Dell XPS 12 (2016) Review: Core m-Powered 2-in-1 Laptop Convertible

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XPS 12 Introduction and Specifications

The 2-in-1 and convertible PC space has changed significantly over the past couple of years. What was once a cluttered mess of kludges is now a well-defined market segment packed with refinement, power, and plenty of options. You could partially credit Microsoft's Surface line for making 2-in-1s an object of desire, but it's also products like the Dell XPS 12 that make today's line-up of convertible devices so much more interesting.

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Dell's XPS 12, which was first announced last fall, is just as capable as a laptop as it is a tablet. That's no small feat, and it's multifaceted abilities are largely due to Dell's top-shelf keyboard cases. Though it's engineered as a tablet first, the 12.5-inch display means that it's probably a little large to be used full-time as a slate for most people. We'd expect buyers of the XPS 12 to use it as a laptop in clamshell mode most often, and as a slate only when the need arises. So, why buy a machine like this instead of a straight-up ultrabook? For one, it may save you from buying and managing two devices and the ultra small form factor may be an attractive option for ultra-portability as well.

Let's give you a quick tour of this svelte machine and then we'll dive in a bit deeper on the pages ahead...

Dell XPS 12 (2016)
Specifications & Features
 Processor:  6th Generation Intel m5-6Y54 processor (4M Cache, up to 2.7 GHz)
 Operating System:
 Windows 10
 Display:  12.5-inch FHD 1920x1080 or 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) Touch Display
 Video Graphics:
 Intel HD Graphics 515
 Storage:  128GB or 256GB SATA SSD
 Memory:  8GB LPDDR3 DRAM at 1600Hz
 Audio Support:
 Stereo Speaker, Dual Microphones, High Definition Audio with Waves MaxxAudio Pro
 Camera:  8MP world-facing webcam, 5MP user-facing webcam with dual array digital microphones
 Networking:  2x2 802.11ac wireless + Bluetooth 4.1
Miracast capable
 Ports: Thunderbolt 3 (x2); Headset Jack (1); SD card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC); Noble Lock
 Battery:  30Whr Inbuilt Battery
 Weight:  1.75 pounds (tablet only); 2.8 pounds with mobility base
 Dimensions: Tablet: Height: 0.31 inches (8mm) / Width: 11.46 inches (291mm) / Depth: 7.6 inches (193mm)
Tablet + mobility base: Height: 0.63-0.99 inches (16-25mm) / Width: 11.46 inches (291mm) /
Depth: 7.8 inches (198mm)
 Price: At Dell $999 - $1399

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 Dell officially dubs the XPS 12 a "2-in-1 laptop," not a "2-in-1 tablet." Tablet sales have plateaued, and you could argue it's because of the refinement and general attractiveness of the latest-generation of 2-in-1 devices. In the pages ahead, we'll explore how the XPS 12 functions as both a tablet and notebook, how Windows 10 suits the hardware, and if the XPS 12 is worth the investment.

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