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Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 vs. XPS 13

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 (Image credit: Windows Central)

The Dell XPS lineup includes laptops that range from 13 to 17 inches in size. If you need something a bit larger that includes the option for a dedicated GPU, have a look at our Dell XPS 15 review. And if you want something that's truly huge, the Dell XPS 17 9710 might just be the right device for you.

There are a couple of things to note regarding the XPS 13 and the XPS 13 2-in-1. Dell has already announced the XPS 13 Plus (9320) at CES 2022. It's a huge step forward for the laptop, bringing in a new keyboard, haptic touchpad, touch bar, performance hardware, and more. It's expected to launch spring 2022; you might want to wait for the latest if you don't need a new laptop immediately.

In the same vein, the XPS 13 2-in-1 should be getting a refresh in the near future. There's nothing concrete yet, but Dell has been blowing out stock at its official site to the point where there's just one configuration left. If you can wait, you might also want to see what the next version of the 2-in-1 looks like. Be sure to check out our Dell XPS 13 Plus vs. XPS 13 2-in-1 comparison to see how they match up.

These two XPS 13 laptops are close siblings, and you're going to get a slim, premium PC in either case. They both have what it takes to make the overall best Windows laptop list. However, there are some significant differences when it comes to hardware and overall design. Let's take a close look at the tech specs available on each laptop to better understand how they differ.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 vs. XPS 13 tech specs

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (9310)Dell XPS 13 (9310)
Processor11th Gen Intel
Core i5-1135G7
Core i7-1165G7
11th Gen Intel
Core i3-1115G4
Core i5-1135G7
Core i7-1165G7
Core i7-1195G7
8GB, 16GB, 32GB
Storage256GB, 512GB
256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB
Display size13.4 inches13.4 inches
Display resolution1920x1200 (Touch)
3840x2400 (Touch)
1920x1200 (Non-touch)
1920x1200 (Touch)
3840x2400 (Touch)
3456x2160 (Touch, OLED)
Aspect ratio16:1016:10
Intel Iris Xe
Intel UHD (Core i3)
Intel Iris Xe
SpeakersTwo 2W stereo
Waves MaxxAudio Pro
Two 2.5W stereo
Waves MaxxAudio Pro
PortsTwo Thunderbolt 4
microSD card reader
3.5mm audio
Two Thunderbolt 4
microSD card reader
3.5mm audio
BiometricsFingerprint reader
IR camera
Fingerprint reader
IR camera
ConnectivityKiller Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2x2)
Bluetooth 5.1
Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2x2)
Bluetooth 5.1
Dimensions11.69 x 8.15 x 0.56 inches
(297mm x 207mm x 14.35mm)
11.64 x 7.82 x 0.58 inches
(295.7mm x 198.7mm x 14.8mm)
WeightFrom 2.9 pounds (1.32kg)From 2.64 pounds (1.2kg)
MaterialCNC-machined aluminumCNC-machined aluminum
ColorPlatinum Silver and blackPlatinum Silver and black
Frost and Arctic White

Design and features

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central XPS 13 9300. (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Both the Dell XPS 13 9310 and XPS 13 2-in-1 9310 are among the sleekest Ultrabooks out there. The standard and non-convertible XPS 13 models are made from a solid chunk of CNC-machined aluminum, available with a Platinum Silver or Frost external finish, and a black carbon fiber or Alpine White woven glass interior. The black internals are classic XPS, but the Alpine White shows no smudges and is ultimately much easier to keep clean. It looks as though the official Dell site is now only selling the 2-in-1 model in the Platinum Silver and black color scheme.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 is a bit heavier but is just a hair thinner than the standard XPS 13 (convertible laptops generally have a bit more bulk due to the touch display and hinge design), though both weigh less than 3 pounds. In both cases, you're going to get a compact 13-inch laptop that can easily be carried around with you wherever you go.

Both the XPS 13 and its convertible counterpart are among the sleekest-looking Ultrabooks out there.

For ports, both the regular XPS 13 and 2-in-1 have been upgraded to Thunderbolt 4. Yes, Thunderbolt 3 devices are compatible with the new standard, and you get some added security and the ability to handle dual 4K displays or single 8K display. Other than the two Thunderbolt ports, both laptops have a UHS-II microSD card reader and a 3.5mm audio jack. With either laptop, you'll be able to take advantage of the best Thunderbolt 4 hubs and docking stations for a full workstation experience.

If you prefer a laptop that can be used in tent, stand, and tablet modes alongside the standard notebook orientation, you'll have to go with the XPS 13 2-in-1. The XPS 13 is stuck as a notebook, without the ability to rotate past 180 degrees. This ultimately makes the XPS 13 2-in-1 a better pick for those who often watch TV and movies, especially when you get into the 4K display option.

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central XPS 13 9300. (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Both XPS 13 and 2-in-1 models have a keyboard that stretches to the chassis' edges, along with a sizable Precision touchpad. Both are comfortable to type on, and the final decision will undoubtedly come down to personal preference. When choosing a color for your laptop, note that the white backlight combined with white keys can be an issue. If you often work in the dark and don't touch-type, the black keys with white backlight should be much better.

Killer AX1650 Wi-Fi 6 connectivity is included in both laptops for breakneck wireless speeds, and you also get Bluetooth 5.1 in both laptops. Both also have a fingerprint reader built into the power button, and a small IR camera is positioned above the display for facial recognition through Windows Hello.


Dell Xps 13 2 In 1

Source: Dell (Image credit: Source: Dell)

Dell's original move to a 16:10 aspect ratio was applauded in our XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 review, and you can now find it in all modern XPS models. It's a boxier display with more surface area than the older 16:9 option, and the chin below the display has been removed to make room for the extra screen. The bezel is thin on both laptops for a truly stunning look.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 comes in 1920x1200 (FHD+) and 3840x2400 (UHD+) resolutions. All screens are touch enabled and are compatible with Dell's Premium Active Pen for a stellar inking experience. The 4K model is expensive, but it brings HDR400, up to 450 nits of brightness, and 100% sRGB and 90% DCI-P3 color reproduction. Both have an anti-reflective coating to cut down on glare.

The XPS 13 9310 is available in FHD+ and UHD+ resolutions, albeit with touch and non-touch options for FHD+. They all hit around 500 nits brightness and bring near-perfect color reproduction across sRGB and DCI-P3 color gamuts. Also included is Dolby Vision HDR400 support. Note that the non-touch display has a raised plastic bezel, while the touch options have edge-to-edge glass. There's also now an OLED version of the XPS 13 touch display with 3456x2160 (3K) resolution, anti-reflective finish, and about 400 nits brightness.

If you have some creative ambitions, you'll want to opt for the XPS 13 2-in-1 with its inking support, while if you'd rather go with a non-touch display to optimize battery life, you will be no doubt leaning toward the XPS 13's non-touch FHD option.

Performance and price

Source: Windows Central XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390). (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Both XPS models use Intel's 11th Gen "Tiger Lake" CPUs for excellent performance, as well as faster RAM that is soldered to the board. The Core i5 and Core i7 models include Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics for a solid boost to power when gaming or editing, but neither laptop has a dedicated GPU. The XPS 13 is also available with Core i3-1115G4 and Core i7-1195G7 CPUs. The 2-in-1 model is limited to Core i5-1135G7 and Core i7-1165G7 CPUs.

Both of these laptops — at least the Core i5 and Core i7 models — are a part of Intel's Evo platform, which is an evolution (get it?) of "Project Athena." They're optimized for instant wake, long battery life, fast charging, and overall snappy performance, plus Wi-Fi 6 and Thunderbolt 4 connectivity. RAM is not upgradeable in either laptop, and the 2-in-1 model's SSD is also permanent. You can upgrade the SSD in the standard XPS 13.

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Battery size is almost the same (51Wh compared to 52Wh), and life will depend on the display type and internal hardware. In any case, you should expect a full workday of life from the FHD+ models, dipping slightly for the UHD+ models.

Dell's official site currently offers just one configuration of the XPS 13 2-in-1 as it gets rid of stock before the next refresh. It has a Core i7-1165G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, 512GB M.2 SSD, FHD+ touch display, and silver and black color scheme. It costs about $1,441. There are some different configurations at third-party retailers like Amazon and Best Buy. The standard XPS 13 has plenty of configurations still available at the official site, starting at $1,058.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 is the more versatile choice

Thanks to the performance from 11th Gen Intel Core CPUs, a 16:10 aspect ratio for its FHD+ and UHD+ touch displays, and the added versatility of a rotating display and active pen support, the XPS 13 2-in-1 is going to appeal to a lot of people.

The XPS 13 is the right choice if you want the best Ultrabook

If you don't need the added versatility of a convertible, the XPS 13 should be your first pick. Models with similar hardware are less expensive, and their SSD can be upgraded after purchase. Be sure to have a look at our Dell XPS 13 9310 review for more information.

Cale Hunt
Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.