By Chris Martin
The Dell XPS 18 is one of emerging new category of PC. It's an all-in-one Windows 8 machine which sits on a heavy metal stand and comes with a wireless keyboard and mouse. However, unplug any attached cables and you can simple pick it up off its stand and take it around the house – effectively turning into a tablet, albeit a large one.
One of the Dell's rivals is Sony's Vaio Tap 20, but at over 5kg in weight, we found it a bit too heavy and bulky to easily move around. In comparison, the Dell XPS 18 weighs just over 2kg making it a more attractive offer.
We were able to just about use it on our lap, holding it up with one hand and gesturing around Windows 8 with the other. It is quite a strange experience using an 18in tablet on your lap though.
A far better way of using the tablet is by flipping out two kickstand feet which nicely props the Dell XPS 18 upright on a flat surface. These can also support the device up at a shallower angle, although this means the XPS 18 is upside-down and the home button is at the top.
It's a versatile piece of kit and we can see the advantage of being able to move a machine like this around the house for various different uses. Families, for example, could use the Dell XPS 18 as a work PC in the office where the stand, keyboard and mouse reside, but easily cart it into the lounge for kids to play with or watch a film on in any other room in the house.
The question is does anyone want a piece of kit that tries to do everything and be multiple things in one? We're not sure so let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Price is probably the biggest reason to opt for such a thing, since a decent Windows 8 all-in-one and a separate tablet is almost definitely going to amount to more than the XPS 18's starting price of £849. But will that basic starter model deliver what's required?
Dell XPS 18: Specs
The basic model will get you an Intel Pentium dual-core processor, 4GB of RAM and a 320GB hard drive. The XPS 18 sample we took a look at delivered smooth performance with an Intel Core i5 and 8GB of RAM.
Other specifications are available from a hybrid hard drive setup with a 500GB drive combined with a 32GB SSD, a lone 256GB SSD and up to a Core i7 processor. You'll have a choice of Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro. The highest specification XPS 18 will set you back £1,099.
The 18.4in touchscreen is coated in durable Gorilla Glass and has a full-HD resolution (1920 x 1080). This is higher than the Sony Tap 20 and we found it to be responsive, vibrant and offering good viewing angles.
Ports are a little limited with just two USB 3.0 ports and an SD card slot which is hidden under a flap on the backside of the device.
It's a shame the USB ports are both on the left side and positioned so closely together. There's also a headphone socket, stereo speakers, a volume rocker and a 0.9Mp webcam.
We haven't been able to test it out yet, but Dell claims the XPS 18 offers a battery life of up to five hours.
That's significantly longer than the Sony VAIO Tap 20 which didn't even last us two hours.
The Dell XPS 18 is set to launch on 16 April 2013 and we'll have a full review for you soon so keep a look out.
The Dell XPS seems like a versatile all-in-one PC and table in one device. But we're not sure if anyone wants one. Stay tuned for our full review.
Dell XPS 18: Specs
- 1.8 GHz Intel Core i5-3337U
- 18.4-inch (1920 x 1080) IPS touchscreen
- Windows 8 (64-bit)
- 8 GB DDR3 RAM
- 500 GB HDD plus 32 GB mSATA SSD
- Intel HD Graphics 4000
- 802.11 b/g/n
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 2x USB 3.0
- SDXC/xD/MS Pro card slot
- stereo speakers
- 1280 x 720 webcam with built-in mic
- headphone socket
- 69 Wh lithium-ion battery
- 464 x 284 x 18 mm
- 2.45 kg