The Bottom Line
- + Price
- + Battery life
- - Runs warm, cooling could be better
- - Port count
- - Not upgradeable
- - Inconsistent CPU clock speeds
Should you buy it?AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy
Introduction and Pricing
We reviewed the XPS 9315 just a few weeks ago and came away after testing with a rather decent platform that is Dell's entry-level to XPS and a solution that hangs out in the middle of our charts. To take this to the extremes, we swapped out our standard laptop model of the 9315 for the XPS 9315 2-in-1.
It is a tablet form factor PC that competes with Apple's M1 and M2 iPads and other Windows-based 2-in-1 devices. I wanted to see the performance of a unit like this because it's possible this device could replace two items I use in my daily activities - the iPad Pro and my ThinkPad X1.
With that, the 2-in-1 that was sent for review has similar specs to the notebook version that we recently reviewed. At the base is an Intel Core i5-1230U CPU with a hybrid design with 2P and 8e cores. The maximum boost is around 4.4GHz, but this platform is fanless, using the aluminum chassis to cool itself. Memory is 16GB DDR4, and nothing in this 9315 is upgradeable. The port count includes two Thunderbolt USB4 combination ports.
The MSRP for this platform comes in at $1099.99 at the time of writing, and Dell includes a one-year warranty and 24/7 support.
The XPS 9315 2-in-1 and BIOS
Packaging and BIOS
The 2-in-1 arrives in a blacked-out box with the XPS logo on the front.
We have a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle and USB-C to A adapter. We also have a 45w power adapter that too uses USB-C.
The keyboard folio for the 9315 is an interesting blue-grey colorway with the Dell logo on the top.
Pulling the cover away from the tablet, we have a camera at the top and an aluminum chassis with the XPS logo centered.
Opening up the unit, we have the tablet attached to the keyboard folio. There is no backlighting on the folio, but there are several angles at which the folio magnetically attaches to the chassis of the 9315.
On the left side, you will find two Thunderbolt USB4 ports.
Across the top, you will find the volume and power buttons.
The BIOS for the 9315 2-in-1 is identical to the notebook setup, offering hardware information on the main menu, including CPU and memory, along with the BIOS version and service tag. The integrated device menu supports the front-facing camera and audio, both the integrated speakers and microphone. You can also adjust the settings for the Thunderbolt ports.
Storage offers the ability to change the NVMe operation mode, and the power menu provides several strategies for charging the 9315. Performance does offer the ability to disable cores control Intel SpeedStep and C-States.
The software for the 9315 2-in-1 includes support Assist. This software can keep the system up to date, clean old files, and tune the notebook's performance for Windows and Wi-Fi.
Cinebench is a long-standing render benchmark that has been heavily relied upon by both Intel and AMD to highlight their newest platforms during unveils. The benchmark has two tests, a single-core workload that will utilize one thread or 1T. There is also a multi-threaded test that uses all threads or nT of a tested CPU.
Starting with R23, the XPS landed at 1644 single thread and 7840 multi-thread.
CrossMark pulled in 1390 overall, including 1330 for productivity, 1546 for creativity, and 1152 for responsiveness.
AIDA64 showed solid throughput for memory, though latency was some of the highest I've ever seen at 97.8ns.
Getting into 3DMark, we pulled up CPU Profile and picked up a single thread score of 815 for the 2-in-1. Max threads was 3773 and sixteen treads 3622.
We did fool around a little with gaming workloads. Night Raid picked up a score of 10888.
Storage scored us 1483 with a bandwidth of 256MB/s.
Charts and Comparisons
Pulling our new data from the 9315 2-in-1 into our charts, we find that R23 performance was a tick above the M2 MacBook in single thread.
Multi-thread was a touch above the M1 MacBook.
As expected, CrossMark was within a few points of the 9315 notebook but was the lowest 12th-gen platform in our charts.
CPU profile was decent - around the middle of our charts, just above the X1 Yoga Gen 6.
Procyon showed performance was the worst we have seen in Photo workloads but about the same as the notebook version in Office scenarios.
Storage performance wasn't the worst we have seen and ended up slightly better than the notebook 9315.
Netperf showed no performance loss because of the tablet form factor. We still picked up 1107Mbps on the 6GHz band.
Clock Variation and Final Thoughts
Clock variation is huge for the 9315 2-in-1. As you can see from our chart above, the P-cores in this platform were never steady like we have seen on typical notebook platforms with a proper fan. The range is between 2GHz and 4GHz, rarely hitting that 4.4GHz peak.
E-cores, we do see steady clocks, the first part of our benchmark holds steady around 1.5GHz, with short bursts to 2.7GHz. The peak clock hit 3.2GHz sporadically.
Within the Dell 9315 series, notebook to tablet, my experience was completely different, each having its strong suit. The notebook offered that rigid chassis allowing you to sit the machine on your lap and go to work. For the 2-in-1, that wasn't possible, as there was no proper angle where the machine would sit comfortably and not instantly fall over when you started typing on the keyboard.
Where the 2-in-1 did shine was its portability and flexibility allowing you to go full tablet, removing the physical keyboard and relying on Windows 11 for keyboard and touchscreen functionality.
Performance, as you can see from the charts, wasn't any lower and, most of the time, outperformed the notebook counterpart. In all of our cross-platform benches, the 9315 did better than the Apple M1 MacBook, making this a strong candidate for someone wanting a bit more processing power while having a full Windows OS experience.
Though not in our charts, battery life testing ended up just a hair over eight hours. Quite good for the tablet and better than the notebook version.
Nitpicks on this system include heat; it gets warm to the touch, with the chassis being part of the cooling system. The keyboard is a bit shallow, as expected from the low-profile keys, and of course, this isn't a unit you open as nothing is upgradeable, so buy in where you want to be in the future.
The Bottom Line
Dell's 9315 2-in-1 offers a unique experience, and while not perfect, is still a good option for anyone wanting portability with a full Windows OS.