A practical hybrid? / Notebooks and PCs

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Two-in-one laptop, a hybrid computer, a tablet computer, a tablet with a plug-in keyboard, a "tablet tablet" – as soon as you do not call a device of this type. The model Dell XPS 12 9250 was presented in response to the release of Microsoft Surface 4, which won fame in the expanses of Europe and the United States. Well, at the same time, Dell has prepared an heir to the ultrabook transformer XPS 12 2013 release.

In a novelty, Dell engineers and designers abandoned the rotary screen and moved on to a different concept. XPS 12 with index 9250 is a computer consisting of two halves: a tablet with a fairly powerful iron and an attached block with a keyboard and a touchpad, but without an additional battery and interface connectors. Is it getting better or worse? Let's try to understand.

# Packaging and delivery set

The laptop (tablet / hybrid?) XPS 12 9250 is packed in two boxes. The first is made of ordinary unpainted cardboard and performs a protective function. The second looks much more elegant. It housed the device itself and various documentation from the delivery kit. A small external power supply, a power cable and an adapter with a USB Type-C to a standard USB connector are located in a separate compartment in the first box.

The updated XPS 12 could be purchased at the beginning of 2016, although it was officially launched in April only from Russia. Since then, the manufacturer has already released a few serious BIOS updates and fixed the main errors of the preinstalled software.

One of the stickers on the box shows the version number of the model (9303), color (black), country of production (China) and warranty period (24 months). The above delivery set is quite decent. But it is unlikely that anyone would refuse another adapter with a USB Type-C, pen-pen, USB hub and other things that Dell offers to purchase separately.

# External appearance

Speaking of the appearance of Dell XPS 12 9250, it should be understood that the actual subject of discussion is iron and a screen, hidden in a shell only 8 mm thick. All the rest are optional accessories that come with the tablet or purchased separately.

In our case, the review hero was supplied with a separate block, which housed a full-featured island-type keyboard and a small touchpad. A plus in the set is a special magnetic "cover", which protects the hull of both elements of the structure.

In Dell prospectuses, you can meet the novelty along with another, more slim keyboard. It has less key travel, probably there is no backlight, but it is connected with magnets and allows you to adjust the angle of the screen thanks to a separate pad-stand, attached to the body of our "hybrid". Something similar, but embedded in the body of the tablet use in its devices "two in one" other manufacturers.

The very same Dell XPS 12 9250 is similar … to the tablet. On a large tablet with a glossy touch screen in a high-quality, rigid case. The display, covered with Corning Gorilla Glass NBT glass, is inscribed in a magnesium alloy casing with a soft-touch plastic coating

The glass is slightly rounded at the edges. Everything except glass is painted black, including the Dell logo, which usually looks quite different. Two built-in loudspeakers are located on top of the screen frame at the maximum possible distance from each other . Loudness is enough, but the sound quality, even by tablet measures – average. There is nothing more to discuss here.

The keyboard unit allows you to set the screen at a single angle – 110 degrees, which is a significant disadvantage of the device. It is connected to the tablet using a contact group and is powered by a common battery. Keep the design of magnets.

But strongly rely on them not worth it: any wrong action – and the tablet instantly disconnects. Another feature is the lack of grooves, because of which it is necessary to connect the two parts very accurately. A displacement of a millimeter to the right / left – and the keyboard with the touchpad will not work.

When folded, the XPS 12 also holds itself securely with the built-in magnets, and to ensure that nothing collapses, you can use a tight cloth (on the other hand a rubberized) case with built-in magnets from . Its only drawback is that it does not cover one quarter of the lower part.

In general, the mechanism of turning a tablet into a laptop causes a lot of questions, as well as the lack of connectors on the base.

After all, on the very case of the tablet there are not so many: two modern USB 3.1 Type-C (through one of which, including charging the device) and a 3.5-mm headphone jack – everything. Unless behind a plug on one of faces the socket for microSD-card is hidden. Also note the power button with power indicator and "rocker" volume control.

As for USB Type-C, it's certainly a solution in the spirit of the times, but because of it, you almost always need to use adapters (one for USB 3.0 is included), which, frankly, is not very convenient. On the other hand, it opens up a lot of room for use with Dell XPS 12 most diverse devices. The benefit is on the Windows OS, not Android or iOS.

The materials of both the case and the keyboard base are very high-quality. In general, magnesium alloy is used – a relatively light and very strong material, most often found in corporate laptops / ultrabooks / tablets. That's just it is covered with plastic soft-touch, on which there are always fingerprints

Nevertheless, Dell XPS 12 9250 looks neat and strict. The quality of the assembly does not cause any complaints: the body is densely knocked down, the model is clearly aimed at adults who do not require any kind of design frills from devices of this kind. And only a fairly tattered power button makes you think: what led to this? This is discussed in the section "Testing."

# Input Devices

In fact, the basic "device" typing in Dell XPS 12 is the on-screen keyboard. But typing on a 12.5-inch screen is not the most enjoyable thing. Therefore, the manufacturer took care of a separately pluggable keyboard, as standard, supplemented by a touchpad.

The keyboard because of its size does not have a numeric keypad. Despite the strong and rigid magnesium frame, almost the entire area with the buttons is slightly pushed. The layout is quite common – you will not have to get used to it for a long time.

Buttons are black, their surface is matte, the main letters and symbols are white, additional – blue. There is a white backlighting of keys with three modes of operation (low brightness, high brightness, off).

The size of the main buttons is 14 × 14 mm, the distance between them is almost 4 mm, the claimed key stroke is 1.9 mm. All the control keys by default work when the modifier is pressed – the Fn button.

Pressures are soft, clear, with a moderate force returning force. The sound is not loud. You can print on such a keyboard for a long time, without inconvenience and discomfort. The main thing is to get used to, and this should not be a problem.

The touchpad of our "hybrid" is quite large for this segment of devices – as many as 100 × 55 mm. Cold metal feels to the touch. Under the touchpad are hidden two buttons with a minimum, but a clear stroke. Not all compact notebooks can offer such an area for the working surface of the touchpad, as well as its high quality and responsiveness.

The hero of the review has two cameras: rear, 8-megapixel and frontal, 5-megapixel, next to which there is a pair of directional digital microphones for better quality of transmitted sound and suppression of external noise. The quality of both of the tablet measures is quite high, and for all-human – so-so, at the level of cheap smartphones. On the other hand, such devices are not bought because of cameras.

# Background information and technical specifications

The processor

The processor

The processor

The processor Intel Core m5 6Y57 Skylake (Dual-Core), 1.1 GHz Chipset Intel Sunrise Point-LP Graphics adapter Intel HD Graphics 515 Display touchscreen IPS IGZO, 12.5 inches, 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K), glossy, Corning Gorilla Glass NBT Operative memory 8 GB LPDDR3-1600 (800 MHz), two-channel mode The data storage system 1 x SSD, Samsung PM871 256 GB, M.2 2280 SATA3; The optical drive No The connector of flash cards microSD / microSDHC / microSDXC Interfaces 2 x USB 3.1 Type-C (Thunderbolt);
1 x jack 3.5 mm (headphone / acoustics); Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac (Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260) Bluetooth 4.1 LE + HS The network adapter No The sound of the Realtek ALC298 Additionally 8-megapixel main camera + 5-megapixel front with two directional digital microphones Power Supply The battery is non-removable, lithium-polymer, 3-cell, 28 Wh-h (3320 mAh, 8.6 V) External power adapter 30 W (1,5 / 2A, 20/12 / 5V) The size, mm 291 x 198 x 16-25 mm (the body of the tablet itself is 8 mm thick) Weight, kg 1.25 kg (main body 0.7 kg + keyboard 0.55 kg) + power supply 0.23 kg Operating system Windows 10 Home x64 The official manufacturer's warranty 24 months

Approximate price

Approximate price

Approximate price 100,000-105,000 rubles

The Dell XPS 12 9250 appeared on sale in the US last year at the price of $ 999 for the initial configuration, including the tablet itself (with Core m3 / m5, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD And Full HD IPS-type screen), keypad with backlight and touchpad, and a cover-stand. According to the official site of Dell, XPS 12 is something similar to the top version, but with an SSD of half the capacity (256 GB vs. 512), the average power of the ULV processor Core m5 6Y57, but with IPS IGZO Screen standard 4K.

This version is offered at the price of $ 1 299 (there are discounts – and then the cost is $ 1,099, as at the time of testing), which in the conditions of Russian reality quickly turns into 100 000 rubles or slightly more. Well, it's not such a big deal about the official price. The closest competitor is Microsoft Surface Pro 4, which in turn is offered for at least $ 899, and the maximum price is $ 1,599. In addition, it offers slightly more than Dell ] Except for the screen resolution, at a comparable cost. There is already a taste and color …

The main difference between the two devices is that the XPS 12 is a noiseless tablet with a passive cooling system that imposes one serious limitation: you can only use the "cold" dual core Intel Core M processors of the Skylake architecture with TDP of 4.5-6 W (up to 7 W with appropriate setting and proper cooling level).

Directly our sample is based on the Intel 6th generation Intel Core m5 6Y57 processor with integrated Intel HD Graphics 515 graphics and dual channel LPDDR3-1866 / DDR3L-1600 memory controller. This SoC is manufactured according to the standards of 14-nm process technology on the transistors FinFET. This is a performance average solution among modern Core M, but trust us: you will not see much difference between them.

The nominal CPU frequency is only 1.1 GHz. Supports Hyper-Threading and TurboBoost, accelerating the processor to 2.8 GHz with a single core load and up to 2.4 GHz with a load of two. But immediately we note that these are the limiting frequencies, available literally for a few seconds (ideally, for several tens of seconds). Even when performing real tasks, the system quickly reduces frequencies to 1000-1400 MHz, and sometimes below the nominal value. Here to you and "high" productivity – a payment for passive cooling in a thin case with a serious stuffing.

The integrated graphics core Intel HD Graphics 515 with a GPU frequency in the range of 300-1000 MHz is positioned by Intel as a low-grade graphics. In fact, this is an analogue of the familiar HD Graphics 520, but only for Core M processors. The same 24 executive units (GT2) and lack of own dedicated memory greatly affect the results of the device. And the need to work in cramped conditions, without active cooling, quickly drives the GPU into a "flaming cell" – the frequencies are rapidly declining and the results are much lower than the similar HD 520 in the Core i family, but with a TDP of 15 W.

The set of system logic in the notebook is the top solution of Intel Sunrise Point LP. The amount of onboard DDR3-1600 memory (800 MHz) in our case is 8 GB, and it works in a two-channel mode. The opportunity to increase the volume is missing.

One of the main differences between the review hero and other similar devices on the market is the 12.5-inch 4G IPS touch screen with IGZO transistors, a glossy coating and a Corning Gorilla Glass glass protective surface. Its resolution, as you guessed it, is 3840 × 2160 pixels, the density of pixels is 352 ppi, the color coverage at AdobeRGB-space (that is, the extended CO), the standard aspect ratio is 16: 9. The manufacturer of the screen is the company Sharp.

In the laptop version that came to us, the manufacturer uses a Samsung PM871 SSD-drive with 256 GB, made in the M.2 2280 format and connected via the SATA3 interface. The top configuration of the XPS 12 uses a different solid state drive – Samsung with a capacity of 512 GB, in combination with a high-speed PCIe bus 3.0 x4 with the support of the modern NVMe protocol. The speeds of such drives, of course, are very different. However, in real work this difference will be extremely difficult to notice.

The work of wireless Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac and Bluetooth 4.1 LE in the review hero is provided by the familiar Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 controller. The Realtek ALC289 HDA codec is responsible for the sound.

The review's hero is equipped with a non-removable 3-cell lithium-polymer battery with a claimed capacity of 30 W * h. The manufacturer promises to work the device for up to 10 hours, to which, frankly speaking, we do not strongly believe. Moreover, the actual capacity of the battery, according to the versions of various utilities, does not exceed 28.5 Wh / h, and in the course of working with the device the value often and completely drops to 26 Wh at maximum. Add to this a rather big 4K-display – and the claimed 10 hours can be easily divided into two, which we made sure during testing.

A compact external power adapter with a power of 45 W is used to charge the device. In the off state, the XPS 12 is charged for its battery capacity not fast – it takes slightly more than two hours.

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