Dell XPS18 - An All-In-One PC

9/2/2013 9:16:37 AM

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 All-in-one

Dell XPS 18 All-in-one

It’s a PC

As an all-in-one PC, the XPS 18 is underspecified.

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, 50 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.

Dell XPS 18 as a PC

Dell XPS 18 as a PC

The 500GB hard disk is small compared to the 1TB and 2TB disks round in cheaper PCS. Expansion options are strictly limited, too, with an SD card slut, two U553 port 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 T\/. Only a few monitors and TVs have built-in Wi-Di support, though, and Wi-Di adapters cost around $92.4.

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 laptop-style layout means some keys, such as the cursor keys, will be too small for touch typists.

It’s a Tablet

As a tablet it’s very heavy and awkward to use.

Performance might be merely adequate for an all-in-one PC, but the XFS 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 battery.

Dell XPS 18 as a tablet

Dell XPS 18 as a tablet

However, as E 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 1920x1080 pixels, so 1080p videos are displayed full-size. It’s bright with reasonably accurate colors, 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 essential.

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 desktop-replacement laptops, it’s far behind ultra-portable laptops and more sensibly sized tablets. Dell does emphasize that the XPS 18 is intended for use around the home, though.

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 iPad4, which also has a much bigger and better array of available apps. For most people, the Dell XPS18 is just poor value. We’d rather use a normal PC and separate tablet.


·         Processor: Intel Core ị 3337U Processor

·         Operating System: Windows 8 64bit

·         Chipset: Intel Panther Point HM77 Chipset

·         Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000

·         Memory: 8GB DDR3L 1600 MHz DRAM

·         Display: 18.4” Full HD 1080p (1920x1080) 16:9; IPS panel

·         Storage: 500GB hard drive (5400RPM) + 32GB mSATA solid state drive (SSD)

·         Networking: Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 combo w/ Wi-Di Bluetooth 4.0

·         Interface: 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x headphone/microphone combo jack

·         Webcam: 720p camera with dual-digital microphone array for Skype

·         Battery: 69Whr

·         Power Adapter: 65W AC adapter

·         Dimensions: 18.25 (W) x 11.17 (D) x 0.69 (H) inches

·         Weight: 5.04 pounds

·         Manufacturer Warranty: 1 year

·         Pricing: $1,350 (as configured)


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