Hands on: Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 Review

Intel's Ice Lake CPU gives the Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 a seriously good upgrade

First Impressions

The 2019 Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 with Ice Lake looks like it’s going to offer some serious improvements on the previous generations. Let’s hope it’s priced nicely.

Key Specifications

  • 13.4-inch Full HD or 4K display
  • Intel 10th gen Ice Lake CPUs
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Flexible 2-in-1 design
  • Webcam in the top bezel
  • Maglev keyboard
  • Wi-Fi 6 and Thunderbolt 3 support

The Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 is something of a milestone – it’s the first official laptop to pack an Intel Ice Lake CPU, and it’s also the first Dell machine to receive official Project Athena status from Intel.

With Intel now saying that Ice Lake machines will be on shelves before Christmas, and giving us a better idea of what Athena certification actually means, we can expect the Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 to drop relatively soon and when it does, that battery should last us an entire working day.

That’s despite the presence of an Ice Lake processor, and everything that comes with it, i.e. Gen11 integrated graphics, plus integrated Wi-Fi 6 and Thunderbolt 3, promising support for 4K HDR visuals, as well as fast wireless and wired data transfer speeds. The model I saw had an Intel Core i7-1065G7, which has four cores and eight threads, a base clock speed of 1.3GHz, with the ability to boost up to 3.9GHz on a single core and 3.5GHz.

For a 2-in-1 laptop which will, in theory, last all day when not on the mains, that’s pretty good going.

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Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 2019

The new XPS 13 2-in-1 is the first new Dell device to come with an Intel 10th gen processor.

Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 price – how much will the new Dell XPS 13 cost?

Prices for the new Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 haven’t been announced just yet, but for reference, the previous generation with Amber Lake Y-series CPUs cost between £1169 and £1669 at launch.

There will be Full HD and 4K options, and, as the new XPS 13 2 in 1 will pack 10th gen processors, it might be that these end up costing a little more. Expect to pay something in the region of the prices listed above, maybe more.

Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 release date – when will the new Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 go on sale?

No release dates have been confirmed by Dell as of yet, but Intel says 10th gen processors and systems should be on shelves before Christmas 2019.

We’re expecting the Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 to be one of the first Intel Lake laptops released, so we’re confident it will arrive this year. 

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Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 2019

The maglev keys here are just as good, if not better, than they are on the 2018 XPS 15 2-in-1.

What is the Dell XPS 13 2 in 1?

The latest refresh of the Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 features Intel’s 10th gen chips (aka Ice Lake) and also conforms to Intel’s new ‘Project Athena’ standards.

In plain English, this means you can expect fast multitasking and decent performance, thanks not only to the new generation of chips based on a 10nm manufacturing process, but also due to the integration of Wi-Fi 6 and Thunderbolt 3 so you can connect to the Internet and transfer files much more quickly than before. The battery should also give you 9 hours of ‘real-life use’, and 16 hours of video playback to boot.

Design-wise, the Dell XPS 13 2 in 1’s chassis is made from pieces of of machine-milled aluminium, which Dell says is much more durable than magnesium-carbon compounds – which is what the LG Gram laptops use – and plastic.

As well as a brushed metal version, I also saw a white XPS 13 2 in 1 which looked very clean and a bit space age-y, although I wonder how pristine that will look after a couple of years. Aluminium may well be more durable than magnesium-carbon, but it’s also going to get scratched.

Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 2019

Air vents are actually built into the XPS 13 2 in 1’s hinges, so however it’s configured, the 2-in-1 should be able to cool itself nicely.

The Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 certainly feels very premium. It’s got a good amount of heft to it, but still feels like you could pop this in your satchel and you’d hardly notice it’s there during the commute.

Another neat addition is that the keyboard features the same maglev technology used in last year’s Dell XPS 15 2 in 1. This was easily one of the best laptop keyboards Trusted has seen, and while I didn’t spend a huge amount of time typing on the 13 2 in 1, that rapid-fire, chunky sensation immediately came back to me.

The XPS 13 2 in 1’s body features 15W dual-carbon fans pushing hot air over microthin vapor chambers, and the heat outlets are actually hidden behind the hinges on the deck side of the laptop – a design choice Dell says allows for heat to dissipate whether you’re using the device as a laptop, tablet, or you’ve got it propped up in tent mode.

The displays measure 13.4-inches, a slight improvement from the 13.3-inch panels we’ve seen in the past, and flaunt a coating of Corning’s super-tough Gorilla Glass 5.

There will be Full HD and 4K UHD options, with the latter being DisplayHDR 400-rated, implying peak brightness of at least 400 nits. That level of brightness should ensure you’ll be able to confidently use a Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 outside on the brightest of days. They sort-of held up well in the atrociously-lit conditions of the room where Dell chose to unveil its new devices at Computex 2019.

Perhaps the best feature is the sensible positioning of the camera. Like with the new Dell XPS 13 laptops, Dell has come to its senses and moved the webcam to the north side of the display, meaning whoever you’re videocalling won’t be staring at your chin the whole time – previously, Dell had mounted cameras under the south bezel, which allowed for rather unflattering views of your face. Despite this move, the bezel here is very thin – you’d be hard pressed to spot the camera sensor at a glance. I barely even noticed it was there initially.


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