Entertainment, Graphics, Hardware

Dell Refreshes XPS and Venue Lines of Laptops and Tablets

Dell today announced the update to their line of XPS and Venue product lines. The XPS line of laptops saw an update of three different laptops, the XPS 11 and XPS 13 as well as the XPS 15. The Venue line saw a refresh with the addition of Baytrail based Atom processors that enable an improved experience with improved performance and battery life.

There are 4 different Venue Tablets, the Venue 7, Venue 8 and Venue 8 Pro as well as the Venue 11 Pro. The Venue 7 and Venue 8 are both Android x86 based tablets with Intel Clover Trail Atom SoCs while the Venue 8 Pro and Venue 11 Pro are Windows x86 based, but with Bay Trail instead. This means that the Pro versions of the tablets will not only be faster, but they’ll most likely get better battery life as per our findings during the Bay Trail benchmarking day before Intel’s IDF 2013.

The most interesting offering is of course the $499 priced Bay Trail-based Venue 11 Pro, which offers a premium Winodws 8.1 experience at a sub $500, which is miles better than Microsoft’s own Surface and Surface 2 tablets which are either underpowered (running WindowsRT) or overpriced (running ULV Haswell). Really believe that Dell has a winner with this tablet and they could win some serious enterprise deals with it, ignoring the consumer allure. The smaller Venue 8 pro will sell for an even more affordable $299 price point, putting it only $70 more than the Android-based Nexus 7.

Putting Dell’s new tablets aside, Dell has also announced updated versions of the XPS 11, XPS 13 and XPS 15. The new XPS 11 is a 2 in 1 formfactor which means that it can both be a laptop and a tablet in a seamless fashion.

The Dell XPS 11 is an amazing device for a multitude of reasons, first and foremost, its a convertible laptop which gives you both a tablet and a latop in one device. Secondly, it has a 2560 x 1600 resolution touch display, which means that it will give users incredibly sharp images and picture in virtually any application. While I believe this high of a resolution in such a small display is somewhat overkill, the 1080P display on my 4.7" HTC One should also be. Because of this, I believe a lot of people will look at the XPS 11 as a replacement for their Macbook Air. It will ship with a Haswell CPU with a minimum clock of 1.5 GHz with upgrades up to 2.3 GHz. It will also have a 40WHr battery, which should result in some pretty decent battery life. Expected retail is $999

The Dell XPS 13 is the middle child of the XPS laptops, and in my opinion the most neglected for improvements. Yes, it will have a slightly better CPU and integrated GPU and a bigger battery, but it gets a downgrade in terms of functionality and display. The XPS 13 is incredibly thin, but it only has a 1920 x 1080 resolution touch display. Yes, it is made of machined aluminum, but it really feels like this model is the one that gets the most neglected when compared to the rest of the XPS line. You’ll understand once you see the XPS 15. The expected retail price for the XPS 13 is also $999.

Finally, we have the Dell XPS 15 which is the mother of all Dell laptops (that aren’t Alienware branded) and makes its presence known. The XPS 15 is impressive for a few reasons, but first and foremost the incredibly high resolution display, which is a 15.6" 3200 x 1800 resolution. Dell calls this Quad HD + except for the fact that real Quad HD is actually 3840 x 2160, so they’re about 230,000 pixels shy of actually being Quad HD. Now, Quad HD + is even more amusing because that implies that they’re above Quad HD which would possibly mean Cinema 4K, but they’re not. So, I’d really like to see them (and Samsung) drop this name for their high resolution display. They also opted to offer only two Intel CPUs, both of which are pretty powerful and still quite power stingy.

What is nice about this laptop, however, is that they did not decide to force people to use Intel’s integrated graphics and gave an option to use Nvidia’s GeForce GT 750M. This means that the graphics experience will not suck when watching videos at high bitrates nor will applications like Photoshop or Premiere Pro suffer from a lack of GPU horsepower. This is something Apple understood with the MBPr (Macbook Pro Retina) and Samsung did not understand with their ATIV Book 9 Plus. It also has the option for a huge 61WHr or 91Whr Battery, which should result in some really impressive battery life for such a powerful notebook. The XPS 15 will retail for $1500 and should be available pretty soon. It should give Samsung and Sony a good run for their money.

The one disappointing thing, though, about all three laptops was that all of their batteries are built into the bodies, which means you’ll probably want more than the 1 year standard warranty from Dell in the event that you have any problems because you’ll void your warranty if you need to remove or replace the battery.

Otherwise, we’re really excited about the new Venue 11 Pro tablet and XPS 15 laptop and can’t wait to get a chance to review them for you, our readers.