November 08, 2012, 1:12 PM — The Dell XPS 12 Ultrabook belongs to a new breed of touchscreen ultrabooks specially designed to work with Windows 8. The 12.5-inch ultrabook adopts the design of the popular Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook but adds a clever screen that rotates around to convert the device from a full-fledged ultrabook to a tablet and back.
I received an XPS 12 unit from Dell Singapore prior to the launch of Windows 8 and had the opportunity to test it over a couple of days to evaluate its suitability as a business ultrabook.
Dell XPS 12 Specifications
Like practically every other ultrabook released with the general availability of Windows 8, the Dell XPS 12 uses an ultra-low-voltage processor in the form of a third-generation Intel Core i5-3317U or a Core i7-3517U. Memory configuration is relatively standard and ranges from 4GB to 8GB, while storage is either a 128GB or 256GB of solid state drive (SSD).
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As with the popular XPS 13, Dell used a liberal amount of aluminum in the construction of the XPS 12. The machined aluminum panel rim that holds the gorgeous full HD (1920x1020) 12.5-inch LED touch panel is completely rigid, and Dell has expanded the use of carbon fiber from just the underside to include its top cover in a presumed bid to reduce its weight. A magnesium palm rest rounds off the exterior chassis of the device and has a cutout for a large glass touchpad.
As for connectivity, the XPS 12 comes with two USB 3.0 ports, one of which can be used to recharge USB devices, and a mini-display port. The various ports are intuitively located along the right side of the ultrabook, as is the socket for the AC adapter plug. In addition, you will also find an OS-independent, five-level LED gauge that will show the charge level of the internal battery.
Two USB 3.0 ports and the power plug are on the right side of the Dell XPS 12.
Along the left side, you'll find the power toggle, rotation button and volume control buttons; all proved to be highly accessible when used in tablet mode. A combination headphone/microphone port is also found here.
The power button, volume controls and headphone/microphone jack are on the left side of the Dell XPS 12.
The Dell XPS 12 in Action
In laptop mode, the XPS 12 feels very much like the XPS 13, albeit with a touch screen. "Converting" the XPS 12 into a tablet entails flipping the display panel through a 180-degree rotation within the rotatable hinge. Lowering the lid with the touchscreen display facing upwards completes the metamorphosis. Despite the moving parts, build quality and alignment are impeccable.