Convertible laptops of the conventional kind are more cumbersome than versatile! I do not buy the idea of folding your entire keyboard backwards and using it as a stand or base. In those “flex” modes, these laptops take up more space and are quite heavy to carry. The ideal solution for a convertible seems to be an iPad-like tablet that runs desktop OS. Up until now, there was the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet in the premium space but Dell came up with a more elegant solution with its sexy XPS lineup. Meet the Dell XPS 13 9315 2-in-1.
Yeah, Dell needs to work on the names but that’s not what we are here for. I borrowed a base unit of the Dell XPS 13 9315 2-in-1 to check this – does it solve the problems of a conventional 2-in-1 laptop? Is it more practical to live with? And, unlike the Qualcomm powered Surface tablets, do you have enough power for basic computing? After all, this tablet PC costs Rs. 139,990 and it better impress with something different; something unique.
The Dell XPS 13 9315 2-in-1 is essentially a tablet and that solves one big issue – folding it. Instead of a cumbersome hinge, Dell borrows Apple’s idea of a folio keyboard cover to do the 2-in-1 thing. You have this big and heavy 13-inch tablet that attaches magnetically to a folio cover holding a keyboard and a trackpad. You can have three angles of adjustment on the folio cover, which makes it easier than Apple’s folio cover solution (if you exclude the Magic Keyboard).
Being a Dell, the build quality is top notch. The tablet looks sleek and smart, with the rear camera offering some fun in this serious design. The front looks largely like a stretched iPad Pro. Dell is using Gorilla Glass Victus for scratch and damage protection. You also get a stylus in the package, which attaches magnetically on the top to recharge. I love how Dell includes two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports on the side. No other ports are present on the device but you get a USB-A 3.0 dongle and a 3.5mm headphone dongle in the package. Neat.
Being a tablet, the priority is the display and it is a good one. You get a 13-inch IPS LCD display with 3K resolutoion in aspect ratio of 3:2. The display is rated at 100% sRGB and supports up to 500 nits of brightness. Compared to a 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro, the display isn’t as great but it does the job well for casual users. For watching web series and movies, the display has enough colours to make the viewing experience pleasant. The touch response is good and I had no troubles with the viewing angles. I wish Dell figured out a way to include an OLED display, considering the price.
This is where the Dell XPS 13 9315 2-in-1 shines. This XPS tablet is using the 12th Gen Intel U series processors, which are known to offer great power efficiency at the cost of top-notch performance. My unit has the Intel Core i5-1230U processor paired to 16GB of LPDDR4X Dual channel 4266MHz RAM and 512GB PCIe 4x4 SSD storage. Intel Iris Xe graphics handles all the graphical duties here and there’s Windows 11 onboard to manage it all.
As long as your usage is limited to productivity and entertainment, the Dell XPS 13 9315 2-in-1 is happy to serve. I used it for my office work, which mostly includes typing on MS Word and managing the rest on Google Chrome. The XPS 13 never faltered with the workloads I threw at it, even when there were 16 Chrome tabs left open. The PC was also able to handle light photo editing easily. Watching HD content on Prime Video and other OTT platforms was also a breeze. Sadly, the Intel U-series processor and the Intel Iris Xe graphics meant I couldn’t expose it to gaming. I also didn’t observe any heating, although that could be attributed to the cold ambient temperatures in Delhi.
Windows 11 is a great productivity focused OS but on a tablet, it feels rough. Windows apps are still meant to be used with a mice and keyboard, and even touch you can get by touch controls, the interface doesn’t feel as user friendly as iOS or Android. You get a few of Dell’s tuning apps for audio and picture, and bloatware is limited too.
The keyboard folio cover is highly different to the brilliant keyboards I have seen on other XPS laptops. Similar to every folio keyboard, the key travel is limited and feedback isn’t satisfactory. Despite having spacious keycaps, I was uncomfortable to type after a while. The trackpad is good enough but it could have been more responsive. The setup isn’t ideal for practicality and is more of a temporary solution to work while on the move (I recommend a conventional wireless keyboard).
Audio performance is decent for a tablet of this price. It’s not as good as the audio output on an iPad Pro but you get plenty of volume and strong mids. Having a pair of wireless headphones would help highly.
Dell offers the XPS 13 9315 2-in-1 with Wi-Fi only and there’s no LTE variant on offer. The biometric security suite consists of a IR face scanner as well as power key mounted fingerprint scanner. Both of these work well, although the fingerprint scanner is more reliable. The 5MP webcam is decent for video calls; I didn’t use the rear camera for photos or videos.
A 49.5Whr capacity battery doesn’t sound adequate for a tablet PC with a 3K display and a Core-i5 processor. With the folio case attached, I was able to get up to 5.5 hours of stamina before I required the charger. Without the folio case, the battery life improves and you can extract at least two more hours. This is decent but it is nowhere close to the insane battery life you get on the Apple MacBook Air M2, which sells for much less. You get a 45W charger in the box; I used a 65W charger to fill up the battery in around an hour.
The Dell XPS 13 9315 2-in-1 proves that the best way to do a convertible laptop is to be a tablet. With its detachable form factor and a lightweight folio case, the Dell XPS 13 9315 2-in-1 is very easy to carry and it makes not many compromises on the practicality side. The folio keyboard isn’t quite as comfortable as a standard laptop keyboard but for most people, it does the job well. You will also like the display as well as the overall performance from the 12th Gen Intel U-series processor. Battery life could have been better but considering that the OS is Windows 11, Dell has done a good job of extracting decent stamina.
At Rs. 139,990, the Dell XPS 13 9315 2-in-1 is quite expensive for a 2-in-1 and it competes directly with the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 with the 12th Gen Intel chips. The Surface Pro 9 is as good a performer as the Dell but the folio keyboard experience is worse. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the Magic Keyboard is another great option in this bracket with an superb display, longer battery life, and better speakers but its iPadOS 16 isn’t as capable as Windows 11.
Hence, the Dell XPS 13 9315 2-in-1 is easily the best 2-in-1 laptop you can buy today and becomes our top recommendation.
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