Dell France invited us to take over the Dell XPS 13 Plus, a new ultraportable presented at the beginning of the year at CES 2022.
The Dell XPS 13 has a special place in the ultraportable market. It is through this flagship that various innovations in technology were born. Notably, it is the first tech product to benefit from an edge-to-edge screen, long before smartphones. The manufacturer renews its flagship at a high rate, every 6 or 8 months, often with significant changes. However, the firm has decided to completely review its copy in 2022 and, on the occasion, has slightly changed the name of the device. This is how at CES 2022, the firm presented its Dell XPS 13 Plus with a new design. We were able to take it in hand.
Fineness and finishes
Well, Dell has not yet reinvented the wheel, we are still facing a classic 13-inch ultraportable in its profile: impossible to transform it into a tablet or fold it, for example. But the firm wanted to focus the design on its climax and refine everything that could still remain in the product lines.
We are facing a 13.4-inch screen in 16:10 format and occupying more or less most of the space. Dell still hasn’t forgotten about the 720p camera above the screen that even allows Windows Hello support thanks to an infrared sensor. User identification can also be done via a fingerprint reader on the keyboard.
But let’s go back to the screen for a moment, of which Dell offers several configurations. The least expensive will give you simple Full HD 1920 x 1200 pixels with a 100% sRGB certified panel. If you’re going to the luxury market, you’ll have the choice between a 3.5K (3456 x 2160 pixels) 100% DCI-P3 OLED panel and DisplayHDR500 or a 4K UHD+ (3840 x 2400 pixels) 90% DCI-P3 LCD panel and DisplayHDR 400.
The virtual absence of a border around the screen is, in any case, surprising when you have it in front of your eyes. We begin to wonder how manufacturers will be able to push these limits further.
The other great novelty in terms of design is found in the lower part of the machine. For the first time in a while, Dell has completely overhauled its keyboard, which now runs the full width of the device to maximize typing comfort. Above the keyboard, the function keys have been replaced with a Touch Bar to further simplify the layout.
And underneath, there’s nothing else physically visible, but Dell does integrate a touchpad with haptic feedback. This is a new generation of touchpad that should be found in more and more laptops and should offer a very believable physical response, similar to Apple’s Force Touch.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to test the keyboard or trackpad during this quickstart. The prototype being demonstrated, the only example present, had a small problem at this level. These are the vagaries of presentations before a product launch. Therefore, we will wait for the test to form an opinion on this integration. In particular, it remains to be seen whether locating the touchpad is easy when there is no longer any physical demarcation below the keyboard.
The emphasis on design requires, Dell is content with the bare minimum for connectivity in a high-end machine: a USB-C Thunderbolt 4 port on each side of the machine, and that’s about it. Even the 3.5mm jack port couldn’t stand the job of simplifying the design of Dell computers. However, the brand specifies that a USB-C to USB-A adapter will be provided in the box. Wireless, the Dell XPS 13 Plus will go through Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 to ensure the connection.
It remains for us to remember the characteristics of the Dell XPS 13 Plus. Under the hood, we find the latest generation of 12th generation Intel processors : Intel Core i5-1240P, Intel Core i7-1260P, Intel Core i7-1270P or Intel Core i7-1280P, all with a TDP of 28W. The processor will be paired with 8 to 32GB of DDR5 5200MHz RAM, an integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics chip, and 256 to 2TB of PCIe 4.0 SSD storage.
The 55Wh battery can be charged using the 60W USB-C power adapter offered with the machine.
Uncertain release date
In the various press releases from Dell, we could read here and there a release from March 22, 2022 or more generally in the spring. The brand, like other manufacturers, has to deal with component shortages and each product launch is complex. We saw it again recently with the release of the excellent Alienware QD-Oled AW3423DW sold out until late summer.
When asked about the Dell XPS 13 Plus launch in France, Dell told us a “soon” release without further details. After this handling session by the press, we can still expect a summer release in the next few weeks.