CNET First Look
Dell's XPS 12 Windows 8 flagship reviewedThe XPS 12 shows a different take on the rotating-screen convertible laptop/tablet.
-I'm Dan Ackerman and we are here taking a look at the Dell XPS 12. This is a brand new Windows 8 laptop, one of the first laptops built specifically for Windows 8, and like a lot of those other early Windows 8 laptops, it is what we called a convertible, which means that the screen will either twist or rotate or flip in someway to turn it from a clamshell laptop into a tablet. In this particular case, it goes like this. You have the screen out of the back; it's hinged here on the side and you flip it all the way around like this, and when you do that, it's actually pointing out from the back of the lid. As you can see, the auto rotate is still a little wonky. It's something we've seen in a couple of Windows 8 systems, but then you can fold it all the way down like this and you have got a slate-style tablet that will work either on portrait mode or in regular horizontal mode, and again, not get a lot of auto-rotate right here. Now, if this looks familiar to you that's because we actually have seen a design like this once before also from Dell. That was about two years ago in something called the Dell Inspiron Duo which was basically a bigger, thicker, chunkier, heavier version of this that had the same kind of hinge in the middle, almost Ferris wheel-style rotating screen. That was a clever idea at that time, but because it had an Intel Adam processor, it was really underpowered and it just didn't come together and I don't think Dell sold it for a particularly long time. So, please see this comeback. Dell was actually originally gonna call this a duo. At the last minute, they changed the name and just called it an XPS 12 because it has a 12-inch screen. You can get a fairly high-end version like we have with the core i7 and a 256-gig SSD. That's a little bit expensive. That's about $1699 or you can get a much more entry-level version for, I think, $1199 which is a core i5 and a 128-gig SSD which does seem a lot more reasonable because for-- What are you gonna do with this? Web surfing, office docs, maybe some social media, maybe watching some movies online. You're not really gonna need the core i7. You might as well get the less expensive version, which at least seems understandable. I'm not really sure as clever as the rotating screen is if anyone is really gonna wanna spend $1699 on that. As far as the first generation of Windows 8 laptop/tablet/hybrid/convertible systems goes, this is one of my favorite ways to do it because it doesn't really compromise the traditional clamshell laptop experience. You got a nice backlit keyboard. You got a big touchpad over here, and at the same time, you also get [unk] tablet view which is, you know, marginally useful depending on what you're doing. I really like the ability to flip the screen backwards to show somebody on the other side of your computer what you're working on, really great for sharing in meetings, for example. I'm Dan Ackerman and that is the Dell XPS 12.