Dell’s experimental new XPS 13 Plus ultraportable is now on sale with a starting price of $1,299.
Available directly from Dell, there are a range of configurations and options to choose from. The base model packs a capable Intel Core i5-1240P processor (28W, 12-core chip with 4.4GHz boost clock), 8GB LPDDR5 RAM, a 13.4-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) display and 512GB SSD.
Or you can max this thing out at an Intel Core i7-1260P (same wattage and core count but with 18MB cache and 4.7GHz boost clock), 32GB RAM, a 2TB NVMe SSD and a UHD+ panel (3840 x 2400) for a max price of $2,359.
Pushing the envelope
We picked the Dell XPS 13 Plus as our best of show for CES 2022, which on the face of it is quite a controversial decision. It removes a slew of features in the aim of streamlining the whole device.
For example, there is only two Thunderbolt 4 ports on here (with a USB-C to USB-A dongle included in the box) and you won’t find a 3.5mm headphone jack anywhere on here (you can buy an optional dongle for this). But what is left is a minimalist, futuristic device that is unlike any Ultrabook we’ve seen so far.
The zero-lattice keyboard stretches across the entirety of the bottom deck of the XPS 13 Plus, which allows for far bigger keycaps than you’d expect in a smaller system. Below it is a seamless glass trackpad with no border around it whatsoever. It makes for a uniquely clean aesthetic, but we’d love to see whether that lack of area designation makes it easy to use.
Up top, you’ve got a bright and vivid display with 91.9% screen-to-body coverage, a 500-nit brightness and up to a 100% sRGB color gamut. Pairing a good screen with good audio, Dell has crammed quad speakers into here, too.
Outlook: Is this the future of Ultrabooks?
With the XPS 13 Plus, Dell has made some huge gambles by completely changing one of its most popular laptops. In fact, some of these decisions on the face of it can be quite annoying, such as saying “sayonara” to the headphone jack.
But this is part of the company’s redefining of the word “premium,” offering an extremely streamlined experience rather than packing it with bells and whistles.
Has this gamble paid off? We will be reviewing the XPS 13 Plus soon, so stick around for that.