The Dell XPS 13 Plus is now available from $ 1,299

Dell XPS 13 Plus

Photo: Dell

Dell’s latest version of its popular XPS laptop family, the XPS 13 Plus, has arrived. Announced at CES in January, the XPS 13 Plus shares DNA with the standard model, but was built from scratch with a more streamlined chassis with a haptic touchpad, a capacitive range of functions and an edge-to-edge keyboard.

It is a daring entry that critics may view as an oversimplification that replaces physical inputs with capacitive ones. Others may see the XPS 13 Plus as a logical advance for the ultra-thin category, which modernizes older features. We’ll soon decide where the XPS 13 Plus falls, as the laptop hits stores today at a starting price of $ 1,299 for the Windows 11 edition or $ 1,249 for the Developer Edition running Ubuntu 20.04.

For those who missed the original announcement, the XPS 13 Plus is a 13.4-inch laptop with an extremely portable CNC aluminum chassis that measures 11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches and weighs 2.7 pound.

Replacing the standard touchpad is what Dell calls a “haptic ForcePad”, a touch-sensitive surface similar to what you would find on a MacBook. Instead of actually depressing, the touchpad uses haptic feedback to mimic the click-like sensation. The keyboard was also redesigned so that its flat keys span from one edge to the other.

Dell XPS 13 Plus

Photo: Dell

Perhaps more appalling is the range of touch-capable function buttons, which are small LED-lit keys that you press to adjust things like brightness, volume level, and microphone on / off. Dell claims that this will make it easier to switch between function and media keys – we just hope it does not suffer the same fate as Apple Touch Bar.

Other changes to the chassis include a quad speaker setup with twins behind the keyboard shooting upwards and another pair underneath. The fans were also enlarged to allow for 28W 12th generation of Intel P-series processorsintermediate chips between the powerful H-Series chips and the low-power U-Series used in previous XPS models.

The XPS 13 Plus comes with four CPU options, ranging from a 12-core Intel Core i5-1240P CPU (4.7 GHz) to a 14-core Core i7-1280P (4.8 GHz) processor. The chip can be paired with up to 32 Gb DDR5 RAM and up to a 2TB PCIe SSD. Graphics are limited to Iris Xe, and connectivity is the latest and greatest: Wi-Fi 6e and Bluetooth 5.2.

Dell XPS 13 Plus

Photo: Dell

Dell usually does not skimp on the quality of its XPS monitors, so I have high expectations for the 13.4-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel (16:10) LED panel, which is said to reach 500 nits and hit 100% sRGB coverage. Those who are willing to swap battery life for image quality, you can select a 4K, DisplayHDR 400 panel or an OLED touch screen.

When we talk about battery life, that piece remains a mystery. We know that the XPS 13 Plus has a built-in 55Wh battery and can be charged to 80% in less than an hour, but no operating time estimate was given. We fill in all the blanks and give you our own impressions of the XPS 13 Plus in the coming weeks.

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