Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2020) review: speedy, spectacular convertible

The Dell XPS 13 is not only one of Dell’s most famous laptops, but also one of the most famous laptops. If you know anything about Windows laptops, you’ve probably heard the name. It’s great in almost every respect, and it just keeps getting better.

Therefore, it is permissible to hear about the “Dell XPS 13 2-in-1” and assume it is a generic XPS 13. However, the XPS 13 2-in-1 is a very unique laptop with different trade-offs and considerations than its Clamshell counterpart. In some areas (such as graphics performance), convertibles are one step ahead of standard XPS. For others (like keyboards), it’s a bit of a compromise. The best model depends on the type of task you are trying to perform.

This year’s 2-in-1 starts at $ 1,099.99 with a Core i3-1115G4 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD. For a 3840 x 2400 display, Core i7-1165G7 CPU, 32GB of RAM, and 1TB SSD, you can specify up to $ 2,249.99 (currently displayed for $ 1,999.99). You can also pay an additional $ 50 for the white (“frost”) color instead of the silver and black models, and an additional $ 60 to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.

There is a model in the middle, which includes 1165G7, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD, and a 1920 x 1200 touchscreen. The price is $ 1,949.99 (although it is currently listed on the Dell website as $ 1,749.99). A regular XPS 13 with the same processor has only 8GB of RAM and is said to cost $ 1,499.99, but is currently priced at $ 1,349.99. This means you’ll have to pay an extra $ 400 to add 8GB of memory, with other 2-in-1 benefits as well.

Before that, let’s take a brief look at what’s new in the previous XPS 132-in-1. That’s one main thing: the processor. This 2-in-1 (9310) contains Intel’s latest 11th generation “Tiger Lake” mobile chip. The CPU brings Intel’s best-in-class Iris Xe integrated graphics. This has been a hot topic in town since the launch of Tiger Lake, and the Thunderbolt 4 standard. This 9310 is actually certified by Intel’s Evo program (indicated by a small sticker on the palm rest on the right). From connectivity to battery life and performance, this program ensures that your laptop meets the needs of everyday home and office users. ..

The port supports up to two 4K displays and up to 40 Gbps data transfer.

Apart from that, the new 2-in-1 looks almost the same as its predecessor and the Clamshell XPS, with a slim, sturdy aluminum chassis, 1920 x 1200 (16:10) Gorilla Glass screen, and four ports (Thunderbolt). 4, 2 USB-C with DisplayPort, Power Delivery, 1 headphone jack, 1 microSD card reader). Dell has also made some adjustments. The webcam now supports Windows Hello, has a new “frost” color option, increased RAM from 3733MHz to 4267MHz, made the touchpad quieter, and updated the microSD reader announced by Dell. Better performance. It’s all working, but the processor is the star of the show here — and it’s the star.

For general performance, the 1165G7 handled my office workload. It includes dozens of Chrome tabs, a few other apps like Slack and Spotify, downloads, file copies, and other office stuff without any problems in the background. I’ve never heard a fan spin or feel heat unless I’m running a vigorous program. This is an experience on a machine with an i7, but it doesn’t sacrifice the performance of this convertible form factor.

The heavier media work is where this system begins to stand out. The 2-in-1 took 10 minutes and 5 seconds to export a 4K video in 5 minutes and 33 seconds in Adobe Premiere Pro. This is 38 seconds faster than a regular XPS 13 and is virtually equivalent. Both systems are faster than the 10th generation Ice Lake laptop with integrated graphics and better than the Asus ZenBook 14 with the same processor (it took 11 and a half minutes). They also lost to the arm-powered MacBook Air (which doesn’t even have a fan) and the MacBook Pro, finishing work at 8:15 and 7:39, respectively.

However, what really makes 2-in-1 different from clamshell is the performance of the game. You can actually play quite a few games on this laptop without reducing the resolution. 2-in-1 smoked clam shell Rocket leagueMaximum setting (average 120 fps, clamshell 111 fps) and League of Legends (226fps compared to 205fps for clamshell). Both XPS 13s only show the maximum value that can be displayed on the screen, 60 fps, but these results show how much Dell clocked 2-in-1 higher than the standard XPS. ..

The display covers 100% of the sRGB spectrum and 78% of Adobe RGB, reaching a brightness of 469 knits.

The hinges are sturdy and don’t add much to the bottom bezel.

2-in-1s are so impressive that some games actually perform better than clam shells.The breeze blew OverwatchUltra settings, average 71fps. This is above the standard XPS 13 with an average of 48fps in the same preset. This is the difference you can see in the gameplay. It also beats Lenovo’s IdeaPad Slim 7 with AMD’s 8-core Ryzen 7 4800U. This is not far from the system tested on the most powerful Tiger Lake processor (Core i7-1185G7) at 46 fps, averaging 89 fps.

The really exciting news is that you can actually play Shadow of the Tomb Raider 1080p on this machine. 2-in-1 averages 36 fps in the game’s built-in benchmark (at the lowest possible setting). It’s just two steps away from the latest MacBook Air with Apple’s M1 chip (38fps), and overall outperforms the 1165G7 system.Well, you may not want to play the following demanding titles Shadow of the Tomb Raider At 38fps, but you it can Play them on this machine without the feeling of watching flipbooks. This is a big achievement for these integrated graphics, especially considering that the standard XPS 13 has an average of 22fps on the same benchmark.

However, like the Clamshell XPS, the convertible cooling system (including two fans, hidden hinge vents, and what Dell calls the “ultra-thin vapor chamber”) is in these high-intensity tasks. Is pushed to the limit. .. During the Premiere Pro export and my gaming session, the CPU spent time in the late 90’s (Celsius), even hitting 100 several times. This can cause problems with the XPS form factor if Intel does not significantly improve efficiency. On the plus side, the keyboard and touchpad didn’t get hot at all. (The keyboard is now a clam shell toast.)

Therefore, the 2-in-1 offers better graphics performance than the standard XPS (and convertible form factor) at a slightly higher price. What is the catch? There are two that are worth considering.

The Dell logo is slightly larger than the previous 2-in-1.

The first is battery life. With a screen brightness of 200 nits, using a 2-in-1 as the primary working driver averaged 8 hours and 50 minutes. This is one of the best Tiger Lake systems I’ve ever seen, which means it needs to run all day on a single charge. But it’s a bit worse than the standard XPS, which usually saw 9 hours and 15 minutes. It’s a small difference, but it’s an important difference for students and frequent business travelers looking for an ounce of juice.

The second trade-off to consider is the keyboard. The standard XPS 13 has one of my favorite laptop keyboards. It’s crisp, quiet, comfortable and has a very nice texture. The 2-in-1 has another keyboard that Dell calls the “next generation MagLev keyboard.” It has a wider keycap with a movement of only 0.7mm. It feels like using an old thin butterfly keyboard on a 2019 MacBook Pro. Personally, I hate this. Entering a convertible feels like a finger slap on a flat piece of plastic.But I generously include some people (including On the verge Deputy Editor-in-Chief Dan Seifert) likes these types of keys.

Overall, the XPS 13 2-in-19310 is a great Windows convertible. It maintains slim, rugged premium build quality and maximizes the XPS line while providing the best performance you can get from an ultra-portable laptop. This is a formidable competitor to Apple’s groundbreaking MacBook, especially if you’re looking for a touchscreen and convertible form factor.

When deciding whether to buy the XPS 13 or the XPS 13 2-in-1, the difference is simple, but important and worth considering. The convertible form factor is the most obvious difference, but I argue that it’s not the most important (unless your work requires the use of a tablet). You use your keyboard a lot, so you need to decide which one you like (if you’ve used a MacBook butterfly keyboard or other MacBook keyboards, they’re a rough estimate). You should also consider the type of tasks your system performs and whether a significant improvement in graphics performance (especially for demanding games) is worth giving up a bit of battery life. And of course, there’s a $ 400 price difference.

Those who are considering the XPS 13 and think they might prefer a convertible should definitely consider the 2-in-1. Don’t assume they are exactly the same package.

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