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Dell XPS 12: Packing Productivity and Portability

by Paul Strauss
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Over the years, I’ve worked with all different sizes of laptops, from tiny 10″ netbooks to hulking 17″ luggable workstations. Each of these served its purpose, but the fact is that unless you’re doing heavy duty content creation, 15″ and larger laptops are too bulky for most users to carry around, so a 12″ or 13″ model is ideal for everyday productivity.

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I recently started working with Dell’s latest XPS model, the new XPS 12, which provides the best of both a tablet and a laptop in one. What makes working with the XPS 12 a pleasure is how it’s small and light enough to take anywhere, but is fast enough and has a sharp enough screen to make you productive.

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The XPS 12 makes short work of business tasks, tearing through even the biggest spreadsheets like a hot knife through butter, and its razor sharp, thin bezel 4K 12.5″ display lets you fit a huge amount of information on screen at once. And if your eyes aren’t up to the challenge of tiny type, it’s easy enough to tweak display magnification in Windows 10. The UHD display is still great for watching videos and editing photos, even if small type isn’t your thing.

Emails, web browsing and writing documents is a breeze as well, whether you use the included keyboard or the optional Slim Keyboard, which I prefer since the system folds up more neatly, and it provides a fully adjustable angle for the display when typing.

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Of course, the big bonus of the XPS 12 is that you can ditch the keyboard and use it as a tablet. But unlike an iPad or some other tablets on the market, this one runs a full version of Windows 10, so you can continue to use full versions of all your favorite apps, and all the features you’re accustomed to on Microsoft’s latest OS. A feature called Continuum automatically adjusts the sizes of menus, taskbars and touch targets to be more touch friendly once you detach from the keyboard.

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One thing I love is the ability to draw on the XPS 12 with the Dell Active Pen. This allows you to not only take notes using apps like Microsoft OneNote, but to get your creative juices flowing. Whether you’re jotting down ideas for a new product, or acting on your inner Renoir, the pen’s precision and pressure sensitivity works well, and its weight feels natural like a real writing instrument.

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When you’re done with work, the tablet is great for enjoying content on the go. From watching 4K movies on Netflix to playing a little Asphalt 8, you get all the benefits of portability, as well as touchscreen and motion sensor interfaces.

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Dell also went the extra mile with the XPS 12, offering the ability to dock it at your desk for those times that you want to work on a bigger screen and keyboard. Their compact Dell Dock adds an Ethernet port, audio jacks, USB ports and video outputs, while keeping your laptop charged – all via a single USB-C cable. When paired up with a big display like Dell’s UltraSharp 32 UHD monitor, it transforms the XPS 12 into a great desktop when you’re in the office.

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With the ever increasing advances in performance and miniaturization, we’re finally reaching a point where even small computers are powerful enough for everything but powerhouse gaming and heavy duty content production tasks. The XPS 12 is up to most every task you can throw at it, all in a lightweight and easy to carry package.

Prices for the Dell XPS 12 range start at $999.99(USD) for the 1080p model with a 128GB SSD, and $1299.99 with the 4K display and a 256GB SSD.


FTC Disclaimer: Technabob was provided with the hardware tested in this review by Dell at no cost. However, all reviews on Technabob are the unbiased opinions of our authors, and in no way represent the views of the product manufacturers represented here.

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