Dell is unveiling a convertible version of its popular XPS 13 laptop today at the Consumer Electronics Show. While the CES surprise leaked out a little early yesterday, the new Dell XPS 2-in-1 still has some surprises in store for fans of the original. Just like the regular XPS 13, Dell’s 2-in-1 version uses an InfinityEdge display with just a 5.2mm border. Dell is claiming this makes its 2-in-1 the smallest 13-inch model in the world, as everything is squeezed into an 11-inch form factor.
The real change is the hinge and the ability to rotate this beautiful display into four modes just like Lenovo’s Yoga line. It’s essentially a slightly smaller and lighter XPS 13 that converts into a tablet. Dell is also using Intel’s latest Kaby Lake Core i5 and Core i7 processors on this new 2-in-1, but they’re not the regular Core versions you’d expect.
Thanks to Intel’s new confusing naming, these are actually the Core M line of processors, which means the XPS 13 2-in-1 is fanless, but the performance might not be what we’ve come to expect from the XPS 13. Dell is claiming around 15 hours of battery life on the FHD model, and that will obviously drop significantly on the Quad HD display version.
Elsewhere, most of the design is identical to the XPS 13 but there are some compromises on the ports. There’s the same carbon fiber palm rest and machined aluminium shell, alongside a precision trackpad and optional Dell Active Pen for stylus input. However, Dell has switched to just USB Type-C ports on the 2-in-1, with two available for charging and display output. One is also a Thunderbolt 3 port, so you can charge and power two 4K monitors. Dell is including a USB-A adapter in the box so people with regular USB accessories can still use them with the XPS 13 2-in-1. Dell has also removed its full SD card reader and opted for a micro SD slot, a change that will disappoint photographers.
One of the disadvantages of the XPS 13 was the awkward and weird webcam position, and Dell is rectifying that a little on the 2-in-1. Dell has now moved the webcam to the center of this XPS 13 2-in-1, but it sits just above the keyboard so the angle will still be a little awkward for video calls. Fortunately, Dell has switched to a Windows Hello-compatible camera, so you can log into Windows 10 with just your face.
Dell is really taking one of the best Windows laptops out there and flipping it into a convertible model. This new XPS 2-in-1 isn’t designed as a successor to the XPS 13 or even a replacement, it’s simply a new model that is an option if you really want this type of computer. Dell is planning to start shipping the 2-in-1 later this month starting at $999. That’s a $100 premium on top of the regular XPS 13 to get a slightly smaller and lighter model that converts into a tablet. Most people will probably stick to the regular XPS 13 laptop, but we’re hoping Dell brings some of these 2-in-1 hardware changes over to the regular model in time.