The moment I opened the box that Dell USA had sent me, the Dell XPS 12 took my breath away. The device shipped to me encased in its Premier Keyboard with Dell Premier Magnetic Folio, looked classy. If you are considering buying an ultrabook, you may want to read my hands-on review of Dell XPS 12 9250, from an end-users perspective.
Dell XPS 12 Review
The XPS series is where one finds higher-end laptops with sturdy builds. The review unit I received, came wrapped in a executive magnetic gray fabric cover – along with a backlit keyboard, a Stylus, and a 4-in1 dongle.
The moment you pick it up, you can feel the power of the tightly-packed device. It is very thin, and so feels heavier than it looks. On the first impression, I did feel that this device looked heavy for its size, but then you realize why.
The Dell XPS 12 9250 ships with a 6th Generation Skylake Intel m5 processor, 8 GB memory, 225 GB SSD and a 12″ 4K display. It is encased in a Magnesium alloy unibody construction with soft touch paint and offers Edge-to-edge Corning Gorilla Glass NBT display. With its cover & keyboard it weighs 1.27kg and has dimensions of 29.1 x 19.3 x 0.8 cm.
Its cover or folio is dark gray with a rough surface that makes it easier to handle it. You can remove the device or snap it back smartly thanks to its unique magnetic folio design. But you have to take care when you open or close it, as the screen tends to slip off the base. But otherwise, the magnetic casing is fully capable of firmly holding the device.
This device is not bezel-less, but instead, has slightly wider edges beyond the screen. This makes sense as, if you are using it in the tablet mode, you will be easily able to hold it along the edges.
With a powerful screen resolution of 3840×2160 pixels, its display is bound to be sharp, and it doesn’t disappoint. The 4K display of the XPS 12 sure makes viewing pictures and videos a treat. The screen renders an astonishing level of contrast and color, and with its speakers makes watching movies an experience!
When you open the device and set it down on your table, you can see that convertible can rest firmly on its rigid stand while the keyboard rests firmly on the surface.
What catches your attention in the chiclet Keyboard. It looks solid! Its keys come with a slight inward curve, which makes it easy for your fingertips when the hit the keys. The backlighting is uniform and light all the keys uniformly. This is what is of course expected of the XPS brand. This 1.9 mm travel chiclet keyboard is among the finest I have seen. It is ergonomically sound, feels firm and gives you a traditional keyboard experience.
Once the device is docked, you cannot tilt the screen to your angle. It remains fixed at an angle of 110 degrees. You, therefore, have the choice of only one given angle. While this may be the angle you want when you are sitting at a desk or placing the device on your lap, if you happen to be sitting in a recliner, you will find this awkward, and you will have to switch to the Tablet mode.
If you find that the mouse or keyboard is not working, you may want to check if you have docked the device properly. Once the device is docked correctly the keyboard lights go on for 5 seconds.
XPS 12 ships with a 30WHr Integrated Battery. Dell says that it can give you a battery life of up to 10 hours. The device gave me a battery life of around 6 hours – as a Blogger, I use the computer typically to work with Microsoft Word, write, browse the Internet, check my mail, view photographs and watch videos. So your experience may vary here depending on the intensity of your usage.
The Touchpad is smooth to use and offers Glass Precision as well as Gesture support. A click is heard when you use the keys in the lower part of the touchpad, for right-clicking or left-clicking.
On the left side of the device, you will see:
- A switch to control the Volume
- Space to insert micro SIM Card and microSD Card
- Two USB 3.1 Gen2 ports where you can connect the Power Adapter and a Dongle
- Headset jack slot.
On the right side of the device, you will see:
- Power switch to turn the device On or Off
- Noble Lock slot.
XPS 12 runs the Widows 10 Home operating system, and so users can expect the device to offer all the security & other features that the device supports.
Like most OEM Windows computer, this device too was bundled with software, some of which can potentially degrade the user experience. As such, I recommend that you go through the list of installed programs in the Control Panel, and remove the third-party software & trialware that you do not want.
With such a solid configuration the laptop performs well and smoothly for me, without any lag.
Dell XPS 12 9250 specs
Speaking about the technical specifications, they are as follows:
- Ships with Windows 10 Home, 64-bit
- 1.1 GHz Intel Core M5-6Y54 processor – Dual-core, 4 MB Cache, 2.7 GHz with Turbo Boost
- Intel HD Graphics 515
- 8 GB Dual-channel LPDDR3 DRAM – 1,600MHz
- 3840×2160 screen resolution with multitouch support
- 225 GB Solid State Drive
- 8 MP rear camera, 5 MP front webcam with dual array digital microphones
- Ports: Thunderbolt 3 Supports – Power In / Charging, PowerShare, Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps
Bi-Directional), USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps), Native DisplayPort 1.2 Video Output, VGA, HDMI, Ethernet and USB-A via Dell Adapter.
- Slots: MicroSD card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC), Noble Lock
- Connectivity: 2 x 2 802.11ac wireless and Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity
You can see the full specs here on Dell.com.
Dell XPS 12 is among the thinnest & most versatile Windows 10 convertible laptops that I have seen and feels sturdy in the hands. But it is slightly heavier than what I would have imagined it to be.
It looks cool, has an excellent 4K screen and offers traditional keyboard experience. It is fast and performs well – and you will be more than satisfied if you use it for day to day routine or office work.
Since the dock is a magnetic device, it offers one fixed angle of the display. If you want to change the tilting angle, you will not be able to. So it is best used as a laptop sitting at a desk – or as a tablet in any scenario. While I received a decent battery life for regular work, if you use your laptop intensively, you may find the battery wanting.
The Dell XPS 12 9250 encased in its Premier Keyboard with Dell Premier Magnetic Folio, which was shipped to me costs USD 1399. The cost of the Dongle is USD 74.99, and the Dell Active Stylus will set you back by USD 14.99. This may look expensive, but is definitely worth the price.
The device along with its classy cover is sure to make the laptop stand out, and it surely looks like a machine you’d be proud to be seen carrying.