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12-17-12, 07:00 AM
http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/xps-12-main-640x426.jpg Dell's XPS 12 is the smoothest convertible Ultrabook we've seen.
Andrew Cunningham


For better or worse, Windows 8 has prompted some of the most adventuresome PC designs we've seen in years. Many of these are trying to capitalize on both of the new operating systems facesā??the new touch-oriented Start screen and its apps on one, and the classic desktop environment on the other.

Most of these computers are either good laptops but questionable tablets (the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 (http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/11/a-good-ultrabook-a-bad-tablet-the-lenovo-ideapad-yoga-13-review/)) or good tablets but mediocre laptops (the Microsoft Surface (http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/10/microsofts-first-stab-at-a-pc-surface-reviewed/) and many of the other dockable tablets). The need to balance factors like size, weight, battery life, and performance (and also, I suppose, the laws of physics) have prevented any one machine from being really good at both tasks, though several that we've seen have come close.

Dell's XPS 12, which if you'll recall is the one with the touchscreen that flips on its axis (http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/10/dells-1200-xps-12-makes-a-convincing-case-for-convertible-ultrabooks/), is one of the close ones. It may well hit that convertible sweet spot for many. It's still a bit too big and a bit too heavy to be a "tablet" in the post-iPad sense of the word, but it's perfectly usable as a tablet in short bursts. The best part is that even if you don't particularly care about the tablet functionality, the XPS 12 is still a pretty great Ultrabook.


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