I'm a convert. I love convertibles.
A week ago Dell had a promotion on their outlet, where refurbished XPS systems were discounted 25-30%. I couldn't resist. Yes, I bought an XPS 12. It's much better than I expected.
Oddly enough, I find myself agreeing with The Verge's 7.6. I think it's an incredible laptop, but there are a 2 nitpicks.I don't have a problem with missed gestures, but the trackpad is bad on a fundamental level; the texture is bad, rubbery and grippy (in a bad way) turning into slick and horrifying when it becomes greasy; sensitivity is low even at the highest setting, and it just doesn't track smoothly at all. However, and don't take this to mean I'm excusing the frankly horrible trackpad, I find myself jabbing the screen for most tasks. Even if the trackpad did perform adequately, I'd still do so.
The other nitpick is the screen, which is amazing in every way, but a half to one inch too small for the laptop. It's a subtle but noticeable difference, especially if you have a MacBook Air or have held an XPS 13 (which is tiny for it's screen size). My guess is that Dell had supply constraints and couldn't source enough 13.3 inch 1080p displays to serve two laptop models with it. There's also the fact that, at 176 DPI, you're getting dangerously close to retina territory, and legacy desktop apps just handle it really poorly. I would LIKE, for example, to raise the scaling to 150% or higher, but past 125% (the default on this laptop) everything starts screwing up royally. I see a lot of commenters dissing reviews when they mention high-DPI issues, as if DPI is just good in and of itself, forgetting that Apple made a conscious decision to shift up the pixel count by 4x so everything scaled properly-- and even then apps had to be updated to support the resolution.
Besides that, everything is fantastic. The easel action is smooth and satisfying. The i7 and the fan shred tablet tasks without heating up or spinning up, so it won't warm up in your hands. The convertible aspects don't compromise the laptop experience at all. The trackpad sucks, frankly, but it's not because it's a convertible laptop. Likewise with the enclosure, which really can fit a slightly larger display. Both of these things are separate from the tablet experience this laptop provides.Which brings me to my last point: the tablet experience on this is nice. It won't kill an iPad; it's too thick and heavy. But it will have you leave it in your bag at home. It's just so so so much more convenient to put on your best James Bond impersonation and flip the screen when you're moving from the table to the couch than it is to go out of your way to get the tablet (in my case a Nexus 7).
One more thing: Dell has improved a bit in recent years is their software. Updating drivers is easy. The only bloatware installed is a free games Metro app which I haven't checked out yet but haven't uninstalled because I'm interested in free games, and McAfee, which went out after the first notification bubble. Every utility Dell bundles with this is good and useful, but the best is their Wavesmaxx audio control center. It makes the built-in speakers sound markedly better, just as it did did when I used it with my older Dell Studio XPS 16, and just like then, I disable it when I plug in my headphones.
Speaking of audio, this laptop sounds nice for its size, and gets loud enough. It can fill a small room with sound that doesn't seem like it's rising out from the bottom of a tin can, which is great. What's not great though, is the speaker placement. Since they fire from either side, it's easy to cover them with your hands as you hold it in landscape more-- Windows 8's preferred orientation. The combination audio jack is static-free and drives my 50 Ohm Klipsch x10s nicely. I'm no audiophile so I won't belabor it.
Construction: 8 - there's no flex in the enclosure, and very little in the hinge.
Concept: 9 - Dell has a design that doesn't compromise one way to satisfy another-- this is a laptop first.
Execution: 7 - there are areas which can be refined, if Dell doesn't drop the idea for another two years, like they did back in 2011.
As a laptop: 8 - You won't stay mad at the trackpad long with the touch screen in front of you within easy reach. Scrolling and navigating are easy and quick, but when you turn to the trackpad for more precise tasks it will again drive you batty.
As a tablet: 6 - It's a sorry form factor for a tablet, but it will handle tablet tasks heroically. You won't be using this on a train or bus, but it gets points at the least for usurping the couch and bed.
As both: 8 - I find the highest of two scores wins out in the end. You'll need to check your privilege if you want a device that handles both tasks well.
Overall: 7.5 - really solid first generation Windows 8 convertible. I'd go so far as to say it would be good as a second or third generation.
I'm never letting it go.