Flipping your lid: Dell’s XPS 12 reviewed

The screen is also very impressive, with Dell making the 12 inch display capable of showing a 1920×1080 resolution with pretty solid viewing angles, hardly surprising given that this screen needs to be used as both a laptop and a tablet.

Also useful is the inclusion of some high powered internals – Core i7, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage – with all of these specs helping to make this computer have a speedy experience. As such, Windows 8 seems to adore this computer, with the touch experience flying here and apps switching quickly.

There are some issues though that popped up in the reviewing process, though, and it’s not a perfect machine.

One of these is the wake-up speed, which seems to be all over the shop. Pop the laptop open in clamshell mode – like a regular laptop – and you might find it’s ready to go in a second or five. Flip the screen out into the tablet mode and it could take as long as thirty seconds to wake up, even when you’re pressing either the Windows button on front or the power button along the side.

When it does eventually turn on, you may find some issues with operating solely in touch.

For instance, we had a password on our login for Windows 8, and yet no matter how much we pressed on that little password entry box, no onscreen keyboard would pop up. Eventually we found our savior in the accessibility controls on the screen, but then had to deal with a virtual keyboard that was too small to type with.

The battery isn’t amazing either. After a full charge, we didn’t manage more than roughly four hours, which seems under what an Ultrabook should be offering, especially one with a price edging close to the two thousand dollar mark.

It’s also a reasonably heavy unit. We mentioned that earlier on, but it while it’s easy to spot the weight in the first few minutes, it’s the long term use that shows it might be too heavy to compete as a hybrid tablet Ultrabook machine.

While the use of almost stronger materials makes it feel better than your average plastic laptop, the XPS 12 weighs roughly 1.5 kilograms, which is far heavier than any tablet out there, and is very hard to carry with one hand.

And rather surprisingly – and strangely – there is no SD card slot in this computer, a first for us.

We’re used to having no optical drive, something Ultrabooks generally don’t see, but the omission of a memory card slot is very odd, especially since most laptops have had them for three years now. Given the high price and premium design of this laptop, we’re confused by this move, to say the least.

You can't really use the XPS 12 in this way, but it's interesting to see.


We’ll come out and say it: when we first saw Dell’s flipping screen concept a few months back, we were in love. It just made sense. If you didn’t know quite what you needed, a hybrid that flipped into a different form-factor in a matter of seconds made sense.

But after playing with it, we can see that even Dell needs some time to really nail this idea, because right now, it’s a laptop first and foremost, and then a tablet.

If you’re stuck on the fence, it might be time to try out the hinge instead, as it does offer something that makes both laptop and tablet capable, even if it’s not perfect.

Value for money
Reader Rating0 Votes
Strong hinge; Flipping screen is an excellent concept; Rubberised carbon fibre chassis is harder to lose grip on;
Heavier than you'll expect; Tablet operation can be a little buggy; Mediocre battery life; No SD card slot;