Dell has just announced a new Windows 2-in-1 tablet computer called XPS 12, which uses a series of magnets to turn into a laptop, along with a refresh of its existing XPS 13 and XPS 15 laptops.
If the idea behind the XPS 12 sounds familiar, then it certainly does seem to share some design inspiration with Microsoft’s new Surface Book, using magnets to fasten the screen to a separate keyboard base. Unlike the the Surface Book, though, there are no fancy hinge mechanisms here — Dell’s offering holds the the screen rigidly in place. That means you can’t change the viewing angle even if you want to, which could prove irritating.
In fact, the company developed a pretty slick little locking mechanism for the tablet. To detach the screen from the keyboard, simply pull it forward a little bit as if you’re going to close the laptop, and then pull it out.
We had an opportunity to try out the XPS 12 for like two minutes yesterday, and one thing we should note is that the keyboard is more substantial than what you get with the Surface Pro 4. It’s a real hardware keyboard.
Under the hood, the device features a 12.5-inch display (with a a 4K option available), Intel’s 2.7GHz Core M5 processor. There are also two USB Type-C ports — one for power, the other available to plug accessories into. As for for pricing, an XPS 12 with 128GB of storage, 8GB of RAM and a standard HD display will set you back $1,000. If you want a higher spec option, you can grab one with a 4K display and 256GB of storage for $1,300.
Elsewhere, Dell has given its XPS 13 and XPS 15 laptops a scrub up. Dell claims that the laptops are the smallest 13-inch and 15-inch laptops on the planet, and the displays certainly make it look like that could be the case: both feature beautiful-looking edge-to-edge displays squeezed into their aluminum and carbon fiber frames.
The XPS 15 is a pretty substantial overhaul, which can come equipped with either a full HD screen with 1,920×1,080 pixels or an impressive 4K option. Again, only the larger of the two feature a touchscreen. Inside, it can be specced with Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processors and up to 16GB RAM, and it features the same USB Type-C port. The base model will cost $1,000, but you can take things to the extreme with a 1TB SSD, 16GB of RAM, and a Core i7 chip for $2,600.
The new XPS 13 is basically a spec bump of the totally fabulous, tiny MacBook Air competitor the company introduced back in January. Inside the housing sit either a 1,920 x 1,080 pixel or 3,200 x 1,800 pixel display, with the larger of the two offering touchscreen capabilities. Inside the 13-incher, we’re now getting the latest Intel Skylake Core processors and up to 16GB of RAM, along with a battery claimed to last 18 hours(!). The only real hardware addition is USB Type-C port which also works with Thunderbolt 3. The base model starts at $800.
The XPS 12 will be available from November 5th; the XPS 13 and XPS 15 will be available from today.
What do we make of all this? We already know the XPS 13 is a sweet little machine, and this new overhaul will make it faster with better battery life. As for the XPS 15, we’re definitely curious about the usability of 4K in a tablet form factor.
Perhaps the most intriguing, if not exactly surprising addition is the XPS 12. Despite the slow start to the Surface, there is something about the tablet with a keyboard concept that’s speaking to manufacturers. Dell’s addition of a real usable keyboard instead of some floppy wannabe is crucial. We’ll wait and see if customers think so too.