Dell XPS 18 – an all-in-one PC that’s also an 18-inch tablet

by , Technology Researcher PCs 13/03/2013
Dell XPS 18 final

Dell XPS 18 – what is it?

The Dell XPS 18 is an all-in-one PC that’s also an 18.4-inch tablet. It runs on Windows 8 Pro and is designed to be thinner and lighter than its competition, the Sony VAIO Tap 20 and the Asus Transformer AiO.

These tablet/PC hybrids are getting more and more popular amongst manufacturers as they try to entice families to splash out on a brand new computer. In theory, they’re more flexible than a traditional desktop or all-in-one like Apple’s iMac. That’s because you can transport the tablet around your house for casual movie viewing or app-based frolics and then reconnect it with the dock and wireless keyboard for more serious activities.

How does the XPS 18 hold up in practice? Read on to find out our first impressions of Dell’s latest device.

For our expert verdict on the latest computers, read our all-in-one PC reviews.

Dell XPS 18 – three key features

1. The ‘thinnest and lightest’ all-in-one yet?
Dell is claiming the XPS 18 is the world’s thinnest and lightest all-in-one yet, which is a crucial boast if you’re going to lug the thing around your living room. The tablet’s design is tapered, so it’s thinner at the front near its Full HD (1080p) screen and slightly more chunky round the back. This allows more space to fit in a battery that lasts 5 hours in one charge; plenty of time for watching a family movie.

2. It’s competitively priced  - starting from £849
Four versions of the XPS 18 are set to go on sale with the most basic model, which launches on 16 April, priced at £849 for an Intel Pentium Dual-Core processor with 4 GB Ram; this means it’s cheaper than the Sony Tap 20 but significantly less powerful. Since the XPS 18 is primarily for casual use, this isn’t a dramatic shortcoming. Especially as you can buy a model with a Core i7 processor and 8GB Ram if needs be.

3. A decent stand and keyboard combo
The XPS 18 charging stand we got to try out was a test model. When the consumer-ready version is released Dell promised its magnet will be made much stronger for an easy docking experience. Assuming this happens, it should combine nicely with the wireless keyboard and mouse you get to use. Taken as a package, it’s all very easy on the eye.

Dell XPS 18 – three key features

rob leedham-avatarGiven there’s a whiff of novelty about these new all-in-one hybrids, my initial reaction to the XPS 18 was laced with scepticism. Once I got my hands on it, I was quite smitten.

Where most touchscreen laptops wobble all over the place if you give them a prod, the XPS 18 is sturdy enough to stand its ground even ifyou’re playing intense apps like Jetpack Joyride and Cut The Rope. This is thanks to its kickstand legs, which are also useful for balancing the tablet while watching video.

Although Dell is keen to push the fact you could use the XPS 18 on your lap for work, it isn’t a comfortable or convenient experience. I’d much prefer to stick with the old reliable keyboard and mouse option.

All in all, I liked the Dell XPS 18 and think it will make for a pleasingly versatile family PC. But it’ll need to live up to its five hours battery life claim to make it worth considering.
Robert Leedham

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Shut up and take my money! This is the first big tablet that still fits in your bag.

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