One of the most popular ultrabooks on the market has a Plus edition which promises to be excellent, in addition to being visually sumptuous.
With its sleek looks, exceptionally thin frame and bezels, decent performance and impeccable build quality, the Dell XPS 13 has established itself as one of the best ultrabooks on the market; it is now back in a Plus edition which seems particularly promising.
As soon as one sets eyes on the machine, one conclusion is immediately obvious: the XPS 13 Plus is truly a superb machine. It starts with the integration of the backlit keyboard, which now occupies the entire width of the chassis. A novelty which makes its small effect visually, but which should also bring a real added value in terms of ergonomics since it makes it possible to increase the size of the keys.
The uncluttered trackpad also comes uncluttered, although some users will prefer to have a visual cue. But the haptic feedback from the glass surface should still make it work to touch without any problem. We also note the media / touch function keys above the keyboard, where Apple had chosen to place the Touch Bar of MacBooks at the time.
Still a flattering screen?
If we refer to the screens of previous models, which were of excellent craftsmanship, we can expect Dell to keep its good recipe. In any case, there is a 13.4-inch 16:10 screen, which will be available in four different versions:
- A standard panel in FHD + (1920 x 1200), with a contrast ratio of 2000: 1
- A FHD + touch screen (1920 x 1200), with a contrast ratio of 2000: 1 and an anti-fingerprint / anti-reflective coating
- A touch screen in 4K UHD + (3840 x 2400) with DisplayHDR 400 support, 90% DCI-P3 gamut coverage, 1650: 1 contrast ratio, and anti-fingerprint / anti-reflective coating
- Finally, a slab 3.5K touch OLED (3456 x 2160) with 100% DCI-P3 coverage, an advertised contrast ratio of 100,000: 1, a layer of Gorilla Glass 7, and still the anti-fingerprint / anti-reflective coating.
This last slab, in particular, promises to be magnificent. It will nevertheless be interesting to wait for the first benchmarks before jumping on it. Because if the autonomy of the XPS range is usually part of the top of the basket, this 4K panel had an unfortunate tendency to massacre the autonomy of the 2020 edition.
Intel 12-Gen under the hood
Fortunately, there is cause for optimism on this issue. The issue of energy management is one of the main arguments of Alder Lake, the latest generation of Intel CPUs with which this XPS 13 Plus is equipped. Depending on the model, it will be possible to choose between four different processors:
- Intel i5-1240P (12 MB cache, 12 cores overclockable up to 4.4 GHz)
- Intel i5-1260P (18 MB cache, 12 cores overclockable up to 4.7 GHz)
- Intel i5-1270P (18 MB cache, 12 cores overclockable up to 4.8 GHz)
- Intel i5-1280P (24 MB cache, 14 cores overclockable up to 4.8 GHz)
If we refer to the excellent performance of the Alder Lake range so far, that should be more than enough to offer a relatively muscular device. Notebook Check for example spotted the trace of a benchmark where the i5-1250P model (halfway between the first two on the list) is placed at the level of a Ryen 5 5600X. Very impressive for a CPU of this category! For the graphics part, Ultrabook requires, it will be necessary to deal with the absence of a dedicated card. The display will be managed by the new generation Intel Iris Xe graphics processor.
As for the RAM, the different models will be entitled to 8, 16 or 32 GB of fast LPDDR5, clocked at 5200 MHz. Be careful, however; the strips are soldered to the motherboard, so it will not be possible to replace them yourself. The same goes for the 55 WHr battery; it will therefore be necessary to visit the store to repair them without voiding the warranty.
As for storage, Dell will also offer several SSD options: a 3 × 4 PCIe model available only in 256 GB, and a 4 × 4 PCIe version available in 512 GB, 1 TB, or 2 TB.
Connectivity, on the other hand, is a bit more disappointing; it will be necessary to be satisfied with two Thunderolt 4 ports with charging support and Displayport. At least Dell will provide a USB-C to USB-A 3.0 adapter to compensate. On the wireless side, this XPS 13 Plus will be delivered with the Wi-Fi 6E 1675 standard and Bluetooth 5.2. Finally, let’s also mention the presence of a 720p webcam with Windows Hello support and the fingerprint reader located in the power button.
We are therefore relatively anxious to discover this really attractive machine, the price of which will start at $ 1199 (around € 1054). On the other hand, we can expect a real explosion in the price for the best-equipped versions, especially the one that has an OLED touch screen.