XPS 13 Plus - Dell's Beautiful, Breakout Laptop Is In Need Of Some Refinement
|Dell XPS 13 Plus - Starting MSRP: $1299.00
Dell's new XPS 13 Plus laptop is a radical departure from traditional ultralight designs. It's a gorgeous, powerful machine with a couple of caveats.
Dell's XPS 13 line of ultralight laptops has been wildly popular for several generations now, so it's no wonder its physical design hasn't undergone many major changes along the way. However, the new Dell XPS 13 Plus (model 9320) is a very different little beastie, from its oversized key caps and platinum glass palm rest in its typing deck, to what Dell is calling its "seamless glass, haptic force pad" and its capacitive touch function key row. Without question, the XPS 13 Plus' force pad haptics and seamless touchpad (or lack there of) are a fairly radical departure from most traditional laptop designs. Though cutting to the quick on that topic, we don't think this design change is something that will require much end user learning curve, as it's generally well-executed. In fact, we could see this being be a design innovation Dell builds upon for future products as well. Yes, we personally like the way it looks and performs that much, though admittedly some may find Dell's bold industrial design departure jarring.
Indeed, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as the saying goes. So, whether the XPS 13 Plus' understated design and super-clean lines are for you, is a question you'll have to answer for yourself. That said, though looks are only part of the equation, this is indeed one gorgeous 13-inch clamshell laptop. Take a gander for yourself in our hands-on preview video tour with Randall from Dell...
Dell XPS 13 Plus Features And Specs
|Processor||14-core Intel Core i7-12800H processor, Turbo Boost to 4.8GHz, with 24MB of Cache|
|OS||Windows 11 Home|
|Display||13.4" 3.5K (3456 x 2160) InfinityEdge OLED touch, DisplayHDR 500, 400 nits, 100% DCI P3 gamut, 100,000:1 contrast ratio, anti-reflective|
|Graphics (GPU)||Intel Iris Xe Graphics|
|Storage||512GB PCIe Gen4 NVMe|
|Memory||16GB LPDDR5 5200MHz dual-channel memory|
|Keyboard||Platinum Backlit English Keyboard with Windows Hello Fingerprint Reader In Power Button|
|Connectivity||Killer Wireless Wi-Fi 6 AX211 (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax/az), Bluetooth 5.2|
|Touchpad||Seamless glass, Haptic ForcePad|
|I/O||2x Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type C) with DisplayPort and Power Delivery, 1 USB C to USB A v3.0 adapter|
|Audio||USB-C To 3.5mm Audio Dongle, Quad speaker design with 8W total output Dual microphone array optimized|
|Finish||CNC machined aluminum with glass palm rest in platinum|
|Dimensions||Height: 15.28 mm (0.60”), Width: 295.3mm (11.63”), Depth: 199.04mm (7.84”)|
|Weight||Starting weight: 1.23kg (2.71 lbs.); 1.26 kg, (2.77 lbs) with OLED|
|Battery & Adaptor||Built-in 55WHr rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery, 60W AC adapter, (USB Type-C)|
|Additional Features||HD (720p) Windows Hello camera in upper bezel, ambient Light Sensor for display backlight control|
|Warranty||US only: 1 year of Premium Support standard; Optional hardware warranty extensions up to 4 years|
For connectivity, we're treated to Intel's Killer Wi-Fi 6 (AX211) Wi-Fi NIC with packet prioritization as well as Bluetooth 5.2, and a pair of USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4 ports. Unfortunately, that's where the connectivity ends, as Dell has removed both the microSD card reader and the headphone jack from this laptop. Since most folks are rocking wireless buds these days, the latter isn't as much of a concern (especially since Dell does include a 3.5mm USB-C dongle) but the former is a bummer for anyone that likes to work regularly with digital cameras, like our team here at HotHardware.
Other accoutrements include a 720p limited webcam that's Windows Hello capable at least, along with an ambient light sensor that should improve your picture somewhat. Although, in this day and age of work-from-home, we were hoping for 1080p resolution to up that all-important video conference game. Finally, a modest 55 Whr battery (more on this later) is on board and a bundled 60 Watt AC USB Type-C power adapter with Express Charge allows you to replenish the machine from zero to 80% in less than an hour. That's not as fast as some competitive machines but top offs are still reasonably quick.
Dell XPS 13 Plus Design, Materials And Build Quality
The XPS 13 Plus' capacitive function button row, on the other hand, may be a bit polarizing for some that regularly use these keys. This strip above the keyboard is basically a backlit patterned area that has capacitive touch points behind each icon. Users can switch between function or media keys, just by hitting the function button on the keyboard and the escape key. However, it's the lack of a key stroke feedback that may take some getting used to. Personally, we didn't think this was a big drawback at all, and again we simply like the clean design aesthetic this feature affords. However, these keys also stay continuously backlit, which also likely takes a small toll on battery life as well.
XPS 13 Plus Display - Stunning In 13.4-Inch 3.5K OLED
Pulling in all of these industrial design innovations, excellent build quality, materials and workmanship, the Dell XPS 13 Plus is one beautiful thin and light laptop. But that's only part of the story, so let's fire this beauty up for some performance testing, next...