Two new detachable tablet 2-in-1s have recently hit the market, entering a space dominated by Microsoft’s Surface Pro for years. Lenovo offers the new IdeaPad Duet 5i and Dell offers the XPS 13 2-in-1, the latter transformed from a 360-degree convertible.
Lenovo competes primarily on price with Microsoft’s tablets, which look and feel very similar, while Dell’s models take a different design route and cost a bit more. Which tablet is better for you?
Specifications and configuration
|Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5i||Dell XPS 13 2-in-1|
|size||11.35 in x 7.49 in x 0.37 in||11.5 inches x 7.9 inches x 0.29 inches|
|weight||1.85 pounds||1.23 pounds|
|processor||Max Core i7-1255U||Intel Core i5-1230U
Intel Core i7-1250U
|graphics||Up to Intel Iris Xe||Intel Iris Xe|
|lamb||Up to 16GB LPDDR4x||8GB or 16GB LPDDR4x|
|Denote||12.4″ 16:10 2.5K (2560 x 1600) IPS||13-inch 3:2 2.8K (2,880 x 1,920) IPS|
|Save||Up to 512 GB PCIe SSD||512 GB or 1 TB PCIe SSD|
|port||2 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
|2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x USB-C to USB-A adapter
1 x USB-C to 3.5mm Audio Jack Adapter
1 x Nano SIM (optional)
|wireless telephone||Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1||Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1
Optional 5GB WWAN
|webcam||5MP front with IR camera for Windows 11 Hello
|1080p with infrared camera for Windows 11 Hell0
|operating system||windows 11||windows 11|
|battery||50 watt hours||49.5 watt hours|
|evaluation||3.5 out of 5||3.5 out of 5|
The IdeaPad Duet 5i has only one configuration, the $790 model featuring a Core i3-1215U CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. A keyboard folio is included, but a $30 pen is not included. That compares to the XPS 13 2-in-1, which has a Core i5-1230U, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD and starts at $1,000, with no keyboard folio or pen at $100. On the high end, you’ll spend $1,449 for a Core i7-1250U, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD without a keyboard and pen.
The IdeaPad Duet 5i is inexpensive, but it also uses low-end components. You spend more money on the XPS 13 2-in-1, but you get faster parts, more RAM, and more storage.
Both tablets are typical slates, with the IdeaPad Duet 5i having slightly more rounded corners. Lenovo offers two colors, Storm Gray and Stone Blue, while Dell offers Sky and Slate. Both designs are simple and have little to differentiate aesthetically.
Manufactured from aluminum, the XPS 13 2-in-1 has an all-glass back, so the build quality is no different. While both are solid designs, the IdeaPad Duet 5i has one distinct feature. A kickstand in the center of the back of the tablet supports the tablet at various angles. It’s like the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 in this respect. The XPS 13 2-in-1 uses a detachable folio keyboard as a kickstand and offers only three angles that are magnetically held.
The IdeaPad Duet 5i includes a detachable keyboard with ample key spacing and light, quick switches for a comfortable feel. The included touchpad is small but functional. The XPS 13 2-in-1’s keyboard is a $100 add-on with an active pen (a $30 option on Lenovo) and has a similar edge-to-edge design as the XPS 13 Plus. It’s comfortable for long typing sessions, and the touchpad is similarly sized and functional. Both keyboards have the same flaws, most notably that they lie flat and aren’t as supportive as Microsoft’s Type Cover.
Both tablets are limited to USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 ports, but the IdeaPad Duet 5i includes a 3.5mm audio jack which the XPS 13 2-in-1 excludes. Dell includes USB-C to USB-A and USB-C to 3.5mm audio dongles. Both feature Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1, and Dell includes the option of 5G WWAN connectivity.
Finally, the IdeaPad Duet 5i has 5MP front and rear webcams, while the XPS 13 2-in-1 has a 1080p front camera and a 2160p rear camera. Both devices offer excellent image quality for video conferencing.
The Core i3-1215U in the IdeaPad Duet 5i we tested is a 15-watt 12th-gen processor with only 6 cores (2 performance, 4 efficiency) and 8 threads. It has higher raw power than the XPS 13 2-in-1’s 9-watt Core i5-1230U, but it’s the lowest-spec CPU we’ve tested in that lineup. However, this CPU has 10 cores, 2 performance cores, 8 efficient cores and 12 threads.
Still, Lenovo came close to Dell in Geekbench 5, beat Cinebench R23, and only trailed significantly in the Handbrake test, which encodes a 420MB video to H.265. Both laptops scored nearly identical on the PCMark 10 Complete benchmark. Ultimately, both of these tablets can handle the same kind of productivity tasks, and neither is suited for creativity.
|Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5i
|Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
|Feet: 1,513 / 5,676
Performance: 1,515 / 5,970
|Balance: 1,435 / 6,099
Performance: 1,572 / 7,028
|Balance: 1,488 / 4,087
Performance: 1,582 / 4,842
|Balance: 1,064 / 3,032
Performance: 1,065 / 3,009
|PCMark 10 complete
(higher is better)
Both tablets feature sharper IPS displays in longer formats, with the XPS 13 2-in-1 enjoying a 3:2 aspect ratio that’s closer to real paper than the IdeaPad Duet 5i’s 16:10. However, the IdeaPad had a much brighter display with a wider range of colors. Both had excellent contrast against IPS displays, and the IdeaPad’s one weakness was the XPS 13 2-in-1’s strength: poor color accuracy.
But unless you’re concerned about photo or video proofing at Lenovo, both tablets are great for productivity work.
|Lenovo IdeaPad Due 5i
|Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
(DeltaE, lower is better)
These are two thin and light slates, but the XPS 13 2-in-1 is thinner and lighter at 0.29 inches and 1.23 pounds compared to the IdeaPad’s 0.37 inches and 1.85 pounds. But add the Folio keyboard and they both approach a clamshell laptop in terms of weight and thickness. It’s portable enough though.
Battery life was in favor of the IdeaPad Duet 5i. Both tablets had about 50 Wh of battery at their disposal, but the Lenovo lasted much longer in our battery tests. Neither can get you through a full day on a single charge, but you’ll be out of your Dell charger much sooner.
|Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5i
|Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
|web browsing||7 hours 55 minutes||5 hours 55 minutes|
|video||10 hours 42 minutes||8 hours 25 minutes|
The XPS 13 2-in-1 has more headroom, but the IdeaPad Duet 5i has the price advantage.
If you’re looking for a device to augment your basic desktop or more traditional laptop, you’ll love the IdeaPad Duet 5i’s price. An affordable tablet with enough power and battery life to provide a meaningful addition to reliable computing.
However, the XPS 13 2-in-1 can be configured with more RAM and storage, the latter being the IdeaPad’s weak spot and offering greater computing headroom. But you will pay for the privilege.