Dell XPS 12 Laptop Performance Summary

We’re taking the same approach to benchmarks that we used with the Acer S7 and Surface Pro reviews—which is to say, we’ll use all of our typical laptop benchmarks along with some of the tablet-centric benchmarks to round things out. Performance as you’d expect is basically on par with other Core i7 ULV offerings (e.g. Acer S7), so faster than the Surface Pro, substantially faster than any non-Core products, but worse battery life than ARM offerings. Given the size and weight, this is much more a part of the laptop with a touchscreen crowd as opposed to being a tablet with laptop aspects, so our primary focus will be on how it compares with other laptops. Here’s the quick overview of the base components for the various laptops we’re including. Note that at present, only the XPS 12, Acer S7, Surface Pro, and Vizio CT15 were tested with Windows 8; the rest were running Windows 7.

Laptop Configuration Overview
Laptop CPU Graphics Storage Battery
Acer Aspire S7-391-9886 Intel i7-3517U HD4000 2x128GB SSD 35Wh
Apple MacBook Air 13 (Mid-2012) Intel i5-3427U HD4000 256GB SSD 50Wh
ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A-DB71 Intel i7-3517U HD4000 256GB SSD 50Wh
Dell XPS 12 Intel i7-3517U HD4000 256GB SSD 47Wh
Dell XPS 13 Intel i7-2637M HD3000 256GB SSD 47Wh
HP Envy 14 Spectre Intel i7-3667U HD4000 2x128GB SSDs 56Wh
HP Folio 13 Intel i5-2467M HD3000 128GB SSD 60Wh
Intel IVB Ultrabook Prototype Intel i5-3427U HD4000 240GB SSD 47Wh
Microsoft Surface Pro Intel i5-3317U HD4000 128GB 42Wh
Toshiba Satellite U845-S406 Intel i5-3317U HD4000 500+32GB Hybrid 54Wh
Toshiba Satellite U845W-S410 Intel i5-3317U HD4000 500+32GB Hybrid 54Wh
VizioCT15 Intel i7-3517U HD4000 256GB SSD 52Wh

PCMark 7 - PCMarks

Cinebench R11.5 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

x264 HD Benchmark - First Pass

x264 HD Benchmark - Second Pass

Futuremark 3DMark 11

There aren’t really any surprises here; the XPS 12 performs right about where we’d expect. Acer’s S7 does come in slightly ahead in most benchmarks, which is interesting considering it’s thinner and thus cooling the chip (and enabling higher Turbo Boost clocks) should in theory be more difficult, but clearly that’s not the case. Whether it’s a lack of fine tuning for performance, minor differences in other components, or prioritizing quiet over fast, unless you’re really concerned about a difference of a few percent all of the i7-3517U Ultrabooks perform about the same. Actually, that’s not quite true, as Windows 7 models seem to hold a slight performance advantage in several tests as well (particularly battery life, which we’ll get to in a moment).

Subjective Analysis Continued: XPS 12 as a Tablet Dell XPS 12 Tablet Performance Summary
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  • Kristian Vättö - Friday, February 22, 2013 - link

    Out of interest, what's the SSD inside your review unit?
  • JarredWalton - Friday, February 22, 2013 - link

    256GB Micron C400 mSATA -- table on the first page. :-p
  • trekker99 - Friday, February 22, 2013 - link

    Really? I have a XPS 12 and it has a Samsung PM830 in it.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, February 22, 2013 - link

    Not too surprising -- Dell and other large OEMs usually like to have more than one supplier.
  • Sazar - Friday, February 22, 2013 - link

    Mine also has a Samsung PM830, but as others have pointed out, they do have sort of a part's bin. I believe all of the drives have similar performance though.
  • Death666Angel - Friday, February 22, 2013 - link

    Happens on many SSD equipped systems.
    I have an Ativ PC Pro with a PM830 while others (review systems and retail) have Sandisk U100. :)
  • uditrana - Friday, June 7, 2013 - link

    Mine also Has a Samsung PM830. I wonder if it region based or pre-production/final production makes a difference.
  • Rick83 - Friday, February 22, 2013 - link

    I don't see the point of the 12 inch touch screen, if it doesn't also feature a decent digitizer for pen input.
    With pen input, I could have recommended this device to anyone who needs a medium sized sketch pad on the go, but like this it's just a small laptop with a useless gimmick.
  • nerd1 - Friday, February 22, 2013 - link

    With proper digitizer this would make a good note taking tool.
  • piroroadkill - Friday, February 22, 2013 - link

    Couldn't have said it better.

    If I'm to get a machine with a large touchscreen, that's portable, it needs to have an active digitizer and a good pen, and a slot for that pen.

    Otherwise, why would I buy it? It doesn't have a good graphics card (so bored of this trend of thin machines with onboard graphics, my goddamn Sony Vaio Z12 is 9.7mm thicker than this thing, yet has discrete graphics, and indeed a DVD writer, is actually smaller in X and Y dimensions yet has a larger screen, faster CPU, larger battery.. Come back when you can compete with that.)

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