Dell XPS 12
With Windows 8 bringing improved touch functionality to the table, manufacturers have sought various ways to put a touch display on their premium offerings. The XPS 12 by Dell does this by putting their monitor within an aluminium frame, which contains a swiveling hinge. The XPS 12 certainly befits the XPS moniker given to it, with a sleek design that is a mix of aluminium, carbon fiber and Gorilla Glass. The stylish machine keeps colours to a bare minimum, with a black paintjob with hints of silver.
The main attraction of the XPS 12 would be its 12-inch screen, suspended in a frame that allows it to transform from unsuspecting Ultrabook to potent slate in no time at all. The top and bottom of the Full HD display seem to be equipped with magnetic clips of some sort, allowing the screen to snap together without exerting force on your end. The hinge doesn’t go the whole 360 degrees though, which prevent the insides from tangling together when surprise onlookers with the mechanic. The screen is glossy, which also makes it a 12-inch fingerprint magnet. The unit is no lightweight either, weighing in at 1.54kg, so you won’t be one-handing this for hours on end.
Pitting itself against other Ultrabooks in the market, the XPS 12 is no slouch, packing an Intel Core i5-3317U processor. This review unit comes with 4GB of DDR3 RAM, though you can expect double that amount when you get the base variant when you head out and purchase it. The XPS 12 comes with a 128GB solid state drive, keeping everything snappy. The upmarket variant packs a more powerful processor as well as more storage, with a significant price increase.
In terms of performance, the XPS 12 delivered, going about tasks without suffering from slowdown. The touch screen certainly proved its mettle, with bright and vibrant colours all around. The backlit keyboard makes working in poor lighting conditions easier, and the speakers make do when you’re on the go.
Battery life for this hybrid Ultrabook is so-so, clocking in at 3 hours and 26 minutes. If you stick to office work and disable the backlit keyboard, you can eke out an additional hour or so. The XPS 12 offers the bare essentials in terms of connectivity, with a pair of USB 3.0 ports, a miniDisplayPort connector, and your combo audio jack. All in all, if you’re looking for an Ultrabook that can double as a slate, the XPS 12 should be on your sights.