Can Kaby Lake-G in a notebook compare to the NUC?

The initial announcement of Intel and AMD's collaboration on the "8th Gen Intel® Core™ processors With Radeon™ RX Vega M Graphics" (Kaby Lake-G) at CES this year caused a big stir amongst the PC hardware space. 

Now that we've taken a look at the Intel Hades Canyon NUC and its impressive performance compared to mid-range gaming desktops, it's time to take a look at Kaby Lake-G in the mobile form factor.

Dell's XPS 15 2-in-1 is one of two notebooks utilizing the Intel Kaby Lake-G processor with Vega graphics, alongside the HP Envy Spectre x360.

Building upon the successful standard clamshell, this new notebook is Dell's first convertible XPS 15, featuring a 360-degree hinge which allows for a variety of configurations including tablet mode where the device folds back on itself.

Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
MSRP $1299 $1499 $1699 $2199
Screen 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge Anti-Reflective Touch Display 15.6" 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge Anti-Reflective Touch Display
CPU Core i5-8305G Core i7-8705G 
GPU AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL Graphics with 4GB HBM2 Memory
RAM 8GB DDR4-2400 (non-upgradable) 16GB DDR4-2400 (non-upgradable)
Storage 128GB SATA 256GB PCIe
Network Killer 1435 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi and Bluetooth
Display Output

2 x Thunderbolt 3
2 x USB 3.1 Type-C (DisplayPort)


2 x Thunderbolt 3
2 x USB 3.1 Type-C
3.5mm headphone
MicroSD Card Reader

Audio Waves MaxxAudio® Pro 2W (1W x 2)
Weight 4.36 lbs (2 Kg)
Dimensions 13.9-in x 9.2-in x 0.36-0.63-in
(354mm x 235mm x 9-1mm)
Battery 75 WHr
Operating System Windows 10 Home / Pro (+$60)

As far as specifications are concerned, the XPS 15 2-in-1 impresses.. With up to a 4K, touch-enabled display, quad core processor, discrete AMD Vega graphics, and up to 16GB of memory, the hardware of the XPS 15 2-in-1 is a compelling package for gamers and content creators alike. For review, we recieved the top of the line XPS 15 2-in-1, with a 512GB SSD instead of the stock 256GB configuration (a $150 upgrade from Dell).

Like its XPS notebook relative, the XPS 15 2-in-1 features the same Dell InfinityEdge display that has made the XPS lineup standout from the crowd. In addition to the iconic thin bezels, the display on the XPS 15 2-in-1 provides 100% AdobeRGB coverage, making it a great option for users who are doing color accurate work in programs like Photoshop and Adobe Premiere.

As we've seen with the XPS 13 2-in-1 and XPS 13 9370, the XPS 15 2-in-1 features a Windows Hello-enabled webcam in the bottom center of the display. While this placement works well for face login via Hello, it still remains in my opinion, unusable for actual video calling.

To accommodate the added complexity of a 2-in-1 design in a similar thickness to the original XPS 15, Dell is using what they are calling their "MagLev" keyboard design. In many ways, this design is similar to the modern Apple notebook keyboards, using butterfly switches to shorten the Z-height of the keyboard.

In practice however, I found the keyboard on the XPS 15 2-in-1 to be disappointing. The MagLev design provides little phyiscal key travel, and is much less tacticle than a traditional chiclet style keys of the XPS 13 and nonconvertible XPS 15. Given how the rest of the XPS lineup has some of the best keyboards on notebooks currently, this lack of tactility from the XPS 15 2-in-1 is less than ideal.

The trackpad, however, maintains the same look and feel from the rest of the XPS lineup and continues to be a fantastic option among Windows notebooks.

The XPS 15 2-in-1 features support for the Wacom-powered Dell Premium Active Pen (PN579X) for notetaking and drawing. With a 240Hz polling rate and 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, it's an impressive stylus solution but is a standalone $99 option on top of the XPS 15 2-in-1.

As far as ports are concerned, the XPS 15 2-in-1 follows the rest of the XPS lineup and only offers USB-C ports, along with a microSD card reader and 3.5mm headphone jack.

In this case, we have two Thunderbolt 3 ports (providing full x4 throughput), as well as two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports. All of these ports are capable of data transfer, charging, and display outputs, offering substantial flexibility.

Dell also continues to pack a single USB-C to USB-A adapter in the box with their XPS notebooks, which I very much appreciate.

Powering the XPS 15 2-in-1 is a large, 130W USB-C power adapter. While relatively small for its size among notebook power supplies, it's still a large device to have to contend with in your bag while on the go.

Review Terms and Disclosure
All Information as of the Date of Publication
How product was obtained: The product is on loan from Dell for the purpose of this review.
What happens to the product after review: The product remains the property of Dell, and will be returned after the review is published.
Company involvement: Dell had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.
PC Perspective Compensation: Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by Dell for this review.
Advertising Disclosure: Dell has not purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.
Affiliate links: This article contains affiliate links to online retailers. PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases through those links.
Consulting Disclosure: Dell is not a current client of Shrout Research for products or services related to this review. 
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