The XPS 13 2-in-1 is one of Dell’s lareview creations, showcased with superlatives at the last CES in Las Vegas. As its name suggests, it is a hybrid laptop, portrayed as a monster of autonomy, very pleasant to use. We already presented it to you in pictures when it arrived within our walls. After a few weeks spent by his side, the time has come to an end: does this XPS 13 honor his lineage?
Dell has achieved a great feat: transforming its ultraportable star into a hybrid laptop, while respecting all that makes up the DNA of the XPS range. The Texan manufacturer has thus retained the very beautiful aluminum, magnesium and carbon fiber case, one of the emblematic characteristics of the range.
For the transformation to be perfect, Dell trades the large screen hinge for two small, very solid models that can rotate the 13.3-inch screen 360 ° around the keyboard. Screen (Full HD) which remains almost borderless and which – hybrid requires – is tactile. We can however criticize it for being a bit heavy: from a certain angle of inclination, the keyboard part lifts slightly …
Even the most discerning observers will notice that the lines of this convertible are not exactly the same as those of the ultraportable. Indeed, to perfect its creation, Dell had to significantly reduce the thickness of the keyboard part and move – or even replace – some elements. Starting with the webcam which is enriched with a second sensor and is no longer in the lower left corner of the screen but under it, well in the center.
Another change, the connectors. It was already not very extensive or diversified on the ultraportable, it is even less so on the convertible. Only two USB Type-C sockets are present on the sides of the machine! One of them is Thunderbolt 3 compatible and is also used to recharge the battery. To this is added a headphone / microphone jack and the list already stops there. Dell has however had the good taste to slip a USB Type-C / USB 3.0 adapter in the box to facilitate the use of keys and other external hard drives with its foal.
Of course, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are present for wireless connections of all kinds. For lovers of wired internet connection, a USB Type-C / Ethernet adapter will be mandatory; count 92 euros to acquire that of Dell. Considering the starting price of the machine (1400 euros), the Texan could still have slipped this accessory in the box!
Comfort of use always at the top!
What does not change, however, is the quality of the backlit keyboard. In our opinion, it’s one of the best in the PC world today and only the next generation MacBook Pro 13, yet very different, can compete.
The touchpad, too, remains identical to that of other XPS. It is pleasant to use and the clicks, integrated into the surface, are firm and respond well.
The touch screen is precise, pleasant to use and compatible with Windows Ink. Clearly, with a suitable stylus (not supplied), you can take handwritten notes via compatible programs or directly on screenshots.
Powerful enough for the casual
The Intel ultra low-consumption platform of the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is made for everyday use, such as surfing, watching videos including 4K and, of course, the practice of high-dose office automation. We were also very surprised by the aptitudes of the Core i7-7Y75 processor which, to put it simply, develops as much power as some 5th generation Core i7 low consumption 5th generation (Broadwell) and this, consuming half as much.
Another positive point, this chip does not require any active ventilation system and therefore makes no noise. The underside of the machine acts as a giant dissipator! Besides, we found a (reasonable) maximum of 44.2 ° C in the upper left corner, while we were stressing the components.
Of course, the presence of 8 GB of memory helps the processor to feel more comfortable when it comes to processing tasks that consume material resources. However, make no mistake: playing on the machine is not at all possible. Displaying complex polygons and textures is beyond the scope of the graphics controller built into the processor.
For storage, Dell relies on a 256 GB SSD swift and if this quantity is not enough, it is always possible to extend it using the microSD reader.
The icing on the cake: nine hours of autonomy!
The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is undoubtedly one of the most enduring hybrids of the start of the year. Both in continuous video playback and in versatile use, it takes more than 9 hours on battery! Enough to follow its owner, all day long, without the latter needing to burden himself with the mains charger when traveling. An excellent service which is added to all the others related in this review.
The screen spoils the party
Unfortunately, all of these undeniable strengths are somewhat tarnished by the barely “fair” quality of the screen. The backlighting of the panel is far from being the best there is since the average maximum brightness is capped at 236 cd / m2.
The contrast ratio exceeds 1260: 1, saving the furniture. However, this imbalance has a direct consequence on the image quality in some of our benchmark videos: the gray areas may lack precision or even be completely “blocked”.
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