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Not since the first Ultrabooks have we seen a device with as much wow factor as the Dell XPS 12 Convertible Touch Ultrabook. The sleek unit's bright and crisp 12.5-inch, 1,080p display is nearly indistinguishable from its 13.3-inch counterpart in the XPS 13.
The wows happen when the XPS 12 transforms from a Windows 8 laptop into a Windows 8 tablet. Rather than spinning horizontally (and boringly) as do most convertibles, Dell's screen flips vertically in its metal frame, snapping out of the invisible magnetic stays and locking back into place with a solid, confident click. Close the lid and viola! The XPS 12 is now a 12-inch tablet running Windows 8 Pro.
Starting at $1,199, the XPS 12 includes a Gorilla Glass-covered IPS display with 160-degree viewing angle and a 400-nit LED backlight, a maximum resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 that's driven by Intel's HD 4000 series graphics processor with 512 MB of dedicated video memory. Also included is a 1,280-x-1,024 (1.3 MP) webcam and Realtek ALC3260 audio with stereo speakers that sound surprisingly good even at extremely high volume levels.
The $1,700 tested unit was on the high end of the line, and built around an Intel Core i7 3667U, dual-core 2.0 GHz third-generation Ivy Bridge processor running 64-bit Windows 8 Pro on 8-GB, 1,333-MHz DDR3 memory in a two-channel configuration from a 256-GB Samsung eSATA SSD. The XPS 12 turned in a top Geekbench score of 8775, making it the fastest Ultrabook the CRN Test Center has seen to date and placing it fourth on our top all-time list (behind two other machines from Dell and one from Samsung).