Dell XPS 13 Plus hands-on: A classic reinvented for CES 2022

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Dell XPS 13 has long been Favorite Windows laptop, to the point where it’s hard to imagine how this near-perfect laptop could be improved upon. Maybe that’s why the company decided to reinvent it.

Meet the Dell XPS 13 Plus: an all-new laptop that improves upon the age-old XPS design while making some promising changes. We got to spend some time with this striking new member of the XPS family, and we’re impressed so far – but not without some concerns.

Dell’s new laptop is expected to launch in the spring with prices starting at $1,119, but here are some initial thoughts in the meantime.

Mike Andronico / CNN

The XPS 13 Plus immediately caught our attention with its completely redesigned interior, taking on a clean, minimalist look that somehow makes XPS 13″ standard look at the date. The keyboard is now actually side by side, with larger keycaps without any gaps between them. The physical function keys are gone, replaced by a series of capacitive LED icons that you’ll tap when you need to change volume or brightness. Not even a visible touchpad anymore!

Fortunately, these somewhat bold design changes didn’t disrupt the real experience of using the XPS 13 Plus, at least during our limited hands-on time. The keyboard feels as snappy as we’ve come to expect from any XPS machine, and we appreciate how big the keys are this time around. Scrolling and clicking feel quite natural, although there’s no visible border for where the touchpad starts and ends.

We are most conflicted about functional goods. The capacitive touch controls seem responsive enough, but we still prefer to press the physical keys – which made a big difference on our device. New 14-inch or 16-inch MacBook Pro finally dropped the Touch Bar. And while Apple’s Touch Bar is at least customizable, the illuminated function controls on the XPS 13 Plus appear to be fixed in place, simply switching between the “F” keys and the method controls. convenient when you hold the function button.

Mike Andronico / CNN

Refurbished interiors aside, the XPS 13 Plus looks pretty much like the XPS – and that’s a very good thing. Dell’s flagship laptop continues to be very travel-friendly at just 0.6 inches thick and 2.73 pounds – and it looks sleek in both platinum and graphite. The laptop’s nearly bezel-less InfinityEdge display looks as seamless as it does on the latest XPS 13, although Dell says it removed a few layers from the display for both lighter weight and good clarity. than.

The XPS 13 Plus now also has a booster speaker hidden beneath the keyboard, which we’re looking forward to testing with our favorite music and movies. Unfortunately, the XPS 13’s slim port selection doesn’t seem to have improved for the Plus model – there are still only two Thunderbolt 4 ports here, and the microSD card slot from previous generations is gone. The latter part may not be important to everyone, but it is safe to say that you will probably get it USB-C splitter if you use multiple accessories.

Mike Andronico / CNN

In addition to the new sporty design, the XPS 13 Plus seems to be one of the most powerful Dell laptops. This is the first XPS 13 model to feature a new 12th Gen Intel Core processor, which promises a noticeable boost in performance and battery life. The XPS 13 has been impressive on both fronts with its older 11th Gen processors, so we’re eager to see how the power will help the XPS 13 Plus stand up to newer rivals. MacBook Pro 14 inch.

Dell also says the XPS 13 Plus has a larger fan that will allow for 55% better airflow (ideal for really working on your lap), and the Express Charge 2.0 feature will let you squeeze the laptop up. to 80% in less than an hour.

Mike Andronico / CNN

It’s hard to improve on a laptop like Dell XPS 13″, but we’re excited about what Dell will do with the XPS 13 Plus. Its larger keyboard is both a stylistic and practical improvement, and its more minimalist design is eye-catching. It’s as light and thin as we’ve come to expect from an XPS – although we do wish the port selection wasn’t equally thin.

However, we’re eager to test the XPS 13 Plus’ improved design, more powerful processor, and improved speakers to see if it can deliver. best laptop listing when it arrives this spring with prices starting at $1,199.


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