/// Dell Laptop Does Flips to Try to Be a Thick Tablet

April 3, 2013  |  All Things Digital


[ See post to watch video ] Welcome to another in our series of reviews on efforts by Windows PC makers to make laptops that are also tablets, with very little success. This time, the attempt comes from Dell and is especially creative, and even kind of cool. But as with many other convertible laptops, it still results in a computer that’s a perfectly fine laptop, but a thick, heavy tablet. Dell has been in the news lately mainly due to a proposed corporate restructuring, but that topic won’t be addressed here. The company still makes PCs for consumers. So I have been testing its flagship convertible, the XPS 12, a Windows 8 Ultrabook that starts at a pricey $1,200, and has a vivid, bright 12.5-inch touchscreen. To turn the XPS from a laptop to a tablet, push the bottom of the screen from the back and spin it around to the opposite direction. What makes the XPS 12 notable is the method Dell has chosen to enable it to morph from a clamshell laptop to a tablet. While other companies have resorted to slider mechanisms, or hinges that require bending or twisting the whole lid, Dell has created a flip screen. The screen pivots within the frame of the lid to either face toward the keyboard, or away from it. When the XPS 12 is in the classic laptop position, you just push in at the bottom of the screen from the rear and it spins around so the screen faces in the opposite direction. You then close the lid and the touchscreen is facing up, ready to be used as if it were a tablet. To return to laptop mode, you open the lid and reverse the screen-flipping process. When you flip the screen from one position to the other, it snaps back into the aluminum frame of the lid firmly and reassuringly. I found this method easy and reliable, and commendably innovative from a company that hasn’t historically been hailed for industrial design. I found it a bit quicker and less of a hassle than some of the other mode-shifting techniques I’ve tested. Then, close the lid so the screen is facing up. However, as with all of its competitors I’ve tested that don’t completely separate the screen and the keyboard, the XPS 12 doesn’t make for a very usable tablet, both for hardware and software reasons

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Dell Laptop Does Flips to Try to Be a Thick Tablet


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