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Review + videos: 3 convertible Windows laptops try to be all devices to all people

Brian Nadel | March 12, 2014
We look at three Windows 8.1 convertibles that can transform into laptops, tablets or presentation devices, and try to discover how useful they really are.

At a Glance

Dell XPS 11

DellPrice: $1,000 (starting price), $1,250 (review unit)Pros: Four computing personalities, Trusted Platform Module, ultra-high-resolution display, lightweight aluminum and carbon fiber construction, touchpad NFC connection spotCons: Membrane keyboard

When it's set up as a tablet, the keyboard and touchpad are facing downward, which made holding the tablet (with the uneven surface of the keyboard against my hand) feel a bit weird. To prevent inadvertent typing, the keyboard and touchpad automatically turn off in tablet mode.

The XPS 11 is outfitted with a pair of USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port and an audio jack. It offers 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The system has a Trusted Platform Module for business security, while there's a thoughtfully-placed NFC connection spot built under the touchpad. I found it much easier to use than the NFC spots on the other two that are located in what is the bottom of the system in laptop mode.

The base system costs $1,000 and comes with an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM and an 80GB SSD. There are two other configurations: one with an Intel Core i5 processor and a 128GB SSD for $1,250 (the model sent for this review) and an Intel Core i5 model with a 256GB SSD for $1,450.

Test results

The XPS 11's performance was middle of the pack with a respectable PassMark PerformanceTest score of 1,311.3 — 40% lower than the Revolve G2's score. It scored a 157 on CineBench's processor test, but it couldn't complete the graphics portion (as was the case with the Revolve G2; this was due to a driver problem that Intel is working on).

Lasting for four hours and 35 minutes of continuous HD video playback, the XPS 11's battery life should translate into a full day of on-and-off use with some power conservation. This was nearly three hours less than the Revolve G2's battery life but an hour longer than the Sony Flip's battery life. The battery isn't interchangeable.

The XPS 11 came with Windows 8.1 along with Tagaboom, a program that lets you turn photos, music and voice-over narration into multimedia shows. It comes with a one-year warranty; extending it to three years costs $200.

Bottom line

Designed and built primarily as a tablet, the XPS 11 fulfills that role well. But because its keyboard falls short, the XPS 11 doesn't work as well as a laptop.

(Story continues on next page.)

Computerworld reviewer Brian Nadel shows some features of the Dell XPS 11 Windows convertible laptop.

HP EliteBook Revolve 810 G2

Equal parts sculpture and mechanical engineering feat, the EliteBook Revolve 810 G2's central hinge allows more freedom of motion than other convertibles, while remaining sturdy and solid.


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