A first-generation tablet from Dell

Like many of Dell’s flagship laptops, the XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) is a great product and has been for a while. However, this year we got a full redesign, turning it from a 360-degree convertible into a tablet. Now that it’s effectively a Gen 1 product, there are some compromises.


We’ve seen it time and again. You show me a Windows tablet with a folio keyboard that magnetically props up the screen, and I’ll tell you what Gen 2 will look like. You can bet that Dell will make the same adjustments that every other OEM has made as this space has matured. There will be a kickstand and the keyboard will attach at an angle. It’s not my first rodeo, although, unfortunately, it’s Dell’s.

That being said, I quite enjoy this device. For one thing, the design is excellent, and there’s no denying that it’s a similar style to Apple’s iPads. It’s also inexpensive, at least compared to a Microsoft Surface Pro 9.

The Windows tablet market isn’t exactly a big one, but if you’re looking for a more affordable alternative to the Surface line, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) is a good choice.

About this review: Dell sent us a unit for review and did not have any input on the contents of this article before publishing.

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is a sleek tablet with 12th-gen Intel processors and a sharp 13-inch display. It can be paired with the XPS Folio keyboard for a more traditional laptop experience.
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022)

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022)

Recommended

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is a sleek device with 12th-generation Intel processors and a sharp 13-inch display. It can be paired with the XPS Folio keyboard for a more traditional laptop experience.

Brand
Dell

Color
Sky

Storage
512 GB, M.2, PCIe NVMe, SSD

CPU
12th Gen Intel Core i5-1230U (12 MB cache, 10 cores, 12 threads, up to 4.40 GHz Turbo)

Memory
16GB 4267MHz LPDDR4x Memory Onboard

Operating System
Windows 11 Home

Battery
3 Cell, 49.5 Wh

Ports
2 Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C) with DisplayPort and Power Delivery

Camera
5MP, 1080p at 30 fps, FHD RGB camera

Display (Size, Resolution)
13″ 3:2 3K (2880×1920) Touch; AR+AS, GorillaGlass Victus, active pen support, 500-Nit Display

Weight
Starting Weight: 1.60 lbs. (736 g) Folio Weight: 1.23 lbs. (560 g)

GPU
Intel Iris Xe

Dimension
Height : 0.29 in. (7.40 mm) Width: 11.50 in. (292.50 mm) Depth: 7.90 in. (201.20 mm)

Network
Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6E 1675 (AX211) 2×2 + Bluetooth 5.2 Wireless Card

Speakers
Stereo speakers with Waves MaxxAudio Pro Smart Amp, 2 W x 2 = 4 W total

Price
$1,249

Pros Cons
Way less expensive than a Surface Pro 9 It’s not lappable
Build quality and pretty design The folio keyboard falls down too easily
Finally, an XPS with a good webcam Folio keyboard only has two angles
A great form factor for running Android apps
Solid display

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022): Pricing and availability

  • The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) is available now, starting at $999

Dell announced its new XPS 13 2-in-1 over the summer, and it’s now available. Like Microsoft’s Surface Pro 9, it starts at $999, but that’s where the similarities in pricing end. The base model for the XPS comes with a Core i5, 8GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD.

If you want 16GB RAM, it’s only $50 more. Bundling the keyboard or stylus is $100 each, and there’s no discount for bundling both of them. Still, that adds up to just $1,249 for the model that Dell sent me, packing a Core i5-1230U, 16GB LPDDR4x, a 512GB SSD, the folio keyboard, and the stylus.

Design: It’s a tablet now

  • Dell has ditched the convertible form factor in favor of a tablet
  • It has two Thunderbolt 4 ports and no headphone jack

Since it debuted, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 has been a convertible PC with a 360-degree hinge. That changes this year, for better or for worse. It’s impossible to say if a tablet form factor is better than a convertible, but this is what we have.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) looks like an iPad Pro, albeit with sharper corners. It borrows the design of a flat-edged metal frame with a uniform bezel around the screen.

Angled view of volume buttons on Dell XPS tablet

While looking at it in landscape orientation, you’ll find both the volume buttons and the power button on top, with the former on the left and the latter on the right. Dell borrows something else from the iPad here, something that Microsoft fails at with the Surface Pro 9: The volume buttons adjust for the position of the device. If you’re holding it vertically, the top volume button turns the volume up. If you’re holding it horizontally, those buttons swap so that the one on the right always turns the volume up. It works in all four directions.

Angled view of ports on Windows tablet

On the left side, you’ll find the two Thunderbolt 4 ports, which can be used for anything you can imagine. You could use one to connect an external GPU (not that you’d really want to do that with a 9W CPU) or connect a Thunderbolt dock.

And no, there is no headphone jack, something that we’ve already seen from other Dell XPS laptops this year and the Surface Pro 9. I miss having one on PCs more than I do on phones, but it’s an easy enough hurdle to jump over. If you need the stability of a wired connection for whatever kind of work you do, you can still use USB. Dell even includes dongles in the box: a USB Type-C to USB Type-A and a USB Type-C to 3.5mm.

When it comes to Windows tablets and design, you can’t beat the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1.

Overall, I love the design of the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. It weighs just 1.6 pounds, and it’s fanless, so it’s both lighter and quieter than a Surface Pro 9. When it comes to Windows tablets from a design perspective, I don’t think you can beat the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022).

Display: It has a 3K display, and also the first decent XPS webcam

  • The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) has a 13-inch 3:2 3K display
  • The webcam is 5MP, making it the best XPS webcam in history

Dell packed a 13-inch 2880 x 1920 screen into its latest XPS 13 2-in-1, which is good because that’s the correct aspect ratio for a tablet. 16:10 and 3:2 laptops have become increasingly popular over the last couple of years, but occasionally I come across a 16:9 convertible, and it feels so bizarre. The larger 3:2 aspect ratio, made popular by the Surface lineup since 2014, feels more natural on a tablet since it makes the screen wider when holding it vertically.

Close up of display on Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

Overall, the screen looks solid. However, it’s not quite reaching the bar that Dell XPS has set for itself over the years.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 display test

According to my testing, the screen supports 98% sRGB, 72% NTSC, 77% Adobe RGB, and 77% P3, which is acceptable. The only issue is that in the past, Dell XPS laptops I’ve reviewed have been in the 90s across the board. I had the same issue when I reviewed this year’s XPS 13.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 display test

Brightness came in at 467.2 nits, falling a bit short of the promised 500 nits. Still, it’s much brighter than most other laptops that come across my desk, so I’ll take it.

Angled close-up view of XPS 13 2-in-1 webcam

The bezels are uniform on all sides, giving the XPS 13 2-in-1 a pleasant-looking aesthetic. You’d be surprised by how rare this is, even in phones. It’s another parallel that we can draw to Apple’s products.

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 has the best webcam of any XPS laptop to date.

In the top bezel is a 5MP webcam, which is kind of a big deal because no previous Dell XPS laptop had more than a 720p camera, which is equal to 0.9MP. Indeed, this is the first decent webcam on an XPS, something that’s super important in the age of working from home. Naturally, it supports Windows Hello as well.

Keyboard: The folio keyboard needs work

  • The folio keyboard magnetically attaches to the back to prop up the display
  • The keys are not islanded, similar to the XPS 13 Plus

There are several things to address when talking about a tablet keyboard, such as overall comfort and accuracy, lappability, and more. Let’s start with lappability, a word invented by Microsoft to describe how easy its Surface Pro tablets were to use on a lap. Of course, when your products are actually easy to use, you don’t have to make up a word for it, but that’s neither here nor there.

Unfortunately, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) is not lappable, mainly because it hasn’t learned from the mistakes of products that came before it. The tablet firmly attaches to the keyboard cover through the pins so the base won’t fall off. However, the back part folds around to magnetically prop it up against the back of the tablet, and that will fall off if you hit it the wrong way. If you’re trying to use it on your lap, lean the wrong way and the tablet will end up on the floor.

Top down view of folio keyboard

The keyboard also lies flat, something that Microsoft changed with its Surface Pro in 2014 in the interest of lappability. The company found that it was much easier to have it prop up against the display at an angle. And of course, the folio keyboard means that you have limited angles to view the screen; there are three.

I totally expect all of this to change with next year’s model. We’ve seen folio keyboards like this from lots of other companies. When it’s time for Gen 2, there’s always a kickstand, so you can place the display at any angle.

The keys aren’t islanded, similar to what you’d find on the Dell XPS 13 Plus. This doesn’t feel as comfortable though, and it’s certainly not as accurate. I’m double-typing characters left and right as I type this review.

Ultimately, I don’t love the keyboard. It’s not a dealbreaker by any means, but I fully expect the next generation to have way more improvements. Hopefully, Dell learns from other companies’ mistakes and uses the same pins, so those that bought the 2022 XPS 13 2-in-1 can upgrade their keyboard if they wish.

And if you don’t like it, do remember that one of the nice things about tablet PCs is that you’re under absolutely no obligation to use Dell’s keyboard. There are tons of Bluetooth keyboards that are designed to be mobile and compact.

Performance: It’s fine for productivity

  • The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) includes Intel’s 12th-generation U9 processors
  • Battery life is pretty decent

Historically, most laptops, ultrabooks, and tablets used 15W processors, and that includes the XPS 13 2-in-1 over the last two generations. Before that, it used 5W Y-series processors. Now, it’s using 9W U-series chips, the equivalent of Y-series in previous years.

The big difference is that those low-power processors are good now, whereas I couldn’t responsibly recommend the Y-series to anyone. At the very least, Intel’s U9 processors are good for productivity.

Angled view of Windows tablet with keyboard

There’s a bit more to break down here because while laptops have historically used 15W processors, none of the three XPS 13 devices use current 15W CPUs. The Dell XPS 13 (2022) uses the same 9W processors as the XPS 13 2-in-1, but boosted to 12W, while the XPS 13 Plus uses Intel’s newer 28W parts.

Both the Core i5-1230U and Core i7-1250U offered here come with two performance cores and eight efficiency cores, adding up to 12 threads since only the performance cores are hyper-threaded. For graphics, you get Iris Xe, which is a solid bit of GPU performance considering what you might be doing with the 9W processor.

Unlike competitors, the XPS 13 2-in-1 offers a fanless design.

Ultimately, I wouldn’t use this for much beyond productivity, although to be fair, Dell sent the Core i5 model. I’ve been able to actually do proper photo editing on some 9W Core i7 devices, so it’s worth the upgrade if you plan on doing that kind of work.

For benchmarks, I used PCMark 10, 3DMark, Geekbench 5, and Cinebench R23, while comparing the 2-in-1 to others in the lineup.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) Core i5-1230U Dell XPS 13 (2022) Core i5-1230U Dell XPS 13 Plus Core i7-1280P
PCMark 10 4,540 4,846 5,481
3DMark: Time Spy 839 1,031 1,992
Geekbench 5 (single / multi) 1,533 / 6,897 1,573 / 7,073 1,700 / 10,293
Cinebench R23 (single / multi) 1,094 / 2,898 1,510 / 6,145 1,629 / 10,121

You’ll notice that the scores on the 2-in-1 are lower than the rest, as they should be. It’s also worth noting that Dell nerfs its own hardware by default. To get this performance, you actually have to go into the My Dell application and change the thermal settings from optimized to best performance.

HP has done something similar in the past, and it’s always a little frustrating how misleading the market can be. No one tells you when you buy a PC that the battery life and performance claims are based on two totally different settings.

My battery testing is done by using it like I would any other PC, by working in a Chromium browser and other regular apps. The power setting in My Dell was left on best performance, especially since this is a very low-power processor. The result was between 4.5 and 5.5 hours of battery life. Over six runs, two of them were over five hours.

This is actually pretty decent. I’m sure you can do even better by changing the thermal settings, but you’d be setting yourself up for some real performance challenges.

Should you buy the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022)

You should buy the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) if:

  • You’re looking for a Windows tablet
  • You want a well-rounded PC where you can do things you’d use a laptop for and everything you’d use an iPad for
  • You like to draw or take handwritten notes

You should NOT buy the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) if:

  • You’re planning to do photo editing
  • You go places without a steady surface to work on
  • You want more of a laptop experience

Dell expanded its XPS lineup this year with the XPS 13 Plus, but by redesigning the 2-in-1, it’s left itself without a proper convertible in this year’s lineup. If you want a proper clamshell form factor, you have the new Dell XPS 13 and XPS 13 Plus. Those also both come with more power than the 2-in-1 tablet does. But to buy the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, you do have to want a tablet.

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is a sleek tablet with 12th-gen Intel processors and a sharp 13-inch display. It can be paired with the XPS Folio keyboard for a more traditional laptop experience.
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022)

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022)

Recommended

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is a sleek device with 12th-generation Intel processors and a sharp 13-inch display. It can be paired with the XPS Folio keyboard for a more traditional laptop experience.

(Visited 25 times, 1 visits today)

Related posts