"Solid laptop with great screen"4.0 starson by SadFatandMad
Pros: > Screen
Cons: > Lack of ports (especially microSD or SD)
> Windows 8
> No side vents for heat dissipation
> Flexible base
Summary: I have a number of Dell laptops for family use including an Alienware M18X and an XPS13. I wanted an ultrabook to take on weekends away for my photography hobby and hence the XPS13 was bought. That has great light weight and reasonable speed for an ultrabook (can cope with Lightroom 4 etc) but the screen was a disappointment.
I've had the XPS12 for 5 days now and so far I can say that for me it't the better purchase because in everyday use it's fast enough (8GB version with i7 and 256GB) and the screen is lovely. I can use it for my photography and for dialing into the office (Citrix VDI) and multi task quite comfortably. Compared with the XPS13 though it is a lot deeper (about an inch), thicker and you can certainly feel the difference in weight.
The colours and contrast of the screen make up for it though. :-)
Gestures work well on screen, but it gets confusing for me what is and isn't touch enabled. I don't want this to turn into a review of Window's 8 but as it's inextricably linked to the use of the touch screen it's difficult not to. I use Windows 7 normally and have Android phone (HTC) and Nexus 7. This could be a great device but boy, does it take getting used to.
Dare I say again, the screen is lovely and it takes gestures/touch well. For some reason it doesn't feel quite as well built as the XPS13 - the base has a bit more give and you can feel the components underneath as you pick it up because you have to grip it more due to the extra weight. However, there doesn't seem to be any flex in the screen and the screen frame itself seems very strong. Not sure about the catches - perhaps roller catches would have been better - but it seems to hang together well. The sound quality is good if not great but I use a bluetooth speaker when away anyway, and it works well with the external portable drive I have for my photos using the USB3. It does get warm if you don't watch the vents (no side vents) but no surprise there! Battery life is better than I had been led to believe, but not as good as the XPS13 which just seems to go on and on. Switch on and off times make me think about an SSD for the other laptops . . .
So to conclude, would I get it again? Well yes I believe I would. It pretty much meets all of my needs and I could even see me using it at work as a BYOD. It's surprisingly nice. Is it worth the premium cost - not sure, but there are plenty of vouchers around for it at the moment (I got 11% off and free delivery). It feels 'quality' to the touch and has the sort of fit that makes you want to stroke the thing (yes, I know I'm sad). I just hope that it lasts too - but I bought the 3 year premium care for that! If your eyes aren't 20/20 then get some glasses or up the font size for longer strain free use - but it is a very tasty screen that works well as a tablet. As others have said, re-orientating can take a bit of time (seconds) but it get's there. This looks like becoming my 'main' laptop both for my hobby (photography) and work (web development). Only downers - weight, Windows 8 and Dell service.