Dell XPS 18 Review | My New “Ridiculous” Computer

“I just bought a new computer”. Normally this is something someone will post to FB, grab a few likes and move on, however the computer I recently purchased is pretty unique, so I thought I would share it in a more detailed post.

I recently picked up the Dell XPS 18, an 18-inch All-in-One / tablet. You read that right. It’s essentially an 18-inch tablet. Except, well, it’s not.

The Dell XPS 18 functions primarily as a desktop. It’s large screen size means it has a full-size monitor “built right in”. It’s secondary purpose is as a tablet. 18 inches is pretty massive for a tablet but the picture below will hopefully make the use-case a little clearer.

Dell XPS 18 as a Tablet

You see, the XPS 18 is not meant to be held in one hand like smaller tablets; instead it is perfect company resting on your lap on your couch. It comes with a charging stand that you can set up on your desk and when you want to relax with it on the couch, you simply grab it off the stand and away you go!

You can see in the main image (above) that it is a very flexible device. You can lie it flat, stand it up, put it in the stand or hold it in your hand.

The decision to pick it up wasn’t easy, though. I spent months agonizing over which new computer to buy to meet what I thought were simple requirements:

  • 90-95% use as a desktop
  • 5-10% as a tablet

I was pretty excited about the Surface Pro 2, an amazing tablet that operates as a full desktop, but the price tag blew me away and the 10-inch screen was lacking, considering I would use it primarily at my desk. There were very few machines that were both portable and powerful with good screen real estate.

The XPS 18 is definitely the best of both worlds. It weighs 5 lbs so it is easy to grab off the stand and carry around, it’s quite fast and comes with ample storage (500GB). Complete with 8GB of RAM, it can run anything you throw at it easily, with the exception of intense games.

So if you’re looking for a new desktop with some versatility, try the Dell XPS 18. It does help that I got it on sale for $699 down from over $1,000.


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Bing Desktop | Automatically Refresh Your Desktop Wallpaper

If you are like me, you likely spend the majority of your day on a computer. Why not make that screen you stare at all day a little easier to look at?

I used to periodically change my desktop wallpaper manually, until I discovered Bing Desktop. Bing Desktop allows you to automatically update your desktop background every day to the same image currently featured on Bing. Although I am a Google fan through-and-through, I have to admit that Bing’s interface — with its gorgeous featured images — is superior to Google’s plain interface. However, the search engine is certainly not. So, this way you get to enjoy Bing’s beautiful desktop images without having to interact with an inferior search engine.

Installing Bing Desktop is very easy and once installed it will automatically update your background when launched. To have it update each day you can do one of several things:Automatically Download New Desktop Wallpapers

  1. You can have it running all the time, simply minimized (not recommended, unless you use Bing for search)
  2. You can have it opened at a scheduled time with Task Scheduler (this is what I have done. I have it open every day at 9am to refresh my desktop).
  3. Or, you can drag it into a corner which will cause it to auto-hide and be placed in the system tray

Interestingly, Windows 8 (and maybe even Windows 7) comes with a built-in ability for a desktop refresh with specified intervals. However, I was not able to find a way to tell it to use Bing images. You can specify a folder of images for it to scroll through but there doesn’t seem to be a way to tell it to set the image to whatever is featured on Bing. This is an obvious feature that would have been nice to have baked into Windows 8.

Anyways, give it a shot and let me know what you think. I have already found staring at my computer to be much more pleasant now that I see a refreshing new image each day.