The Dell XPS 11 is one of the sexiest Windows 8.1 2-in-1 convertible Windows tablets/Ultrabooks on the market. Looking at it will inspire a strong case of geek lust: it's super-slim with clean lines and a very attractive and classy looking carbon fiber and metal casing. Open it up and you're greeted by a 2560 x 1440 Sharp IGZO 11.6" display that's bright and has wide color gamut. And the keyboard--it looks so cool, and at first blush you might think it's a normal keyboard because each key is defined by a matte surface separated by what looks like a gloss black bezel. Ah, but those backlit keys don't actually move; like the Surface Touch Cover, they're capacitive touch sensitive keys. Futuristic? Yep. Great for typing? Nope. Hence Dell positions the XPS 11 as a tablet first, despite the permanently attached keyboard. At 2.5 lbs. it's similar in weight to the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 with keyboard cover, but the Dell looks and feels more like a laptop. At 11.6", it's also not as cramped as Surface Pro 2.
The XPS 11 runs on 4th generation Intel Haswell Y series dual core CPUs, the lower power relative to the U series CPUs used in Ultrabooks and Surface Pro 2. Most Windows tablets with Intel Core CPUs run on the Y series since it sips less power and runs a bit cooler. The machine is available with your choice of a Core i3 ($999) or a 1.5GHz Core i5-4210Y ($1,249). Both models have 4 gigs of DDR3L RAM soldered on board and a 128 gig mSATA SSD as well as dual band Intel 7260AC WiFi 802.11ac. There's a $1,499 model that upgrades the SSD to 256 gigs, but 4 gigs of RAM is the max available. Performance is relatively quick among Windows 8 tablets running on the Core i5 Y series and Intel HD 4200 graphics, falling at the top of the pack, but still below Surface Pro 2 running on the U series Core i5-4200U with HD 4400 graphics.
Build quality is excellent and Dell manages to fit quite a few ports in this extremely thin and compact laptop: two USB 3.0, full size HDMI, an SD card slot (even the bigger XPS 12 and XPS 13 don't have an SD card slot!) and 3.5mm audio. Like the Lenovo Yoga Windows convertibles, the Dell works as an Ultrabook, a tablet, in tent mode, in presentation position and open flat on a table. Again like the Yoga, the keyboard faces outward when in tablet, presentation and tent modes, but given the flat capacitive keyboard it doesn't feel really weird and there are no moving keys to break nor crevices to pick up crumbs.
Here's our Dell XPS 11 video review. Our full written review will follow.