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Dell’s Latest XPS Takes On the Surface Tablet

The Dell XPS 2-in-1 tablet at a desk.

Dell is giving its reversible laptop a Surface-inspired redesign. The new XPS 13 2-in-1 is a fully-functional tablet with a detachable magnetic keyboard, a touchscreen, and a stylus. It runs on the impressive hardware for the form-factor, and oddly enough, it packs a 4K rear camera.

Update, 8/18/22 1:39 pm Eastern: Dell will launch the XPS 13 2-in-1 on August 25th. It starts at $1,099 with an Intel Core i5 configuration, though you can upgrade to an i7 model.

Maybe “Surface-inspired” is an understatement. The new XPS 13 2-in-1 mimics several points in Microsoft’s game-plan, including the shopping experience (you have to buy the keyboard and stylus separately) and the commitment to high-end performance.

Under the hood, the XPS 13 2-in-1 packs the latest 12th Gen Intel Core processors (i5 or i7). Its highest configuration uses an i7-1250U CPU, which is comparable to the i7-1185G7 chip in the most expensive Surface Pro 8. There’s also LPDDR4x RAM (up to 16GB) and supports a maximum 1TB of PCIe 4 SSD storage.

The Dell XPS 2-in-1's detachable touchscreen.

Dell also shoved a 13.3-inch 3:2 Gorilla Glass 7 touchscreen in this tablet, which is notable for its 1,800:1 contrast ratio (it’s also slightly larger than the Surface Pro 8’s 13-inch screen). The other display specs, including a 2880×1920 resolution, 500 nits of brightness, DisplayHDR 400 support, and 100% sRGB coverage, are predictable but still quite good.

Here’s the weird thing; Dell went nuts with the 2-in-1’s cameras. The 5MP selfie lens supports a 1080p resolution and Windows Hello sign-in, while an 11MP rear camera captures 4K images and videos. I only wish that Dell went all-out on the port selection—there are just two Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports. So, no headphone jack, HDMI output, or SD Card reader. (The TB4 ports support video output, and the tablet comes with adapters for headphones and USB-A devices.)

The Dell XPS 13 on a white background.

In addition to the new 2-in-1, Dell unveiled an upgraded XPS 13 laptop. It looks pretty similar to previous models, but this time it has a single-color paint job and ditches the headphone jack (a decision that makes zero sense in a professional laptop, by the way).

The most significant changes to the XPS 13 are all internal. There are two choices of 12th Gen Core processors (i5-1230U or i7-1250U) with Iris Xe graphics, up to 32GB of LPDDR5-5200 RAM, a maximum 1TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD storage, an optional 4K UHD+ touchscreen display upgrade, and up to 12 hours of battery. (Though you’ll only get this battery life with the i5 1080p model.)

Dell also stuck a shockingly small motherboard in the new XPS 13, which appears to make room for improved thermals. The previous XPS 13 could get a bit hot (even its keyboard could get hot), but this model uses just one fan—I hope that Dell isn’t acting overly confident here. Also, the webcam and battery get an “upgrade,” though the camera’s still 720p, and the battery is 51Wh instead of 52Wh.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 starts at $1,099 when it launches August 25th. If you want the new XPS 13 laptop, you can order it now starting at $999.

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »