CES 2022 (opens in new tab): Dell has announced a new variant of its acclaimed XPS 13 performance laptop series. Named XPS 13 Plus, the new range sports a distinctive new design along with revamped OLED displays and the latest 12th-generation Intel Core processors.
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The 13.4-inch OLED can be specced in FHD+ (1920 x 1080) resolution with an impressive claimed brightness of 500 nits, with or without touch sensitivity. If you need even greater sharpness, 3.5K and 4K resolutions are also available, both with touch sensitivity, and capable of 400- and 500-nit max brightness, respectively.
And it's not just the screen that's touch-sensitive. New to the XPS 13 Plus is what Dell is calling the ‘capacitive touch function row’. These touch buttons replace traditional function (Fn) physical keys, helping to minimise the overall size of the laptop as much as possible. That seems to be the only significant benefit, however, as unlike the old TouchBar on MacBooks, Dell's touch button implementation isn't customisable. The physical keyboard itself has also been given a revamp, with larger yet flatter keys, though key travel remains at 1mm. The keyboard has also been set flush with the surrounding chassis for a sleeker look.
Directly below the keyboard is where you'd expect to find the trackpad, but here Dell has taken a leaf out of Apple's book and fitted the XPS 13 Plus with a new haptic 'ForcePad': a trackpad with a haptic motor that gives the feel of mechanical click feedback without the pad actually depressing.(opens in new tab)
Processing power comes from Intel's newest 12th-gen Core processors, supporting Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, though the microSD slot and 3.5mm audio jack have been ditched. The payoff for these omissions is a laptop that's just 15.2mm thick and 1.24kg light, making it an ideal candidate for one of the best ultrabooks. (opens in new tab) It's also worth noting that, according to Dell, this is the firsty XPS model to be manufactured using renewable energy sources, while also being 100% recyclable at end of life.(opens in new tab)
Expect to pay $1,199 for an entry-level XPS 13 Plus equipped with an Intel Core i5–1240P processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD storage and the 13.4-inch FHD+ display (non-touch). The XPS 13 Plus can also be specced with higher-res screens, a Core i7 processor, up to 32GB of RAM, and up to a 2TB SSD, though we're still awaiting pricing for upgraded XPS 13 Plus configurations.