Dell XPS 11: test and review

The new Dell XPS 11 hybrid shows that Dell still has resources. The manufacturer still known to produce high-end portable machines and behave as such. The XPS range proves to be together, and the XPS 11 respects this tradition.

The XPS 11 is an ultraportable 11-inch fine, but it’s also a hybrid that converts into tablet. Include a mechanism similar to that of Yoga series Lenovo, with a cover which is turned through 360 °. Unlike the Yoga range which operates a “real” physical keyboard (it turns into tablet mode), the XPS 11 uses a different approach. Dell offers here a completely flat keyboard without mobiles.A parts like the touch keyboard offered as an option on the Microsoft Surface tablet.

An interesting concept that allows the XPS 11 to be thinner and lighter than the Surface Pro 2 and the Lenovo Yoga 11 inches. If the overall design of this hybrid laptop / tablet seduced the grip proves tricky with the same keyboard that is sometimes recalcitrant.

Design and Features

The XPS 11SE closer to the laptop “perfect.” Aluminum and carbon fiber hull give a high quality finish to the machine. With 1.15 kg, it’s a hair heavier than the MacBook Air 11-inch, but still very light and easy to carry.

The display hinge, which opens completely to form a tablet or stops halfway in bridge mode, takes the concept of Yoga from Lenovo. While Dell claims a “patented” design and “unique, both systems are undeniably very close. It is very easy to imagine that the same technical problem, the solution is also identical. In practice, it shows a little fluid during the “folding”, but it does not take too well in position. an important point however when used in easel mode.

The keyboard is the most innovative element of this hybrid portable, but as we have already said, it is more frustrating than rejoicing. Far from being hostile to keyboards without physical sensations, we appreciate the virtual keyboards found today on tablets. Those of the Apple iPad and the Windows 8 on Microsoft Surface are simply excellent. But here, with the DELL XPS 11, the problem is twofold. First, there are absolutely no returns when typing. We must therefore look at both your fingers and carefully monitor to ensure a correct entry. Enter a password in a field where the letters are hidden, sometimes turns into an obstacle course. The Windows 8 touch keyboard flashes every key you type. This does not seem much, but it makes it much more effective than physical keyboard. There is indeed a kind of reaction the keyboard XPS 11: an annoying clicking sound with each press. Disabling is one of the first things to do for your peace of mind and that of your neighbors.

Another concern is the sensitivity threshold to distinguish the accidental support of actual strikes. It seems to be set a little too high and hit at a “normal” many characters are missing. We must do violence and apply to each pressure for correct input. It must be truly “re-learn typing.” It follows slowdown, pain and cramps. Nothing is insurmountable in the long run … There question is this: will you have patience for this learning.

No worries on the side of the touchpad. In a generous size for such a small laptop, it is quick and responsive, with the same multi-touch gestures.

The 11.6 inch screen is one of the main strengths of this notebook. It is part of the trend “High Resolution” initiated in 2012 with the MacBook Pro Retina, which is to go beyond the “simple” definition 1920 x 108 pixels. The Dell XPS 11 offers a native resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. While these figures may seem high for a 11-inch screen, the display is bright and clear, and remains correct all angles. The easel fashion will pass easily share photos and videos in a small group.

As with almost all touch screen products on Windows 8, the touch response is fast and precise. The same goes for scrolling tiles in the Modern UI interface.

Connectivity, performance and autonomy

Due to its size, the XPS 11 does not, you can expect lots of room for connectors. The XPS 11 is not yet not stingy. It is particularly nice to find a true HDMI output, where so many ultraportables are content with the mini HDMI, Micro USB and microSD. Two USB ports, an SD memory card reader and an audio output minijack come complete it.

The good news about the XPS 11 is the base model is charged 999 euros, that is to say that you should pay for a Surface Pro 2 and keyboard or a Lenovo Yoga. This corresponds to a configuration “Silver” with Intel Core i5 processor at 1.5 GHz (up to 1.9 GHz in Turbo mode) and 128 GB SSD. The Dell XPS 11 is well aligned with the upper range of ultrabooks many of the same level, but not as pleasant at the design.C’est reasonable configuration, knowing that for 200 euros more, you can choose the configuration “Gold “with a 256GB SSD.

Adobe Photoshop CS5 / image processing (in seconds)

(The lowest score indicates better performance)

Microsoft Surface Pro 2


Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro


Apple MacBook Air 11 (2013)


Dell XPS 11


Asus Transformer Book T100


Apple iTunes / encoding (in seconds)

(The lowest score indicates better performance)

Apple MacBook Air (11-inch, 2013)


Microsoft Surface Pro 2


Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro


Dell XPS 11


Asus Transformer Book T100


Autonomy / video playback (in minutes)

(The highest score indicates better performance)

Apple MacBook Air (11-inch, 2013)


Asus Transformer Book T100


Microsoft Surface Pro 2


Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro


Dell XPS 11


Although its overall performance is slightly lower than other high-end models like the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 or Macbook Air 11 inches, the XPS 11 is ideal for everyday use, as the keyboard is shown cooperating.

For an ultraportable product like this, autonomy is the key and the XPS 11 is doing very well. A little less than 6 hours during video playback test.

The design and build quality of the XPS 11 are fantastic. The design and size are almost perfect for an ultraportable 11

inches but its high price for characteristics “standards” and

frustrating keyboard suggests that this hybrid is best for

tablet that laptop. Under these conditions, it can be satisfied

a tablet.

Test conducted in collaboration with