Dell XPS 13 Plus review: the ultra-portable with the edge of efficiency

building

The chassis of the Dell XPS 13 Plus is made of brushed aluminum, the manufacturer’s logo sits in the middle of the cover and there are long openings under the chassis so that the speakers can speak.

dell xps 13 plus intel evo

From the outside, the Dell XPS 13 Plus looks pretty tough.

© The Digital

At first glance, the Dell XPS 13 Plus looks like an ordinary ultrabook, but it’s inside that things change. Opening the screen is a bit of a hassle, as Dell removed any aluminum notches that would detract from the design. You just have to rely on the bevel formed on the edge of the screen to get it.

Dell XPS 13 Plus Aluminum

The XPS logo can only be seen on the bottom of the chassis.

© The Digital

Once the screen is deployed, the Dell XPS 13 Plus will let you admire its keyboard with its square and perfectly flat keys. The whole is completely refined, the touchpad is completely hidden under the glass palm rest that occupies the lower third of the PC.

dell xps 13 plus touchpad

The interior is particularly successful.

© The Digital

In use, this keyboard offers a comfortable typing with little mechanical noise, and contrary to our fears, we did not make more typos with its large keys. The row of sensitive function keys, however, is less sensitive than expected – it will take some getting used to. Note that the start button also acts as a fingerprint reader compatible with Windows Hello. It is located in the upper right corner of the keyboard.

The touchpad is truly tactile between the lower left corner of the space bar and the lower right corner of the AltGr key. The haptic feedback of left and right clicks is very convincing. All Windows gestures are fully considered and we will easily adapt to the new hidden touchpad.

Dell XPS 13 Plus usb c

A USB-C port on each side of the Dell XPS 13 Plus.

In terms of connectivity, Dell has refined the XPS 13 Plus quite a bit. Two unique Thunderbolt 4 ports in USB-C format are responsible for communicating with your peripherals. Even the headphone jack is gone. To transfer the pill, the manufacturer provides a USB-C to USB-A adapter and a USB-C to jack adapter.

For wireless connectivity, Dell uses an Intel AX211 chip in our model that offers 6E wifi at 2400 Mb/s, as well as Bluetooth 5.2. Well integrated into the top of the screen, the 720p webcam has decent quality, but clearly lacks detail.



In the shade


With good light

The cooling system of the Dell XPS 13 Plus consists of two fans, two radiators and a heat pipe. They evacuate the heat generated by the processor on the hinge. The air blown thus can rise to 45 ° C, and after our video encoding, we noticed 40 ° C in the center of the keyboard. We also noticed that the strip of sensitive keys does not benefit from blowing fans and can exceed 40°C.

Dell XPS 13 Plus intel evo thermal imaging temperature keyboard

The temperature of the keyboard keys can reach almost 40°C.

© The Digital

In terms of noise pollution, the Dell XPS 13 Plus is more cautious. Even after encoding for more than 30 min, it does not exceed 33.7 dB (A). We need to double check that both fans are working and that the CPU is fully loaded.

Disassembling the XPS 13 Plus does not present any particular problem. Six Torx screws hold the shell to the chassis, but when opened, only the SSD can be removed, as well as the battery. The RAM and the wifi card are sold.

interior disassembly disassemble dell xps 13 plus intel evo

Only the SSD can be updated on the Dell XPS 13 Plus.

© The Digital

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5

Manifesting

Our XPS 13 Plus model has an Intel Core i5-1240P processor coupled with 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD. The Core i5-1240P benefits from the Alder Lake hybrid architecture with four hyperthreaded performance cores and eight cores that are said to be efficient. This is a processor dedicated to “thin” laptops, with a thermal envelope of 28 W.

dell xps 13 Plus processor intel evo core i5-1240P performance benchmark

With a 12th generation Intel Core i5 processor, the Dell XPS 13 Plus is great.

© The Digital

The Dell XPS 13 Plus and its Core i5-1240P get a performance index of 101 and thus place themselves between the Ryzen 5 5500U mounted in the Honor MagicBook 15 (87) and Ryzen 7 6800U in the Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED (111) . We also dug into our database to compare its performance against its predecessor the Intel Core i5-1135G7. The latter obtained an index of 69 on the HP Envy X360 13, a gain of almost 44% in favor of the Core i5-1240P.

During our encoding, the Core i5-1240P stabilized the frequency of its P cores at 2.14 GHz after an increase of 3.8 GHz and 900 MHz for its E cores with an increase of 3 GHz. Its thermal envelope stabilizes at 21 W with a maximum of 62 W for a short time.

The 512 GB Samsung PM9A1 SSD is very fast with 6.78 GB/s for reading and 5 GB/s for writing.

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5

Screen

The 13.4-inch IPS screen that Dell has integrated into its XPS 13 Plus is quite classic with a definition of 1920 x 1200 pixels in a 16:10 format. Only the eccentricity, a tactile overlay that cannot be used in an ultrabook format whose screen is not rotatable, which adds weight to the device and a shiny finish to the panel. We note, however, the impeccable integration of the webcam that does not require a notch. The extremely thin borders bring the screen occupancy rate to around 92%, according to our calculations.

dell xps 13 plus thin bezel edge screen

The borders around the screen are very thin.

© The Digital

Under our review, the panel of the Dell XPS 13 Plus showed a delta E under the deadly bar of 3 (2.9). As a reminder, the colorimetric drifts are visible to the naked eye above 3. The contrast is high for an IPS panel with 1779: 1, without any achievement of the perfect blacks of an Oled version. The color temperature is 6087 K, which is slightly lower than the 6500 K of the video standard.

The brightness exceeds 500 cd / m² (517 cd / m²), enough to make outdoor work more comfortable, especially since the anti-reflective treatment of the glossy panel is particularly effective with less than 25 % reflected light, according to our reflectometer.

The afterglow time is controlled at 16 ms, which is more than enough for use in outdoor video games.



Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5

Activity / Autonomy

The Dell XPS 13 Plus is slightly smaller than an A4 sheet (29.5 x 19.9cm) with a thickness of 1.52cm – our touch version weighs 1.26kg. In such a format, the XPS 13 Plus fits into any backpack, especially since its 60 W charger is very compact. The USB-C cable is removable, as well as the large mains cable.

Dell XPS 13 Plus Charger 60W USB-C Cable

The 60 W charger is very compact, the mains cable is very small.

© The Digital

The autonomy of the XPS 13 Plus leaves us a little unsatisfied despite the Intel Evo certification that should provide 8 hours of autonomy in real use. However, it only took 7 h 50 min in our test protocol. As a reminder, we set the brightness to 200 cd / m², then watch a Netflix series in a loop with Bluetooth and the backlight turned off and the headphones set to 50% volume.

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