Dell France has invited us to lead the Dell XPS 13 Plus, a new ultraportable unveiled at the start of the year at CES 2022.
The Dell XPS 13 has a special place in the ultraportable market. It is through this tree trunk that many innovations have been born in technology. It was the first tech product to benefit from an internal screen feature, before smartphones. The manufacturer replaces its main stem at a high rate, every 6 to 8 months, there are always a lot of changes. However, the company decided to fully review its copy in 2022 and, to mark the occasion, slightly changed the name of the device. As this is how at CES 2022, the company unveiled the Dell XPS 13 Plus with a new design. We did it by hand.
Goodness and finish
Well, before Dell changed the wheel, we’re still faced with a classic 13-inch ultraportable in its outline: it’s impossible to change it to a tablet or double it, for example. But the company wants to focus on design to its peak and clean up everything else that can be done in the product lines.
We’re dealing with a 13.4-inch screen in 16:10 format and occupying more or less most of the space. Dell still hasn’t forgotten the 720p camera at the top of the screen that allows itself to be Windows Hello compatible thanks to the infrared sensor. User identification can also be done via a fingerprint reader on the keyboard.
But let’s get back to the screen for a moment, where Dell offers a lot of configurations. The least expensive will give you a simple Full HD 1920 x 1200 pixels with a 100% sRGB certified panel. Going upmarket, there is a choice between a 3.5K OLED panel (3456 x 2160 pixels) 100% DCI-P3 and DisplayHDR500 or a 4K UHD+ LCD panel (3840 x 2400 pixels) 90% DCI-P3 and DisplayHDR 400.
The virtual absence of a border around the screen in any case is surprising when you have it in front of your eyes. We’re starting to think about how manufacturers can push these limits though.
Some major innovations in design terms are at the bottom of the machine. For the first time in a long time, Dell has completely redesigned its keyboard, which now occupies the entire width of the device to maximize typing comfort. Above the keyboard, the function keys have been replaced with a touch bar to make the design smoother.
And below, there’s nothing more physically visible, but Dell has integrated the touchpad with haptic feedback. It’s a new generation of touchpad that should be found on more laptops and should provide more reliable physical feedback, similar to Apple’s Force Touch.
Unfortunately, we didn’t test the keyboard or the touchpad during this quick start. The demonstration prototype, the only copy available, has a bit of a problem at this level. These are the confusions of presentations before the release of a product. So we will wait to try to form an opinion about this combination. In particular, it is necessary to see if finding the touchpad is quick when there is no longer any physical demarcation under the keyboard.
Necessary to emphasize the design, Dell was content with the smallest connection on a high-end machine: a USB-C Thunderbolt 4 port on each side of the machine, and so on. Even the 3.5 mm jack port didn’t resist the work of simplifying the design of the Dell teams. The brand however specifies that a USB-C to USB-A adapter will be provided in the box. Wirelessly, the Dell XPS 13 Plus goes through Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 to ensure connectivity.
We remain mindful of the characteristics of the Dell XPS 13 Plus. Under the cover, we found 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, in all cases with TDP of 28W. The processor is paired with 8 to 32 GB of DDR5 5200 MHz RAM, an integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics chip and 256 to 2 TB of PCIe 4.0 SSD storage.
The 55 Wh battery can be charged with the 60W USB-C power adapter offered by the machine.
The release date is uncertain
In Dell’s various press releases, we can read here and there the release on March 22, 2022 or more often in the spring. The brand, like other manufacturers, has to deal with a lack of ingredients and every product launch is complicated. We saw it again recently with the launch of the excellent Alienware QD-Oled AW3423DW which was out of stock until the end of the summer.
Asked about the release of the Dell XPS 13 Plus in France, Dell told us there would be a launch “soon” with no further details. After this press management session, we can still expect to have a launch in the summer, in the coming weeks.