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Dell XPS 12 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £1279
inc VAT

The XPS 12 has its flaws, but this brilliant laptop/tablet hybrid still delivers in spades


12.5 in 1,920×1,080 display, 1.5kg, 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-4500U, 8.00GB RAM, 256GB disk, Windows 8

The screen itself is almost faultless. It has a high 1,920×1,080 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.

Dell XPS 12


The XPS 12 is now available with Intel’s brand new Haswell processors. At the time of writing, there’s only one specification on sale, but its 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-4500U processor is no slouch when it comes to raw processing power. The processor can Turbo Boost up to 2.4GHz when there’s enough thermal headroom for an extra boost in performance, and its 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM ensure it has plenty of speed for everyday tasks.

It scored 52 in our multimedia benchmarks, which puts it just behind the Sony VAIO Duo 13’s score of 55, which has the same processor. It’s not a huge improvement from the Ivy Bridge model we reviewed previously, which scored 49, but it’s still one of the most powerful Ultrabooks we’ve seen and is in line with what we’ve seen from other Haswell laptops. For reference, a desktop PC with a powerful Intel Core i5-3570K processor scores 100, showing this laptop is capable of handling intensive tasks.

The laptop also benefits from Haswell’s aggressive low voltage consumption, which had a big impact on battery life. It lasted a huge 11 hours and 17 minutes in our light use test with the screen set to half brightness, which is more than double the battery life of the Ivy Bridge model. This is a fantastic score, and it matches what we’ve seen from the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus and Sony VAIO Pro 13.

Dell XPS 12

This Ultrabook doesn’t have a dedicated graphics chipset, instead relying on the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400 chipset built into the processor. It’s no gaming powerhouse, as it failed our Dirt Showdown test at 1,280×720 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, it’s a superb laptop-tablet hybrid that’s much easier to use than the competition. It’s also remains one of the most powerful convertibles we’ve seen, so if you want a device with the power of a laptop and the fun factor of a tablet, this is still the hybrid to buy.

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Basic Specifications

ProcessorIntel Core i7-4500U
Processor clock speed1.8GHz
Maximum memory8GB
SoundRealtek ALC3260
Pointing devicetouchpad and touchscreen


Viewable size12.5 in
Native resolution1,920×1,080
Graphics ProcessorIntel HD Graphics 4400
Graphics/video portsmini DisplayPort
Graphics Memory128MB


Total storage capacity256GB
Optical drive typenone

Ports and Expansion

USB ports2
Wired network portsnone
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsN/A
Supported memory cardsnone
Other portsheadphone, microphone


Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 8
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedN/A
Optional extrasN/A

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB