Dell XPS13 2-in-1 notebook hands-on: absolutely refreshing
By Jocelyn Longoria 2019-05-29 637 0
Start from scratch
The new 2-in-1 XPS 13 shares the same design language as the regular XPS 13. Ultra-thin body, same silver aluminum body, and the interior is either black or white. This design language has now become an iconic element of the XPS 13 series, still so. However, Dell has made some adjustments to ensure that the 2-in-1 XPS 13 is more than just a minor revision.
The first obvious change is the screen. It's still a 1080p resolution display, but the aspect ratio is now 16:10. This does not seem to have a particularly noticeable change from 16:9, but a slightly higher screen provides some extra screen space. This is not the same feeling, more like Apple's MacBook Pro. It's not just a 3:2 option like the Surface Laptop 2 or the Huawei MateBook X Pro, but it's a multimedia entertainment experience that most people would love.
Adding extra high screens gives you more space in the keyboard panel. Dell wisely added height to the trackpad and extended the keyboard all the way to the edge of the fuselage. This is reminiscent of the 12-inch MacBook, which feels that every inch of the keyboard is fully utilized. However, the higher touchpad is the most practical place for the 2-in-1 XPS 13. Previously, the XPS 13's touchpad has been criticized for being too small, and this time the larger touchpad area provides extra space for multi-finger gesture control.
The actual typing experience on the keyboard is definitely the most controversial aspect of the notebook. The magnetic levitation keyboard first appeared on the Dell 2-in-1 XPS 13. Magnets are used to simulate the physical mechanism of the touch, providing the smallest keystrokes. It's a typing experience that clicks and sizzles, but Dell has managed to keep the sound to a minimum. The end-key button gives the impression more like a MacBook's keyboard, rather than other traditional notebooks. Considering that the MacBook's keyboard has received so much criticism, this design and feel is not good.
The 2-in-1 XPS 13 keyboard layout is nothing unusual, but Dell added a new fingerprint scanner in the upper right corner of the function bar. To prevent accidental touches and distinguish them from other buttons, Dell gave it a harder click mechanism. This notebook does not have an infrared camera for facial recognition, mainly because the border of the top screen is too narrow.
Another improvement for Dell's next-generation 2-in-1 XPS 13 is the design directional adjustment. I really like the decision of Dell to remove the Dell Logo from the bottom border, which looks cleaner. It's as elegant as the previous model, but it's more enjoyable to use now.
The first Ice Lake notebook
The previous generation of the 2-in-1 XPS 13 was the biggest weakness due to the use of low-power Intel Y-series processors, which means that even if you upgrade to the Core i7 version, only dual-core processors are available.
The redesigned 2-in-1 XPS 13 became the first to feature the 10th generation Intel Ice Lake core processor. Although the production of these 10 nanometer chips will take several years, this year's production is limited, and this notebook may be a demonstration of Intel's future for the new processor. The entry-level Core i3 model is still a dual-core processor, but we also have two quad-core processor versions of the Core i5 and i7.
Changing to a U-series processor means that the 2-in-1 XPS 13 is no longer a fanless design. Instead of using the XPS 13 thermal solution directly, Dell has tried some new methods: a steam-cooled cooling system. It is essentially equivalent to the function of a large radiator. Dell said that neat cooling is an effective cooling method for ultra-thin body. This cooling method appeared on the gaming notebook such as the Razer Blade.
On the back of the notebook are four vents, and this is where the speakers are. We don't expect much from the magical effects of this place, but we haven't had the chance to test it.
All versions use M.2 solid state drives and DDR4 memory. As for the interface, the 2-in-1 XPS 13 is simple and effective. The Treasury has two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C connectors, one on each side, and one microSD card slot.
Has a new generation of graphics cards appeared
There are a lot of discussions about the 11th generation integrated graphics card and the new Ice Lake processor. It turns out that this is both good news and bad news. The good news is that it can be found in more expensive configurations, so it will get a standalone graphics configuration with relatively guaranteed performance. The 2-in-1 XPS 13 uses Intel's 11th generation Iris Plus integrated graphics card, which has some performance improvements, but there is still a certain gap compared to discrete graphics, but it is easy to deal with casual games and productivity.
As for the bad news, the new graphics card can only be found in the top version, while other versions still use the familiar UHD integrated graphics. These configurations start at $999 and include a Core i3 processor and 4GB of running memory. In addition, the 2-in-1 XPS 13 can be configured up to the Core i7, 4K display, Iris Plus graphics card and up to 32GB of running memory.
Although we don't know the exact date of the launch of the 2-in-1 XPS 13, Dell said the device will be available later this summer. This is a little earlier than I thought, when we will see the first notebooks with Ice Lake processors. If the Dell 2-in-1 XPS 13 performs well, Intel's new processor will then be used in Dell's most iconic XPS 13 Ultrabook.
OLED screen and 8-core CPU, XPS 15 is a must-have?
At the Taipei International Computer Show, Dell announced that its popular XPS 15 notebook will also be updated. The new version doesn't change much in appearance, but once you open it, you'll see the 4K OLED display and the 9th generation processor, which is definitely a major upgrade.
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