Dell XPS 12 Review – Unboxing + Design

Disclaimer: I am being seeded with the Dell XPS 12 for a 3 part review. For the first part, I will talk about the unboxing and design of the Dell XPS 12.

The Dell XPS 12 was announced back in 30th August 2012 at IFA 2012. Currently the base model is retailing for S$1,828. If you intend to get it from Dell Online Store, you might need to wait for 20 working days due to overwhelming demand.

The Dell XPS 12 is not just an ordinary ultrabook because the screen is able to flip the other way round, effectively becoming a tablet like the picture you are going to see at the bottom. Dell call this the flip-hinge design. It is running on Windows 8 Pro and as you might know by now, Windows 8 is designed to be used by both computers and tablets.

For the base model of S$1,799, you can get the following specifications:

  • Windows 8 Pro, English (64bit)
  • Processor: 3rd Generation Intel Core i5-3317U Processor (3M Cache, up to 2.6 GHz, TPM)
  • RAM: 4GB Dual channel DDR3
  • Storage: 128GB Solid State Drive
  • Chipset: Mobile Intel QS77 Express Chipset
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • Display: 12.5 inch LED Backlit Touch Display with True Life and FHD resolution (1920 x 1080)
  • Audio: Realtek ALC3260
  • Microphone: Dual digital-array microphones in the camera assembly
  • Camera: 1.3MP webcam (1280 x 1024)
  • Wireless:
    • Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 802.11 a/g/n with Intel Smart Connect Technology
    • Bluetooth 3.0
    • Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) 3.0 ready
    • Intel Smart Connect Technology
  • Keyboard: Standard full size, backlit chiclet keyboard; spill-resistant
  • Trackpad: Glass integrated button touchpad with gesture support
  • Ports:
    • 1x 9-pin USB 3.0 port
    • 1x 9-pin USB 3.0 port with PowerShare and Windows debugging
    • 1x 20-pin mini-display port
    • 1x headphone/microphone combo port
  • Battery: 47WHr battery; 6-Cell Lithium Ion (built-in)
  • Build:
    • Machined aluminium panel rim in anodised aluminium color
    • Premium carbon fiber display back and base
    • Magnesium palmrest with soft touch paint
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 8mm-20mm x 317mm x 214mm
  • Weight: 1.54kg

Dell XPS 12 - Ultrabook
Dell XPS 12 – Ultrabook

Dell XPS 12 - Tablet
Dell XPS 12 – Tablet

Unboxing

Dell XPS 12 - Box
Dell XPS 12 – Box

Dell XPS 12 - Inner Boxes
Dell XPS 12 – Inner Boxes

After unboxing the main box, you will uncover 2 more smaller boxes, the power cord box and the Dell XPS 12 box.

Dell XPS 12 - Power Cord Box
Dell XPS 12 – Power Cord Box

The black box you see at the top contains nothing but jut a power cord. I was expecting more stuff in it. I guess they separated the cord from the adapter so that they can repack it easily for different power sockets in different countries.

Dell XPS 12 - In Box
Dell XPS 12 – In Box

Dell XPS 12 - Power Adapter
Dell XPS 12 – Power Adapter

Dell XPS 12 - Guide Booklets
Dell XPS 12 – Guide Booklets

The main Dell XPS 12 box contains very minimal stuff. The Dell XPS 12, power cord and some guide booklets.

Design

Dell XPS 12 - Top View
Dell XPS 12 – Top View

Dell XPS 12 - Bottom View
Dell XPS 12 – Bottom View

Dell XPS 12 - Left View
Dell XPS 12 – Left View

Dell XPS 12 - Right View
Dell XPS 12 – Right View

Dell XPS 12 - Back View
Dell XPS 12 – Back View

Dell XPS 12 - Machined Aluminium Panel Rim
Dell XPS 12 – Machined Aluminium Panel Rim

The top and bottom panel is made up of carbon fiber while the frame of the top panel is made up of aluminium.

Dell XPS 12 - Open
Dell XPS 12 – Open

Dell XPS 12 - Full-sized Keyboard
Dell XPS 12 – Full-sized Keyboard

The keyboard is a standard full-size backlighted chiclet keyboard and it is spill-resistant (I would not want to test it). The trackpad is made of glass and has 2 buttons integrated in it. It also supports multi-touch gestures.

The keyboard area is made of magnesium and coated with soft touch paint. I am not a fan of the soft touch paint because it traps sweat and oil easily and it is really obvious when that happens. I would rather see aluminium being used or even better quality plastic without any coating.

Dell XPS 12 - Thickness
Dell XPS 12 – Thickness

At the thickest end (on the left) it measures 20mm and on the thinnest end (on the right) it measures 8mm.

Dell XPS 12 - Weight
Dell XPS 12 – Weight

The build of the Dell XPS 12 is very solid and well made, you will not find any “squeaks” when using it. I expected the screen’s frame to be flimsy, since it looks structurally weak. But even the frame of the screen felt solid because it is made up of aluminium. You can lift it up just by carrying the frame (I did that a couple of times).

Because of the materials used and the sturdy built, the Dell XPS 12 is a little heavy (weighing at 1.5kg) if you compare it with other ultrabooks.

Flipping

Dell XPS 12 - Flipping Half Way
Dell XPS 12 – Flipping Half Way

Dell XPS 12 - Flipping Half Way - Side View
Dell XPS 12 – Flipping Half Way – Side View

Dell XPS 12 - Tablet
Dell XPS 12 – Tablet

To Be Continued …
For the second part of the review, I will talk about the functionality and features and for the last part, I will talk about my experience of using the Dell XPS 12. So stay tuned!

Recap

A

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