The Dell XPS 12 brings the full Windows 8 experience to the table thanks to its convertible tablet form factor. Dell’s screen flipping mechanism is as unique as it is rock solid; it turns into a great tablet in a matter of seconds. The 12.5-inch display is absolutely beautiful and the touch screen functionality works perfectly in Windows 8. The screen’s full HD resolution (1920×1080) has tons of space to use two windows side by side or look at high-res pictures and video in exquisite detail. And if you don’t want to use the tablet mode, the XPS 12’s backlit keyboard and clickpad are fantastic.
The XPS 12’s build quality is superb thanks to extensive use of carbon fiber and metal alloy; it’s quite portable at under 0.8″ thin and 3.4 pounds. The battery life is 3.5 hours using our new test (it would be 5+ on our old test) which is reasonable for an ultraportable notebook. System performance is good thanks to the Core i5 processor and 128GB Samsung SSD.
Our complaints are few but notable. First is the very limited variety of ports — just two USB 3.0 and a mini-DisplayPort; there’s no Ethernet or media card reader (the latter is especially disappointing). Next is the screen-heavy design; it’s not practical to use the touch screen in laptop mode because it wants to tip backward. Lastly there’s the minor software issues I experienced (either a driver issue with the XPS 12, Windows 8 or both). Those software issues can probably be fixed with a downloadable update in the future, and the lack of media card reader might only be an issue for people who regularly transfer digital photos in this way.
At $1,200 starting the XPS 12 is not inexpensive but you’re getting a quality machine with the best of the tablet and notebook worlds.
- Beautiful touch screen display
- Seamless tablet experience
- Excellent build quality
- Good keyboard and touchpad
- Lack of ports (no media card reader)
- Screen-heavy design
- Some software issues