scenes in movies

A senior data scientist at Netflix has taught an A.I. algorithm to recognize kissing scenes in movies. Here's why it could turn out to be a very useful tool for the future of moviemaking.
Computing

If you can only buy one, should it be the MacBook Pro or the iPad Pro?

If you need a powerful, portable device that can handle any task you throw at it, both the MacBook Pro and iPad Pro fit the bill. But which one is best? We run down the pros and cons of each device to help you decide which one you should…