HP Spectre 15 x360 vs Dell XPS 15 2-in-1: up close with the large convertibles

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This week’s CES 2018 saw the launch of a bunch of laptops including this pair: a clash between two of the three biggest computer manufacturers in the world. Only this time it’s not ultraportables that are going against each other, but large screen 2-in-1 laptops.

We’ve seen 2-in-1s from both Dell and HP previously of course, but they’ve not had 15-inch screens as here. And they haven’t had this much power.

Both of these are super-premium units with top-notch processors and dedicated graphics. They’re clearly aimed at creatives who need the big screen and pen support but who also sometimes need to leave the office. HP calls its target market for the 15 x360 “creative enthusiasts and professional creatives”.


  • Familiar designs from other models
  • Both are rather hefty

Both of these laptops boast a very familiar design – they’re not hugely different from the 13-inch 2-in-1 versions as you’d expect. The Dell is 16mm thick (the HP is 19mm) and weighs in at 1.97kg, just slightly lighter than the 2.09kg HP.

And, of course, the screen on both can be fully rotated as a tablet. You can also use it as a laptop, in presentation or viewing mode, fully flat in collaboration mode.

It’s hard to imagine carrying around either of these laptops on a regular basis; they aren’t heavy compared to laptops from several years ago but compared to many modern ultraportables they’re just too weighty.

6 Reasons To Buy the Dell XPS 15 and 2 Reasons to Skip

  • Latest-gen Intel processors
  • All have dedicated graphics
  • The HP has an Nvidia option

The Dell will have the last generation Kaby Lake Intel Core G processors, that’s the Core i5-8305G or the upgraded i7-8705G. Both of these are interesting as they’ve just been introduced and they come with 4GB Radeon RX Vega M graphics from Intel’s old processor rival AMD. That really will pack a punch.

The HP can also have the same Core Radeon graphics option but you can also choose to have the Core i7-8850U teamed with Nvidia GeForce MX 150 graphics instead.

Both boast 8 or 16GB of DDR4 2400MHz memory.


  • A good range of ports on both models
  • The Dell looks to the future with all-USB-C

The Dell boasts an InfinityEdge display – that means small bezels – and like others in the XPS range it is available with either a Full HD or 4K display. Both have touchscreens and can be used with styluses. As far as we know the HP is coming only with a 4K display.

The Dell’s storage is either a 128GB SATA SSD or you can go fast with 256, 512 or 1TB PCIe SSDs as well. The HP appears to come with a 512GB PCIe SSD.

The HP has a single Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port plus another USB-C port. The Dell has two Thunderbolt 3-capable USB-C ports, two standard USB-C 3.1 ports plus a microSD reader and both have a 3.5mm audio jack.

The Dell doesn’t have USB-A ports, while the HP does make a concession to the older standard by having one. Both have fingerprint readers. HP’s is on the side (because HP says if you’re using it in a different mode you might not have the keyboard in front of you) but Dell’s is underneath the keyboard.


The HP also boasts a full HDMI out port as well, which is welcome. Notably the HP also comes with Bang and Olufsen-enhanced audio although we weren’t able to test that as we were in an extremely busy room.

There’s naturally 802.11ac as well as Bluetooth 4.1 support in both laptops.

Interestingly, the XPS 15 uses a maglev keyboard, which uses magnets. We used it briefly and, while it felt good, it didn’t feel significantly better than other XPS keyboards we’ve tried – traditionally they are very good anyway. The HP keyboard is larger because it includes a numeric keypad.

Dell says battery life clocks in at around 15 hours thanks to a 75Whr battery, though we look forward to testing that ourselves. The HP’s battery is slightly larger at 84Whr. Interestingly the HP comes with a proprietary fast charger, while the Dell uses the USB-C port.


The Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 will be available in the UK in Spring 2018. Pricing available at launch. We do know that the HP will launch on March 18 in the US through its own website and Best Buy for $1,369 but as yet we have no UK pricing.

These are very powerful laptops designed for creators. What they are not are laptops for those who are on-the-go constantly.

They’re a long way from ultraportable and clock in at nearly double the weight of many laptops from that segment.

But they are super powerful and as devices for use mostly in an office and occasionally at a client meeting or in a coffee shop they’ll be excellent workhorses.

Having used both briefly, we have to say we prefer the Dell – it’s just got a nicer design and it is a little thinner. But we’re prepared to change our minds when they come in for review.

(pocket-lint.com, https://goo.gl/FP7RAb)



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