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Dell XPS 13 Plus Review

Final yr my work machine acquired up to date, and I used to be fortunate sufficient to land a Dell XPS 13 Plus.

Final month I used to be requested about my expertise with it from somebody pondering of getting one themselves, and I went so in depth that I believed possibly it was a good suggestion to take these Twitter DMs and switch them into an extended evaluation.


It is a lengthy evaluation, so in case you are in search of some fast suggestions, right here it’s!

🀩 That is an superior little machine. The display screen is spectacular, the efficiency mind-blowing and the form-factor nearly excellent.

It has some points with warmth and drivers, however total it is that good that when my private machine is in want of alternative, it’s going to in all probability be considered one of these that replaces it.

Now for the lengthy model!


Reviewing a laptop computer is such a tough factor. When researching a brand new machine I by no means appear to have the ability to discover a evaluation of the specs I’m in search of.

And numerous the time the specs are buried someplace after you might have wasted time studying concerning the machine πŸ˜… So lets begin with what precisely I’m reviewing!

Dell XPS 13 Plus

i7-1280p: 14 core, 20 thread processor
32GB LPDDR5 5200MHx Reminiscence
1TB M.2 PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD
4K 500 nit display screen
Home windows 11 Professional
Graphite color

Tech sensible I went for one of the best that the given funds would deal with focussing on the processor and reminiscence as these will not be upgradable

Display screen-wise I used to be torn between the gorgeous sub 4K OLED and the 4K LCD. I finally went for the LCD as a result of it has a greater brightness. In the summertime I work within the backyard, and that further 25% brightness might be actually necessary!

After which there was the color… The Platinum (silver) is gorgeous! Nonetheless… I’ve had mild colored, white back-lit keyboards earlier than and discover it actually laborious to work with them
Throughout the day, when the backlight is turned off there is not an issue. In semi-dark circumstances although…

It is like typing on a keyboard with out symbols. I can do it, however it’s not enjoyable. And seeing some opinions of this machine, the identical issues have been there for current.

If the backlight had a splash of color in it then it will be superior, however as is. Nah. Nor for me no less than.

So I went for the Graphite (gray) possibility. Nonetheless fairly, however not as… Sparkly… πŸ˜…


Wowser. Severely, wowser.

It is a tiny machine that does not weigh a lot. And but… It may do issues that my nearly high of the road 2020 XPS 15 cannot.

I give tech talks, each on-line and in particular person. My studio setup at house is 2x 27″ 4K screens + the laptop computer display screen, a CamLink 4K for enter from my digital camera for me to speak into, HD webcam for desk photographs, and a Scarlet 2i2 MK3 audio interface for my microphone enter.

I’ve not gotten round to constructing a streaming machine but so my laptops must do all the pieces. OBS, a number of Visible Studios, Chrome home windows for demos and instruments, and no matter streaming platform the convention is utilizing.

Sharing my OBS Digital Digital camera and a display screen to StreamYard takes a little-bit of a toll. Utilizing Groups brings all the pieces to a grinding halt. On my XPS 15 I usually drop the decision on all three screens to HD in an effort to make it workable.

On this little tiny little machine. Nope. 4K * 3 (with 225% DPI on the shared monitor so the viewers can learn it) all the way in which. It is AWESOME.

The truth is the one factor that appears to make it stutter simply as a lot as each different machine I’ve used is when ReSharper begins in Visible Studio. It grinds to a halt for 10 tro 20 seconds every time… (For my talks I do not use ReSharper as I attempt to have as near the free tooling expertise as doable)

Fan Noise

I used to be terrified for this… I’ve had just a few skinny and light-weight laptops which have been spectacular, however once they begin to work it is like a jet engine begins in your desktop. They usually nonetheless throttle an excessive amount of.

Nonetheless… In my expertise, even when pushing this factor as laborious as I can, nope. There’s noise, and you may undoubtedly hear the fan, however it’s not a loud, intrusive noise. And it is not there all-of-the time. Doable, undoubtedly doable.


That efficiency although, in such a small package deal, from an Intel chip, and and not using a jet engine, does have prices. Certainly one of them is warmth.

I swear I can warmth my home and fry an eggs with this machine on full tilt. Even when doing one thing mild, the temperature beneath will get unhealthy, shortly.

On the couch in the summertime, carrying shorts, it was actually painful to make use of – in actual fact I gave up and now use a big Lego Star Wars espresso desk guide as a laptop computer stand when needing the total energy of the machine while working away from a desk.

There’s a manner round. When utilizing it for lighter duties (like writing markdown recordsdata for weblog posts), I can set it to run cool utilizing Dell’s performance tool. You lose a bit of energy (although, truthfully, not an enormous quantity) , and it signifies that engaged on my lap once more is just not an issue.

However in order for you the total on efficiency, in your lap, bear in mind that it is going to get toasty! As a pal mentioned of hers:

On the mattress you’ll be able to iron sheets with it

Possibly Dell ought to use that as a promoting level, multitasking πŸ˜…

Battery life

And right here is the opposite downside with such a small machine with a lot energy. Battery life.

I’ve just a few machines that I exploit for various issues. My MacBook Professional M1 lasts an absolute age between expenses
My XPS 15, even at two years outdated can nonetheless go 6 hours or so with mild use

This machine… About 4 hours. With heavy use, 2 or 3. Not nice.

Once more, there are methods which you could enhance this. Dim the display screen (that makes an enormous enchancment, however is not at all times very best for eye pressure) and set the machine to make use of each the Dell Efficiency Cool setting, and Home windows “Greatest Energy Effectivity” setting.

Once more, you lose a few of that superior efficiency, but in addition once more, for many issues it nonetheless performs admirably.

However bear in mind that this isn’t a laptop computer that you simply use all day and plug in over the night to recharge, you’re going to be linked to a socket numerous the time. I truly acquired my self a big power-bank to make sure that when travelling I would not be caught brief on energy after just a few hours.

For me, that is annoying however not a deal-breaker. Your experiences will differ!

Display screen

So… That 4k display screen that sucks energy. Is it value it?

OMG, YES! My eyes are beginning to present their age and failing a bit of. And but. I exploit that 13″ 4K display screen more often than not at 150% DPI. And may work with 125% and even native 100% if I would like a lot of display screen actual property for one thing. Although not for lengthy durations of time. However it’s sharp sufficient to attempt.

And once I’m drained and bump that DPI up a bit of, say to 200% through the night, it’s lovely. That is one thing that it has in widespread with the XPS 15. When pretending to be FullHD all the pieces is crisp, sharp and simply tremendous enjoyable on the eyes.

My Dell screens are by far one of the best of any laptop computer I’ve utilized in years!


On the face of it, the connectivity of the laptop computer is just not nice. There are precisely 2 ports: a left hand Thunderbolt 4 USB C port and a proper hand Thunderbolt 4 USB C port.

Not even a 3.5mm socket (one other casulty to conserving the 1280p chip cool!).

Nonetheless, except for dongle hell (which is a reality with many laptops nowadays) it is not as unhealthy because it appears. These ports can work laborious!

At dwelling I’ve a Thumberbolt 3 docking station that all the pieces is linked to (except for the CamLink 4K due to Home windows points) that additionally delivers energy. So one cable and I get:

  • Energy
  • 2 * 4K output (as I mentioned this machine can drive 3 screens with ease!)
  • An audio interface for my microphones
  • 1Gb ethernet
  • Audio out
    -A FullHD webcam
  • Keyboard and different ancillaries

While you do want these docking stations, the throughput is such that it would not get gradual when working all the pieces by means of that port!

You can even plus a Show Port monitor immediately into every of these USB C ports to get exterior screens with out the necessity for a docking station.


I have been utilizing laptops since 1994 and the way in which that laptop computer sound has modified over time is mind-blowing. That first machine did not even have sound. By the late 90’s sound was customary, however actually solely with headphones or exterior audio system. Tinny, weedy sound that was higher than nothing, however not good.

Then bigger laptops began to place larger audio system in, I had just a few within the naughties that had base audio system constructed into the bottom and have been… Acceptable.

However the sound from fashionable machines makes these look terrible by comparability, and the XPS 13 Plus is not any exception. Is it a machine that you’re going to hearken to live shows on, or get deep and explosive soundtracks to actions movies from? No. However it’s completely nice for daily use in case you are alone and do not need to use headphones.

It is totally different to my 13″ MacBook Professional – which I see reviewers say is the usual for laptop computer sound, however not worse. No less than I do not assume so.

Then there may be the built-in microphone. I can solely go through suggestions from my colleagues in Groups right here, however… I’m advised that the sound is crisp, clear, and it filters out noise fairly properly. Keyboard clicks do not come over and there’s no echo from the laptop computer audio system. It does decide up room sound although – I’ve been muted when working in the lounge and somebody makes a espresso 4m away…

For what the in-built microphone is supposed for, I do not assume which you could ask for extra.


And speakng of typing sound… A pleasant segway to the keyboard. It is a standout design characteristic of the laptop computer.

From the transfer to full dimension keys (away from the Chiclet keyboard) that span all the width of the chassis. It actually provides the laptop computer presence when open.

They apparently have a slight dish to them to make typing simpler and extra correct. For me, it really works.

My benchmark for typing is my MacBook Professional. As soon as I purchased that I used it continually for any prolonged textual content that I wanted to kind.

Till I acquired this machine. Keyboard really feel is a really private factor, however this keyboard has simply the fitting stress and suggestions to the keys to make lengthy typing classes (like scripting this publish) snug.

I do make typos on it, however I’ve not had a keyboard the place that does not occur, so I do not assume that I can blame they keyboard for that!

I can contact kind on it simply, and it did not take very lengthy in any respect to get used to. High marks!

Besides… The arrow keys are a ache. Full dimension left and proper keys, however the up and down are solely half peak and I hit them unsuitable on a regular basis!

I do have to say the perform keys. Or somewhat, that they don’t seem to be perform “keys”. Resulting from needing further house to shift warmth from the processor the bodily keys have been changed with capacitive, OLED contact keys which might be a lot shallower within the chassis.

Assume a MacBook Professional contact bar however with out the pliability. Which I do know is Marmite (by the way, for individuals who know Marmite – I adore it!).

This implementation although is a a lot less complicated implementation. There isn’t a display screen that modifications. You have got both mounted F keys, or mounted features.

For me, they sort of work. More often than not. If there may be one factor that I want they’d it will be haptic suggestions in order that I do know if I pressed the button or not.

I’ve learn of people that by accident hit them on a regular basis (as a result of they’re capacitive and do not want stress to work), however this hasn’t been my private expertise.

The most important downside is the brightness of these OLEDs. They could possibly be stronger. When working within the backyard, or sitting by a window, with brilliant solar, they are often laborious to see!


The opposite main design choice. The trackpad has no shifting components, like a MacBook. As a substitute, it’s a sheet of glass with a number of haptic suggestions motors beneath.

The concept is that while the Apple implementation has a single haptic motor to “click on”, the Dell places the press near your fingers with a number of engines. Click on with two fingers? A number of haptic engines fireplace and when you really feel a neighborhood click on for every finger.

It is also an edgeless trackpad. Trying on the machine you can not see the place the trackpad begins and ends. Which, while wanting superior, additionally seems prefer it could possibly be a ache to make use of. However that hasn’t been my expertise. It is large enough that it lies properly below your hand and it there once you want it.

A much bigger shock for me is that it is nearly as usable as that of the MacBook professional. That appears like a backhanded praise, however the Apple is the one machine that I by no means use with a mouse.

The XPS 13 Plus is nearly on the similar stage. Once I apply it to my lap I by no means use a mouse with it. There are one or two features which might be then tougher (however these are Outlook points, not {hardware}).

Proximity Sensors and Home windows Whats up

These are great!

The machine is aware of if you find yourself wanting on the display screen. For those who look away for an period of time it locks routinely. If you sit behind it once more it unlocks (utilizing the Home windows Whats up digital camera).

It is possibly not a significant factor, however it’s sufficient that it makes the machine simply that bit nicer to make use of!

And talking of logging in. That Home windows Whats up digital camera recognises you within the mild, darkish, with or with out glasses and hasn’t wanted the retraining that numerous my different machines must work constantly.

The identical with the fingerprint scanner. It really works nearly flawlessly for me. Good!


There are some points although.

Trackpad Points

The haptic engine of the trackpad depends on drivers to make the haptic suggestions work. And mine went very odd one time.

I instantly misplaced many of the suggestions from the trackpad. Went into the settings to extend the extent of suggestions and… Clicking instantly took 5 seconds.

I might click on, and also you heard the engine fireplace, however then the trackpad stalled, and about 5 seconds later it clicked a second time and would reply once more.

Flip off the suggestions fully, and it labored nice, however wasn’t as usable.

It took me uninstalling the drivers fully, restarting and reinstalling them to repair the problem. Annoying. Solely as soon as in 6 months, however it’s a type of issues that makes you marvel when it is going to occur once more.

Proximity Sensors

These proximity sensors are additionally managed in essentially the most ridiculous manner.

They do not will not be included in any of the “regular” instruments/bloatware you get with a Dell. They’ll (so far as I can discover) solely be managed utilizing the “My Dell” software.

Nice when the machine is new out of the field, and it is out there. Not a lot when you ever have to scrub set up the machine, even utilizing the restoration partition of the machine!

You can not obtain this from the Dell web site, you have to make use of the Home windows retailer. That’s an annoyance – I might prefer to have it as a easy obtain and out there to put in at will.

Nonetheless… After a clear set up it is extra than simply an annoyance. It merely refuses to put in from the Home windows retailer.

You possibly can see it within the retailer, it even says it is appropriate with the machine, however there isn’t any set up button seen and no info on why it is not out there.

Take a look at the Dell web site and all directions simply say go to the Home windows retailer and set up from there. Infuriating!

This took a glance of Googling for various phrases, studying that the machine works nice with out it (which it would not, not if you wish to use these proximity sensors) I lastly discovered the answer.

For the Home windows Retailer to assist you to set up the machine it’s worthwhile to add a few registry keys that mark your machine as a Dell laptop computer.

The instructions under are the primary that I discovered, hyperlink to the unique publish under. They set 2 keys for the Home windows Retailer.

  • 1 to let Home windows Retailer know that you simply machine is made by dell
  • 1 to let Home windows Retailer know that it’s an XPS machine
C:WINDOWSsystem32>REG ADD "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionStore" /v OEMID /f /t REG_SZ /d DELL
C:WINDOWSsystem32>REG ADD "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionStore" /v StoreContentModifier /f /t REG_SZ /d "DELL_XPS"
Enter fullscreen mode

Exit fullscreen mode


Nonetheless… This did not fairly work for me, somewhat I needed to set the StoreContentModifier to DELL_INSPIRON earlier than it will let me set up the software program

Enter fullscreen mode

Exit fullscreen mode

As soon as there all the pieces begins to work once more as you’ll count on. However customers mustn’t must play with the Home windows Registry to get a machine doing what it’s imagined to do!

Scuff Marks

The ultimate disappointment with the machine is how shortly it acquired scuffed. That graphite color is a coating on an aluminium chassis, and it doesn’t stand as much as day-to-day use.

The vanguard has chips within the paint the place it is put right into a laptop computer bag steadily.

Not a show-stopper, however for the value of the machine I might have anticipated higher.

It is value saying that my use case right here is just not regular. I usually have a couple of machine, and a conveyable display screen within the bag on the similar time when travelling.

However even then, different machines I’ve completed the identical with have not suffered the identical points, so I actually assume it is an issue with the coating Dell use.


The record of gripes that I’ve with the machine would possibly make you assume I remorse selecting this machine, however completely not!

The efficiency, display screen, keyboard and sheer pleasure of use (more often than not) greater than make up for the slight points I’ve had.

Shopping for a machine for work is one factor, however I believe one of the best reward that I can provide this machine is that if I wanted to exchange my present dwelling laptop computer proper now it, it will be considered one of these. No query.

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