Dell is adding two new touchscreen devices to its popular XPS line of laptops. The XPS 10 is a dockable Windows RT tablet, while the XPS Duo 12 Ultrabook swivels between tablet and laptop mode.
Dell's XPS Ultrabooks and laptops have received great reviews for their solid construction and excellent performance. The 3-pound XPS 13 Ultrabook is certainly portable enough by most standards, but if you're looking for something even smaller that takes advantage of Windows 8's touch capabilities, that's where the new XPS 10 and XPS Duo 12 come in.
The XPS 10, as the name suggests, is a 10-inch tablet. Rather than running the full x86 version of Windows 8, it runs the tablet-optimized Windows RT and is powered by an ARM processor. This means the XPS 10 will be less expensive than competing tablets or laptops running Windows 8 and will also be thinner and lighter. Although the Windows RT operating system will make the XPS 10 better-designed for casual computing (web browsing and media consumption), the tablet's keyboard dock, complete with touchpad, will also support more productive tasks. The slim keyboard dock will also double the tablet's battery life to up to 20 hours (supposedly). Other specs are still unannounced.
If Windows RT doesn't do it for you--you need to run Windows 8 desktop apps, for example, or you want more laptop and less tablet in your hybrid device--the XPS Duo 12 is an attractive option.
The XPS Duo 12's unusual screen-flipping design will no doubt remind you of the Inspiron Duo convertible tablet, whose screen also popped out of its keyboard case. Though innovative in its design, the Inspiron Duo didn't last too long in the market, thanks in part to the device's lackluster specs, including a mediocre display and underpowered Atom processor.
The XPS Duo 12 will hopefully overcome those issues by combining the flipping design with Ultrabook specs. Dell's press release highlights the XPS Duo 12's premium materials: an aluminum and carbon fiber chassis plus a Corning Gorilla Glass display.
That 12.5-inch display is apparently a showstopper. Although Dell hasn't detailed the full specs for the display, it's described as having "97% more pixels than standard HD," or a higher resolution than the 1920 by 1080 pixels found on full HD displays.
The screen flips into tablet mode but can also pop out of the hinge to work solely as a tablet.
The XPS Duo 12 and XPS 10 will launch in October when Microsoft unleashes Windows 8. By that time, no doubt there will be even more Windows 8 hybrid devices to choose from. The XPS 10's dockability and long-lasting battery life. and the XPS Duo 12's super-high screen resolution still make them great candidates for your watch list.