Dell's latest XPS 13 2-in-1, which was recently updated with a new detachable design and styling for 2022, is an excellent 2-in-1, allowing you to lean in with your keyboard and mouse or use in tablet mode with its brilliant display. Whether you have the latest detachable model with a separate keyboard folio or the slightly older convertible model with a 360-degree hinge, you'll have plenty of stylus options, including Dell's first-party Active Pen, Wacom's Bamboo Ink Plus, and even digital pens from Dell rival Lenovo. Arguably, the best option for most users will be Dell's Active Pen, offering a robust set of features and full compatibility with the XPS.
Unforunately, the Dell Active Pen isn't included in the box with the XPS 13 2-in-1, but should you get it?
The right pen for the job
The XPS 13 2-in-1 isn't the only Dell touchscreen laptop that supports a pen, but it certainly is the best of the bunch to use one with. That's because thanks to its design, you can fold the display all the way around and use it as a tablet. And thanks to the compact size of the XPS 13 2-in-1, it's a stellar experience.
Dell doesn't include a pen in the box, but it does have one available for those who want to get their digital ink on. It's a little pricey, but it's a quality product with guaranteed compatibility. Something, sadly, that can't be said of every third-party option.
At least with the Dell Premium Active Pen, you know you've got both a great pen and one that will give you no issues with the XPS 13 2-in-1.
It's also an excellent piece of hardware. It connects via Bluetooth, has a 240Hz report rate, pressure sensitivity, and palm rejection for when you're sketching or writing. It has three programmable buttons and runs on AAAA batteries, so no need to worry about charging it up, just carry spares and swap out when you need to (they're pretty tiny batteries!).
Can you replace the nib?
Unfortunately, one of the most significant downsides to this pen is a lack of post-purchase replacement nibs. The pen does come with a single replacement nib, but if you wear through both, you'll be stuck buying a whole new pen.
It's not necessarily a deal-breaker, but it's worth noting. You don't need to be heavy-handed when using it to write and draw on the XPS 13 2-in-1, so with the right care, you should still get plenty of life.
A great pen with guaranteed compatibility
Dell's Active Pen (or Premium Active Pen) is your best choice as it allows for 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, has tilt support, three programmable buttons, and it has a multi-mode controller to work with Microsoft Pen Protocol (MPP) as well as Wacom AES 1.0 and 2.0.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine
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