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Dell new XPS 13 Plus laptops have OLED displays, a unique touch function row, 12th-gen Intel CPUs and more

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Dell has announced the XPS 13 Plus, a revamped version of its XPS 13 lineup that features an intriguing new design, an updated OLED display and Intel’s new 12th-generation processors.

Dell’s XPS 13 lineup has cemented itself as the sleek and stylish laptops in the company’s expansive lineup. This year, however, Dell has taken it to a new level with a much more minimal design highlighted by a ‘capacitive touch function row’ and a ‘haptic ForcePad.’

The new ‘capacitive touch function row’ eschews physical keys for touch-sensitive buttons that control the function (Fn) row and media controls. It’s not quite the controversial TouchBar Apple put in its laptops until recently, since it’s not customizable and uses pre-defined labels, but it does shrink the physical keyboard by a row without sacrificing functionality. Speaking of Apple technology, Dell removed the usual trackpad on its XPS 13 Plus and replaced it with a new ‘haptic ForcePad’ that uses a haptic motor to make it feel like you’re clicking on a physical component despite it not moving—something Apple has done with the trackpads in its MacBook lineup for a few years now.

Dell has also flattened the keyboard on the XPS 13 Plus, compared to its predecessors, making it flush with the bottom housing of the laptop. Despite being flatter, the keys have the same 1mm of travel as last year’s XPS 13 model and Dell even managed to make each key larger by making the most of the real estate between each key.

As for what’s packed inside the computers, the XPS 13 Plus continues to be an Intel-exclusive lineup. These new models are powered by Intel’s 28@ 12th-generation processors, a substantial improvement over the 15W chipsets inside the previous XPS 13 models. Dell has also put a larger fan inside the device for increasing airflow.

The display on the XPS 13 Plus is a FHD+ (1920 x 1200 pixels) 13.4” OLED InfinityEdge panel that’s been improved from last year by shrinking the number of layers in the screen. Dell says it can achieve up to 500 nits of brightness and there will be an option to add a touchscreen version of the same display. If you want to increase the resolution of the display, Dell will also be offering options for getting the XPS 13 Plus with a 3.5K OLED touch display pr a 4K LCD touch display, which max out at 400 and 500 nits, respectively.

As for I/O, the XPS 13 Plus includes only two Thunderbolt 4 ports (USB-C)—one on either side of the laptop. Unlike the standard XPS 13 models, the XPS 13 Plus drops the 3.5mm headphone port as well as the microSD card slot. This decision was presumably done to keep the laptop in its incredibly small form factor, measuring in at 29.5cm (11.6”) wide by 20cm (7.8”) deep by 1.52cm (10.6”) thick. The XPS 13 Plus weighs just 1.24kg (2.73lbs). Dell notes this is the first XPS model made using hydro-power renewable energy sources and says the device is ‘100% recyclable so it can be reused in new PCs.’

Dell hasn’t provided an exact release date for its XPS 13 Plus lineup yet, but says the first units will be released in spring 2022 with either WIndows 11 or Ubuntu 20.04. The base model, which will retail for $1,199, will include a 12th generation Intel Core i5–1240P processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD storage and the 13.4” FHD+ display (non-touch). The XPS 13 Plus can be maxed out with a 12th generation Intel Core i7–1280P CPU, up to 32GB of RAM, up to 2TB of SSD storage and the aforementioned display upgrades for those wanting more resolution or touch functionality. No specific pricing has been provided for the cost of the various upgrade options.

Various publications have already published their hands-on reviews of the new XPS 13 Plus models; here are a few:

Tom’s Guide — ‘Dell XPS 13 Plus hands-on review: A risky departure’

The Verge — ‘Dell XPS 13 Plus hands-on: is that… a touch bar?’

Engadget — ‘Dell’s XPS 13 Plus is a beautiful ultraportable, but it has no headphone jack’

You can read more about Dell’s new XPS 13 Plus laptops on Dell’s website.


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