Dell covers all the Windows 8 bases with new XPS models

Dell covers all the Windows 8 bases with new XPS models

Summary: If you want to know what this fall's Windows 8 hardware menu will look like, look at Dell's three new models. The trio cover all the bases, from tiny Windows RT tablets to a giant all-in-one with a Retina-like quad-HD display.

TOPICS: PCs, Dell, Windows
Dell XPS Duo 12 convertible Ultrabook
Dell XPS Duo 12 convertible Ultrabook

In a press event at IFA 2012 in Berlin today, Dell unveiled three new models in its XPS series. In the process, the company took several veiled swipes at Apple and borrowed a trick or two from Microsoft’s playbook.

The new devices, all with 10-point touchscreen capability, cover the three categories that will be a staple for new Windows 8 hardware this fall: an ARM-powered Windows RT convertible, an Intel i5-based refresh for the flip-screen Dell Duo, and a 27-inch all-in-one powerhouse with a quad-HD screen.

Sam Burd, Global VP of Dell’s Personal Computing Product Group, echoed Microsoft’s messaging with this introduction: "We have thoughtfully stepped back and reimagined every aspect of what makes a PC."

“Reimagined” might be too strong of a word. Anyone who’s seen the XPS 13 Ultrabook and its 14- and 15-inch successors will recognize the materials and many of the design elements.

In another nod to Microsoft’s approach, the company declined to discuss pricing and kept its display models under glass, making it impossible for pesky journalists to get any hands-on time with the devices

The XPS One 27 is big and gorgeous, with very clean lines and a display that looked crisp and sharp even when zooming deep into high-resolution photos. Dell positions the device as one that’s “designed for professionals but also works for families.” Burd added, “We think touch is a great addition to this screen,” noting that the only other equivalent display—Apple’s highly praised Retina display—allows users to look but not touch.

The adjustable stand looked solid from a distance and tilted smoothly back and down into a laydown mode good for lightbox-style work. It’s a demo we’ll see over and over as new, similar models appear this fall, but it’s an open question whether professionals and families will find the real-world use cases for this configuration.

The other two models are both designed for mobile use.

The XPS Duo 12 has a 12.5-inch screen, with a machined aluminum bezel and carbon fiber on the back of the display and the bottom of the device. It uses the same trick as the older Inspiron Duo, with a hinge in the center of the screen that allows the screen to flip and lay flat over the keyboard. The result turns an Ultrabook into the functional equivalent of a tablet, although it has the thickness and weight of the notebook.

Dell didn’t offer up full specs for the display, but described it as “Full HD, with 97% more pixels than Standard HD” (presumably 1920x1080) with edge-to-edge glass, CPUs up to Core i7, and a backlit keyboard.

The last entry is the XPS 10, running Windows RT in a package that looks startlingly like a netbook, with a compact keyboard. Unlike Microsoft at its Surface launch, Dell was willing to talk about usage, boasting that the unit would offer “up to 20 hours of battery life” and run for an entire weekend thanks to its thrifty power management.

And in a "one more thing" moment, Dell showed off the device’s killer feature—the screen snaps away from its hinge to convert into a tablet form factor.

All three models will be available for sale when Windows 8 launches, but you’ll have to wait to find out how much to pay.

More from IFA:


Topics: PCs, Dell, Windows

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  • Nothing like it!

    "Burd added, “We think touch is a great addition to this screen,” noting that the only other equivalent display—Apple’s highly praised Retina display—allows users to look but not touch."

    This is nonsense. Apple make exactly 3 "Retina Displays" - two of which are multitouch. In fairness to Dell none of them are anything like 27". Of course, it is very debatable if you'd actually WANT a multitouch of that size outside a demo... Personally, I'm sceptical that using a display this large with multitouch is going to be very comfortable for more than a few minutes.

    This isn't to ding the whole concept - maybe a tablet connected to a large (non-touch) display would work better - with the little display near the keyboard/mouse. If you could interact with content (email/calendar that kind of thing) while working on more conventional "desktop" applications on the larger display. (Although you could get similar functionality by putting an iPad on your desk)
    • clarification

      When I say debatable, I do mean we won't know until we start using it like this. I'm not saying it will or won't work.
      • Depends on how you use it.

        Used like a normal monitor? They had a bunch of desktops with touch monitors at TechEd and they were sort of a pain. There are more uses than just as a traditional monitor though, such as embedded in a table or kiosk and the like.
        • My thought exactly

          From educational displays at museums to informational boards at hotels or other public places, a giant touch-screen certainly would be useful. When I worked for a hospital, it would have been ideal to have something like this on displays that wound up cycling static data rather be interactive.
        • Yeah...

          But a large display like this is going to be pretty unwieldy to "convert" - unless you're going to make something like Wacom's new Cintiq (and I so much doubt they are going to do that). I just can't help but feel a really big multitouch display on a "mainstream PC" (as opposed to something designed with a particular use in mind) is not going to be as much fun as it sounds.

          I could be wrong... clearly we need to try it (for longer than "a demo" - I imagine it'll "give good demo").

          However, I'm also not sure how Metro (or whatever we're calling it now) will look on such a big display - it doesn't look good on the 24" unit I have running the current pre-release version. I'm sure it'll be better with multitouch (because it stinks with a mouse) but I do wonder if the optimum setup isn't a small multitouch (10" or so) with a secondary display for legacy (desktop). I can see running like this working quite well (a kind of asymmetric PC).
      • I like touch monitors

        I have a monitor with touch now which I connect to my Win7 notebook at home. Works great. I mostly don't use touch, certainly not all the time, but it's convenient when you just want to click one button on the screen or scroll a web page but you are mostly reading, or if you want to switch to a different app that is on the other screen.
        I also connect my notebook to a normal non-touch monitor at work and it has fingerprints on it now because I just expect touch to work.
    • You must have better eyes than I do...

      I'd love to work with a 27 in screen. But at 57 my eyes aren't what they used to be.
      • I'm not quite following

        Are you saying that because the screen size is big, the fonts will be miniscule? You do know that you can adjust the font size relative to the screen resolution, right (in Win7, press the Start button and type "Text" and "Make text and other items larger or smaller" should appear - you can also get there by right-clicking an open area of the screen choosing "Screen Resolution" and looking for that entry).

        Big screens are much easier on the eyes.
        • RE: Change DPI Settings

          Unless they kill it in WIN 8
    • Oranges to Oranges

      I think he was speaking of something with a full OS. Otherwise, yes you are correct.
      Fuhrer D
  • I'm hoping this is a typo

    "The last entry is the XPS 10, running Windows NT"

    Not sure that's the ideal choice for a modern tablet ;-)
  • Oh dell

    Why would Dell reimagine the Duo back into service when everyone else has designed their screens to remove and be used as a real tablet?
    • Because it is meant to be used as a notebook first...

      and a slate second. If you want the detachable display/slate look to the XPS10.

      I have a Duo running Win 8 RTM. It is surprisingly good and significantly better than the same device running Win 7. I just hope Dell learned from the display issue. Running Win 8 on the Duo wont fix the viewing angle issue.
      • Inspiron Duo

        I too have one of the original duo's with W8RTM running on it and I am surprised by just how good it is (though admittedly I have replaced the HDD with an SSD).

        I do find however that it is too small to do any serious "laptop" style work on and use it more for testing and demonstration at the moment (my main laptop remains on W7 due to project constraints).
        Martin Robins
      • but...

        Why would dell choose a design that handicaps the functionality compared to their competitors?

        The competitions models work just as well in notebook modes and offer a better tablet experience. What is the advantage to this design that will attract users to pick the Duo over say a Transformer.
        • 12.5 in screen

          I'm not sure any of the competors have detatchable slates that big.

          This is really a small laptop with a touch screen that happens to flip over.
      • Good viewing angles

        "I just hope Dell learned from the display issue. Running Win 8 on the Duo wont fix the viewing angle issue."

        The viewing angles are ridiculously better.
        Dell-Bill B
    • mobile techs and sales

      Its easier for a roaming tech. I imagine that is not designed for consumers but business
  • Reimagined?

    "We have thoughtfully stepped back and reimagined every aspect of what makes a PC."

    And as a result we are reintroducing the same failed concept of a convertible PC we introduced last year, the Dell Duo. There's really nothing thoughtfully reimagined about these Win8 pcs coming out.
    • Hey, it worked for Apple

      After all, we keep hearing from you and your peers that the iPhone and iPad are just the reintroduction of the failed Newton. There was nothing thoughtfully reimagined about any modern iOS device, they are just repackaged Newtons.

      Unless suddenly, no, these iOS devices are nothing like the Newton?

      Uh oh.