Dell XPS 13 2-in-1: our first PC experience with the Intel 10 nm chip

ByLydia Scott 2019-06-06 832

Dell unveiled one of the first machines equipped with the new Intel Ice Like 10 nm processor. We were able to take over this new design.

After several years of waiting, Intel has finally launched its first generation of large-scale 10 nm processors at Computex 2019. Dell is one of the foundry's first partners to unveil a machine that is compatible with the new XPS 13 2-in-1, which features a completely new design. We were able to take over the PC.

A refined design

At first glance, the differences between the XPS 13s of previous generations are not obvious, but there are some refinements in the design here and there. Dell has in fact brought together several technologies that have been tested on other products: the small webcam located in the screen border of the XPS 13, the new Maglev keyboard of the XPS 15. This results in a premium machine where nothing seems to leave anything to chance.

In hand, the machine is rather light, even if you are facing a high-end ultrabook of 1.3 kg. Under the hood, we can see the integration of a ventilation system, whereas the first generation had none. However, the new generation Ice Lake processor should consume less power than its predecessor. This is due to Dell's decision to drastically increase the performance of its machine: a 2.5x increase announced.

For the rest, this is a classic high-end in 2019 with its range of USB Type-C ports: a thunderbolt 3 on the left with the micro SD player, and a thunderbolt 3 on the right with the 3.5 mm jack port.

Keyboard and stylus

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 now includes a Maglev keyboard, with keys placed on magnets. This allows the manufacturer to offer a thinner keyboard and therefore a thinner machine. On our little introductory session, I found the keyboard typing rather pleasant with a nice stroke of the keys that gave enough feedback to be sure to have typed its text correctly. It can be noted that the keyboard takes the full width of the machine well, an element that we criticized the classic XPS 13 launched earlier this year, and that we are happy to see corrected here. The touchpad also gains in surface area and still slides just as well under the finger.

2-in-1, the XPS 13 can be transformed into a tablet by passing the keyboard under the screen thanks to the two hinges of the machine. In this configuration, the computer is compatible with the use of a stylus, but does not offer one by default, and therefore does not have a dedicated slot, too bad. On the few notes taken with the stylus, I did not notice any major defects, but this is a part that has been very well mastered by manufacturers for several years now.

What about the processor

This first-hand experience allows us to appreciate the modifications made by Dell to its convertible computer design, notably made possible thanks to the new generation of Intel processors. Unfortunately, it is impossible to get an idea of what this processor is worth in such a short test session. It will be necessary to wait for the complete test of the machine to get a more precise idea of it.

Questions will include whether the Intel processor will be better able to maintain its performance over time with Dell's cooling system, and whether the graphics improvements will deliver on their promise, among other things. It will also be necessary to look at the autonomy allowed by this new processor, combined with the 51 Wh battery.

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