dell_xt2

OK so you are thinking about buying an iPad, but can its forerunners still put up a fight. We look at Dell’s XT2 tablet PC to find out.

When compared to the iPad, the Dell XT2 seems a little lacklustre. OK so it comes in a metal-alloy case and it feels substantial in the hands as well as light. But maybe not enough to tempt away an Apple fanboy.

So who is it aimed at? When if you are a businessperson with mobility in mind (and don’t want to lug a desktop replacement around all day) this maybe just the thing to bore countless journalist with your interminable powerpoint presentations that show graphs that go up and to the right.

It weighs about 1.64kg but costs around £1,672. That works out at just over £1,000 per kilo. But for that huge price tag you get a 13.3-inch display that swivels around and turns a humble laptop into a tablet PC. Oh yeah, the screen is a mulititouch display as well.


Inside it sports 3GB of memory and an Intel 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo U9400 CPU. This does mean it creaks along substantially less than most tablet PCs we’ve tested over the years. It is actually quite usable.

In use the multitouch is not unlike the iPhone 3G S. Pinching to zoom in and out of photos is a cinch. and the 1280 by 800 display looks crisp and colourful whether you are indoors or outside supping a latte. This display motors along thanks to its integrated GPU and it works fairly fluidly in operation.

Of course, it is not easy to do everything on the screen and there is a handy physical button to call up the login screen or the task manager. Another sorts out the screen orientation and a further one brings up the Dell ControlPoint app.

If you don’t like the touchscreen, then why are you thinking of buying the XT2. But seriously, if you want to work as normal, then the laptop features a touchpad and a nipple in the keyboard.


The keyboard is solid enough and quite pleasing, despite its small size. Working with it doesn’t annoy, so we feel enough money has been spent here to make working a pleasurable affair.

It has managed to cram in a load of ports and other features, such as a pass-through-power USB port (two USB ports total), eSATA, a PC Card slot, an SD Card slot, FireWire, a fingerprint reader, Bluetooth, and 802.11n Wi-Fi.

But it does sadly lack an optical drive, as well as DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort outputs. This can be rectified by purchasing a MediaBase docking station, which houses a DVD-RW drive, more USB and FireWire ports and a DVI-out. The drawback then is that the XT2 puts on some weigh and looks more like a normal lappie.


One further drawback is the battery life. At over three hours, it isn’t enough to let you leave the power supply at home all day, unlike some other ultra-portables.

Overall, the Dell XT2 may make some people turn heads, but with the multitouch iPad just over the horizon, if you want to show off your gadgets, then you may want to wait for Steve Jobs’ latest baby.

Rating: 7.5/10

dell_xt2

Next page: Specifications


Specifications

  • Intel Core 2 Duo ULV processor SU9400 (1.4GHz);
  • Genuine Windows Vista Ultimate;
  • Intel Small Form Factor (ULV) Montevina Chipset;
  • 12.1in Premium WXGA (1280×800) LED Display (Wide View) Multi-touch – Finger / Capacity touchscreen;
  • 3GB (1x1GB on board, 1x2GB DIMM) DDR3 1066MHz;
  • 80GB 5400RPM SATA HDD/64GB Ultra Performance SSD;
  • Intel Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD;
  • 802.11a/b/g/n; HSUPA/HSDPA Mobile Broadband Minicard;
  • Dell 365 Bluetooth Module;
  • Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000);
  • 1394, USB 2.0 (x2, one powered), USB 2.0/eSATA, VGA, RJ-45, Audio;
  • Weight: 1.64kg;
  • Battery: 6-cell 42W/Hr Li-Ion primary;
  • Dimensions: 297×220.6×27.4mm