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Dell XPS 18 review

The all-in-one PC that's everything in one

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We get it. We thought the Dell XPS 18 would be a big silly chunk of 'because we can' hubris, but when we were watching a Full HD film in bed, on a big screen rivalling our living room TV, it really clicked into place. As an entertainment option, this really works.

So let's have this again, with Haswell for better performance and battery life. And just a bigger battery, actually. And a more sensible design overall. Right now, this is on the cusp of just crazy enough to work, but a bit of refinement can definitely take it over the line.

We liked

The screen is really the star of the show here, and by packing in such a beautiful display, Dell has given a real sense of purpose to the portable all-in-one. The Dell XPS 18 is a slightly portable entertainment machine, capable of delivering gorgeous video anywhere in your house. Which is great.

It's nice and nippy, thanks to being an Ultrabook, really, but there's enough power for most users. And it really is quite a smart thing - it almost looks more premium than it is, but that's fine. It's a really attractive and practical 18-inch all-in-one. Well, except for the lack of ports.

We disliked

You can get far more powerful all-in-one machines, with many, many more ports. They aren't portable, we'll grant you, but it's still a big drop in power, and a significant drop in usefulness - we wish the stand was more of a dock.

The super-reflective screen is a big shame, and we'd like better battery life for such a big machine. The price also becomes a major sticking point, when you consider its relative lack of power. We don't think £999 / US$1,349.99 is an unreasonable amount of money for a premium portable all-in-one, but we'd expect a little more than this for the price tag.

Give us a more premium mouse and keyboard, and since Logitech supplies the mouse here anyway, make it one of its trackpads instead, so it plays nice with Windows 8. And a flick-out stand that works on something other than desks. We really can't stress this enough.

Final verdict

There is the seed of something very good indeed in the Dell XPS 18. It's a weird one, and it's easy to question why you would want a portable desktop PC, but once you've used one, the question feels more like, 'why not have this option?'.

Right now, the main reasons why not are the connectivity and price relative to power. But they can change. Dell has got the basics right in making it nicely thin and giving it a stunning screen, so if what you want is a flexible entertainment centre PC, the Dell XPS 18 is well worth checking out.