The Best Windows Laptop of 2016 Just Went Convertible

It’s no secret that Dell’s XPS 13 has been popping up at the top of nearly every “best of” list for laptops since they debuted back at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show. Not only is it widely-touted as the best Windows-powered laptop on the market, it’s also virtually the only Windows-powered device well-built and powerful enough to rival even Apple’s mighty MacBook. And now, Dell has upped the ante by taking their best-loved machine and giving it even more star appeal. With a few small tweaks and the addition of a 360-degree hinge, Dell revealed their XPS 13 2-in-1 at last week’s CES in Las Vegas. If history is any indication, the self-proclaimed “smallest 13-inch 2-in-1 on the planet” is primed to take the convertible world by storm.

At first glance, the XPS 13 2-in-1 appears to share many of the same premium aesthetic and security features that made its predecessors so popular. The carbon fiber palm rest and machined aluminum shell give it an expensive and luxurious feel, while a backlit keyboard adds elegant convenience. The webcam placement, which was one of the few complaints rendered about previous models, has been shifted back to the center and is now Windows Hello-compatible, plus it still comes with a fingerprint reader for added security. Remarkably, Dell even managed to pare down the already light and thin XPS 13 so that the 2-in-1 is now 40 percent thinner and 20 percent lighter than Microsoft’s Surface Book. This was accomplished by doing away with the fan, so that the XPS convertible is now a completely fanless device. No big loss, as this simply leads to a cooler and quieter machine (although only time will tell if this has any significant effect on long-term use). They have also done away with the USB-A port, which is another non-issue, considering that Dell ships a USB-A to USB-C adapter out with each device. Lastly, the full SD card reader has been scrapped in favor of a microSD card slot.

The features that made the XPS 13 a favorite remain, and even get some added boost from enhanced processing and display features. The beautiful Infinity Edge display is nearly bezelless, with just a 5.2mm border. Buyers will have their choice of two different touch display options, either a standard 1930 x 1080 full HD screen or an UltraSharp 3200 x 1800 Quad HD+ panel. As for processing power, users can choose between two of the excellent new 7th-generation Kaby Lake chips; either a 3.2GHz Intel Core i5-7Y54 or a 3.6GHz Intel Core i7-7Y75 chip. Both processor and display options feature Intel HD Graphics 615. Available ports for the convertible will include a Thunderbolt 3 port (which also doubles as an AC power port), a USB-C port, headphone jack, and of course the aforementioned microSD card reader. Memory options vary depending on model, from 4GB to 16GB, while storage starts off at 128GB and goes all the way up to a 1TB SSD. Battery life is rated for up to 15 hours on the FHD version, and this little miracle starts off at just 2.7 pounds in its lightest configuration. The base price will start at $999 when these feather-light multi-taskers go on sale at the end of this month.

Topics: Technology News Convergence & Convertible Hybrid PCs Dell Laptops & Ultrathin Ultrabooks

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