Dell has taken laptops to the next level with the much anticipated Dell XPS 15 2-in-1. Instead of a traditional notebook, this is a convertible, meaning that it has a touch screen which can be used alone or with the keyboard like a traditional laptop. Convertibles are extremely practical for anyone who is constantly on the go, as they are versatile and portable.
But in many of the current designs, customers must forgo better performance and screen size. However, with the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 in this review, Dell hopes to change that and make this laptop have the best of both worlds.
- 0.66 inches thick
- 4 pounds
- 15.6 inch InfinityEdge touch display
- “Chin Cam”
- USB Type-C ports
The XPS 15 2-in-1 looks much like the XPS 15 from last year with the carbon fiber interior and the silver aluminum outer shell, but many upgrades have been made. At just 0.66 inches thick and 4 pounds, it is the thinnest 15 inch 2-in-1 yet and boasts a 15.6 inch InfinityEdge touch display with bezels that can barely even be noticed. One issue with these thin bezels is that it causes the webcam to be in the “Chin Cam” position that other recent laptops have had problems with.
As far as ports go, there are two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the left side – one for charging – and a microSD card slot. On the right side, you will find a headphone jack, a Noble lock slot, and two USB Type-C ports with DisplayPort.
Keyboard – The Maglev
- 0.6mm key travel
- Magnets and metal plate used to create resistance
- Mixed reviews
The keyboard of the XPS 15 2-in-1 review is something Dell changed drastically. It has a key travel of only 0.6 mm, which is very short. However, Dell has taken into consideration that this would cause consumers discomfort from typing against a flat surface, so they devised a magnetic system to add feedback and help with tactile feel. For this reason, the keyboard was given the name “Maglev”, which is short for magnetic levitation – magnets and a metal plate are used to create resistance.
So far, there have been mixed reviews on this keyboard. Laptop Mag has praised it saying, “…it really works. If you’re going to make a low-travel keyboard, this is how to do it” as it was found to be comfortable. On the other hand, Digital Trends found the keyboard uncomfortable as they, “…found [their] fingers getting tired quicker on marathon typing sessions”. It seems Dell is looking towards the future with this new technology – it is something that will be fine tuned with time to cut down on the bulkiness of laptops. As of now, there doesn’t seem to be an immediate advantage, but consumers will have to decide whether or not they find it comfortable enough to use on a daily basis.
- 4K or 1080p display options
- 387 nits
- Lacking in color accuracy
As mentioned, the XPS 15 2-in-1 has a 15.6 inch 4K display, which is one of the highlights. The color and the pictures are extremely sharp – the details people are able to see in 4K and 1080p videos are reported to be incredible. At 387 nits, its brightness is well above average, but not quite as high as some competitors.
The panel is also impressive when it comes to color gamut, but lacks a little bit in color accuracy with an average color error of 2.73, which is not horrible, but not something a professional photographer would want. Another downside of the amazing display is that choosing the 4K over the 1080p will cost you an extra $400, which may not be worth it to some people – 1080p panels have already proven to be very good.
- Above average scores for premium-laptop
- Fastest HandBrake video editing for any nongaming laptop
- Advanced thermal system is loud
The XPS 15 2-in-1 is equipped with the 8th-gen Core i7-8705G CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB PCle NVMe SSD. It is very good with multitasking – you can have numerous tabs open with videos playing in 1080p and still have no problem at all. On the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, it scored 15,040, well above the premium-laptop average of 9,820 and just behind Apple’s MacBook Pro. This means it is just as good as other computers at basic tasks, such as copying files.
However, the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 has the fastest HandBrake video editing test result for any nongaming laptop. It was able to transcode a 4K video to 1080p in only 14 minutes and 10 seconds while keeping the system cool. The thermal system is another thing Dell focused on to aid the higher processing, and while it is very advanced, it is unfortunately loud, and you are most likely going to hear the fans at some point.
- Kraby Lake G processor
- ADM’s Radeon RX Vega graphics
As the first laptop to use a Kraby Lake G processor, an 8th Gen Core Intel CPU with AMD’s Radeon RX Vega M graphics, so far things are looking very good. It is more capable in esports-ready games, but holds its own with graphic-intensive games as well. As long as you stay away from 4K, tests have found that you can easily get around 40 fps or more on most games at 1440p or 1080p.
It is easy to call this a gaming capable computer. So if you are looking for gaming value, the 1080p model is the correct choice as the graphics component is the same, no matter what. Another thing to consider is how much RAM you get, because you are stuck with whatever you choose.
- Low battery life
- 4K version only lasts half the time of other laptops
The weakest aspect of the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 has been found to be its battery life. No tests have been done on the 1080p model, but for the 4K model, it lasts about five and a half hours in a video loop test, which is almost half of the average right now. This is no surprise for a 15 inch, 4K screen, but Dell will have to improve this. It is something many consumers will definitely consider when purchasing a laptop that is meant to be portable.
Pricing and Availability
If you are looking for a lightweight, portable, gaming-capable laptop, this is one of the best and definitely something to consider. Although the keyboard and battery life aren’t the best, the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 easily makes up for that in display and performance. For the 4K model with an Intel Core i7-8705G CPU, Radeon graphics, 16GH of RAM, and a 1TB PCle NVMe SSD you will pay $2,549 ($2,199 with a 256GB SSD). For the 1080p model, you will pay $1,499 for an Intel Core i5-8305G processor with Radeon RX Vega M GL graphics, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD.