Dell XPS 18 Review

An 18in Windows 8 tablet that doubles as an
all-in-one PC

Windows 8 is designed for
touchscreens as well as
keyboards and mice. This has led
to some wacky PC designs that
attempt to fuse together these
two different ways of using your
computer. One of the oddest
products we’ve seen is the Dell
XPS 18. It appears to be an
all-in-one desktop PC with an
18in screen, but the ‘screen’
detaches from the base and can
be used as a tablet.

Dell XPS 18

It’s a bizarre idea, but the XPS
18 does at least feel well made.
We wouldn’t want to drop any
computer, but the plastic and
metal frame feels reassuringly
robust. The metal stand feels
even sturdier, yet it’s easy to tilt
and swivel with one hand, unlike
some other Windows all-in-one
PCs we’ve seen. The screen
neatly attaches to the stand
using a magnetic connector, so it
feels secure when used as an
all-in-one PC, but disconnects
easily for use as a tablet.
As an all-in-one PC, the XPS
18 falls short. The 1.9GHz Intel
Core i3 processor and 4GB of
memory make it just about fast
enough to use as your main
computer, but other similarly
priced all-in-ones have faster
processors and more memory.
The Intel integrated graphics chip
isn’t fast enough for playing the
latest games, but is fine for older
releases and titles with less
demanding graphics.
The 500GB hard disk is small
compared to the 1TB and 2TB
disks found in cheaper PCs.
Expansion options are strictly
limited, too, with an SD card slot,
two USB3 ports and that’s it.
There are no Ethernet or HDMI
connectors, so you’ll need to rely
on the PC’s built-in Wi-Fi for
internet access and connecting to
a second display. The latter can
only be done with devices that
support Wi-Di, an Intel
technology that lets you
wirelessly connect a computer to
a monitor or TV. Only a few
monitors and TVs have built-in
Wi-Di support.
A Bluetooth keyboard and
mouse set is included, but both
devices feel basic. The boxy shape
of the mouse won’t suit everyone.
The keyboard has just enough
travel and feedback for
comfortable typing, but the laptopstyle layout means some keys,
such as the cursor keys, will be too
small for touch typists.
Performance might be merely
adequate for an all-in-one PC, but
the XPS 18’s specifications are
fairly good for a tablet. Some of
the sacrifices made in terms of
power make more sense when
you use it as a tablet too. Faster
components would have made the
PC bulkier and hotter, for example,
and would quickly drain the
However, as a handheld device,
the XPS 18 is awkward and
cumbersome to use due to its size
and weight. At 2.3kg, it’s better
suited for table-top use and there
are two flip-out feet at the rear so
it can be propped up easily if
necessary. It’s just about usable on
a lap, but due to its weight and the
width of the display, we had to
constantly shift it about either for
comfort, to see something on
screen more clearly or to reach a
button or control. It’s far from ideal.
The 18in screen has a high
resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, so
1080p videos are displayed
full-size. It’s bright with reasonably
accurate colours, but the touch
sensitivity wasn’t as accurate as
we would have hoped. There was
a small lag between moving our
finger and something happening
on screen. This wasn’t noticeable
most of the time, such as when
browsing the web or playing board
games, but it was much more
annoying when playing fast-paced
games, such as the bundled air
hockey app, where accuracy is
As expected for a computer
with such a large screen, battery
life wasn’t great. It lasted around
four hours and 45 minutes in both
our light usage and continuous
video playback tests. Although this
compares well to large desktopreplacement laptops, it’s far
behind ultra-portable laptops and
more sensibly sized tablets. Dell
does emphasise that the XPS 18 is
intended for use around the home,
The Dell XPS 18 is a well-made
computer, but as a tablet it’s very
heavy and awkward to use, while
the sacrifices made to allow for
tablet-style usage end up
compromising it as an all-in-one
PC. The biggest problem is that we
just can’t see the point of such a
huge tablet. The big screen does
make it easy to share photos or
play board games with other
people, but these things can be
done just as well with other
gadgets such as smart TVs or
smaller, cheaper and more usable
tablets, such as the iPad 4, which
also has a much bigger and better
array of available apps. For most
people, the Dell XPS 18 is just poor
value. We’d rather use a normal
PC and a separate tablet.

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