Two of our favorite Windows 8 computers are about to get upgraded in subtle but crucially important ways. The kneeling XPS 27 all-in-one might soon become a viable multimedia editing machine, while the spinning XPS 12 convertible ultrabook could soon get the enhanced performance and battery life its $1,199 price point deserves.
Brighter and more colorful
We called the XPS 27 (nee XPS One 27) the best all-in-one Windows 8 computer, out of nine we tested last year. Now, Dell's not only adding Intel's new Haswell processors, it's increasing the brightness and color gamut of the giant, beautiful 27-inch 2560 x 1440 resolution touchscreen to 350 nits and 99% Adobe RGB (102% NTSC) levels. The touchscreen is now standard on every unit, and Dell's adding a Thunderbolt port to the machine for multimedia editors to hook up their storage arrays as well.
For $1,599, it should start with a Core i5-4430S processor, 4GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive and a slot-loading DVD player, though Dell will also offer an optional GeForce GT 750M graphics chip which might actually be able to play games at native resolution on that screen, as well as some solid state storage. $1,799 buys both a 32GB solid state cache and the GPU. The XPS 27 should be available starting today.
Two more hours of battery life
Meanwhile, Dell says its XPS 12 convertible is getting the battery life we so sorely missed during our otherwise quite pleasant review of the system. While the physical design hasn't changed a bit, meaning it'll still be a fairly cumbersome tablet (Dell's betting its new XPS 11 will fill that gap) the company tells us a slightly larger 50Wh battery and Intel's latest Haswell processors give the machine two hours of additional battery life. Using MobileMark 2012, the company's quoting a runtime of 8 hours and 43 minutes, compared to the 6 hours and 7 minutes of the original. Mind you, we only manged 4 hours and 33 minutes in our original XPS 12 test, but the difference should still be extremely palpable.
In addition to battery life, those Haswell processors will provide up to 1.6 times the CPU and GPU performance for the machine. Thankfully, Dell's still including the exact same beautiful, bright 400-nit 1080p display in the same fancy spinning frame. There's still no SD card socket, but Dell is adding a lock slot, an NFC chip to pair with wireless devices, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The new XPS 12 starts at $1,199, and the company says it will be available in the coming weeks.