Dell XPS 11. More on that Keyboard (Video)

Posted on 06 March 2014 By


Dell XPS 11 (16)

Ben gave us a hands-on with the Dell XPS11 last week so I wanted to follow up with my own video hands-on from MWC. I took the opportunity to get up-close with the keyboard and test it. POV keyboard video coming up…

Like Ben, I worry about the keyboard. It has advantages in its slim design, light weight, dust and water resistance and, possibly, in longevity, but you will not want to use this keyboard to write reports. Data-entry, emails, social networking, URLS, banking and other activities could work out fine making this a great sofa-side laptop but at this price, is it worth it? You can do all those things on an 8-inch Windows 8 tablet for $199. (Current offer at BestBuy.)

Dell XPS 11 (3)Dell XPS 11 (6)

Dell don’t have much to say about the keyboard quality in their marketing…

Innovative keyboard: A solid-surface touch keyboard protects the keys in your bag or in your lap – even in tablet mode when they are not in use. And when it’s time to type, the backlit keyboard makes it easy to see in low light situations.

It seems that ‘protection’ is the main feature here.

That said, I encourage you to look at the video where I talk in more detail about the experience.

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  1. #1 by PolkSDA on March 6, 2014 - 21:56

    Ugh. As someone who never learned to touch type, but instead clumsily hunts and pecks at about 50-60 words per minute, tactile feedback is an absolute MUST. I do well on shallow-travel keyboards (for my desktops both at home and work I use the Logitech K750 solar keyboard, and my current laptop is a Dell XPS 12), but I need to have SOME feedback.

    That’s why I don’t do well on virtual keyboard devices (cellphones, tablets, etc.). I need to have physical keys that not only give audible feedback, but tactile response.

    Some might love this, but it’s a complete nonstarter for me…

    • #2 by bojangles on March 7, 2014 - 04:19

      I’m not a speed demon but I touch type well enough and I still don’t do well on virtual keyboards. On my Android phone, Swype and SwiftKey improve things for me but they’re still not good enough to replace a real keyboard.

      On tablets, virtual keyboards are worse. At least that’s my experience with Windows 8. Sometimes, I can detect a possible mistake with physical keyboards (ie. I feel the edge of key or can tell it’s not the enter or some other different shaped key so I pull/adjust my finger). With touch keyboards, you have to constantly look at the keys and text field which is really annoying. I use the terminal a lot (SSH, Cygwin on Windows and general stuff on Linux) and software keyboards are a pain.

      Windows 8.1 is still missing the up/down arrows for the main software keyboard. The desktop only OSK.exe (acts as a regular window) got some touch improvements and does have up/down arrows but it doesn’t dock in landscape mode. Desktop apps aren’t aware of it unlike the main software keyboard. It does dock in portrait mode though. I don’t know why MS decided that people only wants to dock it only in portrait is beyond me.

  2. #3 by bojangles on March 7, 2014 - 04:07

    Thumbs up to Dell for trying to improve things. Too bad they started with a not so good idea (Yoga form factor) and then made the bad part worse. I’ve used a friend’s Lenovo Yoga several times and it’s just not good unless you just use it as a regular notebook.

    I just hope this fail doesn’t stop Dell from trying new things.

  3. #4 by Peter Crook on March 7, 2014 - 19:48

    Had mine for 2 months now and I love it. After a couple of weeks I got used to the keyboard and use it daily.
    I would choose this over the Surface the flexibility of the positions you can use xps11 is excellent.
    Just have to have the right view of the xps 11 it is a tablet first with a built in cover and kickstand that just happens to be a keyboard as well.

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