Dell takes on the world with Android and Windows tablets, high-end XPS laptops

With a variety of new Dell tablets, laptops, and tablet/laptop hybrids, we've rounded up the most impressive of the bunch.

For the bulk of 2013, any headlines you've read about Dell have more than likely been about the company's rocky transition from public to private company, via a $25 billion buyout from Silver Lake Partners . But with today's announcement of a long list of new Windows 8.1 laptops, tablets, convertible devices -- and even a pair of low-cost Android tablets -- the company is putting the focus back on its hardware offerings.

With its updated lineup, the once-dominant Texas PC giant seems to be taking on all comers. With prices starting at $999 and the addition of a high-resolution touch-screen, the XPS 13 and 15 ultrathin laptops take aim at Apple's MacBook Air and Retina-screen Pro lines. XPS 11 and 12 convertibles are Dell's answer to innovative form factors like Lenovo's Yoga and Sony's Vaio Flip.

Meanwhile, a slew of new tablets -- the all-new Venue line -- stakes Dell's claim into the market that's eating into traditional PC sales. On the Windows side, the Venue 11 Pro is an 11-inch tablet with a detachable keyboard that will go head-to-head with the likes of Microsoft's upcoming Surface Pro 2. The Venue 8 Pro joins the ranks of the new, small-form-factor Windows 8.1 tablets from the likes of the Toshiba Encore and Asus VivoTab Smart ME400, and wows with a starting price of just $299. And Dell is returning to the Android world with the $149 7-inch Venue 7 and $189 8-inch Venue 8, offering competitors to Google's $229 Nexus 7 and Apple's iPad Mini (which is due to be refreshed later this year).

We've listed some of the more interesting new devices that feature an array of impressive specs, affordable pricing, and innovative design.


The Dell Venue 7 tablet is a smaller version of the Venue 8. James Martin/CNET

Dell Venue 7
Dell is taking another stab at releasing a compact Android slate with the 7-inch Venue tablet and, even though it doesn't boast the most high-end specs, it's still a considerable upgrade from Dell's Streak 7 . The Venue 7 bears an appealing $149 starting price -- for 16GB of internal storage -- and houses a 2GHz Clover Trail processor, with a modest 1,280x800-pixel-resolution IPS screen. It also comes in an 8-inch model.
Read more about the Dell Venue 7 here.


Dell claims the XPS 11 is thinnest 2-in-1 hybrid available. James Martin/CNET

Dell XPS 11
According to Dell, the XPS 11 is the thinnest 2-in-1 hybrid, at a slim 0.6-inch thickness. In addition to its double configuration as a laptop and tablet, the XPS 11 can also move into a "downward facing dog" position for optimal movie-watching on its sharp 2,560x1,440-pixel resolution touch-screen.
Read more about the Dell XPS 11 here.


The XPS 15 houses an impressively sharp screen. James Martin/CNET

Dell XPS 15
For those seeking a more conventional device that doesn't execute yoga positions better than you can, the XPS 15 is a solid traditional laptop. It rocks a supersharp 3,200x1,800-pixel resolution with 5.7 million pixels on its 15-inch screen and still manages to keep things slim with a 0.7-inch thickness. The XPS 15 also includes a multitude of ports as well as a variety of CPU and GPU options.
Read more about the Dell XPS 15 here.


The Dell XPS 12 features an innovative design that allows it to easily transform from a laptop into a tablet. James Martin/CNET

Dell XPS 12
The XPS 12 stands out from the 2-in-1 hybrid crowd with swiveling hinges on both sides of its display that allow the screen to flip back 180 degrees, as well as fold down into a tablet. It comes with a keyboard, 1,920x1,200-pixel-resolution screen, and packs dual USB ports, in addition to a Mini DisplayPort.
Read more about the Dell XPS 12 here.


The Dell Venue 8 Pro is one of the smallest Windows 8.1 tablets. James Martin/CNET

Dell Venue 8 Pro
As Dell's first 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet, the Venue 8 Pro's modest size matches its modest specs, with a 1,280x800-pixel-resolution IPS screen, Bay Trail processor, and 2GB of RAM. It's one of the smallest Windows 8.1 tablets and starts at $299 for 32GB of storage.
Read more about the Dell Venue 8 Pro here.

Looking for specs and pricing? Compare these Dells head-to-head.

 

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