Dell PS 13 Plus photo

Dell’s unveiled its XPS 13 Plus at CES 2022 and confirmed that a developer version of the laptop pre-loaded with Ubuntu will be available.

But brace yourself: the XPS 13 Plus features a major visual overhaul. In fact, the XPS 13 Plus looks rather unlike any previous edition of this developer-favourite laptop.

Dominating the device is a new borderless haptic touchpad. This makes a bold statement with no discernible start or end. This “seamless glass touch panel” blends seamlessly with an edge-to-edge keyboard using larger key caps than those found on earlier XPS models.

Borderless touchpad makes a bold statement

The big design changes don’t end there, either.

Dell has updated the keyboard on the XPS 13 Plus, replacing the row of physical function keys along the top with capacitive ones. Users can change between regular functions or media controls so, Dell say, they can ‘see the keys they need’.

I’ll be honest: capacitive function keys is a change owners are going to dig or deeply detest. Apple did something semi-similar and it never quite landed with regular users to the pint they brought physical function keys back (to much applause – such an easy crowd, eh?).

A fingerprint reader is built-in to the Dell XPS 13 Plus power button.

As you’d expect of a modern XPS, the Plus also features a stunning 13.4-inch “Infinity Edge” display (i.e. barely-there-bezels), though only the most premium of premium models boasts an OLED 4K Ultra HD (3840×2400) display. The regular model comes with a more modest FHD display, with touchscreen option.

Dell XPS 13 Plus Specs

Only two ports feature

Dell XPS 13 Plus features powerful 12th general Intel Core processors. These run at 28 W for dramatically increase performance (up from 15 W of the previous generation) but offer comparative thermal performance thanks to large (yet quie) fans and a re-engineered airflow.

The exact processor provided depends on budget, but start at a Intel i5-1240P and go up to an Intel Core i7-1280P chip with 14 cores and 20 threads — which Intel touts as an able rival to Apple’s M1 chip. Intel Iris Xe graphics are included as standard.

Memory options span up to 32 GB LPDDR5, while storage options start at a 256 GB through to a 2 TB PCIe 3 x4 SSD.

The laptop comes with just two Thunderbolt 4 (though both offer display and power delivery; a USB-C to USB-A adapter is included); there also a dual microphone matrix; a quad-speaker design with 8W total output; and a 55Wh battery. The laptop ships with Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.

Finally, the Dell XPS 13 Plus is available ‘platinum’ or ‘graphite’ colour ways.

So when can you buy it?

Well, not yet.

Dell say the XPS 13 Plus will will go on sale worldwide in the spring, preloaded with Windows 11. A developer edition coming with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS will be available too. Pricing for both models is to be confirmed nearer to shipping date but Dell say it’s likely to start at $1,199 US for a base model featuring 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, and FHD display.

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