Dell XPS 13 Plus vs Dell XPS 13 (2022): Which laptop is right for you?

Dell XPS 13 Plus vs Dell XPS 13 (2022): Which laptop is right for you?

Dell’s XPS lineup of laptops received a pretty big shakeup in 2022. The year started with the brand-new Dell XPS 13 Plus, which may have seemed like a replacement for the standard XPS 13, but that’s not the case. The regular Dell XPS 13 for 2022 was introduced a few months later, and it comes with some big design changes for the first time in years. So, now that both of these new laptops are on the market, the question is: Which one is right for you?

These laptops have a few things in common, but they’re also significantly different in other ways. The first thing you might notice is the performance, but there’s a lot more to it, including the design and some of the display options. Another big difference, of course, is the starting price, which is noticeably higher on the XPS 13 Plus. In this article, we’re taking a closer look at the Dell XPS 13 Plus and XPS 13 to find out which is the better fit for you.

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Dell XPS 13 Plus vs Dell XPS 13 (2022): Specs

Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 Dell XPS 13 9315 (2022)
CPU
  • 12th Generation Intel Core i5-1240P (12-core, 16-thread, up to 4.4 GHz, 12MB cache)
  • 12th Generation Intel Core i7-1260P (12-core, 16-thread, up to 4.7 GHz, 18MB cache)
  • 12th Generation Intel Core i7-1270P (12-core, 16-thread, up to 4.8 GHz, 18MB cache)
  • 12th Generation Intel Core i7-1280P (14-core, 20-thread, up to 4.8 GHz, 24MB Cache)
  • 12th Generation Intel Core i5-1230U (12W, 10-core, 12-thread, up to 4.4 GHz, 12MB cache)
  • 12th Generation Intel Core i7-1250U (12W, 10-core, 12-thread, up to 4.7 GHz, 12MB cache)
Graphics
  • Intel Iris Xe
  • Intel Iris Xe
Storage
  • 256GB PCIe 4 SSD
  • 512GB PCIe 4 SSD
  • 1TB PCIe 4 SSD
  • 2TB PCIe 4 SSD
  • 256GB PCIe 4 SSD
  • 512GB PCIe 4 SSD
  • 1TB PCIe 4 SSD
RAM
  • 8GB LPDDR5 5200MHz
  • 16GB LPDDR5 5200MHz
  • 32GB LPDDR5 5200MHz
  • 8GB LPDDR5 5200MHz
  • 16GB LPDDR5 5200MHz
  • 32GB LPDDR5 5200MHz
Display
  • 13.4-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge non-touch, 500-nit, anti-reflective
  • 13.4-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge touch, 500-nit, anti-reflective
  • 13.4-inch UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge touch, 500-nit, anti-reflective
  • 13.4-inch 3.5K (3456 x 2160) InfinityEdge OLED touch, DisplayHDR 500,
    400 nits, 100% DCI-P3 color gamut, anti-reflective, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
  • 13.4-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge non-touch, 500-nit, anti-reflective
  • 13.4-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge touch, 500-nit, anti-reflective
  • 13.4-inch UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge touch, 500-nit, anti-reflective
Ports
  • 2x Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C) ports
    • USB Type-C to Type-A adapter included
    • USB Type-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter included
  • 2x Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C) ports
    • USB Type-C to Type-A adapter included
    • USB Type-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter included
Battery
  • 55Wh Li-ion polymer
    • 60W USB Type-C power adapter
  • 3-cell, 51Wh battery
    • 45W USB Type-C power adapter
Audio
  • Quad stereo speaker (8W total output)
  • Waves MaxxAudio Pro and Waves Nx 3D audio
  • Stereo speakers (2W x 2 = 4W peak)
  • Waves MaxxAudio Pro
Camera
  • 720p HD webcam
  • 720p HD webcam
Windows Hello
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint sensor (in power button)
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint sensor (in power button)
Connectivity
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6E 1675 AX211 (2×2)
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6E 1675 AX211 (2 x 2)
  • Bluetooth 5.2
Color
  • Platinum
  • Graphite
  • Sky
  • Umber
Size (W x D x H)
  • 295.3 × 199.04 × 15.28 mm (11.63 × 7.84 × 0.6 inches)
  • 295.4 × 199.4 × 13.99 mm (11.63 × 7.85 × 0.55 inches)
Weight
  • Starts at 1.24kg (2.73 lb)
  • 1.17kg (2.59lbs)
Price
  • Starting at $1,199
  • Starting at $999

Performance: 28W or 12W Intel processors

The first big difference that might stand out to you when you look at the spec sheet above is in the processors. Both laptops have 12th-generation Intel processors, but that doesn’t mean they’re anywhere near the same in terms of performance. The Dell XPS 13 Plus is a big leap forward for performance, being one of the first laptops to use Intel’s brand-new P-series processors, which have a higher 28W TDP. Meanwhile, the regular XPS 13 actually steps things down a bit to 12W CPUs, as opposed to the 15W processors found in previous models.

Dell XPS 13 Plus

This difference in TDP means performance is going to be very different. For starters, Intel’s P-series CPUs have more cores, with the Core i7-1280P maxing out at 14 cores and 20 threads. Comparatively, the processors in the regular XPS 13 only have 10 cores and 12 threads. It’s also worth mentioning that these processors are from Intel’s U9 series, meaning the default is actually a 9W TDP. Dell is just boosting them to 12W to improve performance.

There aren’t many public benchmark scores for the U9 series processors, especially for these versions with the increased TDP. No matter how you slice it, though, the 28W models will offer far better performance. To be fair, though, both models should be just fine for day-to-day use like web browsing and writing documents. You’ll notice more of a difference if you’re dealing with more complex workloads like content creation.

Angled rear rview of the3 Dell XPS 13 laptop in Amber

Dell XPS 13 (2022)

That’s also because the integrated GPU is noticeably different in these two models. They both have up to 96 execution units, but the Core i7-1250U graphics can only boost up to 950MHz, while the P-series processors can go up to 1.4GHz. For gaming and other GPU-related workloads, you’ll see a big difference in performance.

The 28W processors in the Dell XPS 13 Plus offer better performance, at the expense of battery life.

The flip side to this is battery life, or at least it should be. A higher TDP means more performance, yes, but that comes at the expense of power consumption, meaning the Dell XPS 13 Plus won’t have the best battery life, even with its larger battery. At the same time, the 12W processors inside the regular XPS 13 should help it last significantly longer on a charge, making it a better choice for portability.

Aside from that, these laptops are similar. Both come with up to 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM clocked at 52000MHz, but for storage, the Dell XPS 13 Plus comes with up to a 2TB SSD, while the regular XPS 13 only goes up to 1TB. That’s actually a downgrade for the XPS 13 compared to previous models.

Display and sound: The Dell XPS 13 Plus has an OLED option

Moving on to the display, these two laptops are nearly identical, and they’re almost the same as last year’s model, too. They both come with 13.4-inch panels with a 16:10 aspect ratio, making them fantastic for productivity and creative work. They both also start with a Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) configuration, with touch support as an optional add-on. Plus, the maximum configuration is an Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400) panel and that also goes for both models. At least, that’s what the spec sheet says, though this high-end configuration doesn’t seem to be available for the standard XPS 13 yet.

So what’s the big difference? The regular Dell XPS 13 has actually lost an option this year compared to the previous model – the 3.5K (3456 x 2160) OLED panel. Now, this option is only available in the XPS 13 Plus. An OLED panel has self-emissive pixels, meaning each pixel has its own light source. That means it can provide true blacks, more vivid colors, and a very high contrast ratio. If you want the best visual experience, this is probably what you want, but it’s exclusive to the XPS 13 Plus.

The Plus model wins in the sound department, too. It comes with a quad stereo speaker system – a first for the XPS 13 series – and it can deliver up to 8W of total audio output. That’s probably one of the best audio experiences you’ll get on any 13-inch laptop. The standard XPS 13 (2022) sticks with a typical dual-speaker setup, which is still fine, but not as immersive.

Angled front view of the Dell XPS 13 (2022) in a light blue color

Finally, there’s the webcam, and both laptops are very similar in this regard. They both still have a 720p camera, which is unfortunate. Most premium laptops in 2022 have upgraded to a 1080p sensor, but Dell is sticking with a 720p camera. On the bright side, the cameras now have a separate IR sensor for Windows Hello instead of having it built into the same camera, which improves image quality. On that note, the two laptops also have a fingerprint reader for Windows Hello, so you can choose your preferred method to unlock your PC.

Design and ports: The XPS 13 Plus looks futuristic and clean

The design is another area where these laptops differ quite a bit. With the XPS 13 Plus, Dell went all-in on a modern and futuristic look. For starters, the touchpad on this model is invisible. It blends completely into the rest of the chassis, so you can’t see where it is, but it makes for a very clean look. The keyboard helps with this, thanks to the zero-lattice edge-to-edge design, which means there’s almost no space at the edges of the keyboard, and also no space between each key. Finally, the XPS 13 Plus also replaces the function row with touch-based digital keys, which can be toggled between classic function keys and media controls.

All of this makes the Dell XPS 13 Plus one of the coolest-looking laptops around, and the color options are basic, but they’re a great fit for a clean design like this. It comes in Platinum or Graphite, both of which look great with this design.

The standard Dell XPS 13 sticks to a more classic design overall. You get a more traditional touchpad and keyboard, so it’s not as unique in that sense, but it still looks very clean. What makes this model more unique are the color options, which are actual colors this time. The Dell XPS 13 (2022) comes in either Sky (a very light shade of blue) or Umber, which is a dark shade of burgundy. That really helps this laptop have a bit more personality, and it’s a big change of pace from previous models.

Dell XPS 13 in SKy and Umber colors

Looks aside, both of these laptops are fairly portable, but the Dell XPS 13 is more so. Thanks to the less power-hungry CPU, it doesn’t require a beefy cooling system, so it’s both thinner and lighter. In fact, at 13.99mm, it’s the thinnest XPS laptop yet, and it weighs 2.59lbs, which is very light for an aluminum laptop. The Dell XPS 13 Plus is still very portable, though, at 15.28mm in thickness and 2.73lbs of weight. Neither of these is overly heavy.

Both laptops have two Thunderbolt 4 ports and nothing else.

One thing where these two laptops are identical is the port selection, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. They both have two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and that’s it. They do come with adapters for a USB Type-A port or a 3.5mm headphone jack, but that’s not the most convenient approach, and in the off chance you need to use them both, you won’t have a charging port. If you need more ports, you’re going to want a Thunderbolt dock to give you more options.

Final thoughts

Choosing between the Dell XPS 13 Plus and XPS 13 is mostly up to your needs, particularly in terms of performance. That’s where the biggest differences lie – the XPS 13 Plus will give you better performance and worse battery life, while the XPS 13 will do the opposite. It’s a matter of choosing what you prioritize the most. Of course, there’s also the design, and in that regard, you can choose between the extremely clean and futuristic look of the XPS 13 Plus, or the more colorful but traditional design of the regular XPS 13. Again, that’s up to your personal preference.

There’s one other thing to mention, though, and that’s price. The Dell XPS 13 Plus starts at $1,199, while the regular XPS 13 starts at $999. For that $200 price difference, you’re mostly getting much better performance (at the expense of battery life) and the futuristic design, so whether that’s worth it is up to how much you really need that performance. The RAM, storage, and display are all the same across the two models in the base configuration.

The Dell XPS 13 Plus does offer more high-end options if you have the money for them, too. It gives you the option for a 2TB SSD if you want more storage, and it can also be had with an OLED display – a very tempting upgrade, if we may say so. That means you’ll be spending a lot more, but if you want these options, only one of the laptops can give you that.

At the end of the day, these are both great laptops, and you won’t have a bad experience with either one. It’s all about choosing the best option for your specific needs. Personally, as someone who mostly works at an office, the Dell XPS 13 Plus seems more tempting with its additional performance. But if you’re more of a mobile worker, the Dell XPS 13 is probably a better option. Regardless of your choice, you can find both models using the links below. Otherwise, check out the best Dell laptops you can buy right now if you’d like to see other options.

    The Dell XPS 13 Plus is a futuristic-looking and powerful laptop with 28W Intel processors.
    The new Dell XPS 13 comes with a complete redesign, coming in Sky and Umber colors. It's also the thinnest and lightest XPS laptop ever.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Editor at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.

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