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Dell XPS 11 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £859
inc VAT

Disappointing touch keyboard and average screen ruin what could be a good laptop


11.6 in 2,560×1,440 display, 1.1kg, 1.5GHz Intel Core i5-4210Y, 4.00GB RAM, 128GB disk, Windows 8.1

We liked the XPS 11’s sensitive 11.6in touchscreen display. The screen’s huge 2,560×1,440 resolution was beautifully detailed and text looked sharp and crisp, but unfortunately we had to set the size of the text to 200 per cent in Windows’ Control Panel to make it legible. Admittedly, it’s easier to see things on the XPS 11’s screen than other ultra-high resolution screens we’ve seen, such as the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro’s 3,200×1,800 screen, but we were disappointed that Dell hadn’t included software to improve scaling.

Dell XPS 11

The screen had its problems, though, and its overall image quality was relatively mixed. Our colour calibrator showed the screen was displaying an impressive 98.4 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut, which is even higher than Apple’s Macbook Pro screens. This is outstanding for a laptop, and our solid colour image tests all looked rich, accurate and vibrant.

Sadly, the screen’s contrast levels were less impressive. Even though we measured a contrast ratio of 916:1, most of the shadow detail in our high contrast test photos was almost impossible to make out. Instead, these details appeared as simple areas of solid black. This wasn’t helped by the screen’s average viewing angles either, as there was a noticeable dip in brightness whenever we tilted the screen back. Colours also looked overexposed if we looked at the screen while the XPS 11 was lying flat on a table, which isn’t something we expect to see from a £860 hybrid laptop.

Dell XPS 11

The XPS 11’s battery life wasn’t particularly good, either, as it lasted just 7 hours and 13 minutes in our light use test with the screen set to half brightness. This is a little better than the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, but it’s still fairly average for a modern laptop.

The Dell XPS 11 is neither a good tablet nor a good laptop. Its mediocre screen lets it down badly and means it is a poor Windows 8 tablet. As a laptop it is almost unusable thanks to a terrible keyboard. Such a simple oversight wrecks a perfectly decent piece of hardware. 

This is frustrating as there’s quite a bit to reccomend about this innovatively designed hybrid. We do like the 360-degree hinge design, but Dell’s execution of it pales in comparison to the superior Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro.

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Basic Specifications

ProcessorIntel Core i5-4210Y
Processor clock speed1.5GHz
Memory slots1
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory4GB
SoundRealtek HD Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad and touchscreen


Viewable size11.6 in
Native resolution2,560×1,440
Graphics ProcessorIntel HD Graphics 4200
Graphics/video portsHDMI
Graphics Memory128MB


Total storage capacity128GB
Optical drive typenone

Ports and Expansion

USB ports2
Wired network portsnone
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsN/A
Supported memory cardsSD, SDHC, SDXC
Other portsheadphone, microphone


Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 8.1
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedN/A
Optional extrasN/A

Buying Information

Warrantyone year next business day

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