Dell XPS 10 review

Windows RT-toting mini tablet with keyboard dock

Dell XPS 10 review
The Dell XPS 10 has a detachable 10-inch screen that's a tablet in itself

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When we set out to review Dell's Windows RT device, we highlighted two areas we felt it needed to address. The first was for it to inspire where other Windows RT devices - Surface RT included - have failed, and the answer here is unfortunately no.

The Dell XPS 10's black plastic appearance and unnaturally heavy build make this an instant turn-off. While it may be for sale among its business offerings, that doesn't mean consumers should sacrifice a pleasing build or competitive portability.

The next was whether the Dell XPS 10 could offer an all-day working experience that's still fun to use, and we have to say it does. The huge battery life blows away all opposition, even the impressive Surface RT, and the lightweight build makes it just as adept for comfortable use on your sofa.

Of course, the limited range of Windows 8 apps means it's not as fun to use as an iPad or Google Nexus 10, but that's not a criticism of the Dell XPS 10, just Microsoft's stuttering OS.

We liked

The huge battery life is truly impressive, and it gives us hope that a concerted push from Microsoft could give Windows RT a future.

In tablet mode, the Dell XPS 10 is enjoyable to hold and use, and the screen is adequate for day-to-day use, though media connoisseurs will miss the Retina-competing panels of its competitors.

We disliked

While the build is acceptable as a slate, we're perplexed by the weight when the dock is attached. Much of this will be due to the big battery cell in the base, and it does offer a complementary weight bias, which stops the tablet from toppling backwards. However, this won't appease mobile workers who will feel that a 13-inch Ultrabook offers similar portability, with the much-needed bonus of an extra three inches of comfort.

The keyboard is cramped, as any 10-inch device would be, and it does make us wonder how far we've come from the dark days of the netbook - the Dell XPS 10 is similarly underpowered and similarly uncomfortable during long periods of typing.

Final verdict

The Dell XPS 10 is one of the finest Windows RT devices we've seen, and comes at an attractive price.

However, it's certainly a secondary device that can only complement another full-form device. If you're looking for a proper, singular upgrade, a full-fat Windows device is still your only option.