Battery life is simply excellent. In a mixed usage manual test, the XPS 10 tablet on its own lasted around nine hours. That’s a similar result to what we saw with the Microsoft Surface, and is good going for any tablet.
However, unlike the Surface, Dell’s hybrid has a secondary battery in its keyboard dock, which quite neatly doubles its life away from a socket. This is one of the reasons we definitively prefer clamshell ‘laptop’ convertibles to ‘tablets with keyboard covers’ - and that’s not even getting into the potential for superior, backlit keyboards and extra connectivity. Frankly, 18hrs on a charge should be enough for anyone.
Before getting down to the price of the specific device, it’s worth keeping in mind that Windows RT comes with a version of Microsoft Office 2013 Home and Student, only leaving off a native Outlook but including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. This is a significant value-add for productivity-oriented types.
The XPS 10 tablet starts off at £400 for the 32GB version. Adding a keyboard dock brings this up to £550. The 64GB Dell XPS 10, meanwhile, will cost you £480, while the docked version at this capacity demands £630 from your wallet.
At first glance this doesn’t compare too favourably with the 32GB Surface package, which starts at the same £400 but includes a keyboard Touch Cover for £480. It’s important to keep in mind though that, while this solution may be lighter, slimmer and cheaper, it doesn’t offer extra connectivity or increased battery life, and arguably the Touch Cover isn’t as nice to type on either.
Also, when comparing to Windows RT tablets from other brands, the Dell holds up well indeed. For example, the Asus Vivo Tab RT is around £500 tablet-only, while the Samsung ATIV Tab generally comes in at around £480.
Interestingly, the Dell XPS 10’s biggest rival may well be the Acer Iconia W510, which costs £480 for the 64GB version with keyboard dock. This Atom-powered convertible tablet runs ‘proper’ X86 Windows 8, which means backwards compatibility with a multitude of older Windows software. It offers better build quality, similar battery life, and only its typing experience is significantly inferior. Of course you’ll also need to buy Microsoft Office separately as it’s not included with Windows 8, but then the W510 with dock is £70 cheaper than Dell’s similarly adorned 10-inch candidate.
A cute and attractive hybrid tablet/laptop with a great keyboard dock attachment, good performance and fantastic battery life, the Dell XPS 10 is let down by the poor build quality of its tablet’s rear. Aside from that, there doesn’t seem too much reason to go for a Windows RT convertible when you can get a ‘proper’ Windows 8 hybrid for less, though the XPS 10 does offer an unparalleled typing experience as clamshell convertibles go.