Notebookcheck

Review Dell XPS 18 AIO Tablet

Daniel Schmidt (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 06/02/2013

All-inclusive. Dell calls its 18.4-inch tablet an All-in-One. We review the XPS 18 with a Core i5, 8 GB memory and a combined storage solution with an HDD and an SSD. Continue reading to find out how it performs...

For the original German review, see here.

Dell tries to open up a new market segment with the XPS 18, which is currently only claimed by the Sony Vaio Tap 20. Tablets with screens larger than 13-inches are still very rare. The US giant offers six different configurations at launch; three of them are targeting consumers and three of them business users. The main differentiator is the version of Windows 8; Dell offers devices for home use (Windows 8) as well as businesses (Windows 8 Pro). The buyer can choose between several combinations of processors, hard drives and memory equipment; all configurations use the same 18.4-inch Full HD IPS display.

Prices including 19 % VAT.
Consumer Consumer Consumer Business Business Business
Intel Core i3-3227U Intel Core i5-3337U Intel Core i7-3537U Intel Pentium 2117U Intel Core i3-3227U Intel Core i5-3337U
4 GB RAM 8 GB RAM 8 GB RAM 4 GB RAM 4 GB RAM 8 GB RAM
500 GB HDD 32 GB SSD + 500 GB HDD 32 GB SSD + 500 GB HDD 320 GB HDD 500 GB HDD 32 GB SSD + 500 GB HDD
Windows 8 (64-bit) Windows 8 (64-bit) Windows 8 (64-bit) Windows 8 Pro (64-bit) Windows 8 Pro (64-bit) Windows 8 Pro (64-bit)
1,099 Euros, ~$1428 1,199 Euros, ~$1558 1,299 Euros, ~$1688 1,046.01 Euros, ~$1359 1,129.31 Euros, ~$1467 1,248.31 Euros, ~$1622

Our review unit is equipped with an Intel Core i5-3337U processor, 8 GB memory and a 32 GB SSD in combination with a 500 GB hard drive; operating system is Windows 8. It is the mainstream consumer configuration that starts at 1,199 Euros (~$1558) on the Dell website.

Our in-depth review of the Sony Vaio Tap 20 revealed a couple of weaknesses of the concept. Especially the high weight, the limited runtimes and the not really sophisticated practicality of the giant tablet only resulted in an average rating. The XPS 18 not only wants to be a big tablet but also an All-In-One solution (AIO), which can be used as a tablet as well as a desktop replacement. This review will show if Dell was able to learn from the mistakes of the competition.

Case

The Dell XPS 18 AIO.
The Dell XPS 18 AIO.
The back.
The back.
Rubberized support feet ensure a good stability.
Rubberized support feet ensure a good stability.
Very solid: the charging dock.
Very solid: the charging dock.

As usual the Dell design is very consistent. The front is completely occupied by the 18.4-inch touchscreen and is protected by Dragontrail-Glass. The Windows button, which is mandatory for tablets with Microsoft's operating system, is not realized with a physical but a touch key in the display frame. The edges are rubberized and hide the transition of the display and the rest of the case. There are notches for the speakers and the ports in the protective rubber frame; they are neatly integrated and do not affect the accessibility of the ports. The build quality is excellent; the back is completely made of anodized aluminum. This not only looks good but the flat surface also improves the haptics. However, you do not have to be afraid that it might slip out of the hand.

For the most part this is due to the heavy weight of 2,332 grams. If you want to carry the XPS 18 around you have to put it on your forearm and hold it with your other hand. This works very well but carrying it with just one hand is only possible for a limited time. Compared to the Vaio Tap 20 (5.06 kg) it is almost a lightweight. You could only dream of carrying the competitor with only one hand.

There is no criticism with the build quality. Quite the contrary, Dell did an excellent job. Despite the height of 17.7 millimeters the All-in-One is very torsion resistant; we could not produce creaking noises on the XPS 18 even under heavy pressure and the display shows no distortions with concentrated pressure at the back.

The fold-out support feet also leave a positive impression. They are made of a durable magnesium alloy that is covered with rubber, similar to the case. They ensure a convincing stability even on a soft surface, for instance a sofa. They provide two possible positions: standing in a 72 ° angle and lying in a 25 ° angle.

Connectivity

The port selection of the Dell XPS 18 is limited. A combined headphone microphone port and two USB 3.0 ports, that is all. A video port or LAN port are not integrated. Although the ports are very easy to handle we would have appreciated more variety. The integrated card reader supports eight different standards, half of that is covered by different types of SD cards (SD, High-Speed SD, SDHC and SDXC). It also accepts MMC, xD, Memory Stick and MS Pro.

The two integrated digital dual-array microphones have been optimized for Skype use. We were satisfied with the quality in a short test. The caller was easy to understand even with a distance of around 1.5 meters from the device.

Top: Two microphones.
Top: Two microphones.
Left side: Volume rocker, speaker, 3.5 mm stereo jack, 2x USB 3.0, PSU.
Left side: Volume rocker, speaker, 3.5 mm stereo jack, 2x USB 3.0, PSU.
Right side: Kensington lock, speaker, power.
Right side: Kensington lock, speaker, power.
Bottom: Power connector for the docking station.
Bottom: Power connector for the docking station.

Communication

Wireless connections are handled by the Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 WLAN module; a mainstream component. It supports the IEEE-802.11 standards b/g/n in the 2.4 GHz network. Nevertheless the range is good: Even with a distance of 15 meters to the router (FRITZ!Box 6360) the signal strength was very good, despite two walls in between. We could not determine any restrictions during web browsing. 

High speed (HS) Bluetooth 4.0 is also integrated. The included mouse and keyboard use this wireless standard but have a separate receiver from Logitech that has to be plugged into one of the USB ports.

A WWAN module is not available; if you want to use the internet on the road you have to use an according USB stick or a device with tethering functionality.

Security

Dell also advertises the business capabilities of the XPS 18, so security is an important topic. Similar to most notebooks but certainly a novelty for tablets is the Kensington lock to physically secure the tablet. Business users can also use Microsoft BitLocker that comes with Windows 8 Pro to encrypt data. If you use the normal Windows 8 version you have to use third party applications, for example TrueCrypt

The Trusted Platform Module and the Secure Boot Mode are both activated ex-works. You just have to set the according passwords in the UEFI to use them.

Accessories

The supplied docking station can be used to charge the device when the 65 Watts power supply unit is attached to the station. It uses magnets to fix the device; the AIO can be easily inserted. A small LED at the front indicates the charging process. The docking station does not provide any additional ports. It is completely made of metal, which results in a weight of 2,109 grams. The station also lifts the tablet similar to a display. Thanks to the supplied mouse and keyboard we really thought we were in front of a small desktop PC.  

You can also expand the port variety via docking station. For 169 Euros (~$219) you can add numerous ports to the tablet: DVI, HDMI, Gigabit-LAN, four USB 2.0, two USB 3.0 and one 3.5 mm stereo input and output each. In addition, you get an HDMI-DVI and a DVI-VGA adaptor, this leaves nothing to be desired. If you do not want to spend that much money but need a LAN port you should have a closer look at the USB-to-Ethernet adaptor (28.55 Euros, ~$37). You can also get a neoprene bag (44.98 Euros, ~$58) for the XPS 18 as well as a stylus (11.22 Euros, ~$14). However, the stylus can only be used as an input assistance since the display does not support pressure sensitive pens.

Maintenance

Getting access to the hardware components of the XPS 18 is pretty easy. You just have to loosen ten torx screws (T07) on the back and lift the aluminum cover.

You can instantly see that the integrated battery cannot easily be replaced and that the according note from Dell is justified. To avoid any damages you should send the XPS 18 to Dell if the battery has to be replaced.

The memory works in dual channel mode. If 8 GB is not enough you can replace one memory module with a larger one, the other 4 GB is soldered onto the motherboard. The 2.5-inch hard drive from Seagate can easily be replaced but we had to search the SSD cache: Similar to the WLAN module it is hidden underneath a black foil. After the removal of two screws you can connect another hard drive to the mSATA port. By the way, the mentioned foil should not be removed; it is used for insulation. 

You can also easily replace the Logitech USB-Bluetooth dongle; the fan is easily accessible and can be cleaned without problems.

Contrary to some statements in the forums the opening of the case does not lead to a loss of warranty. Dell is very open in this regard and also provides technical documentations if the customer wants them. However, any mechanical or electrical damages based on your actions are obviously not covered by the warranty. 

Warranty

Dell offers a 12-month warranty for its product. This includes an on-site service as well as premium-phone support. The warranty can be extended up to three years, every additional year costs 140 Euros (~$181). In addition you can purchase a one year accident insurance for 50 Euros (~$64). 

Input Devices

Keyboard and Mouse

The supplied chiclet keyboard is 38 x 12 centimeters and leaves a high quality impression. This is not only supported by the weight (554 grams) but also by the aluminum frame and the finger-friendly plastic. The QWERTY keys are conveniently sized at 20 x 20 mm; the space between the keys is sufficient with 4 mm. There are not many function keys; besides five media functions (Mute, Volume up, Volume down, Play/Pause and Eject) you get the Windows Charms bar icons and the function to group all active tasks on the left side. Furthermore, the keyboard has a separate numeric keypad.

The Bluetooth keyboard from Logitech is well suited for typing. Key travel is conveniently deep and soft; the clicking noises of the keys are very quiet and not disturbing even with a high character count. Frequent writers will be satisfied.

A wireless three button mouse (115 grams with batteries) is also in the box; similar to the keyboard it is provided by Logitech. The sensor works reliably even on smooth surfaces but it cannot be used on glass. The two main buttons have a very light pressure point so working is very easy and smooth. The mouse is very good and very useful for daily tasks. Both devices can be turned off to save energy.

The keyboard has 103 keys.
The keyboard has 103 keys.
The mouse.
The mouse.

Touchscreen

One advantage of the large 18.4-inch touchscreen is that you can easily operate the Windows Desktop with the fingers without adjusting it. The display recognizes up to ten inputs simultaneously; this also works very precisely in the peripheral zones. Only the sliding capabilities leave room for improvement. 

Due to the large display the keys of the virtual keyboard are very large and work well even with large fingers. However, if you use the split keyboard, which is actually quite practical if you use the device with both hands, the fingers should not be too short. Otherwise you could have problems to reach the keys located further inside.

Giant keys and not very much screen content in landscape mode.
Giant keys and not very much screen content in landscape mode.
Small and hard to reach: The keys of the split keyboard.
Small and hard to reach: The keys of the split keyboard.
The keysize is sufficient in portrait mode.
The keysize is sufficient in portrait mode.

Display

We determined some screen bleeding.
We determined some screen bleeding.

The Dell XPS 18 is equipped with a glossy IPS display. It has a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels and a screen size of 18.4-inches, which matches the 16:9 format. The pixel density of 120 ppi is quite low for a tablet. However, this is no problem during daily tasks, the picture is always sharp. Dell advertises Truelife-technology that should provide high color fidelity. All six configurations of the XPS 18 have the same display.

The average screen brightness is very high at 302 cd/m², the competitor from Sony is noticeably darker at just 232 cd/m². The brightness distribution is also very good with 90%. We were able to determine some screen bleeding on a completely black picture. This is unpleasant but unfortunately no exception. Even Apple's iPad, which is often considered the reference in regard to the display, has this drawback.

301
cd/m²
315
cd/m²
308
cd/m²
292
cd/m²
317
cd/m²
299
cd/m²
286
cd/m²
304
cd/m²
297
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1 Basic Pro 2
Maximum: 317 cd/m²
Average: 302.1 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 90 %
Center on Battery: 317 cd/m²
Black: 0.34 cd/m²
Contrast: 932:1

The contrast ratio of the XPS 18 is good with 932:1 but is clearly below the Vaio Tap 20 with 1265:1. The black value of the Sony device is also very good (0.2 cd/m²); the result of the Dell is a bit worse with 0.34 cd/m² but still decent.

Our review unit is just mediocre in regard to the coverage of the color spaces. The already big AdobeRGB color space is only covered by 58% and the sRGB color space by only 84%. That is sufficient for the average user but not good enough for photographers and graphic designers.

Dell XPS 18 vs. AdobeRGB.
Dell XPS 18 vs. AdobeRGB.
Dell XPS 18 vs. sRGB.
Dell XPS 18 vs. sRGB.
Dell XPS 18 vs. Sony Vaio Tap 20.
Dell XPS 18 vs. Sony Vaio Tap 20.

More important than the color spaces is the natural color reproduction. Due to Truelife-technology our expectations are very high and the color fidelity of the display is actually really good. We can only determine bigger deviations for the grayscale presentation, all the other colors are below a DeltaE of five. The saturation also met our expectations without calibration, there are deviations but they are limited. Only the white value is slightly off the charts with a DeltaE of eight. With an average DeltaE of 4.9 the color fidelity is good, the deviations can only be seen with a trained eye.

Color management (before calibration with sRGB color space)
Color management (before calibration with sRGB color space)
Saturation (before calibration with sRGB color space)
Saturation (before calibration with sRGB color space)
Color accuracy (before calibration with sRGB color space)
Color accuracy (before calibration with sRGB color space)
Grayscale presentation (before calibration with sRGB color space)
Grayscale presentation (before calibration with sRGB color space)
Under direct sunlight with some clouds.
Under direct sunlight with some clouds.
A few meters further with indirect light.
A few meters further with indirect light.

The outdoor performance of the Dell XPS 18 is decent. Thanks to the good brightness and the high contrast the display content remains visible even under sunlight. In the shade it could also be used as a small TV or to show your photos and presentations. This is a big advantage compared to the Vaio Tap 20, which, despite its high contrast, could not really be used outdoors.

As expected, the viewing angle stability of the IPS display is very good. The picture remains stable even under extreme viewing angles; we could never determine any distortions. It did not matter whether the tablet was in the docking station, in our hands or on our lap. The visibility for the user and the people around was always flawless. The device was able to outshine most of the reflections with its maximum brightness.

Viewing angles (from top to bottom): tilted in the docking station, standing and lying.
Viewing angles (from top to bottom): tilted in the docking station, standing and lying.

Performance

Our review unit is equipped with an Intel Core-i5 processor based on the Ivy Bridge architecture, which is still up to date. However, we will see the first Haswell processors in June. It has 8 GB RAM and Intel HD 4000 Graphics; the storage solution is a 500 GB hard drive in combination with a 32 GB SSD cache.

Our tablet is listed as All-in-One for private users in the Dell Online Shop but the only difference to its business sibling is the Windows version: Windows 8 instead of Windows 8 Pro. The configuration with a Core i7 processor is only available for consumers, perhaps for the users that use more demanding applications, for instance video editing or compression. If you just use the tablet for web browsing the i3 version offers sufficient performance. It is possible that the business configurations use the weaker processors to compensate for the additional cost of the Windows Pro license. The XPS 18 is most certainly not designed as a device for creative jobs (e.g. CAD and professional video editing) but as a presentation device. In sales & marketing it could be used as a desktop replacement, for mobile use or demonstrational purposes. Thanks to Windows 8 Pro it is versatile and can be easily integrated into Windows Terminal Server environments (WTS).

HWiNFO64
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
GPU-Z
DPC-Latencies during 720p video streaming.
System information Dell XPS 18

Processor

The Intel Core i5-3337U is an Ultra-Low Voltage processor that is very frugal with a maximum TPD of 17 Watts. It has two physical cores and four threads. Every core is clocked with 1.8 GHz and can rise up to 2.7 GHz in single threaded tasks. With the activated energy saving mode the CPU clock is reduced to 800 MHz.

The XPS 18 reaches a good 2.47 points in the Cinebench R11.5 Multi-CPU test, which is slightly above expectations (2.40 points). The Turbo Boost 2.0 is constantly active with 2.5 GHz and the Single-CPU test shows a similar picture (1.06 points). The XPS 18 has more performance compared to the Sony Vaio Tap 20 (Multi-CPU: 2.27 points).

CPU stress test with Prime95.
CPU stress test with Prime95.

The Prime95 stress test shows no problems. The processor works well and reliably. With a maximum temperature of 76 °C it does not get too hot.

Fortunately, the CPU performance is not limited when the battery is used. We repeated the Cinebench Multi-CPU test and got an even better result (2.48 points), which does not indicate more performance but a measurement uncertainty.

Cinebench R11.5
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell XPS 18
HD Graphics 4000, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 32 GB LiteOn LMT-32L3M SSD Cache
2.47 Points ∼14%
Sony Vaio Tap 20 SVJ2021V1E
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
2.27 Points ∼13% -8%
Acer W700-53334G12as
HD Graphics 4000, 3337U, Toshiba THNSNS128GMCP
2.18 Points ∼12% -12%
Microsoft Surface Pro
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Micron RealSSD C400 MTFDDAT064M
2.39 Points ∼14% -3%
Dell XPS 13 L322X
HD Graphics 4000, 3337U, Samsung SSD PM830 256 GByte mSATA
2.44 Points ∼14% -1%
Samsung 730U3E-S04DE
Radeon HD 8570M, 3337U, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
2.49 Points ∼14% +1%
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell XPS 18
HD Graphics 4000, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 32 GB LiteOn LMT-32L3M SSD Cache
1.06 Points ∼57%
Sony Vaio Tap 20 SVJ2021V1E
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
1.03 Points ∼56% -3%
Acer W700-53334G12as
HD Graphics 4000, 3337U, Toshiba THNSNS128GMCP
1.09 Points ∼59% +3%
Microsoft Surface Pro
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Micron RealSSD C400 MTFDDAT064M
0.9 Points ∼49% -15%
Dell XPS 13 L322X
HD Graphics 4000, 3337U, Samsung SSD PM830 256 GByte mSATA
1.08 Points ∼58% +2%
Samsung 730U3E-S04DE
Radeon HD 8570M, 3337U, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
1.09 Points ∼59% +3%
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
5124
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
7778
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
3691
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
5618 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
9560 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
4687 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.06 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.47 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
16.07 fps
Help

System Performance

In favor of capacity Dell decided to use a hard drive in combination with a caching-SSD. The solution is fast for daily tasks but has a negative impact on the benchmarks: PCMark 7 (4,231 points) and PCMark Vantage (6,571 points). Both applications favor SSD-only systems. The Sony Tap 20 (PCMark Vantage: 6,120 points) has no SSD at all and gets a lower score. This is supported by the PCMark Vantage HDD score, the Sony tablet falls behind by 66%.

Compared to other systems that use a combination of an SSD and hard drive the XPS 18 is also very good, Dell did everything right. SSD-only systems are clearly ahead in the benchmarks.

PCMark Vantage
1024x768 Result (sort by value)
Dell XPS 18
6571 Points ∼28%
Sony Vaio Tap 20 SVJ2021V1E
6120 Points ∼26% -7%
Asus VivoBook S550CM-CJ038H
6609 Points ∼28% +1%
Asus UX32VD
6129 Points ∼26% -7%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
11965 Points ∼51% +82%
1024x768 Memories Score (sort by value)
Dell XPS 18
4831 Points ∼31%
Sony Vaio Tap 20 SVJ2021V1E
3714 Points ∼23% -23%
Asus UX32VD
3911 Points ∼25% -19%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
6964 Points ∼44% +44%
1024x768 Music Score (sort by value)
Dell XPS 18
6577 Points ∼26%
Sony Vaio Tap 20 SVJ2021V1E
5104 Points ∼20% -22%
Asus UX32VD
5525 Points ∼22% -16%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
14923 Points ∼59% +127%
1024x768 Communications Score (sort by value)
Dell XPS 18
11189 Points ∼44%
Sony Vaio Tap 20 SVJ2021V1E
9237 Points ∼36% -17%
Asus UX32VD
7534 Points ∼30% -33%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
13506 Points ∼53% +21%
1024x768 Productivity Score (sort by value)
Dell XPS 18
6480 Points ∼21%
Sony Vaio Tap 20 SVJ2021V1E
4141 Points ∼14% -36%
Asus UX32VD
3722 Points ∼12% -43%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
13458 Points ∼44% +108%
1024x768 HDD Score (sort by value)
Dell XPS 18
7638 Points ∼11%
Sony Vaio Tap 20 SVJ2021V1E
2566 Points ∼4% -66%
Asus UX32VD
3370 Points ∼5% -56%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
35500 Points ∼53% +365%

Legend

 
Dell XPS 18 Intel Core i5-3337U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 32 GB LiteOn LMT-32L3M SSD Cache
 
Sony Vaio Tap 20 SVJ2021V1E Intel Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
 
Asus VivoBook S550CM-CJ038H Intel Core i5-3317U, NVIDIA GeForce GT 635M, Hitachi HTS545050A7380 + Kingston SMSM150S324G 24 GB SSD Cache
 
Asus UX32VD Intel Core i5-3317U, NVIDIA GeForce GT 620M, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545032A7E380 + 24 GB SSD Cache
 
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H Intel Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, SanDisk SD5SE2256G1002E
5.5
Windows 8 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
7
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.4
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
5.5
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.4
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
5.9
PC Mark
PCMark Vantage6571 points
PCMark 74231 points
Help

Storage Solution

The Dell XPS 18 has two hard drives. A conventional HDD from the Seagate Momentus series is used for storage and works at 5,400 rpm. An advantage of the mechanical hard drive is the low price per GB. Dell did not use a faster hard drive with 7,200 rpm, it would be quicker but also louder and it would consume more energy.

The drawback of long access times is compensated with a small Solid State Drive (SSD). It is used to store frequently used data; this way it is a very fast cache that noticeably improves the performance. The caching-SSD is provided by LiteOn and has a capacity of 32 GB. It seems that Dell found a good combination since similar solutions fall behind in the benchmarks.

Subjectively, the Windows performance is not lower compared to a system that exclusively uses fast flash storage. Windows 8 boots in eleven seconds with a cold system, a good result. The MSI S20-i541 UltraSlider, which is equipped with a comparatively slow SSD, needs the same time to resume from hibernation.

AS SSD
AS SSD
CrystalDiskMark
CrystalDiskMark
HD Tune (SSD)
HD Tune (SSD)
HD Tune (HDD)
HD Tune (HDD)
AS SSD
4K Read (sort by value)
Dell XPS 18
HD Graphics 4000, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 32 GB LiteOn LMT-32L3M SSD Cache
1.79 MB/s ∼2%
Lenovo IdeaPad U510 MBM62GE
HD Graphics 4000, 3217U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB SanDisk U100 SSD Cache
0.47 MB/s ∼1% -74%
Samsung 530U4E-S02DE
Radeon HD 8750M, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB SanDisk U100 SSD Cache
0.35 MB/s ∼0% -80%
4K Write (sort by value)
Dell XPS 18
HD Graphics 4000, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 32 GB LiteOn LMT-32L3M SSD Cache
0.7 MB/s ∼1%
Lenovo IdeaPad U510 MBM62GE
HD Graphics 4000, 3217U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB SanDisk U100 SSD Cache
0.71 MB/s ∼1% +1%
Samsung 530U4E-S02DE
Radeon HD 8750M, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB SanDisk U100 SSD Cache
0.61 MB/s ∼0% -13%
4K-64 Read (sort by value)
Dell XPS 18
HD Graphics 4000, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 32 GB LiteOn LMT-32L3M SSD Cache
4.44 MB/s ∼1%
Lenovo IdeaPad U510 MBM62GE
HD Graphics 4000, 3217U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB SanDisk U100 SSD Cache
0.7 MB/s ∼0% -84%
Samsung 530U4E-S02DE
Radeon HD 8750M, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB SanDisk U100 SSD Cache
0.79 MB/s ∼0% -82%
4K-64 Write (sort by value)
Dell XPS 18
HD Graphics 4000, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 32 GB LiteOn LMT-32L3M SSD Cache
0.63 MB/s ∼0%
Lenovo IdeaPad U510 MBM62GE
HD Graphics 4000, 3217U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB SanDisk U100 SSD Cache
0.52 MB/s ∼0% -17%
Samsung 530U4E-S02DE
Radeon HD 8750M, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB SanDisk U100 SSD Cache
0.57 MB/s ∼0% -10%
HD Tune Transfer Rate Average - --- (sort by value)
Dell XPS 18
HD Graphics 4000, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 32 GB LiteOn LMT-32L3M SSD Cache
443.6 MB/s ∼44%
Sony Vaio Tap 20 SVJ2021V1E
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
82.8 MB/s ∼8% -81%
Lenovo IdeaPad U510 MBM62GE
HD Graphics 4000, 3217U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB SanDisk U100 SSD Cache
97.4 MB/s ∼10% -78%
Samsung 530U4E-S02DE
Radeon HD 8750M, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB SanDisk U100 SSD Cache
78.1 MB/s ∼8% -82%
Sony Vaio SV-T1511M1E/S
HD Graphics 4000, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB SanDisk U100 SSD Cache
84.1 MB/s ∼8% -81%
Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 32 GB LiteOn LMT-32L3M SSD Cache
Transfer Rate Minimum: 264.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 535 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 443.6 MB/s
Access Time: 0.1 ms
Burst Rate: 1464 MB/s
CPU Usage: 9.7 %

Graphics

Intel's familiar HD 4000 Graphics is also used for the Dell XPS 18, similar to the competitor Sony Vaio Tap 20. The graphics card has a base clock of 350 MHz that can be raised up to 1,000 MHz; the memory is clocked with 800 MHz. We already know the HD 4000 from many reviews, it is not even the second choice for casual gaming. It offers sufficient performance for daily tasks like web browsing, office applications and less demanding games.

The XPS 18 is clearly ahead of the Sony Vaio in the benchmarks. Our review unit reaches 34,428 points in the latest 3DMark Ice Storm. The Tap 20 falls behind by 43% with 19,680 points. The graphics performance of the Dell tablet is especially favored by the larger memory that also works in dual channel mode.

GPU stress test
GPU stress test

The stress test indicates that the graphics performance was not the highest priority for the manufacturer; the energy consumption is more important. Under load we determined a constant fluctuation of the clock when the GPU passed 80 °C. The clock varied between 350 MHz and 1,000 MHz. However, this had no impact on the benchmark results.

Saving energy is very important when the battery is used. When the power cord is detached the GPU only runs with its base clock, despite the Performance setting for the HD 4000. This should have no impact unless you are playing a more demanding game since the CPU performance is not limited.

3DMark (2013)
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
Dell XPS 18
HD Graphics 4000, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 32 GB LiteOn LMT-32L3M SSD Cache
34428 Points ∼3%
Sony Vaio Tap 20 SVJ2021V1E
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
19680 Points ∼2% -43%
Microsoft Surface Pro
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Micron RealSSD C400 MTFDDAT064M
32347 Points ∼3% -6%
Acer W700-53334G12as
HD Graphics 4000, 3337U, Toshiba THNSNS128GMCP
23731 Points ∼2% -31%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
Dell XPS 18
HD Graphics 4000, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 32 GB LiteOn LMT-32L3M SSD Cache
3736 Points ∼15%
Sony Vaio Tap 20 SVJ2021V1E
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
2006 Points ∼8% -46%
Microsoft Surface Pro
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Micron RealSSD C400 MTFDDAT064M
3503 Points ∼14% -6%
Acer W700-53334G12as
HD Graphics 4000, 3337U, Toshiba THNSNS128GMCP
2845 Points ∼12% -24%
3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
5179 points
3DMark Vantage3314 points
3DMark 11632 points
3DMark Ice Storm34428 points
3DMark Cloud Gate3736 points
3DMark Fire Strike528 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme262 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The Dell XPS 18 with the comparatively slow HD 4000 graphics is not the first choice for gaming enthusiasts. Latest 3D games cannot be played; older or less demanding games only run smoothly with the lowest details

However, the App-Games from the Windows Store work without restrictions. The preinstalled game Air Hockey shows no problems and works well on the large touchscreen with two players. The same applies for the preinstalled Fingertaps Instruments, which is very nice but only has a limited and uninspiring music selection.

Air Hockey
Air Hockey
Fingertaps Instruments
Fingertaps Instruments
Angry Birds Star Wars
Angry Birds Star Wars
low med.high ultra
Anno 2070 (2011) 4423.114.87.9fps
Diablo III (2012) 46.726.423.914.4fps
Fifa 13 (2012) 98.158.338.420.2fps

Emissions

System Noise

We expect a low noise development from a tablet that also wants to attract business customers. The XPS 18 can meet this requirement, at least during idle. We measure 30.7 dB(A); the mechanical hard drive cannot be heard in this scenario and is quieter than the fan, which is constantly spinning even during idle.

The AIO is conveniently quiet under medium load with a maximum of 35.3 dB(A), simulated by the application 3DMark06. We use the stress test with FurMark and Prime95 to simulate maximum load, the device is audible in this scenario with 35.7 up to 40.4 dB(A). The results are satisfactory and on the same level with the Tap 20 (30.6 up to 39.2 dB(A)). 

We could not determine any annoying noises.

Noise Level

Idle 30.7 / 30.7 / 30.7 dB(A)
Load 35.3 / 40.4 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Combined stress test
Combined stress test

The surface temperatures of the XPS 18 during idle are a bit higher than the competitor from Japan. We measure a maximum of 32.6 °C, the Tap 20 was cooler with just 30.2 °C. The Dell tablet does not get too warm and can be handled without problems. The situation changes under load where the maximum value rises to 48.6 °C in the center of the display. The hottest spot at the back is around the fan with 44.1 °C; this is pretty warm but not critical.

In our six hour combined stress test with FurMark and Prime95 the system was stable and had no problems with throttling. However, the performance of the processor and graphics card was reduced in such a demanding scenario. The CPU was limited to its base clock of 1.8 GHz and the GPU performance was reduced by 20% to 800 MHz. However, this extreme scenario is not realistic for daily tasks.

 24.5 °C23.3 °C24.0 °C 
 25.8 °C28.2 °C25.1 °C 
 28.2 °C32.6 °C26.6 °C 
Maximum: 32.6 °C
Average: 26.5 °C
24.2 °C25.1 °C24.8 °C
24.2 °C27.8 °C26.0 °C
26.0 °C28.2 °C28.4 °C
Maximum: 28.4 °C
Average: 26.1 °C
Power Supply (max.)  32.2 °C | Room Temperature 21.5 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

Waves MaxxAudio 5.0
Waves MaxxAudio 5.0

The XPS 18 is equipped with the latest software from the audio specialist Maxx, Waves MaxxAudio 5.0. We already mentioned the good quality of the dual array microphones and the sound of the two stereo speakers is also decent. The high tones were especially convincing. Bass is quite tinny but still satisfying for a tablet. To get the best sound experience with the integrated speakers you can also adjust the settings with the Audio-Tool; the standard settings produce distortions at higher volumes. The speaker performance is sufficient for on the road.

Sound output via 3.5 mm stereo jack works flawlessly. We tested the output with an AV receiver and really liked the numerous settings of the Maxx software.

Power Management

Energy Consumption

The 18.4-inch touchscreen of the XPS 18 consumes the most energy, the consumption during idle is between 11.2 and 21.6 Watts. That sounds like a lot but if we compare it to the 1.6-inch larger Sony Tap 20 (14.2 up to 33.5 Watts) we can see that the Dell tablet is comparatively frugal.

The situation is similar under load. The Japanese device needs up to 58.4 Watts from the socket or the battery. The XPS 18 is more frugal with a maximum consumption of 47.3 Watts.

The lithium-polymer battery has a capacity of 69 Wh. It is fixed inside the case and should not be replaced without specialist knowledge. The supplied 65 Watts PSU has no problems with the energy consumption of the XPS 18.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.1 / 1.5 Watt
Idle 11.2 / 20.6 / 21.6 Watt
Load 42.5 / 47.3 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

Dell advertises a battery runtime of five hours, a high value for this product category. It was determined with Mobile Mark 2012 and a configuration (Core i7, 4 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD) that is not yet available in Europe. Another reason to have a closer look. 

The maximum runtime is determined with the Battery Eater Reader's Test. All wireless modules are deactivated and the display brightness is reduced to the minimum. In this scenario the XPS 18 keeps running for six hours and 20 minutes, a good result. The battery of the Sony Vaio was empty after three hours.

The Battery Eater Classic Test simulates the worst runtime with maximum display brightness and activated wireless modules. The minimum runtime is two hours and eleven minutes, the competitor from Japan kept running for only 55 minutes.  

We use the WLAN scenario to get a more realistic result. The display brightness is adjusted to 150 cd/m² and webpages are constantly refreshed via script every 40 seconds. Our review unit kept running for 4 hours and 50 minutes

Due to the concept, we also tested the TV capabilities of the device. We set the display to maximum brightness and activated the Energy-Saving mode and the WLAN module. We started the Zattoo-App from the Windows Store and could follow the program for four hours and twenty minutes. That qualifies the device for a TV evening in the backyard. If you want to use external receivers the battery runtime will suffer a bit due to the higher energy consumption but this should not affect the energy independent TV experience.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
6h 20min
WiFi Surfing
4h 50min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 11min

Verdict

The Dell XPS 18 convinces us.
The Dell XPS 18 convinces us.

Dell presents a conclusive and working concept with the XPS 18. The big tablet meets the requirements of an All-in-One PC.

Contrary to the Sony Vaio Tap 20 the XPS 18 can still be called a tablet; it is not even half the weight of the Sony. This fact also makes it more family friendly. Mutual gaming, reading or multimedia entertainment is no problem even for the smaller family members. The large display also enables a gaming evening for the whole family. There is sufficient performance for demanding applications, especially with the more powerful Core i7 configuration.  

The XPS 18 is also interesting for business customers or companies, for example to replace a workstation or as a mobile companion for presentations. Jobs that require both could really benefit from the AIO-tablet.

The docking station will be essential especially for business environments. The limited port selection is the biggest drawback of the Dell tablet; we really miss an HDMI and LAN port. The other points of criticism are really on a very high level but prevent a very good rating. 

There is still room for improvement for Dell. The XPS 18 will also have to compete with the upcoming tablet giant from Lenovo, the IdeaCentre Horizon 27-57315058.

Comment this article:

In Review: Dell XPS 18. Courtesy of: Dell GmbH Deutschland.
In Review: Dell XPS 18. Courtesy of: Dell GmbH Deutschland.

Specifications

Dell XPS 18

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel HM77 (Panther Point)
:: Memory
8192 MB, Dual-Channel, PC3-12800 DDR3, 4 GB are soldered and one slot available, up to 12 GB
:: Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 4000, Core: 350-1000 MHz, Memory: 800 MHz, DDR3, shared Memory, 9.17.10.2932
:: Display
18.4 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, capacitive Touchscreen, 10-point multitouch, Full-HD-IPS, LCD, IPS, frameless display with Dragontrail-glass, Truelife-Technology, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 32 GB LiteOn LMT-32L3M SSD Cache, 500 GB 5400 rpm
:: Soundcard
Intel Panther Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
2 USB 3.0, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm stereo jack, combined headphone /microphone port, Card Reader: SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC, MS, MS Pro, xD, Hi Speed SD, Sensors: G-Sensor, Brightness sensor, Accelerometer, Compass, Intel Wireless Display WiDi
:: Networking
Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 (b g n ), 4.0 + HS Bluetooth
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 17.7 x 463.6 x 283.7
:: Weight
2.332 kg Power Supply: 0.223 kg
:: Battery
69 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 14.8 Volt, 4,600 mAh
:: Price
1199 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 720p (1.280 x 720 Pixel), Speakers: two stereo speakers (Waves MaxxAudio 5.0), Keyboard: Chiclet keyboard with numeric keypad (Bluetooth), Keyboard Light: no, optical wireless mouse, My Dell Support-application, First Steps with Windows 8-Tutorial, Dell Backup and Recovery, My Dell Support Center, PC Checkup, Dell Unifying Software, Dell Digital Delivery, McAfee SecurityCenter (12 months included), 12 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
Almost like Christmas: the boxes.
Almost like Christmas: the boxes.
Warranty, Quick Start Guide and Windows DVD.
Warranty, Quick Start Guide and Windows DVD.
The Dell XPS 18 with accessories.
The Dell XPS 18 with accessories.
The curtain rises!
The curtain rises!
The back.
The back.
Back with fold-out support feet.
Back with fold-out support feet.
The back standing.
The back standing.
The support feet are made of a rubberized and sturdy magnesium alloy.
The support feet are made of a rubberized and sturdy magnesium alloy.
The tablet in the docking station with the maximum angle.
The tablet in the docking station with the maximum angle.
Excellent IPS display.
Excellent IPS display.
The AIO-tablet in portrait mode.
The AIO-tablet in portrait mode.
Excellent readability of webpages and PDF files in portrait mode. Unfortunately, only on the lap, the docking station does not support it.
Excellent readability of webpages and PDF files in portrait mode. Unfortunately, only on the lap, the docking station does not support it.
Size comparison: 18.4-, 11.6-, 7.0- and 4.0-inch.
Size comparison: 18.4-, 11.6-, 7.0- and 4.0-inch.
The charging dock.
The charging dock.
The tablet is fixed with magnets.
The tablet is fixed with magnets.
Several angles are possible.
Several angles are possible.
The bottom is completely rubberized.
The bottom is completely rubberized.
Webcam with status LED and ambient light sensor.
Webcam with status LED and ambient light sensor.
The card reader is protected by a small cover.
The card reader is protected by a small cover.
Card reader with inserted SD card.
Card reader with inserted SD card.
The mouse.
The mouse.
Easy to open.
Easy to open.
A keyboard is also in the box.
A keyboard is also in the box.
The 65 Watts PSU.
The 65 Watts PSU.
The power plug has a white status LED.
The power plug has a white status LED.
Power connector for the docking station.
Power connector for the docking station.
The Kensington lock.
The Kensington lock.
Combined stereo jack, 2x USB 3.0 and power connector.
Combined stereo jack, 2x USB 3.0 and power connector.
The quality of the two microphones is good.
The quality of the two microphones is good.
Speaker and power button with white LED.
Speaker and power button with white LED.
Volume rocker and speaker.
Volume rocker and speaker.
The right support foot folded in.
The right support foot folded in.
Support foot and fan.
Support foot and fan.
The non-removable battery has 69 Wh.
The non-removable battery has 69 Wh.
The Bluetooth dongle for input devices is easy to replace.
The Bluetooth dongle for input devices is easy to replace.
The Dell XPS 18 is easy to maintain.
The Dell XPS 18 is easy to maintain.
Hidden: the RAM.
Hidden: the RAM.
Speaker and card reader.
Speaker and card reader.
The mSATA SSD and the WLAN module are under insulation foil.
The mSATA SSD and the WLAN module are under insulation foil.
Dell offers a tutorial for Windows 8 beginners...
Dell offers a tutorial for Windows 8 beginners...
... that introduces Windows 8 with videos.
... that introduces Windows 8 with videos.

Similar Devices

Devices with the same GPU

» Acer Aspire E1-771-33114G50Mnii Notebook Review
Core i3 3110M, 17.3", 2.935 kg
» Review Asus P550CA-XO522G Notebook
Core i3 3217U, 15.6", 2.3 kg
» Review Acer Aspire E1-470P-6659 Notebook
Core i3 3217U, 14.0", 1.916 kg
» Review Toshiba Satellite U840T-101 Ultrabook
Core i5 3337U, 14.0", 1.736 kg
» Review Gigabyte Padbook S1185 Convertible
Core i5 3337U, 11.6", 1.4 kg

Links

Price Comparison

Pro

+IPS display with good viewing angle stability
+Good color fidelity
+Dual channel RAM
+Very good overall concept
+Excellent build quality
+Great keyboard
+Mouse and charging dock included
+Easy to maintain
+Numerous accessories available
+Full CPU performance running on battery
+Large battery
 

Cons

-Reduced GPU performance running on battery
-Quite loud under load
-Grayscale presentation could be better

Shortcut

What we like

A good display combined with decent battery runtimes. A real tablet feeling despite the unusual size.

What we miss

More ports are only available with an external solution, which is pretty pricey at 169 Euros (~$219).

What surprises us

Dell manages to put a large battery with good runtimes into the smaller case compared to the Sony Tap 20, which is also twice as heavy.

The competition

Competitors are quite rare: Sony Vaio Tap 20 and soon the Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon 27.

Rating

Dell XPS 18
05/25/2013 v3
Daniel Schmidt

Chassis
96%
Keyboard
90%
Pointing Device
90%
Connectivity
50%
Weight
83%
Battery
89%
Display
86%
Games Performance
70%
Application Performance
92%
Temperature
85%
Noise
90%
Add Points
92%
Average
84%
87%
Convertible *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Dell XPS 18 AIO Tablet
Author: Daniel Schmidt, 2013-06- 2 (Update: 2013-06- 6)