Dell is releasing a brand new XPS 12 next month, but this is no hardware refresh. They’ve done away with easel hinge, creating a 2-in-1 more along the lines of what the Surface Pro offers, but with a 4k display that eclipses what the Surface Pro 4 has – even if we have our doubts about the value of a 4k display on a 12.5’’ device.
The most obvious change is that the easel is gone, replaced with a strong magnetic hinge that will hold the tablet in place securely, but will let go with one good pull on your part. It’s part of the new design philosophy among 2-in-1 makers emphasizing the ease of transition from laptop to tablet, and it looks like the XPS 12 has nailed it. The keyboard itself is pretty standard, with backlit keys and a precision trackpad.
The biggest lift the XPS 12 gets over the competition is the display – a 12.5’’ 3840 x 2160 4k InfinityEdge touch display protected by Gorilla Glass NBT, with ultra-thin bezels that make the display appear to be edge-to-edge, similar to the XPS 13 and this week’s entire slate of XPS refreshes. Otherwise, the XPS 12 is either on par or a little behind the Surface Pro 4, with a 2.7 GHz 6th generation Intel m5 processor, up to 8 GB of LPDDR3 RAM, integrated Intel HD Graphics 515, dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and a 30 WHr battery.
The extra bells and whistles aren’t bad. The 8 MP rear camera and 5 MP front camera are serviceable for a tablet, while the two Thunderbolt 3 ports will be great for data transfer and docking as long as you have the right peripherals (which Dell will happily sell to you). There’s also the Dell Active Pen (sold separately), a stylus of the sort becoming commonplace with Windows 10 2-in-1s – a pressure-sensitive pen-like stylus that can launch OneNote with the press of a button. And, like usual with Dell, you get their robust suite of enterprise management and security software, making this a strong choice for BYOD workplaces.
The Dell XPS 12 will be available on Dell.com in November, starting at a pretty steep $1,000. Keep in mind that $1,000 model includes a 1080p display, so expect the 4k model to cost you quite a bit. You’ll have the option of 128 GB or 256 GB SATA SSDs – and there’s an SD card slot on the side for expansion.