Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 review: The hybrid version of Dell's popular laptop makes a few trade-offs along the way

 
Steve Hogarty
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Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
3.5

The 2-in-1 version of Dell’s popular XPS 13 laptop is one of this trendy new breed of convertibles, the kind that teens are Snapchatting about down at the skatepark.

A neat pair of 360 degree hinges allows you to transform it from a laptop into a tablet in one dramatic motion, folding the entire screen back on itself like some carbon fibre yogi. And like a yogi, this sleek and supple 13 incher is remarkably thin – the world’s smallest 2-in-1 in this class, by Dell’s measurement.

But you don’t get to be this narrow without compromising a degree of functionality. Standard USB ports are always the first to go in the race to thintown, and the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is no exception. Just two USB Type-C ports adorn its pencil-narrow profile, alongside a MicroUSB card slot.

Because it has no fan with which to disperse heat, the hybrid XPS 13 is underpowered in comparison to its non-transforming sibling. The CPU has been reined in to prevent it overheating, and is noticeably less capable of handling intensive tasks such as gaming and video editing.

No such sacrifices have been made when it comes to the keyboard. It’s one of the better boards you’ll find in a hybrid, deep and comfortable to type on for extended periods. The screen is gorgeous too, running daringly close to the edges of the case.

Still, quite why you’d choose the hybrid over the standard Dell XPS 13 remains a mystery about as old as laptop-tablet hybrids. In exchange for the ability to transform into a chunky Windows iPad, you give up a few hundred quid, some processing power, a USB port and a little battery life.

That Dell has managed to squeeze its leading laptop into a super-slimline 2-in-1 is impressive, but stick to the original if you’re after performance.

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