With the arrival of Windows 8 we've seen a number of manufacturers pushing out hybrid designs that combine the portability of a tablet with the full-featured experience of a laptop. But more recently a new category appears to be emerging, one that's essentially a different take on the same basic principle by mixing all-in-one desktop computing with around-the-house portability for tablet-like use.
Like the Sony Vaio Tap 20 and Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon, the new Dell XPS 18 is taking a stab at this market. It features an 18.4-inch Full HD (1920x1080) capacitive touch screen, that, when folded down becomes a massive slate twice as large as Apple's iPad, as well as a built-in battery with a claimed four to five hours of run-time to use around the house with no power cord attached. Weighing in at 4.85 pounds, it's not meant to be as portable as an actual tablet, but that's still incredibly light for an AIO. By comparison, the Vaio Tap 20 and IdeaCentre Horizon are 11 and 18 pounds, respectively, and most gaming laptops are over 5 pounds as well.
Starting at $900, the base model comes with a dual-core Intel Pentium 2117U processor, 4GB of RAM and a 320GB hard drive paired with a 32GB mSATA SSD. Dell will be offering a variety of configurations with up to a Core i7 processor, a 500GB hard drive or a lone 256GB or 512GB SSD, up to 8GB of DDR3L RAM.
On the software front you'll be running the full-fledged version of Windows 8 64-bit Home or Professional.
Connectivity and expansion features include a pair of USB 3.0 ports, a single USB 2.0 port, headphone / microphone combo jack, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 720p front-facing camera, and a multi-memory card reader.
The XPS 18 has built-in kickstands for desktop use and ships with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. A docking stand with tilt and recharge functions will be sold separately on Dell's website for $49.