Value is the only major issue, though, and in this growing crowd of ultra-slim, low-connectivity laptops, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is probably the model we'd choose if we could pick any of today's selection. It's incredibly portable but is still a joy to work on, thanks to its high-quality keyboard and trackpad.
The hybrid form is well-executed too, although it's worth thinking carefully about whether you'll appreciate a folding touchscreen when it comes at a premium.
£ From £1,349
There are two screen options when you buy a Dell XPS 13 2-in-1: a 1080p display or a more pixel-dense QHD+ one with 3200 x 1800 pixels. This is the 'step below' 4K, and there's an argument to be made that 4K in a 13in laptop is overkill anyway.
Dell sent us the 1080p version and, consistent with it being the cheaper option, its performance is very good if not quite world-beating. To the naked eye, colours look well-saturated and fairly deep, but our colorimeter tells us it actually only covers 85.6 per cent or sRGB, 61.6 per cent of Adobe RGB and 64.2 per cent or DCI P3.
Graphics pros who need wide colour gamut coverage should check out the QHD+ version or something like the 4K Razer Blade Stealth, which has incredibly rich display colours. We don't think anyone else needs to worry, though, particularly as the good 1100:1 contrast keeps the screen looking punchy.
The backlight maxes-out at 305cd/m, which again isn't a class-leading stat, but was enough to let us use the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 out in the park to write some of this review. It does use some potentially annoying auto brightness management you can't switch off, but that's probably more an annoyance to laptop testers than real people.
Perhaps the most serious reason to consider not buying the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 outside of its price is the kind of processor it uses. All versions have Core i-series processors, but they are Intel's Y-series ones.
These are the most power-frugal of Intel's premium laptop chips, with less raw power on tap than the corresponding U-series Core i5 or i7. U-series chips are what you'll find in the majority of thin laptops, as only ultra-ultra skinny ones tend to use the kind seen here. You may have bumped into them before when they were called "Core M", in previous generations.
The good news is that for everyday use and general productivity tasks, one of these Y-series chips won't feel obviously slower than a quad-core desktop-grade CPU. They're fast, Windows feels responsive and they even perform well in most benchmarks.
Our review model has a Core i7-7y75, and it scores 6906 in Geekbench 4 and 2558 in PC Mark 8. This is the sort of score you might get out of a 'normal' Core i5 laptop CPU, but efficiency and small size are the real aims of this kind of processor.
For our sort of day-to-day usage, which at its most taxing involves Photoshop editing of large image and a bit of light video editing, it's absolutely fine. But if you're regularly going to be maxing out the CPU, you might want to find something with a bit more power.
The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is also poor for gaming, as the Core i7-7y75 has a much worse graphics chipset than the Core U-series ones seen in the normal XPS 13. Where we can normally make our standard test games, Thief and Alien:Isolation just about playable at 720p with graphics settings chopped down, we struggled here.
At minimum settings, 720p, Thief runs at 15.6fps, dropping to a painful 4.9fps when we switched up to 1080p, high settings: how you'd want to play the game ideally. Alien: Isolation runs at 20.8fps at 720p, and 9.3fps with the res at 1080p and the graphical quality increased. None of these results are playable unless you have very low standards.
If you care about laptop gaming at all, you probably shouldn't buy the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. However, we could have told you that from a quick look at the spec list.
One benefit of the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1's high-efficiency brain is that it doesn't need fans, so is silent 24/7. After a few hours of testing, the rear of the underside had become a bit warm, but not worryingly so. There appear to be no issues with heat management here.