When Dell launched the first Kaby Lake-G laptop, we were very excited to see how the combo processor would behave, i.e. a combination of a quad-core Kaby Lake CPU with an AMD Radeon RX Vega M. -GPU and 4 GB HBM2 in a single package. We have already gone through the entire performance. Now let's discuss whether it's actually worth buying the first Kaby Lake-G laptop: the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1.
We see a convertible laptop with a 360 degree hinge. You can use it as a giant 15.6-inch tablet or in more useful stand and tent modes. At this size, I don't find the 2-in-1 aspect of this laptop too useful. Most convertibles I still use as a laptop anyway, but if it's a 15-inch system, some of these other usage modes are less practical due to their size.
The hinge is sturdy and easy to use, and there are no apparent compromises that affect the laptop experience. This is still a laptop first and then other modes of use. This is the right approach for this type of device.
In terms of workmanship, we see the same excellent workmanship as the entire XPS product line from Dell: beautiful matt metal on the lid and base and a keyboard bezel in soft-touch carbon style. It's a sturdy laptop with a nice premium touch that you should get at this price.
It wouldn't be an XPS laptop without a slim front panel display, so you get it too. I still think Dell has the best slim bezel laptops on the market, and it's great to get them not only in the 13-inch form factors, but also in the 15-inch form factors. Unfortunately, the disadvantage for such slim bezels is the nostril camera, which is positioned below the display, which isn't particularly good for frequent webcam users, but the slimmer bezels allow the laptop to take up less space.
And although it's not a small or particularly portable laptop due to its large 15-inch screen, it's one of the smallest devices in its class. The thickest parts are only 16 mm thick and taper well. Overall, it weighs only 2 kg. Ideally, I'd like to see the weight drop a bit, but you have a 75 Wh battery inside, along with the premium aluminum construction, and both things add to the weight.
The port selection on the XPS 15 2-in-1 is rather poor, especially when compared to the non-convertible XPS 15. There is not a single USB-A port on this device. Instead, Dell chose two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the left and two USB-C 3.1 ports on the right. The USB-C 3.1 ports also serve as DisplayPort outputs, but there is no commonly used display port on this device. Although Dual Thunderbolt 3 is good, the lack of USB-A is annoying if you want to use many popular peripheral devices without a dongle. With the market moving to USB-C, it's still important to install at least one USB-A port. Although the pages are quite thin, a slight revision of the design would have allowed full-size USB here.
You also get a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microSD card slot. Again, it would make more sense to have a full SD slot here, especially since the laptop is designed for creative people. The regular Dell XPS 15 includes both a full SD slot and USB-A ports.
The keyboard uses the thinner XPS key design from Dell, which is used for all 2-in-1 laptops and offers slightly less feedback than the lower keys with longer travel on the non-convertible XPS. The keyboard is fine, but typing is not particularly satisfactory, and I definitely prefer the standard XPS keyboard over this. It's also a bit disappointing that this 15-inch laptop doesn't include a number pad, but this can focus on the main keyboard.
The trackpad is good, as are the other Dell XPS laptops, and I like putting a fingerprint reader in the power button. The camera array also supports Windows Hello face recognition if you prefer for authentication.
The display is available in 1080p or 4K resolutions. Both are 15.6-inch IPS LCD panels and both have touch screens. I received the 4K model for review and it contains 100% Adobe RGB color gamut, so it's perfect for content creators who need additional color space.
In typical Dell fashion, this is a professional display that contains features for developers. With the PremierColor utility, you can choose from a variety of display modes, including a "vibrant" mode with adequate color management to help you get the most out of your display, and additional modes to move the screen to DCI-P3, sRGB or DCG -P3 can clamp Adobe RGB depending on your requirements. This is very handy if you are using an app that does not master color management well, but needs these larger color gamuts.
The 4K display offers good performance with a brightness of over 400 nits, a strong contrast ratio of 1660: 1 and average DeltaEs around the 3.0 mark in standard mode when measuring against sRGB. This can be further exacerbated by selecting a specific mode, and both the DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB modes offer almost complete coverage of the respective color scales.
The performance is dealt with in detail in another article. I strongly recommend reading my Kaby Lake G review for a complete breakdown of this model's performance. But I will briefly summarize my results here for those who just want a quick overview.
The latest Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 9575 is equipped with an Intel Core i7-8705G in the upper models or an i5-8305G in the lower models. Both are 65-watt Kaby Lake G parts with a quad-core CPU and a Vega GPU with 20 processing units. My configured test device was equipped with 16 GB DDR4-2400 memory, although 8 GB seems to be the standard on most models. As with many Dell systems, however, you have the option to configure memory and storage through their website.
The CPU performance is good and slightly outperforms the last generation Core i7-7700HQ, although it lags behind Coffee Lake's newer 6-core laptop CPUs like the Core i7-8750H. The 8705G is also a good deal faster than 15W U-series processors like the i7-8550U, although both are quad cores. So if you throw back and forth between this and a Dell XPS 13, the 15-inch 2-inch processor 1 is a decent amount faster.
In terms of graphics performance, the Vega M-GPU with 20 computing units is roughly on a par with a GeForce GTX 1050 or 1050 Ti.It is therefore ideal for accelerating computing workloads such as Adobe Premiere and can also play medium settings in the latest settings with 1080p Titles. Fortnite is a great example of a game that, despite its small thickness, runs very well on this laptop.
All in all, Kaby Lake G is a pretty impressive chip, although it can't keep up with the performance of the Dell XPS 15 with its combination of six-core i7-8750H and GTX 1050 Ti graphics. So if you'd rather go without the 2-in-1 design and 360-degree hinge for faster installation – the XPS 15 may be more suitable for you.