Why Hello There, Dell XPS 13 Plus

Why Hello There, Dell XPS 13 Plus
Image: Dell

Another CES and another bad ass XPS laptop from Dell, this time the XPS 13 has received a makeover, and an extra word.

The XPS 13 has been the darling of CES numerous times, and rightfully so. At the last release, we declared the XPS 13 was basically perfection and labelled it the best all-rounder laptop. This year, it looks to somehow trump those statements. The Dell XPS 13 Plus.

Plus what? You ask.

According to Nick DiLoreto, the XPS 13 Plus is the result of Dell realising the values of customers were changing. To him, this means it was necessary for “even greater simplicity”.

“We’ve looked to reduce finishes, we’ve simplified the interior of the product, we’ve gone to a new capacitive function row, which only lights either the media keys or the function keys depending on what the user is using … and we’ve also been looking constantly to increase the size of the keycaps in XPS products over the generations,” he said during a press briefing ahead of CES 2022.

Dell XPS 13 Plus
Image: Dell

So, 100 per cent key caps, ‘zero lattice’ keyboard (or in less jargony terms, one with no wasted space), the keyboard spans from one edge of the deck to the other, with practically no gaps between the sharply-angled keys, which offer a measly 1-millimetre of travel, a seamless, glass haptic trackpad – meaning no lines around the trackpad.

This keyboard is purposely missing a key element: the function row. Replacing the Fn keys are touch capacitive ones flush with the deck, a change Dell says will make it easier to swap between function and media keys.

Dell XPS 13 Plus
Image: Dell

The Dell XPS 13 Plus also has four speakers.

“We thought that sound should be heard and not seen. So, when we add the two upward firing speakers, they actually fire upward through the keyboard,” DiLoreto explained.

Just to be clear, the XPS 13 Plus will sit alongside the XPS 13, not replace it. It is, though, much more than the same laptop with a buzzword lopped on the end.

Here’s what Dell has to say about the XPS 13 Plus:

Performance, design and packaging; from top to bottom, we’ve stripped away the unnecessary and streamlined features to deliver a complete, seamless experience. Simplified interiors make your creative experience the focus, with best-in-class edge-to-edge displays that bring your visions to life. Additionally, leading battery technology make sure you can go the distance without disruptions. And with Express Charge 2.0 that gets your laptop to about 80 per cent battery life in less than an hour, you can quickly juice up on the fly. Oh, and did we mention it’s just as light and thin? More power, without weighing you down.

Dell XPS 13 Plus specs

  • 13.4-inch laptop
  • Display: 4K UHD+/3.5K OLED/FHD+
  • 1.24kg
  • 15.28mm thick
  • Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  • Processor: (up to) 12th Generation Intel Core i7-1280P (24MB cache, up to 4.8 GHz, 14 cores)
  • Memory: (up to) 32GB
  • 55WHr battery
  • 2x Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C) with DisplayPort and Power Delivery
  • 1 USB-C to USB-A v3.0 adapter ships standard
  • The Dell XPS 13 Plus is available in light (Platinum) and dark (Graphite)

Dell didn’t provide battery life estimates, but we’re eager to see whether the more power-hungry processor affects runtimes. The non-replaceable 55WHr battery will need to last for at least 10 hours of normal use for the XPS 13 Plus to steal its siblings’ spot as the best alternative to the MacBook Air, especially since Apple’s latest systems are getting closer to the 15-hour mark.

XPS 13 Plus is available worldwide Autumn 2022, with Windows 11 or Ubuntu 20.04 on the Developer Edition. The XPS 13 Plus will set you back a starting RRP of $2,999.

Ultra Sharp 4K monitor

Dell didn’t stop at the XPS 13 Plus, no, no, it also used CES 2022 to give us the Ultra Sharp 32, 4K video conferencing monitor (U3223QZ).

 

Dell is touting this one as being designed to provide collaborative, connected and visual experiences. It features an ‘intelligent’ webcam and boasts IPS Black panel technology.

Dell UltraSharp 32 4K Video Conferencing Monitor (U3223QZ) is available worldwide on March 29. Pricing to be confirmed nearer to shipping date.

ultrawide monitor
Image: Dell