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Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 (2018) review: A big-screen 2-in-1 with some wow

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The Good The Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 9575 is the smallest, thinnest in the category with strong performance from its hybrid Intel/AMD chip and a gorgeous 4K-resolution display that goes nearly edge-to-edge.

The Bad Its new keyboard design isn't the most comfortable typing experience. Its 4K display doesn't do battery life any favors. Nothing but USB-C ports means you'll need dongles and docks.

The Bottom Line Dell's XPS 15 2-in-1 moves the 15.6-inch convertible category forward with a host of premium features, but the overall design does require some sacrifice.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Battery 8

Review Sections

Dell's latest XPS 15 2-in-1 is the world's smallest and thinnest 15.6-inch convertible. It's also one of the first to feature an Intel CPU paired with an AMD Radeon Vega M GL GPU, giving you some pretty decent graphics muscle for a superslim two-in-one PC.

You might think that high-performance components fitted into a body that's only 0.63 inch (16 mm) at its thickest might not be the best idea and, well, you'd be right. Dell developed a special cooling system for it that includes two large liquid-crystal polymer fans and three composite heat pipes as well as synthetic graphite heat spreaders and Gore thermal insulation to help protect your lap from heat. 

And it all works well together, offering up performance to handle everything from office work to content creation and gaming, even if that last one isn't this PC's purpose. Granted, there are a few compromises for the design and it's pricey with my review system going for $2,350, £2,199 and AU$3,899. If you don't need the two-in-one design, consider the XPS 15 laptop, which ends up being a better deal for the money. 

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 9575

Price as reviewed $2,350, £2,199, AU$3,899
Display size/resolution 15.6-inch 3,840 x 2,160 touch display
CPU 3.1GHz Intel Core i7-8705G
Memory 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz
Graphics 4GB AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL Graphics
Storage 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.1
Operating system Window 10 Home (64-bit)

Being a two-in-one, though, you can use it as a laptop, of course, but it's also a tablet. A big 15.6-inch tablet that weighs 4.4 pounds (2 kg), which is not light, but is less than its closest competitor, the HP Spectre x360 15, which uses the same Intel/AMD chipset. 

Dell has a new $99 Premium Active Pen that has 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt functionality for detail shading. The pen is good with relatively little lag, but the tilt support is going to depend on the application support. Still, it's definitely nice to have and the pen itself magnetically attaches to the left side of the body. 

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Sarah Tew/CNET

You can get the system with your choice of a full HD display with 100 percent sRGB color gamut or a 4K UHD-resolution touchscreen with 100 percent AdobeRGB color gamut. Both are capable of hitting 400-nit brightness without shifting the white point of the panel. 

The 4K display is beautiful and that 400-nit brightness really helps with reflections. Out of the box it had very good color performance and Dell has a utility to set the screen to different profiles and you can calibrate to improve color accuracy. Getting that display adds $400 to price and requires you to step up to the Intel Core i7-8705G processor. Also, it will drain your battery faster than the full HD. 

Because of the superthin bezels around the sides and top of the display, Dell put the webcam below the screen. It's an awkward position for video calls and for using the IR camera to sign into the PC with facial recognition. There's a fingerprint reader built into the power button if you want to use that instead. 

Mixed feelings on Maglev

This is one of Dell's first laptops with a new keyboard using Darfon's Maglev design combined with a butterfly mechanism. It uses magnets to pop the keys back up instead of traditional rubber domes, which allowed Dell to make a thinner keyboard that it says will last longer than rubber domes. 

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