Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) review

This XPS is an all-around solid 2-in-1

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 serves as both a decent laptop and tablet. Though it has middling battery life, it's a solid choice for those seeking a versatile 2-in-1.


  • +

    Extremely portable

  • +

    Snappy, responsive touchscreen

  • +

    Serves well as both a laptop and tablet


  • -

    Short battery life

  • -

    XPS Stylus and Folio are sold separately

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Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 Specs

Price: $899 (starting), $1,349 (tested)
CPU: Intel Core i5-1230U (tested)
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Display: 13-inch (2880 x 1920) touchscreen
Memory: 8GB - 16GB (LPDDR4x RAM)
Storage: 512GB - 1TB
Ports: 2 Thunderbolt 4/USB-C
Size: 11.50 x 7.90 x 0.29 inches
Weight: 1.60 pounds

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (starting at $899/£998/AU$2,198) is something new for the line. Instead of being a convertible laptop, this XPS 13 offers a detachable keyboard design akin to the Microsoft Surface Pro 9. On its own, this device serves as a full-on Windows 11 tablet. But when you attach it to the optional XPS Folio, it becomes a capable laptop.

While the aforementioned Surface Pro 9 offers faster performance and better battery life, Dell’s machine is $100 cheaper and has a better rear-facing camera. It's a solid, capable convertible, though it's not quite good enough to compete with the best 2-in-1 laptops on the market.

But the real question is, is it the right choice for you? Read my full Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 review to find out.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) review: Price and configuration

  • Starts at $899
  • XPS Folio and XPS Stylus sold separately

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 starts at $899 on Dell's website. The entry-level configuration packs a 12th gen Intel Core i5-1230U processor, Intel Iris Xe graphics, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage.

The highest-end configuration comes with an Intel Core i7-1250U chip, Intel Iris Xe graphics, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage. This model costs $1,449.

At checkout, you can include the XPS Folio or XPS Stylus for $100 each or pay $200 for the XPS Folio + XPS Stylus combo.

Our review unit, which includes the XPS Folio and Stylus, is valued at $1,349. It packs an Intel Core i5-1230U processor, Intel Iris Xe graphics, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) review: Design

  • Relatively small and lightweight
  • Only a single color option

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 has a sleek design akin to the Surface Pro 9 and iPad Pro 2022. Its all-metal chassis not only looks good, but it feels great to hold. The overall design is understated, which I appreciate.

The blue-ish Sky finish is the only available color option. This could be disappointing for those who wanted a greater variety of available colors. But I think the finish works well for this slate.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

With the XPS Folio cover, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 looks like a standard tablet. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The XPS 13 2-in-1 measures 11.50 x 7.90 x 0.29 inches and weighs 1.60 pounds. With the XPS Folio attached, the weight goes up by 1.23 to a total of roughly 2.83 pounds. It's comparable to the Surface Pro 9 and iPad Pro 2022 in terms of overall size and weight.

This 2-in-1 only has two Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports. Thankfully, Dell includes a USB-C to USB-A adapter and a USB-C to 3.5mm headset adapter.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) review: Display

  • Bright and vibrant display
  • Good for work and watching streaming content

The XPS 13 2-in-1 has a 13-inch 3K (2880 x 1920) touch display with a 60Hz refresh rate and a 3:2 aspect ratio. The display isn’t spectacular, but it’s good enough for whatever you're watching or working on.

The trailer for Mandalorian season 3 features a slew of colorful alien environments and each looked great on this display. Even though the screen is only 13 inches, I was able to see minute details in the characters’ clothing. Spaceships and explosions also looked realistic despite being CG creations. If you’re going to watch streaming content on this device, you won’t be disappointed.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is great for watching streaming content. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Dell’s marketing states that this 2-in-1’s screen can achieve 500 nits of brightness. I’m happy to say this isn’t too far off the mark. Based on our testing, the display achieves an average of 482.4 nits of brightness, with the center reaching 485 nits. In contrast, the Surface Pro 9 achieves an average of 431.6 nits. However, the iPad Pro 2022 literally outshines them both with its 587 nit average.

We pointed our colorimeter at the XPS 13 2-in-1’s screen and found it achieves 100% of the sRGB color gamut and 70.9% of the more demanding DCI-P3 color gamut (the closer to 100%, the better). Color-wise, the Surface Pro 9’s display covers 106.1% of the sRGB color gamut and 75.1% of the DCI-P3 color space.

As with the Surface Pro 9, I found this 2-in-1’s touchscreen very responsive. There was never a single instance where it failed to recognize my taps and swipes. Windows 11 works well on touch devices so this wasn’t surprising.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) review: Audio

  • Decent audio quality
  • Lacks bass

I know to temper my expectations when testing a tablet’s sound quality. This served me well since the XPS 13 2-in-1’s dual speakers are just adequate at best.

The speakers deliver clear and loud audio when I watched the aforementioned Mandalorian season 3 trailer. MKBHD’s review of the MacBook Pro 14-inch 2023 also sounded solid. However, I wanted to cover my ears when listening to Trivium’s “Forsake not the Dream,” which sounded somewhat garbled at max volume. The lack of bass was also disappointing.

The speakers do a good enough job with movie trailers and podcasts. But, unless you want to punish your ears, I suggest using one of the best headphones or the best wireless earbuds when listening to music on this device.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) review: Performance

  • Solid performance for everyday computing
  • Struggles to play games natively

As mentioned above, our XPS 13 2-in-1 review unit packs an Intel Core i5-1230U processor, Intel Iris Xe graphics, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. Those aren’t exactly mind-blowing specs but they’re decent enough for everyday computing.

On Geekbench 5.4, which measures overall performance, the XPS 13 2-in-1 scored 1,564 on the single-core portion of the test and 7,097 on the multi-core. In comparison, the Surface Pro 9 scored 1,633 and 8,541, respectively. The iPad 2022 scored 1,862 on the single-core portion and 8,500 on the multi-core test.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 transcoded a 4K video to 1080p using Handbrake in 15 minutes and 51 seconds. This is glacial-slow compared to the Surface Pro 9, which achieved the same task in 9 minutes and 34 seconds. The Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7 (12:18) also beats the XPS 13 2-in-1 in this benchmark test.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022)Microsoft Surface Pro 9iPad Pro (2022)
Geekbench 5.4 (single-core)1,5641,6331,862
Geekbench 5.4 (multi-core)7,0978,5418,500
Handbrake (video transcoding)15:51 ((min:sec)9:34 (min:sec)N/A

While this device may not be as performant as its competitors based on our test results, I found it sufficiently fast enough during my own usage. The XPS 13 2-in-1 had no trouble handling upward of 20 open Chrome tabs. Even when I tossed a YouTube video into the mix, the 2-in-1 kept going without a hitch.

Since this device has Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics instead of a discrete GPU, it’s going to struggle to play games natively. For instance, Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm averaged 16 frames per second at 1080p and an ever worse 9 fps at 2,880 x 1,920 resolution. If you want to play games on this machine then I highly suggest doing so via streaming services like Xbox Cloud Gaming or GeForce Now

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) review: Battery life and heat

  • Middling battery life
  • Doesn't get overly hot

On our battery test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, the XPS 13 2-in-1 lasted for 8 hours and 16 minutes. These results aren’t great for a device you’re supposed to carry around all day. This is especially true when compared to similar machines like the Surface Pro 9 (9:10) and iPad Pro 2022 (10:36).

In our standard heat test, which involves running a heat gun over a device after streaming 15 minutes of full HD video on it, we found the hottest point to be on the upper right side of the 2-in-1, which peaked at 92.3 degrees Fahrenheit. We generally consider temperatures over 95 degrees as being uncomfortable. Since the XPS 13 2-in-1’s hottest point doesn’t exceed that temperature, you should comfortably be able to hold it for extended periods.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) review: Webcam

  • 2160p rear-facing camera snaps great photos
  • Front-facing 1080p camera is solid for video calls

If you like using tablets to take pictures or if you want to look your best during video calls, you’ll be happy to know that the XPS 13 2-in-1 features two high-quality cameras on its front and rear.

The 2160p rear camera is somewhat of a surprise since you don’t normally see cameras with such a high resolution on the best laptops or the best tablets. As I’ve said in numerous tablet reviews, I don’t condone taking pictures with slates since the person taking them tends to look silly. If you’re willing to risk the embarrassment, at least you’ll know you’ve taken great-looking photos.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

The 2160p rear camera takes sharp pictures, even on a cloudy day. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The front-facing 1080p camera delivers a sharp and vibrant image. Not only does it capture all the details on my face and clothing, but its colors were fairly accurate and true to life. Suffice it to say that people you’re video conferencing with won’t be subjected to a grainy, washed-out image. The front camera is also good for selfies, though I’d prefer doing that with my iPhone 13 Pro if I were a selfie-taking individual (which I’m not).

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) review: Software

  • Comes with Windows 11
  • My Dell app helps optimize performance

The consumer version of the XPS 13 2-in-1 runs on Windows 11 Home and comes pre-loaded with Microsoft 365 apps and the Xbox app. The latter is especially useful if you want to play streamed games.

The My Dell app also comes pre-installed. This application has several useful features such as system optimization for performance, sound and visual optimization for streaming content and a power manager.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) review: XPS Folio and XPS Stylus

  • XPS Folio is enjoyable to type on
  • XPS Stylus is as good as an Apple Pencil

The XPS Folio and XPS Stylus are sold separately for $100 each on Dell’s website. While the stylus isn’t exactly mandatory for most people, I consider the Folio essential if you want to use this 2-in-1 as a laptop.

The XPS Folio features a roomy keyboard and responsive trackpad. Though nowhere near as satisfying to use as one of the best mechanical keyboards, I found the keys adequate enough to type on. This is doubly so compared to the Surface Pro 9’s flimsy Surface Pro Signature Keyboard. With that said, I find the iPad Pro’s Magic Keyboard superior to both of these.

Using the Folio to support the tablet isn’t intuitive at first. You prop the XPS 13 2-in-1 by gliding the rear part of the folio down to form a base at the back. You then snap the magnetic top part of the folio to the tablet to your preferred angle. Below, you’ll see how this looks.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 2022

The back of the XPS Folio folds down to create a base for the tablet. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

In all fairness, it doesn’t take long to learn how to fold the folio to prop up the tablet. It just took me a few tries because I was trying to fold it into a triangle as I do the Apple folio case. But once you figure it out, manipulating the XPS Folio becomes second nature.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

The XPS Stylus is arguably on par with the Apple Pencil thanks to its sturdy feel. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Apple Pencil is currently my favorite stylus due to its thickness and weight. I find it more appealing than the Surface Slim Pen 2, which is too thin for my liking. With that said, I think the XPS Stylus is a good Apple Pencil alternative. It’s about as thick and heavy as Apple’s stylus, which makes it very intuitive to use. I’m not artistically inclined, but I think digital artists could make good use of this pencil.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) review: Verdict

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 may not have the most mind-blowing specs and performance, but it’s an overall solid machine that serves its purpose well. Sure, I would have liked a few more ports and longer battery life. But if you want a relatively affordable computing device that’s equal parts tablet and laptop, you can't go wrong with the XPS 13 2-in-1.

With that said, if you want a 2-in-1 with a bit more power, the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 is a Windows device worth considering. The iPad Pro 2022 with the Apple Magic Keyboard is pricier, but it’s a good alternative for those who want an Apple product.

Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.