Hardware and design
Dell XPS 12 is unarguably one of the most beautifully designed laptops in recent times. The attention to detail given to the design of this ultrabook is evident as the device shows class from every corner. The 12.5-inch full HD display of the tablet slides back at the lightest touch, while the magnesium alloy frame that surrounds it seems sturdy and durable. The display of XPS 12 is a treat for movie buffs, as watching videos on this full HD screen is a great experience.
The back cover (lid) of the screen looks good too, and the backlit, chiclet keyboard quite easy to use. The only issue we had with the device was its weight, as it seems rather uncomfortable to be used as a tablet at over 1.5kg.
Coming to hardware, the device is available in three variants, depending on the CPU. You can choose between third generation Intel i7 and i5 processors, while the RAM remains constant at 8GB for all three iterations. Memory options in the device include 128 and 256GB SSD drives, which are likely to be sufficient for most users. You can always store data on external storage drives, but microSD card is a no go here as XPS 12 does not support them.
The software suite of Dell XPS 12 is quite standard and consists of Windows 8 and a few of Dell’s own services. While Windows 8 is easy to use after you have crossed the learning curve, you are likely to feel the need of some cool apps, especially if you have been an iPad user for some time.
The review unit we received was a treat to use as it was snappy, feature-rich and a head turner. The transition from laptop to tablet mode was easy as you only need to push the screen back a little until it unhinges from its frame and the screen swivels to the top, aided by magnetic latches. The touchscreen is vibrant as well as responsive and the on-screen keyboard is easy to use. However, we found it to be too heavy to hold in one hand in the tablet mode.
The processor of Dell XPS 12 is fast and performs all usual tasks with ease. We never came across any lag, not that we expected it from such a high-end ultrabook. The device delivered decent performance on various benchmark tests, but did not set any of them on fire. On PCMark 7, it produced average score of 5011, while it notched up 640 points on 3D Mark 11. Though these scores are not bad, rivals like Acer Aspire S7-391 have done much better. On Cinebench R11.5 (multi-threaded) test, it secured a score of 2.78, which is decent.
One thing we do not understand is Dell’s decision to miss out on Ethernet port, which is crucial in markets like India where Wi-Fi is not widely used. Of course, people who are ready to part with over Rs 1 lakh for a laptop are likely to have access to Wi-Fi all the time.
Battery performance of the device is also something we were not too pleased with. Dell claims that the six cell battery of XPS 12 offers battery life of nearly nine hours. However, during our normal usage, which included two hours of video and music playback (from disk), an hour each of document editing, and three hours of internet usage, the device lasted for six hours on an average. Now, this is not unmanageable, but we would have liked a little better battery life.
Dell XPS 12 is very capable and well-crafted hybrid ultrabook and does the job of a laptop as well as a Windows 8 tablet quite well. Its price is certainly prohibitive for mass market success, but those who are looking for a premium convertible tablet will be delighted with this device.
Good computing prowess
Easy to handle
Sturdy and durable
No microSD card slot, Ethernet port
Too heavy to be used in one hand
Magnetic rim may wear off
Display: 12.5-inch touchscreen with 1920x1080p resolution;
Operating system: Windows 8;
Processor: Intel 3rd generation i5 and i7 CPU options;
Storage: 128 and 256GBSSD options;
Graphics card: Intel HD4000;
Camera: 1.3MP front camera;
Battery: 6-cell; and
iGeekz : Your simple tech central.