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on April 4, 2013
I love the laptop (I would have absolutely loved it, if it were not for the issues noted below), it is light and easy to convert between a tablet and a laptop. This is one of the very few touch screen laptops in the market with 1080p resolution and I absolutely love the extra real estate. With Windows 8, the touch interface seems to come alive, especially some of the Microsoft bundled apps with Windows 8, like travel, news, finance etc which you can experience to its fullness. Btw, I have the Core i7 version.

The battery life is decent, I get about 3-4 hrs max compared to my old Lenovo which would last 6-7 hrs. The lack of ports is also an issue, it does not have SD slot so you have to carry a card reader, it also does not have a VGA or HDMI port so you have to buy a converter to display out to VGA or HDMI. I knew about this going in so not something that deterred me from getting it.

Now the negatives about the laptop. There are 3 things that is bad and I hope Dell fixes these issues:
1. There seems to be some issue with copy/Cut and Paste functionality i.e. you can copy/cut some text but the paste will not work. Dell forum is filled with complaints about this and the 2nd issue below with no resolution. This is what make it very difficult to use since I depend on this to work flawlessly and there is no workaround about this except try multiple time and eventually it will work. But you definitely need some patience for this and this is the worst issue with the laptop.
2. The track pad mouse stops working very frequently and it is absolutely annoying when you keep on touching the touch pad to move the mouse and nothing happens. Having touch does help since I can touch screen to get the desired result. I carry an external Bluetooth mouse otherwise it would drive me nuts.
3. The 3rd thing is the adaptive brightness, it seems to have a mind of its own i.e. the screen brightness will change for the same light condition and it is annoying. Fortunately there is a workaround i.e. turning off the "Adaptive brightness" in the display settings as part of the power option.

I am hoping these are driver/software issues and not hardware issue and Dell is going to fix the 1st two issues otherwise in the long run I am probably going to regret having the laptop since I expect these functionality to work out of the box.
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VINE VOICEon May 13, 2013
This is one of a new breed of convertible laptops created to take advantage of the Windows 8 paradigm, which allows use as both as tablet and a laptop. While this category is expected to grow, right now, there are essentially only a modest number of entrants, and only two that could be reasonably be called innovative: The Dell XPS 12 (this one), and the Lenovo Yoga 13. The Dell and Lenovo sport similar power specs (cpu, memory, hard drive, battery life), but the Dell has a much higher resolution, better, screen. In my opinion, the Dell takes that competition handily.

Focusing on the XPS 12, this is a terrific piece of hardware, with a lot of pros, and only a few significant cons.



Beautiful super high resolution 1920x1080 12.5" screen
Very high build quality
Terrific innovative screen that rotates in the frame to go from laptop/keyboard to tablet configuration
Very responsive with even the base configuration of an Intel I5 processor and 4Gb memory
Incredibly fast boot time (10-15 seconds)
Very good keyboard
Responsive touchscreen which operates in both laptop and tablet modes
Fast SSD drive in all configurations
Decent webcam (1.3mp)
Light, portable charging cable.
Bluetooth, Wireless N (5 + 2.4Ghz)
Backlit keys on keyboard


Battery life is 5-5.5 hours.
Weight is 3.5 pounds, which isn't heavy, but isn't super light for a 12.5" laptop. A bit heavy feeling in tablet mode
Speakers are predictably mediocre for a small laptop
Base configuration has only a 128Gb SSD hard drive. However, the hard drive IS user replaceable.


No HDMI or VGA port. Only a graphics mini displayport, which means you will need to carry a mini displayport -> HDMI or VGA adapter if you want to use this for business or with a TV/external monitor.
Memory is soldiered to motherboard and is not upgradeable. Fortunately, even the base configuration 4Gb of memory is more than sufficient.
Only two USB ports (both USB 3.0, however)
Battery is not easily user swapped/replacable
No built in media card reader. If you want to the SD card from your camera, you'll need to carry an external reader.

Of the cons, the worst, in my opinion, is the fact that the battery is not easily swapped/replaced. While the 5-5.5 hour run time is pretty respectable, one can expect battery life to diminish over time, and I am not looking forward to dealing with that eventuality. Also, I like to carry a spare battery to swap out for long trips. That's not possible here.

Having struggled with various underpowered Android based tablets, including the Asus TF301/keyboard dock, I can say that using the XPS 12 in tablet mode is like a huge weight has been lifted. The XPS 12 screams when surfing the web, which is something I can't say about any Android (or Mac) tablet I've used--and I've used a lot of them.

People have complained about the lack of apps in the Windows 8 app store--and it's true that the Windows 8 app store is pretty anemic compared to Andoid or Mac. But some of the most important apps are there (Skype, Netflix, etc.) and it's still growing. There are enough to make using the tablet mode acceptable now...and the responsiveness provided by the Intel I5 processor makes it a pleasure to use.

There are a few configuration options available for the XPS 12, all related to the processor (a few speeds of I5 and I7), memory (4Gb or 8Gb) and hard drive size (128Gb or 256Gb). My recommendation: Any of the available processor speeds will be more than acceptable and the difference between the I5 and I7 processors for almost any user will be negligible. Similarly, most users will not need the 8Gb of memory. Windows 8 runs perfectly fine on 4Gb of memory. Unless you plan on running memory hog processes (advanced video editing, certain scientific apps, etc.) you won't need the extra memory. If you do need the extra memory, however, you need to order the laptop with 8Gb installed from the factory, as the memory is not user-upgradeable (it's soldiered to the motherboard...grrr...) A larger hard drive than the 128Gb SSD that comes installed on the base model is definitely a nice feature. But the hard drive IS user replaceable, and the incremental cost of getting the 256Gb mSata SSD from Dell is more than it would be to buy that 256Gb mSata SSD on the aftermarket and clone your 128Gb drive onto it. (You will also wind up with a spare 128Gb drive that way). Unless you are scared of the idea of hard drive cloning/migration, I'd recommend that path. Please note that this laptop uses the mSata configuration hard drive, rather than a full sized SSD to save space. mSata drives tend to be a bit more expensive than standard SSD drives.

Overall, this is a terrific laptop, and buying the least expensive configuration version is, for most, the recommended route.

Update: Dell has now released a second generation version of the XPS 12 (Dell XPS 12 XPSU12-5327CRBFB 12.5-Inch Convertible 2-in-1 Touchscreen Ultrabook (Carbon Fiber)). It is almost identical to the one sold and reviewed here with one significant difference: The new version uses Intel's latest "Haswell" series processor. This results in a bump of the run time on a full charge from around 5+ hours to around 8+ hours. Almost all other specs, physical characteristics, and performance measurements remain the same. But you do get a major improvement in run time per charge. Whether this justifies the increased cost for you will depend on how you plan to use the laptop.
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on February 21, 2013
Very nice, compact 12.5" laptop. Touchscreen is responsive and has a full size keyboard. The keyboard separates this from the Microsoft Surface and many other conversion products, which have small, abnormal keyboards. Overall, the laptop is fast and loads programs and apps quickly. The startup time is awesome thanks to the SSD hard drive.

Out of the laptop / tablet conversion products this is definitely one of the best. It is not perfect and here are my only complaints. First, it does not support SD cards, which I was able to overlook by buying a new micro USB jump drive. The new ones hardly stick out of the computer preventing them from damage, so this will solve the problem unless you need multiple USB ports for other things. Another negative is the lack of an HDMI output. I used this very often on my old computer when traveling. It is great to put movies on the computer and play through the TV in hotels. However, you can purchase a cable to convert the mini-display port (correction) to HDMI for less than $20. (Update: I found the cable on Ebay for less than $4). This solves that problem. The final issue I have with the XPS 12 is the weight. At 3.5 pounds, it is fairly light laptop but a very heavy tablet. This prevents it from being a great tablet or conversion product. Don't get me wrong it still works as a tablet, and I use it as a tablet while laying around or traveling. I must say it is very nice to only have to carry one device while traveling!

Overall, this is a great product. With the ability to flip the screen and turn it into a tablet, it separates it from others. It is faster than any tablet and works as well as most ultrabooks. If it was a bit lighter, it would be amazing! Some people say it isn't worth the price. To me, it is. I no longer need a tablet and a laptop. In fact, I sold my tablet and my netbook, which paid for more than half of this device. I would definitely recommend. I also looked at the Asus Taichi. I chose this device solely due to the poor battery life on the Asus.
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on January 16, 2014
The reason for the 4 is that it took having 3 different computers sent to me before I received one that was not defective. Customer Service from Amazon was great. They were very understanding and even shipped the 3rd one next day air at their expense. Having said that, I am very happy with my Ultrabook. I did have a problem with the screen keyboard popping up when it should not. I contacted Dell and they fixed the problem in a timely manner. (I used their customer chat option because the phone number was always busy). It love it's weight. I had an ASUS tablet but was having some problems so decided if I was going with something new I wanted a computer. Our son has this computer and that is why I bought it. I can use it as a tablet but it still has all the computer capabilities. My first experience with Window 8, but unlike a lot of people I had no problem going from 7 to 8. I did download 8.1 at my sons advise. I think it's a good product now that I have one that is not defective. That does worry me some though. I am hoping I don't have problems in the future.

Jan 18, 2014 - I am writing this 1 week after the first review. Yesterday I started experiencing the problem with the screen keyboard again popping up when it was not supposed to. After further investigation I discovered it is a Google Chrome issue. I can use another browser or go into any of my apps and I do not have any problems. It only happens in Google Chrome. I uninstalled the Google Chrome program and reinstalled and it continues to pop up. I can't necessarily blame this on the Ultrabook. I was to the point I considered returning it and getting a refund. I hated to do that because I really do like the computer/tablet capabilities. I love the size and weight also. So I am relieved it is not the computer but I am now using both Google Chrome (which I like because of the syncing capabilities) and Internet Explorer. To me it is just a bump in the road to someone else it could be a very big issue so that I why I even bothered to write about it.
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on April 11, 2013
I researched this laptop for six months before purchasing the same configuration from Dell for less.

It is difficult to separate a review of the laptop itself from a review of Windows 8. Windows 8 is the next step so I figured I might as well get used to it. If I had to review it after one day I would have given it one star because of the learning curve. A week later I absolutely love Windows 8.

The laptop itself is awesome.

Touchscreen is very responsive in laptop and tablet mode. (I downloaded all recommended driver updates and patches from Dell a couple of days after receiving it.)

Keyboard is the best I've ever typed on and a comfortable size. Backlit keys are a must, since my old XPS spoiled me; the onscreen keyboard is a pleasure to use.

The beautiful display, at 1080p, was another must. Pinch to zoom works great, so it is simple to zoom in if everything appears too small.
In the Windows 8 environment zoomed images are crisp and clear. I have small fingers so I have no trouble using the touchscreen without zooming in most of the time. In the desktop environment, which looks and behaves like Windows 7, it is possible to adjust the size of icons and font to make it more readable, which I found necessary to do.

Very light for a laptop, (compared to my 7lb, 17 inch studio XPS), just ok as a tablet. I do rest it on my lap or a surface due to the weight.

Extremely fast boot up. Connecting to the internet only seems to take long (30 seconds) because the laptop is on instantly (10 seconds).

Impressive to look at...Rotating screen elicits ooohs and aaahs.

Acceptable battery life.

Touchpad is temperamental. Not sure if its just me, but it does different things, or nothing at all, although I tap in the same place the
same way. However, I mostly use the touchscreen (which is the point), with a mouse. (A Bluetooth mouse is the best option to leave USB ports open.)

This laptop is stingy with USB ports. Connecting an external DVD drive, like the ASUS External Slim Black 8X DVD-RW Stylish Diamond Cut Design Optical Drive SDRW-08D2S-U/BLK/G/AS uses both ports. I could have lived without the external battery level indicator if I had another USB port.

Without a touchscreen I imagine Windows 8 could be frustrating to use. With a touchscreen and a couple of days to learn, Windows 8 is fun.
Although there is no SD card port this is not a big issue as there are all kinds of inexpensive external readers.

I would not recommend this as an only computer. I still own a laptop with large storage capacity; as well as an external storage drive for all my photos and videos.

Initially, a Dell rep I chatted with told me this was too much computer for me, (they are probably right but who says ordinary folks can't enjoy a cool machine like this one?)

If you have the extra money to spend, this is the only convertible laptop worth it.

Update: 8/4
Started having issues with internet dropping out only on public wifi and touchscreen not responding, after about two months of use. Called Dell: Tech remotely downloaded some patches I did not see the first time and fixed both issues as well as the trackpad issue I was having. Enjoy my xps 12 more than ever now and have not identified any other issues. In fact I find myself using my old laptop less when I am at home.
Upgrade to windows 8.1 was ok, compared to others with different machines. I am disappointed as I had to spend more time downloading driver updates and troubleshooting minor issues. I also gave up using this as a tablet due to unreliable touch capability and other limitations. For half the price, an iPad is superior in this area. (I do like 8.1, for the most part, however.)
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on January 20, 2014
I was really excited to get one of these beautiful machines last year when they were new. I have never been so disappointed in my life. Quite simply, nothing works well. The touch screen is touchy and often non-functional. The wireless sometimes just stops working for no reason. Don't get me started on the windows 8 interface!!!

I have had it for almost a year. I have wiped it and re-installed everything. I have updated and fiddled and reset everything under the sun and I have yet to use the damn thing for more than half an hour without some major crash or freeze up. Don't be fooled by the early reviews. This is a badly designed mistake by Dell and I wish I had never seen it.
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on April 24, 2013
I've only had the XPS 12 for a week and so far, I'm impressed. Everything works great. I've had no trackpad issues at all. I got the i5-4gb version and due to the SSD, it works as well as my old XPS L502X (i7, 8gb) and that's saying a lot. WiFi is very good (tested speeds at home/work & I'm getting higher speeds than all my other devices). Flip screen & overall build is solid -- feels sturdy, not cheap (long lasting). Keyboard feels good, not cramped & its back lit. Speakers are surprisingly good IMO. On the net, I watched several reviews with the only complaints being 1) the trackpad, which is working nicely for me and 2) too heavy as a tablet -- sure, it's not an iPad but I didn't expect it to be. Still, very nice though. For those who have not used Windows 8, it takes a bit of getting used to (but easy). Best way I can describe it -- it's like having two operating systems (Win7 & Win8). Another plus -- minimal bloatware. There are other options out there -- ie. -- smaller tablets like the Surface (you'll have to buy a keyboard & accessories) or other convertibles like the Lenovo Yoga (keyboard is unprotected when flipped, feels odd). This may not be for everyone, but it fits the bill for me, like it a lot.

**UPDATE 5/25/13***
I've used the XPS 12 over a month and everything works great. I paired it with a Toshiba Dynadock (running two extra screens, wireless keyboard/mouse, printer/scanner, Ethernet & extra USB 3.0s) and it's great in Desktop mode. As mentioned above, I'm very pleased. Excellent portability, solid tablet & wonderful desktop. I use it for everything -- work & personal. Love it.

**UPDATE 11/26/13**
Six months later & still loving it. Working great. Favorite computer I've ever owned.
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on February 20, 2014
I purchased a Dell XPS 12 in August 2014. It has been nothing more than a paperweight ever since, I sent it for repairs twice, a technician was sent to my house, to change the motherboard. A half a year later and I’m still trying to get Dell to repair it. (Laptop randomly shuts down/crashes, overheats, doesn't wake up from sleep mode, random error messages)

TO THE CONSUMER – if you want a functional laptop and customer service then go elsewhere.

Dell’s customer service model is to keep you on hold until you hang up. Once the sale is final, if you need any further assistance you will be transferred to India, and they will assist you – and if the problem is not resolved in a timely manner it will get resolved when your warranty will expire.

My last question to the Dell’s manager that I spoke with was, how much time do I need to waste after placing a $1700 order, before I get a functional working laptop?

I REGRET buying a Dell computer.
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on May 7, 2013
At first I was going to buy a tablet....I wanted the portability of the small size. I was going to take it with me on a trip. I planned on uploading photos, editing them with a Microsoft program, and using Microsoft Office to check my emails via Outlook and view and sync my Outlook calendar. Tablets use the Andoid OS (Operating System) which was originally desiged for cell phone usage. So I realized for my purposes, I needed a real computer. The Windows 8 operating system was really designed for a touchscreen. It is a shame to use it without a touch screen. The Dell convertible with the screen flipped around looks like a tablet....the touch screen works great and a virtual keyboard appears on the screen when you touch a button to type something. It has more speed, storage, memory, etc. than a tablet or a Microsoft Surface Pro. So far no problems and it has been a wow factor as I discover new features of it and the Windows 8. By the way it has 2 normal size USB ports...very helpful for my external card reader and my Blu Ray DVD reader/writer.
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on April 24, 2013
Have had the Dell XPS 12 for about 6 months now. Bought it instead of the Lenovo Ideapad Yoga because this one has a backlit keyboard, which makes it easy to work in low light conditions.

The form factor and looks are great. However, the touchscreen is strange and unpredictable. The wireless adapter keeps dropping my internet connection, but only for certain apps. So, I might get a message saying the internet connection needs to be reset when trying to open, say, LinkedIn. But at the same moment, without resetting anything, if I try to open Google, it works.

It is not that easy to switch between windows and apps because of the unpredictably of the trackpad I mentioned earlier. It takes me three times as long to get any work done because of this issue. My workaround is to use my desktop.

I regret buying this product. In retrospect, I should have kept the Lenovo Yoga and used a book light when necessary.
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