Dell XPS 12 review
The screen itself is almost faultless. It has a high 1,920x1,080 resolution, and colours were both bright and crisp with superb viewing angles. The screen picks up fingerprints like a crime scene window sill - always a risk with touchscreens - and its glossy finish did cause some problems with reflections, but we always managed to find a comfortable working position thanks to the amount of screen tilt available.
The XPS 12 comes in a variety of different specifications, starting with an Intel Core i5-3317U-equipped model for £1000, but our review sample was the more expensive Core i7-3517U version with a 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM. The processor is rated to run at 1.9GHz, but can reach up to 3GHz using Turbo Boost when there's enough thermal headroom.
The laptop's high-end processor gave it a score of 49 in our multimedia benchmarks, putting it three points above the Taichi in terms of performance and a couple of points behind the Vaio Duo 11. For reference, a desktop PC with a powerful Intel Core i5-3570K processor scores 100, showing this laptop to be capable of handling intensive tasks. It's certainly one of the most powerful Ultrabooks we've seen.
The XPS 12's battery life, though, was pretty average. It lasted 5 hours and 43 minutes in our battery life tests - we expect at least six hours from an Ultrabook, and were hoping the XPS 12 would exceed our expectations rather than just slip in below them. For comparison, you can get an Ultrabook with a ten-hour battery life, the HP Envy 6.
This Ultrabook doesn’t have a dedicated graphics chipset, instead relying on the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 chipset built into the processor. It's no gaming powerhouse, as shown by 17fps in our Dirt Showdown test at 1,280x720 and High quality settings, so you’ll have to lower the quality settings and disable anti-aliasing on most modern 3D games if you want to play them at a decent speed.
The only thing the XPS 12 really lacks is a wide range of connectivity options. It has a DisplayPort, two USB3 ports and a combined headphone and audio jack, but that’s it. There’s no optical drive, HDMI or VGA port, memory card reader, or an Ethernet port. Most of these are missing from many Ultrabooks, but HDMI is fairly common, and adaptors for that and Ethernet would have been nice inclusions - these will set you back around £10 to £15 each.
The XPS 12 is not without its flaws, but if you can cope with its limited ports and mediocre battery life, it’s a superb laptop-tablet hybrid that's much easier to use than the competition. If you want a device with the power of a laptop and the fun factor of a tablet, it's the hybrid to buy.
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