Hybrid laptops are slowly becoming more popular, and one of the flagship hybrids is the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1. It launched in 2019 and while this isn't a viable choice for anyone hunting at the cheap end of the best laptops list, those with cash to splash should be paying close attention. This is essentially the original Dell XPS 15 converted into a hybrid, so you can use it like a tablet or a standard laptop, without sacrificing any of the power.
As you can gather from the name of the product, this laptop features a 15.6-inch screen but don't worry about it being too bulky. It has a border of just 4.7mm, meaning the 4K Ultra HD resolution packs all 8 million pixels into a display that seriously cuts no corners. Powering that is a 4GB AMD Radeon RX Vega GPU and 8th-generation Intel Core processor — one of their newer Kaby Lake G models in fact. But how does it look and feel to use according to the top reviews?
CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7
Memory: 8GB to 16GB DDR4-2400MHz
Storage: 128GB to 256GB SSD
Display: 15.6" FHD or 4K touch display
Graphics: Radeon™ RX Vega M GL
Ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C, 2 x USB-C, Audio out.
Dimensions: 13.9" x 9.2" x 0.63"
Weight: Starting at 4.36 lbs
Operating System: Windows 10
Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 review: Design
- Sleek silver lid
- Carbon fibre keyboard with Maglev tech
As laptops go, the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 is fairly generic. The silver aluminum top looks sleek and of course, the ability to rotate it through 360 degrees is one of the main selling points for this beast, but if you're looking for something truly unique to the eye, you won't find it here. Open the lid however, and you're faced with the same carbon fiber keyboard found on the standard Dell XPS 13, which provides a darker contrast to the light silver exterior. This also uses Maglev technology; the same stuff found in high-speed trains. Just don't ask us exactly how.
There's little room to complain with the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1, but nothing is perfect, so there are a couple of small aspects to mention. Perhaps the most frustrating is the lack of standard USB or HDMI ports. As products are starting to move toward a USB-C era, this device has two USB-C 3.1 ports, along with two Thunderbolt 3. Thankfully it hasn't gone completely Apple-inspired though as it retains a standard headset jack and MicroSD card reader. Also, this laptop isn't ideal for video conferencing — the in-built webcam is below the screen rather than above, which makes for some much less flattering angles.
Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 review: Performance
- Strong gaming performance
- Can overheat quickly and runs significantly louder than most
As mentioned above, the XPS 15 2-in-1 is rocking an 8th-gen Intel Core Kaby Lake G processor. The result is one of the most powerful hybrid laptops available that can be used for everything under the sun; gaming, design work, video editing, you name it. Most reviews mention this laptop scoring incredibly in benchmark tests like 3DMark, GeekBench 4, and CineBench. Expect 60fps on high graphics settings in multiplayer games like Overwatch and Destiny 2, although it can cause the machine to run very loud and hot. This is something else commonly mentioned when plugging it into the wall; doing so will kick the fans into overdrive, resulting in a staggeringly loud machine.
With that said, the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 shouldn't be your first choice if you're looking for a gaming laptop - for this, look at the Alienware m15. There's plenty of other portable devices that do games much better and often at a cheaper price point, but if games are a hobby of yours alongside the numerous other aspects this product excels at? Then it's an excellent shout, especially if you'll make full use of the hybrid nature.
Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 review: Battery Life
- Dell's 15-hour promise isn't quite true
- Unlikely to last for a full work day
While Dell claims it can run for up to 15 hours solely on battery, the common consensus is that's a vast exaggeration. When watching videos and browsing the web, the battery typically lasts for just a third of Dell's estimation — around 5-6 hours. Stick it into airplane mode and tone down the brightness to get some extra time out of it, reaching around 8-9 hours at a push. You're going to want to keep your charger nearby and handy because without it, there's a strong chance it won't see you through a full work day. This is disappointing when you compare it to most other hybrids.
Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 review: Value for Money
- Worth it if you'll utilize the touch screen
- Opt for the XPS 13 if you don't need the bigger display
At the time of writing, Dell is selling the higher end model of the XPS 15 2-in-1 for a steep $1,899. You can opt for an i5 CPU and just 8GB RAM (higher model has an i7 and 16GB) to take the price down to $1,299, but that's where the performance will start to stutter.
The strong recommendation would be to fork out for the top end version for the multitasking and gaming capabilities because if they're not a major selling point for you, may we suggest looking at the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 instead? It's slightly cheaper with a much longer battery life, and is much better suited for portability thanks to the smaller screen.
Should I buy the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1?
The Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 is a jack of all trades but unfortunately, a master of none. If you're looking for a reliable laptop that can multitask and do everything from 4K movies to video games and graphics work with a stylus and touch screen, you've found the optimal choice. It's impressively thin considering the power under the hood but as a result, it gets hot and loud, which isn't helped by the somewhat disappointing battery life.
Aesthetically, it looks excellent, and the keyboard provides a great typing experience, somewhat similar to what you'd find on a Macbook Pro 2019. The display is top notch too, as it rocks an IPS panel instead of the less impressive TN or VA.