Saturday, January 29, 2022

CES 2022: No frills, no problem. The Dell XPS 13 Plus is stunning

The Dell XPS 13 Plus premium laptop released at CES 2022 comes with an absolutely stunning design overhaul.

With the XPS 13 Plus, Dell has taken minimalism to a new level, merging the touchpad with the palm rest and eliminating the cutout lines between them. A set of motors under the touchpad provides consistent haptic feedback no matter where the user clicks. To match the palm rest’s uniformity, the keyboard narrows the gaps between the keys, creating a seamless look that melds into the chassis.

Pushing the philosophy further, rather than providing discrete function keys, Dell installed a capacitive function row. It certainly looks great, and Dell still offers the ability to toggle between function keys and media keys, but this feature may not sit well with typists who prefer tactility.

The Dell XPS 13 Plus keyboard
Look at all that minimalism. Source: Dell

Another omission is the audio jack. While buyers have somewhat reconciled themselves to its demise on premium smartphones, removing it from a laptop device is sure to draw some backlash. A 3.5mm audio jack is still very handy for older audio equipment. And most workplaces don’t always have wireless audio equipment lying around.

Internally, the Dell XPS 13 Plus uses Intel’s 12th Gen Core i5 and i7 P series processors, up to 32GB of LPDDR5 memory, and up to 2TB of PCIe 4 SSD storage. The graphics option is limited to the integrated Intel Xe graphics.

Dell XPS 13 Plus specifications

Device Dell XPS 13 Plus
Processor Up to Intel Core i7-1280P, 14-cores (6 P-cores+ 8 E-cores)
Memory 8GB to 32GB LPDDR5
Graphics Integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics
Storage 256GB to 2TB PCIe 4 SSD
Display
  • 13.4-inch, 3840×2400, InfinityEdge touch display, DisplayHDR 400, 500-nit, 90% DCI-P3
  • 13.4-inch 3.5K (3456 x 2160) InfinityEdge OLED touch display, DisplayHDR 500, 400-nit, 100% DCI-P3
  • 13.4-inch, 1920 x 1200, InfinityEdge touch display, 500-nits, 100% sRGB
  • 13.4-inch, 1920 x 1200, InfinityEdge display, 500-nits, 100% sRGB
Ports 2x Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C
Battery 55Whr
Weight 1.24kg (2.73lbs)
Colours Platinum or Graphite
Operating system  Windows 11 Home, Pro or Ubuntu 20.04
Pricing and availability Starting at US$1,200, available spring 2022

The Dell XPS 13 laptops have historically used mobile processors that ran at 15W TDP. The Intel 12th gen P-series mobile processors are specced at 28W TDP. Although they’re faster, they also generate more heat than previous versions. To keep the machine cool and quiet, Dell installed two larger fans closer to the edge. The company says this new design draws 55 per cent more air without increasing noise.

The Dell XPS 13 Plus display
The bezels around the InfinityEdge display are as thin as ever. Source: Dell

Dell offers four options for its InfinityEdge display, with resolutions ranging from 1200p to 4K. They all appear to boast impressive brightness and colour gamut coverage, at least according to the spec sheet. There’s even a 3.5K OLED option with 100 per cent DCI-P3 gamut coverage.

At just 15mm thin and 1.24kg (2.73lbs), the laptop is designed for mobile productivity. It comes with just two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports though, leaving only one open when the device is charging. With that said, users may not need the wall socket all that often, given its sizeable 55Whr battery and the more efficient processor.

The Dell XPS 13 Plus is crafted from CNC machined aluminum. It comes in Platinum or Graphite colour options. The device will be available in spring 2022 starting at US$1,200.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT World Canada. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at tli@itwc.ca.

After being all-digital last year, the Consumer Electronics Show is back in Las Vegas for 2022. Find all the latest news and announcements from the showroom floor at CES 2022.

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