Dell XPS thirteen 2-in-1 assessment: A surface-like Slate for less

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The contemporary hybrid XPS isn’t as high-priced because the Microsoft surface it apes, however elements of it aren’t as appropriate, either.

The newest XPS thirteen two-in-one from Dell seems and feels loads just like the surface seasoned from Microsoft. Yes, there are numerous different windows capsules with clip-on keyboards, but the floor is the unique and nonetheless satisfactory acknowledged, so it is the one you are most probable to evaluate with this.

I’ve constantly been a fan of the XPS line in preferred, and specially the XPS thirteen clamshell laptops. This -in-one model has some of the equal aesthetically minimalist touches and mod-feeling matte aluminum body. Even higher, it expenses a good deal much less than a similar surface seasoned, depending on the way you configure each machine.

A surface pro nine with a core i5 CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, along with the keyboard cover, is $1,578. A further configured XPS 13 -in-one, additionally with the keyboard cowl, is $1,299. And that’s with a larger 512GB SSD, too. An precise assessment is tough because the surface seasoned nine would not provide a pairing of middle i5 and 512GB, even as the XPS 13 two-in-one offers best 512GB and 1TB storage options. Prices also can alternate regularly with limited time discounts and deals. (As of this overview, the surface seasoned nine is offering a unfastened keyboard cover for a limited time, a financial savings of $179.)

There’s also an ARM-based surface seasoned 9 (the version we reviewed) that uses Microsoft’s sq. Chip instead of one from Intel and adds 5G aid, however there is no comparable XPS two-in-one alternative for that.

Keyboard and kickstand sins
But configured as intently as viable, there is a quite large price difference. Still, i am nevertheless now not certain i’d go together with the XPS two-in-one over the surface seasoned 9. Why? Due to the fact the two matters the surface has perfected about pill/pc hybrids, the kickstand and the keyboard cowl, are not pretty as perfected here.

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Dan Ackerman/CNET
And that’s a disgrace because the thirteen-inch 2,880×1,920 display is vibrant and wealthy-looking. It is rated for 500 nits brightness, and in practice it makes for a superb tv/film streaming device when lying in mattress. The surface pro helps a faster 120Hz refresh charge, versus just 60Hz right here. That could imply smoother video, but also have an impact on battery existence. Having a better, or variable, refresh price is a pleasant feature to have, however the general public can be glad with a 60Hz screen.

But the keyboard cover, which Dell calls the XPS Folio, is a letdown. I will start with the coolest information: it’s just $100 greater, now not the crook $179 Microsoft fees for its keyboard cowl. However in contrast to the surface keyboard, which can attitude up on the lower back for a more ergonomic revel in, the Dell model sits flat in your table and that’s it. The actual keys are huge, flat, aspect-to-facet-fashion keys, which is a superb use of restricted area, and in reality, it feels more like a strong pc keyboard than the surface version. But, the lack of any kind of incline alternative made it experience awkward.

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Dan Ackerman/CNET
A miles larger sin is how the kickstand is included into the XPS Folio itself, as opposed to being constructed into the pill. Which means to prop up the XPs 13 -in-one, you want the overall keyboard cover connected, even in case you simply need to prop the pill up like a standalone display. Even as the surface seasoned allows for nearly limitless kickstand angles, the lower back of the XPs Folio slides down into three magnetic stops, and it is completely possible none of them will sense exactly proper to you.

Fanless overall performance
Once you get past these layout foibles, the XPs 13 two-in-one is a respectable performer for a U-series middle i5 windows system. It’s fanless, which makes it definitely silent and allows battery existence, even if it’s a theoretical limiter on usual overall performance due to the fact the warmth needs to be regulated.

A present day M2 MacBook is faster, as is the middle i7 XPS 13 Plus and the maximum current middle i5 XPS thirteen, however now not through a big amount. I would call this a superbly satisfactory laptop for mainstream obligations or even a few picture or video work.

Dell-xps-2-in-1-2023 with keyboard stand connected, rear/side view
Dan Ackerman/CNET
Battery existence is also almost 7.Five hours on our on line video streaming test. Once more, nowhere close to what some other laptops with larger batteries can pull off, but nevertheless very good if you’re going to be doing a lot of video streaming.

This see-sawing listing of pluses and minuses depart the XPS 13 -in-one in a peculiar region. The charge is proper, thinking about the additives, accessories, design and overall performance. But in some of the exceptional of life problems, it falls in the back of the extra costly surface seasoned line, and you’ll must determine if the price tradeoff is well worth it for the kickstand and keyboard variations.

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