We lay out whether the XPS 13 2-in-1 or standard XPS 13 is a better buy

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Redesigned convertible

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390)

From $1,000 at Dell

Pros

10th Gen Intel processors (10nm)
New 16:10 aspect ratio
4K touch display with HDR400 certification
Thin and light premium build
Supports active pen for inking
Cons

RAM and SSD not upgradeable
Not as many ports as XPS 13
Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1 offers more versatility thanks to a convertible design, and it’s packing Intel’s 10nm 10th Gen Core processors (CPU) and improved thermals for an excellent performance. It might not have upgradeable hardware or as many ports as the XPS 13, but for many people, it will be the go-to pick — especially if you need active pen support.

Refreshed notebook

Dell XPS 13 (7390)

From $950 at Dell

Pros

10th Gen Intel processors (14nm)
4K touch display with HDR
Extra USB-C port
Premium build that’s thin and light
More affordable higher-end models
Cons

No active pen support
Not as many configuration options
The standard XPS 13 is a proven Ultrabook, bringing strong performance, an extra USB-C port, and a thin, light design. It’s not as versatile as the convertible version and doesn’t offer the same inking experience, but it’s still a top pick for anyone who needs a standard notebook and doesn’t need a Core i7 processor.

These two laptops are close siblings, and you’re going to get a slim, premium PC in either case. However, there are some significant differences when it comes to internal hardware and overall design. Let’s take a close look at the tech specs available in each laptop to get a better idea of how these laptops differ.

Both models are the latest from Dell, and there’s an equal chance you’ll see discounts while shopping this Black Friday. The best deals on PCs will no doubt come from Dell, though Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart are solid options as well. We also expect to see discounts on previous XPS models, especially the Dell XPS 13 (9380).

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

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390)
Dell XPS 13 (7390)
Processor
10th GenIntel Core i3-1005G1Intel Core i5-1035G1Intel Core i7-1065G7
10th GenIntel Core i3-10110UIntel Core i5-10210U
RAM
4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GBLPDDR4x-3733MHz
4GB, 8GBLPDDR3-2133MHz
Storage
256GB, 512GB, 1TBPCIe SSD
256GB PCIe SSD
Display size
13.4 inches
13.3 inches
Display resolution
1920×1200 (touch)3840×2400 (touch)
1920×1080 (touch and non-touch)3840×2160 (touch)
Aspect ratio
16:10
16:9
Graphics
Intel UHD GraphicsIntel Iris Plus Graphics
Intel UHD Graphics
Ports
Two Thunderbolt 3microSD card reader3.5mm audio
Two Thunderbolt 3USB-C 3.1microSD card reader3.5mm audio
Biometrics
Fingerprint reader
Fingerprint reader
Battery
51Wh
52Wh
Dimensions
11.69 x 8.15 x 0.28 – 0.51 inches( 297mm x 207mm x 7 – 13mm)
11.9 x 7.8 x 0.3 – 0.46 inches(302mm x 199mm x 7.8 – 11.6mm)
Weight
From 2.9 pounds (1.32kg)
From 2.7 pounds (1.23kg)
Colors
Platinum silver exteriorBlack interiorArctic white interior
Platinum silver exteriorBlack interior
Design and features

Both the XPS 13 and its convertible counterpart are among the sleekest looking Ultrabooks out there. The standard XPS 13 comes in a platinum silver external finish and a black carbon fiber interior, while the 2-in-1 has the same exterior finish option as well as black and white interior options. The standard XPS 13 should see further customization options in the future, but for now, you’re stuck with the one color combination.

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

The XPS 13 starts at a lower weight and is ultimately a bit thinner than the 2-in-1 (convertible laptops generally have a bit more bulk due to the touch display and hinge design), though both weigh less than three pounds and are about a half-inch thick. In both cases, you’re going to get a compact 13-inch laptop that can easily be carried around with you wherever you go.

For ports, the XPS 13 2-in-1 has been trimmed down to just two Thunderbolt 3, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack, while the standard XPS 13 is slightly better equipped with two Thunderbolt 3, USB-C 3.1, a microSD card reader, and 3.5mm audio. With either laptop, you’ll be able to take advantage of a quality Thunderbolt 3 docking station 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 with HDR400 certification.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 is using a second-gen MagLev keyboard that we also saw on the XPS 15 2-in-1, which is comfortable to use for long periods. The XPS 13 is no slouch either, and both laptops have 1.3mm key travel. Both laptops also have a relatively large Precision touchpad, which give you the ability to use the full gamut of Windows 10 gestures.

Display

Dell displays are usually some of the best on the market, and the XPS 13 2-in-1 steps things up by changing the aspect ratio to 16:10. It’s a boxier display with more surface area than the 16:9 option on the standard XPS 13, and both the FHD and 4K options hit up to 500 nits of brightness. The latter is also HDR400 certified for impressive color and contrast. The XPS 13 likewise has FHD (touch and non-touch) and 4K (touch) options available with perfect sRGB color reproduction.

All displays for the convertible laptop are understandably touch-enabled, and all are compatible with Dell’s Premium Active Pen for a stellar inking experience. If you have some creative ambitions, you’ll want to opt for the XPS 13 2-in-1, while if you’d rather go with a non-touch display to optimize battery life, you will be stuck with the XPS 13’s non-touch FHD option. Both have thin bezel for a sleek look, and both have a webcam above the display for a proper viewing angle.

Performance and price

The XPS 13 2-in-1 features Intel’s 10th Gen “Ice Lake” Core i3-1005G1, Core i5-1035G1, and Core i7-1065G7 CPUs, bringing stellar performance from a 10nm chip that should boost battery life and keep the heat down. The standard XPS 13 is using 10th Gen Intel “Comet Lake” hardware (up to Core i7) that also puts up substantial performance numbers. The 2-in-1 can be had with up to 32GB of RAM, whereas the standard notebook currently tops out at 16GB. Neither laptop’s RAM can be upgraded after purchase.

Dell’s new XPS 13 2-in-1 has been improved in nearly every way.

As for storage, you can opt for up to a 2TB SSD in the XPS 13 — which can be upgraded in the future — while the XPS 13 2-in-1 tops out at 1TB and cannot be upgraded after purchase. Neither laptop has dedicated graphics (GPU) options, but the 2-in-1 model’s Core i7 CPU features Intel Iris Plus Graphics, which should be a better fit for some light gaming than the UHD Graphics in the standard XPS 13. Note that both laptops come with Wi-Fi 6 connectivity for unreal wireless speeds.

While both laptops start at about the same price, the XPS 13 2-in-1’s $1,000 model has a 10th Gen Core i3-1005G1 Intel CPU, 4GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, and FHD+ touch display. For about $50 less, you can get a standard XPS 13 with 10th Gen Core i3-10110U Intel CPU, 4GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, and non-touch FHD display. If you’d like a touch display, the XPS 13 2-in-1 is going to be the cheaper way to go.

An XPS 13 with maxed out specs, including Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, 2TB M.2 PCIe SSD, and 4K touch display costs about $2,150. An XPS 13 2-in-1 with similar specs, including Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, far smaller 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD, and UHD+ touch display costs about $1,700. The biggest savings comes from the storage size difference, but for the most part you’re going to pay more for the 2-in-1 version.

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

Thanks to the performance from 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs, a boxier 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.

Redesigned XPS convertible

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390)

A beautiful convertible with 10th Gen Intel hardware

From $1,000 at Dell

Dell’s new XPS 13 2-in-1 has been improved in nearly every way, and anyone who’s in the market for a convertible should take notice.

The XPS 13 offers better ports and cheaper cost

If you don’t need the added versatility of a convertible and don’t need Core i7 CPU options or more than 8GB of RAM, the XPS 13 also makes a great choice. It has an extra USB-C port, its SSD can be upgraded after purchase, and it’s generally cheaper than its 2-in-1 counterpart, at least when you move past baseline configurations.

Premium standard notebook

Dell XPS 13 (7390)

An outstanding Ultrabook for those who don’t need a convertible

From $950 at Dell

The XPS 13 is a non-convertible alternative to the XPS 13 2-in-1. It offers strong performance in its own right and has up to a 4K touch display option available, all wrapped up in a premium, light chassis. It’s also not going to cost quite as much as the 2-in-1 for higher-end models.

How to find the best Black Friday deals on Dell XPS laptops

Black Friday is a great time to find deals on laptops, especially high-end models like the Dell XPS 13 (7390) and Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390). These two laptops are among the best available in 2019, and the prices reflect that; any discounts are welcome. Although the two laptops are quite similar, seeing a sale on both might cause you to pause and wonder which is best. That’s where a quality comparison comes into play. Consider whether or not you’ll need the added versatility of the 2-in-1, or if you can get by with a standard clamshell notebook. You’ll pay more for the former, but it’s no doubt the better option for anyone who likes the idea of a tablet and inking.

We’re expecting to see Dell offer some XPS 13 discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart are likewise destinations that may offer sales. As always, check back to Windows Central often for the best deals on the internet.

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