For Windows 8, Dell is reviving the design of its Inspiron Duo netbook in the new XPS 12, an Ultrabook with a screen that flips inside its frame. This 12-inch system, which starts at $1,199, has a 1080p display, a Core i5 processor, and weighs just over 3 pounds. We spent some hands-on time with the design prior to today’s announcement and wanted to share our first impressions.
Because of the clever hinge design, the XPS 12’s screen rotates inside the bezel so you can use this system as a traditional notebook, a tablet, or both. Dell wisely made some updates to the Inspiron Duo’s design: The aluminum frame that holds the screen in place felt very sturdy, even with the display akimbo. The magnetic locking mechanism snapped the screen into place securely, too.
The XPS 12’s weight–3.4 pounds–puts it on the heavy side for a hybrid. The Sony VAIO Duo 11, for example, weighs 2.8 pounds. However, Dell considers this a PC first, and a tablet second, so keep that in mind while you’re holding it in the crook of your arm.
The notebook has the same cool carbon-fiber bottom as on the XPS 13, which looks and feels great. However, we’re disappointed to see that Dell didn’t add an SD Card slot to this convertible, something we bemoaned with the XPS 13. Dell says that consumers should expect about 8 hours of battery life; we’ll put this claim to the test when we receive our review unit.
Given that the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga will cost $1.099, we wonder whether the XPS 12 is worth $100 more. But the Dell has have a sharper screen (1920 x 1080 vs 1600 x 900). We can’t wait to see how the XPS 12 performs.