The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is a superb laptop, but it’s not going to be for everyone. If you’re looking for something similar, but perhaps has some qualities that the Dell machine doesn’t have, you’re in luck. And right now the best alternative is the Microsoft Surface Pro 7.
Best Overall: Surface Pro 7
If you’re looking for a good 2-in-1, then it’s hard not to recommend the class-defining Surface Pro 7. Microsoft’s iconic tablet has pioneered a whole category of Windows PCs, and as it has aged, it has lost none of what makes it great.
It’s not just a tablet, for one. Sure, you don’t get a keyboard in the box, which is a shame, but this is a full Windows 10 laptop, now packing 10th Gen Intel processors, paired with up to 1TB of storage and 16GB of RAM. And don’t forget that high-resolution, 3:2 aspect ratio display that supports both pen and the Surface Dial for added functionality.
Battery life on the Surface Pro 7 can vary, but for most people, it should get you through a workday with no problem in no small part thanks to the new, more efficient chips from Intel. It also finally has a USB-C port, meaning you can charge either with Microsoft’s own Surface Connect port or through USB-C. It’s hard to do better right now in a 2-in-1
10th Gen Intel CPUs
Good battery life
Supports pen and Surface Dial
Excellent build quality and design
Charging over USB-C
No Thunderbolt 3
No LTE option
Keyboard and pen extra purchases
Microsoft Surface Pro 7
From $749 at Microsoft
The iconic 2-in-1 that defined the genre
The Surface Pro 7 is a true 2-in-1 that feels like a tablet but is a full, powerful Windows 10 laptop underneath.
Best Budget: HP Envy x360
The HP Envy x360 is a brilliant budget alternative to the XPS 13 2-in-1, offering a similar experience while undercutting pretty well on price. The last of those alone might be enough to convince many it’s the better choice.
HP has both a 13-inch and 15-inch version of the Envy x360, and they’re available with AMD Ryzen APUs, which also helps keep the price down. They’re not as ultimately powerful as Intel’s latest, but they’re still pretty good. And the integrated Vega GPU cores are excellent.
The Envy x360 also has a touch display that supports digital inking, and since it’s a convertible, you can rotate it 360 degrees and use the laptop either as a tablet or somewhere in between. The display is limited to 1080p resolution, but it’s still great for watching a movie or working on it. You also get USB-C, which is nice to have, and HP has been making some of the best looking laptops around of late. The Envy x360 is no exception.
13-inch and 15-inch models
AMD Ryzen and Radeon Vega powered
Less overall performance
Only 1080p display
HP Envy x360
From $550 at HP
Ryzen-powered and a lot more affordable
All the flexibility you get with the XPS 13 2-in-1 at a much more attractive price point.
Best 15-Inch: Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
The Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 is a larger choice, and up against its sibling device, it has both advantages and drawbacks. The biggest plus is that larger, still fully convertible display, so if you’re looking for something like the XPS 13 2-in-1 but bigger, then this is a smart choice. Oh, and it’s available in full 4K resolution.
It’s disappointing it still comes with 8th Gen Intel processors, but when paired with the AMD Radeon Vega GPU, it’s actually a pretty potent all-rounder. Battery life is good, there’s an excellent selection of ports, and the build quality is typically excellent.
The key is that this is mostly like the XPS 13, but bigger. Convertibles of this size aren’t all that common, but Dell’s is well worthy of consideration for fans of larger screens.
Solid battery life
Bonus USB 3.1 ports
8th Gen processors
Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
From $1,120 at Dell
Go big or go home
The Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 offers a large display, great performance, and great battery life.
Best for Business: Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1
The Latitude 7400 manages to blur the line between business and casual laptop with up to 15 hours of battery life from a charge, a brushed-aluminum body, and a ton of ports for connecting accessories. It’s a little on the heavy side, but it’s a full convertible, which means you get to use it as a tablet if you wish.
Unfortunately, there is no 4K display available, but the FHD low-watt display has perfect sRGB color and is compatible with an active pen for inking. Above the display is an IR camera for Windows Hello, which can unlock or lock your laptop as soon as you sit down or walk away.
4G LTE connectivity is available if you need to stay connected at all times, with a SIM slot on the right side. It also has Thunderbolt 3 for connecting external displays, docks, or even an eGPU, and great sounding speakers for those times you just want to relax with a movie.
Low-watt FHD display
Impressive battery life
Generous port selection
IR camera for Windows Hello
A bit heavy
No 4K display
Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1
From $1,579 at Dell
Excellent battery, super adaptive
Dell’s revamped Latitude 7400 2-in-1 for 2019 leads the pack for 14-inch Ultrabooks and overall battery life.
Always Connected: Microsoft Surface Pro X
The Surface Pro X is Microsoft’s first 2-in-1 based on ARM, which brings several benefits to the table. You don’t have to worry about fans, so it’s supremely thin and silent, while also boasting good battery life and an always-on LTE connection.
It’s the latter of those that make the difference. There have been cellular Surfaces before, but the Surface Pro X is the first that’s designed from the ground up to be always connected. Whenever you need it, it instantly comes on, and you’re never disconnected from the world.
As is customary with Surface products, the Pro X supports a digital pen, and like other Surface tablets has an optional, detachable keyboard. If only both came in the box.
Always-on LTE connection
Iconic Surface design with kickstand
Good battery life
Thin, light and silent
ARM compatibility issues with some apps
Keyboard and pen are extra purchases
Microsoft Surface Pro X
The thinnest and lightest Surface Pro available
From $899 at Microsoft
Surface Pro X delivers the iconic Surface experience with an always-on LTE connection for the go-anywhere lifestyle.
Best for Gamers – Razer Blade Stealth
The Razer Blade Stealth is the first true gaming ultrabook. Razer managed to squeeze an NVIDIA GTX 1650 inside the sleek, 13-inch form factor. It’s a feat of engineering in itself, but it also gives gamers an option that’s incredibly compact and portable. It’s similar in size to the XPS 13 2-in-1 but so much more capable for gaming.
Inside, you’re getting a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, up to 512GB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage, and either a 1080p non-touch or 4K touch display. It doesn’t support inking, nor is it a convertible like the XPS 13 2-in-1, but you’re probably not that concerned if you’re looking to get your game on instead.
The Blade Stealth also comes with Thunderbolt 3, which means when you’re at home, you can push your gaming even further by attaching an eGPU. You lack a little of the versatility you get from a convertible or 2-in-1, but if you want to game on an Ultrabook, then this is the smart choice.
True gaming ultrabook
10th Gen Intel Core i7
Optional 4K display
No convertible display
No inking support
Best for Gamers
Razer Blade Stealth 13
From $1,500 at Razer
The new Razer Blade Stealth 13 brings true gaming performance to the table with Intel’s 10th Gen CPUs and GeForce GTX 1650 graphics.
The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is one of the best laptops you can buy right now, but it’s not for everyone. If you’re hunting a good alternative then the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is the place to start. The iconic 2-in-1 is incredibly flexible and starts at a price a good bit less than that of the Dell.
Sure, you have to buy the keyboard extra to get the full laptop experience, but if there are times you don’t need it, just pop it off and run with the Surface Pro 7 as a tablet. Whether that’s for consuming media, perhaps writing or drawing with the pen, you can use it your way, and the kickstand will adjust to whatever your perfect angle is.
You also now get Intel’s latest generation processors inside, which are more efficient, which for you means better battery life, so the Surface Pro 7 is a reliable workhorse if you spend days away from home or the office. And since you can now top it up with USB-C, that same charger you carry for your smartphone can also charge your laptop.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you’ll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
Daniel Rubino is the executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009 back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Follow him on Twitter: @daniel_rubino.