Salivating over the new XPS 15 2-in-1? Here’s how you should configure it

Dell XPS 15-2-1 review

The XPS 15 2-in-1 is a computer we like a lot. It’s not perfect, but it’s forward thinking and risk-taking. It also delivers some impressive gaming performance in the shell of a sleek, thin laptop.

But not all configurations offered are ones you should buy. Most notably, we’d recommend staying away from the 4K model, which just happens to be what we received as our review unit. Using the 4K XPS 2-in-1 wasn’t a bad experience by any means — after all, the display is absolutely gorgeous, as to be expected.

However, there are two significant issues with it. The first is battery life.

Though it has a 75 watt-hour battery inside, our tests showed it had very mediocre battery life. It only lasted around five and a half hours in our video loop test, which is half that of the average competitor. For a machine that is sold as a “do it all” laptop, you’ll be disappointed when it quickly dies at a coffee shop without an outlet. We don’t know exactly how much better the 1080p version will be, but we’d guess it’ll get at least a couple more hours per charge.

Then there’s the price.

Even if the 4K model didn’t significantly hinder the battery life, it still won’t be worth the extra $400 for most people. In the case where it provides an overall lackluster experience, it’s really not worth the extra money. Throw in the fact that you probably won’t be able to play many games at 4K anyway — even desktops struggle to do that — it’s a clear cut case. Don’t buy it.

dell xps 15 2 1 in review front display

If you do decide the XPS 15 2-in-1 is for you, which configuration should you get? Well, most of the other options offer solid value for what you get. Since the same AMD Radeon RX Vega M graphics component is standard across the board, you’ll get the most gaming value out of the least expensive models offered.

The starting price is a $1,300 configuration, which has a slower Core i5 processor and less RAM, but you can still expect decent gaming performance out of it. There isn’t currently an option out there that competes with this level of configuration, unless you compromise the overall look and feel of the laptop (as in a cheap gaming laptop), or are willing to pay a lot more (as in the Surface Book 2).

The base model XPS 15 2-in-1 has a slower Core i5-8305G CPU and only 8GB of RAM, but for the price you’re still getting a quad-core processor and a very capable GPU. The $1,300 is not currently listed on Dell’s website, but it goes on sale on April 23. We think it’s worth the wait.

We think the slightly more expensive mid-tier options a good value as well. You should stretch for those if you plan to use the XPS 15 2-in-1 for productivity work, because you’ll need the added RAM and larger hard drive. Remember that Dell offers some customization, so you can jump up the hard drive on the base model. However, you must buy the $1,800 version if you want 16GB of RAM.

On the whole, less is more when buying the XPS 15 2-in-1. It’s an extremely capable, and experimental, 2-in-1 even in its most basic configuration, which means there’s less reason to go all-out. If you do need more, we recommend going for RAM and hard drive upgrades, but avoiding the wonderful, beautiful, and very, very expensive 4K screen.

Photography

Loupedeck Plus can now edit video, audio with Final Cut Pro

The list of Loupedeck Plus-compatible software is growing. The photo-editing console now works with Final Cut Pro and Adobe Audition for video and audio editing. The controls can be configured to be used on either platform.
Computing

Like to be brand loyal? These tech titans make some of our favorite laptops

If you want to buy your next laptop based around a specific brand, it helps to know which the best brands of laptops are. This list will give you a good grounding in the most reliable, quality laptop manufacturers today.
Computing

You could spend $1,000 on an iPhone, or buy one of these awesome laptops instead

Finding a decent laptop is easy, but finding one under $1,000 is a bit tricky. Luckily, we've taken some of the guesswork out of picking out a budget laptop. Here are some of our favorites, the best laptops under $1,000.
Computing

We gave both notebooks a perfect score, but there can only be one best laptop

Dell's XPS 13 has been our favorite 13-inch laptop for a while, but HP's latest Spectre x360 13 2-in-1 presents a serious challenge. Which wins out in a head-to-head comparison?
Photography

Paper designs digitize in real time using an Illustrator-connected paper tablet

Love graphic design, but prefer the feel of real paper? The new Moleskine Paper Tablet - Creative Cloud Connected syncs with Adobe Illustrator in real time, turning paper sketches into digital drawings.
Computing

Make the most of your toner with our five favorite color laser printers

Color laser printers have improved dramatically over the years, and today's models offer both blazing print speeds and great image quality. Here are our favorite color laser printers, from massive all-in-ones to smaller budget options.
Product Review

4K and 144Hz? Yup, the Acer Predator XB3 will max out your gaming PC

The Predator XB3 isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you have a system that can push over 100 frames per second in 4K screen resolution, this monster of a monitor might be the perfect match for your overpowered gaming rig.
Computing

Firefox 66 is here and it will soon block irritating autoplay videos

Do web advertisements have you frustrated? Mozilla is here to help. The latest version of the browser will soon block autoplaying videos by default and will also help make web page scrolling smoother.
Computing

USB4 will be the fastest and most uniform USB standard yet

USB4 is on the horizon and alongside a massive boost in speed it's also unifying with the Thunderbolt 3 standard to help finally create a singular wired connection protocol that all devices can enjoy.
Computing

The U.S. government plans to drop $500M on a ridiculously powerful supercomputer

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced plans to build a $500 million exascale supercomputer by 2021. The project, known as the Aurora supercomputer, is expected to boost research efforts in fields such as public health.
Buying Guides

Apple has powered up its iMac lineup, but which one should you opt for?

With new processors and graphics cards for both the 4K and 5K models, the iMac feels like a good option for creatives again. But which should you buy? Here's our guide to choosing the right Apple all-in-one for your needs.
Computing

HP spring sale: Save up to 58 percent on laptops, desktops, printers, and more

From now until March 23, the HP spring sale lets you take as much as 58 percent off of a huge range of laptops, desktop PCs, printers, and more, potentially saving you more than $1,000. We’ve rounded up a dozen of the best deals right…
Computing

Yes, Apple’s new iMacs look great, but they do have one glaring problem

With processors ranging up to the eight-core Core i9, the 2019 iMac update looks like a pretty solid upgrade to Apple's classic all-in-one. But hidden in the details of the product page, there's one outdated component Apple is holding onto.
Computing

Grab 1 terabyte of SSD storage for just $100 with this sale on Amazon

If you're looking for an excellent opportunity to pick up a 1TB SSD at a low price, Amazon has you covered with Samsung's 860 QVO 1TB 2.5-inch SATA III Internal SSD. It is an excellent offering for both multimedia enthusiasts and gamers.