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Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 vs. Lenovo Yoga C940: Which 2-in-1 laptop is best for you?

Both running on Intel's 10th-gen processors, these are two of the best premium ultraportables available. Here's how to choose between them.

Dell's newest XPS 13 2-in-1 is one of the best ultraportable convertibles you can buy at the moment. That's saying something considering the category is loaded with great options. Also, I wasn't a big fan of the last version of this XPS two-in-one, mainly for its weak processor and big price. The 2019 model is a complete overhaul centered around Intel's 10th-gen processors, so it has excellent performance and battery life. The design is greatly improved too, putting it on the same level as the company's exceptional XPS 13 laptop

Lenovo's Yoga C930 was CNET's Editors' Choice two-in-one in late 2018 and was our top recommendation for anyone looking for a premium thin-and-light convertible for most of 2019. Its replacement, the C940, was announced in September and it too has Intel's latest mobile processors in it. The design is only slightly different, though, because it was already solid with things like a 360-degree hinge that's also a soundbar and an included active pen that's stored in the body. While I haven't tested it yet, I would expect it to perform on par with the Dell. 

Read more: Best 2-in-1 PCs in 2019 for when you need a laptop and tablet in one

XPS 13 2-in-1 vs. Yoga C940


Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 Lenovo Yoga C940
Price $1,575 $1,470
Display size/resolution 13.4-inch 1,920x1,200-pixel touch display 14-inch 1,920x1,200-pixel touch display
CPU 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7
PC memory 16GB LPDDR4x SDRAM 3,733MHz 16GB LPDDR4x SDRAM 3,733MHz
Graphics Intel Iris Plus Graphics Intel Iris Plus Graphics
Storage 512GB PCIe NVMe x4 SSD 1TB PCIe NVMe x4 SSD
Networking 802.11ax Wi-Fi Bluetooth 5.0 802.11ax Wi-Fi Bluetooth 5.0
Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit) Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

So if these two essentially perform the same, what's going to push you one way or the other? Here are some things to consider before you buy either. 

Size matters

04-yes-sorry-dell-xps-13-2-in-1-promo

The XPS 13 2-in-1 is completely redesigned from its predecessor. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Dell used a new 13.4-inch display with a 16:10 aspect, which is available in a UHD Plus 3,840x2,400-pixel resolution with 500-nit brightness and HDR400 certified, or with a 500-nit FHD Plus 1,920x1,200-pixel resolution. The C940 uses a slightly larger 16:9 14-inch display available in 1,920x1,080- or 3,840x2,160-pixel resolution. Lenovo lists that both resolutions are available with 500-nit brightness, while the 1080 display is also available in 400-nit glossy or anti-glare versions. 

The increased screen size on Yoga does add to the width and depth of the body, though not by much. The Dell is a few millimeters thinner as well. However, to get the body thinner, Dell used a MagLev keyboard that some might find uncomfortable because the keys don't have much travel. Lenovo's keyboard has a bit more travel, though it might still be one you want to try before you buy. Also, they essentially weigh the same so there's no penalty there for going with the larger screen. 

lenovo-yoga-c940-1

The Yoga C940's design is only slightly different from the C930's. 

Lori Grunin/CNET

Upgrade potential

One of the biggest issues with premium models like these is that manufacturers limit what you can upgrade on your own. This means you have to buy what you need now and what you'll need in the future up front, unlike other models where you could potentially add more memory or storage. 

With the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, storage and memory are soldered in, giving you no path to easily bump the base model's 4GB of RAM to 16GB or increase the 256GB SSD for more space or speed -- what you get is what you get. Lenovo's C940  isn't much better: The C940's storage can be user-upgraded, but its memory is onboard only.

Similarly, the XPS only has Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports whereas the Yoga has a single USB-A port to complement its Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports. Dell does include a USB-C-to-USB-A dongle, though, and the XPS has a USB-C port on the left and right. Since these two-in-ones use USB-C for power, it's nice to have the option to plug in from either side on the Dell. All of the Yoga's ports are on the left side. 

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Extra extras

One of the selling points for two-in-ones is being able to write and draw on the display with an active pen. Like its predecessor, the Yoga C940's pens is included and it stores and charges in the body. 

Dell doesn't include its active pen with the XPS 13 2-in-1 and it's $100, although it's regularly on sale for less. It's a full-size Wacom pen whereas the Yoga's is small, similar to Samsung's S Pen with the Note 10. Still, it's included so you're not paying to find out if you'll use it or not. 

22-dell-xps-13-2-in-1

Dell's active pen is good, but not included.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Lenovo also includes a fingerprint reader on all its Yoga C940 configurations. Dell lists its reader as optional, but it's currently included on its configurations direct from Dell. If that feature is something you want, just don't take it for granted that every configuration available will have a fingerprint reader. 

Perhaps more important than any of this are Dell's processor choices. All of the Yoga's Intel Core i5 and Core i7 configurations use the more powerful Intel Iris Plus integrated graphics. With the XPS, Dell used a lower-end Core i5-1035G1 processor with the slower UHD integrated graphics. If you want better Iris Plus graphics, you'll have to get the pricier Core i7 processor in the XPS.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The newest XPS two-in-one is a complete teardown from the previous version. Dell trimmed every last bit of chassis that it could so that the 13.4-inch convertible is basically a screen, keyboard and touchpad. The design makes it more comfortable to use as a tablet, as well easier to use on a lap or seatback tray table. With the 10th-gen Intel Core i7 processor and Iris Pro graphics, the version I tested outperformed its eighth- and ninth-gen counterparts while still getting more than 10 hours of battery life. It looks nice, too.  Read our Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 review.

Lori Grunin/CNET

The design hasn't changed much from its predecessor, but for the Yoga C940 that's not a bad thing. More importantly it's been updated with Intel's latest processors and promises to take advantage of their capabilities for increased performance and more phonelike performance when it comes to responsiveness and battery life. If you want a slightly larger screen than the Dell, this looks like the way to go. The starting price for the C940 is $1,150, but for this comparison we've used the pricing for a build comparable to the Dell we tested.