As Windows tablets go, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is a decent option in various ways. Its detachable display offers great quality, it’s got the power for everyday workloads, and the keyboard is crisp, but rivals are often better in more ways than one.
There are plenty of reasons to buy a hybrid, not least the option to switch between tablet and laptop modes. And with the Dell XPS 13 9315 2-in-1, the US IT giant hopes to convince people to leave normal notebooks behind.
Dell’s detachable makes a good first impression by blending a sleek folio case with CNC-milled, recycled aluminium and on the inside you’ll find an efficient Intel processor.
The price might be right, too. The cheapest Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 uses Core i5 silicon and costs $1,149 in the US and £1,198 in the UK. If you’d like a Core i7 model, the price sits at $1,299 and £1,689.
There’s lots to like, but there’s lots of competition too. One of our favourite convertible laptops is the Samsung Galaxy Book 2 360, and laptops like the Dell XPS 13 Plus, Apple MacBook Air M2 and Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED all remain tempting if you don’t need a hybrid.
Design & Build
A robust, good-looking detachable design
Other laptops and hybrids offer more versatility
Great cameras, but not enough ports
The convertible XPS 13 looks great thanks to CNC-milled aluminium edges and a gunmetal folio case, and both portions are robust. The tablet is sturdy and the folio does a great job of protecting both sides.
The folio case attaches to the tablet with a solid magnetic connection at the bottom of the panel. Once that’s done, the magnetic folio props the tablet into laptop positions at 100-, 110.5- and 125-degree angles.
On the top, you’ll find a power button with a built-in fingerprint reader and a volume rocker, and the cameras are superb; for video calls you’ve got a 5Mp unit with Windows Hello log in, and for landscapes there’s an 11Mp outward-facing shooter. Internally, you’ve got Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.
Mike Jennings / Foundry
It’s a good start, but the XPS has limitations. That angled folio case, for instance: you’ll get more screen positioning versatility from any laptop, the Samsung spins through 360 degrees and the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 kickstand can sit at almost any angle.
As with most detachables, the XPS 13 2-in-1 is awkward on your lap. At 300mm from front to back in laptop mode, it’s deeper than any rival. And while combined weight and thickness of 1.3kg and 17mm are fine, every rival is slimmer and lighter.
Don’t expect much in terms of physical connectivity, either. The left-hand edge has two Thunderbolt 4 ports, but that’s it and you’ll need one for charging.
Dell includes headphone and full-size USB adapters in the box, but the MacBook Air has a headphone jack and the Asus has three USB-C ports. The Samsung has HDMI, full-size USB, microSD and headphone connectors.
Keyboard & Trackpad
Impressive edge-to-edge keyboard
Backlight, but no numberpad
The keyboard uses the same edge-to-edge “zero lattice” design as the XPS 13 Plus. It’s disarming at first – a gap-free unit with hardly any travel – but it’s easy to get up to speed.
Mike Jennings / Foundry
The buttons are fast and responsive, and the case lends strength. It’s better than the Surface Pro 9’s typing gear, more satisfying than Samsung’s spongy hardware, and not far off MacBook quality.
The backlight is decent, and the trackpad is good too – large and comfortable, and with responsive buttons that could only do with being a little crisper.
Screen & Speakers
A high-contrast, high-resolution IPS panel
Touchscreen works well with the optional XPS Stylus
Tinny speakers and better screens elsewhere
Every version of Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 gets the same IPS display. The 3:2 panel has a 2880 x 1920 resolution, so you’ve got loads of detail and height. The edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass Victus does a tremendous job of protecting the panel.
It’s a touchscreen, and it’s compatible with the XPS Stylus, which has 4,096 pressure points and is an excellent option for creative work. It also attaches magnetically to the top of the screen, which is a neat storage solution. The stylus isn’t included, though and it’s $100/£112 extra.
The panel’s peak brightness of 528 nits enables easy indoor and outdoor use, and the contrast ratio of 2,031:1 is about as good as it gets for IPS, so bold colours are partnered by great depth and nuance.
Mike Jennings / Foundry
Those colours are accurate, too, thanks to a 1.1 Delta E, although this screen only renders the sRGB gamut: it produced 94.8% of that space but only about 70% of the Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 gamuts.
Those results mean that the XPS is ideal for everyday workloads and creative tasks, but it’s not suitable for high-end design work or HDR media.
The XPS 13 Plus and ZenBook both come with high-resolution OLED panels with better contrast and colour. The Samsung convertible has OLED, albeit at a lower resolution, and the Surface Pro 9’s 120Hz refresh rate doubles the Dell’s 60Hz figure and makes the UI smoother.
The two 2W speakers are a bit tinny, but fine for background music and YouTube videos. Apple’s kit is much better.
Specs & Performance
Intel Core i5-1230U or i7-1250U
8GB or 16GB DDR4 memory
512GB or 1TB SSDs
The two XPS 13 2-in-1 variants use Intel’s low-power Core i5-1230U and Core i7-1250U processors, which have two multi-threaded performance cores with respective top speeds of 4.4- and 4.7GHz.
The i5 version has 8GB of memory and the Core i7 rig doubles that figure, but it’s only DDR4 RAM when most rivals use DDR5. The 512GB SSD I tested has reasonable read and write speeds of 4988MB/s and 3586MB/s.
There’s nothing to shout about on paper, and there’s not much joy from benchmarks either. In Geekbench 5’s multi-core test, a score of 6,898 is a few hundred points behind the AMD chip inside the Asus, and further back from the XPS 13 Plus’s i7-1260P and Apple’s M2 chip.
PCMark 10 offered no respite. The XPS 13 2-in-1’s result of 4,969 remains behind the Asus and Dell XPS 13 Plus. In our benchmarks, the XPS 13 2-in-1 could only outpace the Samsung, which uses a Core i5-1235U.
Mike Jennings / Foundry
Don’t expect much help from Intel’s Iris Xe graphics chip. Its 3DMark Night Raid result of 11,151 is a long way behind the integrated Radeon core in the Asus and also behind the same Iris chip in the i7-1260P.
You won’t have any issues running office apps, loads of browser tabs or music and media streamers, and the XPS can handle some basic photo- and video-editing tools.
Try to do more and it’ll start to chug and it’s outpaced by the P-series, Ryzen or Apple chips found elsewhere. I’d definitely recommend the 16GB upgrade if you want to opt for the Core i5 CPU.
At least you don’t have to deal with fan noise – because the Dell is passively cooled. That’s great for silent working, but it does mean that there’s a bit of heat towards the top of the tablet if you push the hardware. It’s noticeable, but not dangerous.
Battery Life & Charging
Battery life is mediocre. The 49.5Wh power pack lasted for nine hours and 25 minutes in a video playback test with the screen at reduced brightness but only 8 hours and 27 minutes in an everyday work benchmark at the same screen level.
If you ramp the display up or push the components expect nearer to seven hours, and expect a decent 37% of power from a thirty-minute charge.
In some situations, the XPS won’t get through a working day, and some rivals are better in this area. You’ll get twice as much longevity from the Asus and almost as much from the MacBook and Galaxy Book.
Price & Availability
The cheapest XPS 13 2-in-1 pairs the i5-1230U with 8GB of memory and costs $1,149 or £1,198. Upgrading to 16GB raises those prices to $1,299 and £1,489.
The Core i7-1250U version has 16GB of memory by default and costs $1,299 and £1,689. Upgrading from a 512GB SSD to a 1TB drive is only available on the Core i7 model and ups the US and UK prices to $1,449 and £1,889.
As ever, Dell’s own US and UK websites are the best options for buying the XPS but you can also get it from Currys.
The best model is the Core i7 version with 16GB of memory. But if you’re willing to ditch the Dell’s detachable element, affordable power is easy to find. The Asus ZenBook costs $1,299 or £999, and the Dell XPS 13 Plus with a Core i7 CPU sits at £1,299 or £1,399.
Mike Jennings / Foundry
If you’re happy with a U-series chip you can get the conventional XPS 13 for $999 or £1,199. The Galaxy Book 2 360 costs $849 or £1,299 with a Core i7 CPU, and the Galaxy Book 3 360 costs $799 or £1,399. Several of these contenders have better screens than the XPS, even if they’re not all hybrids.
The MacBook is competitive, too, thanks to starting prices of $1,119 and £1,249 – although prices rise dramatically for the beefier M2 chip and 16GB of memory. The Surface is also expensive, with US and UK prices that start at $1,808 and £1,838 if you pair a Core i7 CPU with the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard.
Check out our chart of the best laptops and best 2-in-1 laptops if you’d like to see all of your options.
It’s a mid-market option in terms of price, then, and it’s pretty ordinary in other departments too.
The processor can run everyday office and creative workloads but nothing tougher, and the display is a bright, bold touchscreen without the colour breadth for top-end design situations. The battery barely lasts all day.
Elsewhere, the XPS has a good keyboard but it’s heavier, thicker and arguably less versatile than rivals, and the screen is robust and well-equipped with cameras – but it barely has any ports.
It’s a tricky sell. The XPS 13 2-in-1 is a good choice if you want an everyday detachable device rather than a 360-hinge hybrid. But no matter your intentions for a new convertible or laptop, you’ll probably find a better option elsewhere.
OS: Windows 11 Home
Display: 13in 2880 x 1920 60Hz IPS
CPU: Intel Core i7-1250U
Memory: 16GB onboard
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe M.s SSD
Webcam: 5mp Windows Hello, 11mp
Connectivity: 2 x Thunderbolt 4/USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C/DisplayPort/Power delivery