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

Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1 offers more versatility thanks to a convertible design, and it’s packing Intel’s 10nm+ 11th Gen Core processors (CPU) and faster RAM for an excellent performance. It might not have user-upgradeable hardware, but for many people, it will be the go-to pick — especially if you need active pen support.

From $1,029 at Dell


  • 11th Gen Intel “Tiger Lake” CPUs
  • 16:10 aspect ratio displays
  • Dual Thunderbolt 4 and Wi-Fi 6
  • Thin and light premium build
  • Supports active pen for inking


  • RAM and SSD not upgradeable
  • Starts at a higher price

The standard XPS 13 is a proven Ultrabook that’s seen a slight hardware update for the 9310 model. 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 those who prefer a standard notebook. It also generally costs a bit less than the convertible alternative.

From $980 at Dell


  • 11th Gen Intel “Tiger Lake” CPUs
  • 16:10 display options
  • Premium build that’s thin and light
  • Upgradeable SSD
  • Cheaper starting price


  • No converting to tent, stand, or tablet modes
  • No inking support

These two laptops are close siblings, and you’re going to get a slim, premium PC in either case. They both take a spot in our collection of the overall best Windows laptop options. 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)
Processor 11th Gen Intel
Core i3-1115G4
Core i5-1135G7
Core i7-1165G7
11th Gen Intel
Core i3-1115G4
Core i5-1135G7
Core i7-1165G7
8GB, 16GB
Storage 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB
Display size 13.4 inches 13.4 inches
Display resolution 1920×1200 (Touch)
3840×2400 (Touch)
1920×1200 (Non-touch)
1920×1200 (Touch)
3840×2400 (Touch)
Aspect ratio 16:10 16:10
Graphics Integrated
Intel UHD (Core i3)
Intel Xe
Intel UHD (Core i3)
Intel Xe
Speakers Two 2W stereo
Waves MaxxAudio Pro
Two 2.5W stereo
Waves MaxxAudio Pro
Ports Two Thunderbolt 4
microSD card reader
3.5mm audio
Two Thunderbolt 4
microSD card reader
3.5mm audio
Biometrics Fingerprint reader
IR camera
Fingerprint reader
IR camera
Connectivity Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2×2)
Bluetooth 5.1
Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2×2)
Bluetooth 5.1
Battery 51Wh 52Wh
Dimensions 11.69 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)
Weight From 2.9 pounds (1.32kg) From 2.64 pounds (1.2kg)
Material CNC machined aluminum CNC machined aluminum
Color Platinum Silver and Black
Frost and Arctic White
Platinum Silver and Black
Frost and Arctic White

Design and features

Dell XPS 13 9300

Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central XPS 13 9300

Both the XPS 13 9310 and XPS 13 2-in-1 9310 are among the sleekest looking 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.

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 three 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 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 option.

Dell Xps 13 9300 Ports

Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central XPS 13 9300

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 Inc.

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 1920×1200 (FHD+) and 3840×2400 (UHD+) resolutions. All 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 the same 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.

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

XPS 13 2-in-1

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

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 i7 models include new Intel Xe integrated graphics for a solid boost to power when gaming or editing, but neither laptop has a dedicated GPU. 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.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 has a rather low-end option available with Core i3 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD, starting at about $1,029. There’s also an XPS 13 model with Core i3 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD for about $980. That’s about $100 less, but it doesn’t include a touch display.

A mid-range XPS 13 with Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, non-touch display, and a 256GB SSD goes for about $1,010. An XPS 13 2-in-1 with the same Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD costs about $1,127, but that’s with a touch display and inking support.

The SSD in the XPS 13 2-in-1 is configurable up to 512GB, and it’s not user-replaceable. The XPS 13 9310 is more accommodating, with up to a 2TB size straight from Dell and the ability to upgrade it after purchase. Neither laptop offers upgradeable RAM.

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.

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.

XPS Convertible

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (9310)

A beautiful convertible with 11th Gen Intel hardware

Dell’s 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 is the right choice for a standard notebook

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.

Premium Standard Notebook

Dell XPS 13 (9310)

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

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.

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This post was written by Cale Hunt and was first posted to WindowsCentral

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