Dell's New XPS 13 2-in-1 to Use 10nm Ice Lake CPU


The Dell XPS 13 has long been the gold standard for consumer ultrabooks, but its convertible sibling, the XPS 13 2-in-1 has been a bit of adisappointment, because it uses Intel's sluggish, 4.5-watt Y-series processors. However, the new XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390) will be among the first to use Intel's 10nm Ice Lake platform when it comes out later this year and it's going with a 15-watt processor that promises 250 percent better performance than on the current model. Starting at $999, the 2.9-pound convertible is also rated for up to 16 hours of battery life while deploying a new design and keyboard.

We had a chance to go hands-on with the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 at a press briefing and found the new aesthetics and keyboard to be a huge improvement. If the performance and battery life holds up, the XPS 13 2-in-1 might be a better choice than the original XPS 13.

Specs

CPUCore i3-1005; Core i5-1035; Core i7-1065 
Display13.4-inches, 3840 x 2400 500 nits with 90% DCI-P3; 1920 x 1200 500 nits with 100% sRGB
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics
RAM4, 8, 16 or 32GB LPDDR4x SDRM at 3733 MHz
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB PCIe x4 SSD
WirelessKiller AX1650 Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi 6)
Ports2x Thunderbolt 3; microSD card reader; 3.5mm headphone jack
Battery51WHr battery (up to 16 hours of endurance promised)
Dimensions11.7 x 8.2 x 0.51 inches (297 x 207 x 13mm)
Weight2.9 pounds (1.3 kg)


The XPS 13 2-in-1 uses a new version of Dell's MagLev keyboard, which uses magnets to give the keys a strong tactile feel, despite their mere 0.7mm of travel. Dell had previously used MagLev on the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1, but this implementation is supposed to be quieter. Whatever the case, the keys felt absolutely great when we tried typing on it, much snappier than the non-MagLev keys on the XPS 13 and their 1mm of travel.


As is the case with the current generation of the clamshell XPS 13, the new XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390) will have its webcam in its top bezel. Finally, no more nosecam.


At 2.9 pounds (1.3 kg), the Dell XPS 13 (7390) is actually a tad heavier than the 2.7-pound (1.2 kg) old model. However, it sports a new design ID that' seems a little sleeker and more modern. Like the XPS 13, it is now available in both black and white color schemes. The white looks particularly stunning with the silver accents from the newly-designed hinges.

Perhaps part of that extra 0.2 pounds (0.1 kg) of weight comes from its new cooling design, which includes dual fans for more airflow. That's a change from the fanless design on the prior model, but quite necessary to support the new, higher-power chips. 

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390) now uses a 13.4-inch screen, which is 16:10 aspect ratio. You can get it either in 4K, which is actually 3840 x 2400 (instead of 3840 x 2160 in 16:9) or in FHD at 1920 x 1200 (instead of 1920 x 1080). Both screens are rated for a blindingly-bright 500 nits, but the 4K panel can reproduce an impressive 90% of the expansive DCI-P3 color gamut where the base panel gets 100% of the narrower sRGB gamut.


On the inside, the XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390) comes with Ice Lake Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 processors. You can get it with up to 32GB of RAM and up to 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD storage. For networking, the laptop uses a Killer AX1650 Wi-Fi card that supports Wi-Fi 6. Like the XPS 13 clamshell, the XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390) has only a few ports: two Thunderbolt connections, a 3.5mm audio jack and a microSD card reader.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 looks like it could finally reach parity with or even be more powerful and functional than its storied clamshell sibling. We look forward to testing it when it comes out later this year and seeing whether the battery life and performance live up to Dell's claims.

Additionally, Dell is giving the XPS 15 a slight upgrade with an OLED panel option and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics alongside Intel's 9th Gen Core CPUs. The configuration with OLED will start at $1,899.99.

2 comments
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  • Giroro
    "it's going with a 15-watt processor that promises 250 percent better performance than on the current model. "

    So 3.3x the power consumption only nets 2.5x the performance? That's not exactly the most encouraging way to convince people that 10nm is supposed to be more efficient.
  • maddogfargo
    Instead of using the efficient AMD ZEN mobile CPUs/APUs now they're waiting for 10nm Intel CPUs? Yeah that's that 800mil/quarter Intel Kickback mentality showing itself.