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Dell Kicks Off CES 2017 With 2-in-1 XPS 13 Convertible Laptop: Specs, Pricing And Availability

2 January 2017, 12:25 pm EST By Alexandra Burlacu Tech Times
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Dell has officially announced its new XPS 13 2-in-1 convertible ahead of CES 2017, touting more flexibility, a thinner profile, and a sleeker device overall. Here's what you need to know about specs, trade-offs, prices and availability.  ( Dell )

The Dell XPS 13 has been widely considered to be one of the best Windows 10 laptops and it just got a twist: it's now a 2-in-1 device, just as expected.

Ahead of the big CES 2017 trade show, Dell announced its new XPS 13 convertible with ultrathin bezels, good battery life, high portability, and more attractive features.

Ready to take on the Lenovo Yoga line, the HP Spectre x360, and more 2-in-1 devices, the new Dell XPS 13 convertible features a clamshell design and packs a punch without compromising much.

"[J]ust when you thought everyone's favorite laptop couldn't get better, we've introduced the new XPS 13 2-in-1 to our portfolio, adding more flexibility and improvements making it even thinner, sleeker and fitting it with a 360-degree hinge to enable greater productivity and offer multiple viewing options," touts Dell.

2-in-1 Dell XPS 13

The new convertible version of the Dell XPS 13 will coexist alongside the regular model, not replace it. The 2-in-1 version still features small bezels, an aluminum lid, a carbon fiber interior, and a decent battery life, but it now offers a convertible display.

The new model has two steel hinges on its back, allowing the screen to rotate all the way. The screen can't be detached like on the Microsoft Surface Book, just rotated to serve as a laptop or a tablet. Also, unlike Lenovo's Yoga convertibles, the Dell XPS 13 doesn't have a receding keyboard, but Dell says it will automatically turn off once the display is rotated at roughly 180 degrees or more.

Compared to the regular Dell XPS 13, the convertible model sports a larger camera located more centrally, albeit it's still below the display. With a 2-in-1 design, however, at least it's easier now to flip the device around and put the camera on top to avoid those terrible chin shots.

The convertible XPS 13 model is also more compact, with a thickness of just over half an inch and a weight of 2.7 pounds. The 2-in-1 model also sports a fanless design, which should allow it to function without making much noise.

XPS 13 Convertible Trade-Offs

On the downside, a more compact form factor in a convertible design also comes with a few sacrifices, and the biggest trade-off is power. While the convertible XPS 13 packs Intel's Kaby Lake, it uses Y-series chips and not the more powerful U series. Y-series chips should have no issue handling regular tasks, but highly intense work might be slightly challenging at times.

With that in mind, Dell's consumer services director, Randall Heaton, said the convertible model comes with a "dynamic power mode" that can push more power when necessary in certain conditions. Heaton compared the 7th-generation Y chips with the 6th-generation Skylake chips from last year, which means the convertible XPS 13 will not be as strong as top-notch laptops, but it will still deliver a decent performance.

When it comes to battery life, Dell says the XPS 13 convertible will last up to 15 hours on a charge, albeit the actual battery performance will also vary depending on the laptop's configuration.

Another drawback for some may also be the fact that the convertible Dell XPS 13 has fewer ports than the regular model. More specifically, the 2-in-1 features two USB Type-C ports, a microSD card reader, a headphone jack, and a lock slot. Both USB Type-C ports serve as charging ports, but only one of them relies on the Thunderbolt 3 standard.

Windows Hello

Other than that, the trackpad, display, and keyboard are basically the same as before, although Dell did add a fingerprint reader. Moreover, the webcam on the convertible XPS 13 now also supports Windows Hello, Microsoft's fast login feature. According to Dell, Windows Hello-enabled fingerprint reader support is available from the start, while the infrared camera feature for Windows Hello will arrive "at a later date."

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1: Pricing And Availability

The Dell XPS 13 convertible will hit the market on Jan. 5, going on sale on Dell's website and Best Buy in the United States. The 2-in-1 will start at $999 for a base configuration with an Intel Core i5-7Y54 chip, 1080p display, 4 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage, and go up to $1,199 for a variant with double the RAM and storage. Interested customers will also be able to choose other configurations with 3,200 x 1,800 resolutions, a Core i7-7Y75 chip, up to 16 GB of RAM, and up to 1 TB of storage. Dell, for instance, touts a business configuration with 7th-generation Intel Core vPro processors and Dell BIOS and manageability software.

The 2-in-1 Dell XPS 13 will launch in the United States first, with global availability set to follow shortly after.

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