Over the next few weeks, you're going to hear a lot of noise from manufacturers about how one hybrid product or another gives you all of the benefits of a laptop and a tablet, with no compromises on design. The Dell XPS Duo 12 is one of the few that actually seems to back that up.
The Duo is a convertible tablet/laptop that switches from laptop to tablet mode differently from most other hybrids coming out. It's a fully functional touchscreen laptop in its default mode, but you can push the display through its frame, and it swivels all the way around, finally latching itself in place with magnets.
Looking at the frame from the front, a little daylight keeps through, and it seems like a cheap design at first. But the mechanism is sturdier than it seems, and Dell knows it's got to make the thing last if anyone's going to buy it. Exactly how sturdy it is remains to be seen with further review, but for now, it's pretty solid.
Oh, and the screen itself is a 1080p Corning Gorilla Glass panel with really good color representation.
The XPS Duo 12, like the XPS 10, shares its design with Dell's quite nice XPS 13 and 14 ultrabooks. The big change for this one, aside from the swiveling screen, is the move to a carbon fiber front of the lid. It had been aluminum on the XPS 13 and 14. But otherwise, the general design language and keyboard are all the same. That's a good thing, since those XPSs were really nice machines, and have great keyboards.
Usability-wise, from a few minutes playing with it and putting it through its paces, the trackpad also really, really good. It's miles ahead of what previous XPS machines' trackpads could do. Dell's been making great machines with bad trackpads for a while; it seems to have fixed that big hurdle.
We don't have full specs and pricing yet, but if you're at all interested in a hybrid Windows 8 machine, this one, along with its little sister the XPS 10, is one to be kind of excited for.