Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Dell XPS 13 Plus vs. XPS 13: which is better?

The Dell XPS 13 has been at the top of our best laptops list for several years now, and for good reason. It’s been an extremely well-built and well-designed machine that epitomizes the 13-inch laptop.

For 2022, Dell split the iconic machine into two versions. There’s now a “base” XPS 13 9315 that drops the carbon or glass fiber palm rest and features a more economical configuration. Then there’s the XPS 13 Plus, which is also all-metal and incorporates several innovations in a faster and more expensive model. That’s why we’re looking at the XPS 13 Plus and comparing it to the XPS 13 9315 to see which laptop takes its place at the top.

Specs

  Dell XPS 13 9315 Dell XPS 13 Plus
Dimensions 11.63 inches by 7.86 inches by 0.55 inches  11.63 inches by 7.84 inches by 0.60 inches
Weight 2.59 pounds 2.73 pounds
Processor Intel Core i5-1230U
Intel Core i7-1250U
Intel Core i5-1240P
Intel Core i7-1260P
Intel Core i7-1270P
Intel Core i7-1280P
Graphics Intel Iris Xe Intel Iris Xe graphics
RAM 8GB LPDDR5
16GB LPDDR5
32GB LPDDR5
8GB LPDDR5
16GB LPDDR5
32GB LPDDR5
Display 13.4-inch 16:10 Full HD+ (1920 x 1080) IPS non-touch
13.4-inch 16:10 Full HD+ IPS touch
13.4-inch 16:10 IPS Full HD+ (1920 x 1200)
13.4-inch 16:10 OLED 3.5K (3456 x 2160) touch
13.4-inch 16:10 IPS UHD+ (3840 x 2400) touch
Storage 512GB PCIe 4.0 solid-state drive
1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
2GB SSD
4TB SSD
8TB SSD
Touch Optional Optional
Ports 2 USB-C with Thunderbolt 4  2 USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
Webcam 720p with Windows 11 Hello infrared camera 720p, Windows Hello IR webcam
Operating system Windows 11 Windows 11 Home or Pro
Battery 51 watt-hours 55 watt-hours
Price $999+ $1,299+
Rating 4 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

Pricing and configurations

The XPS 13 9315 is the more economical of the two, starting at $999 for a Core i5-1230U, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and the Full HD+ non-touch display. The most you’ll spend is $1,599 for a Core i7-1250U, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a touch display. It’s affordable at the low end and distinctly premium at the high end.

The XPS 13 Plus is a more expensive machine, starting at $1,299 for a Core i5-1240P, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a non-touch Full HD+ display. At the high end, the XPS 13 Plus is costly at $2,399 for a Core i7-1280P, 32GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, and either a 3.5K OLED display or a UHD+ IPS panel.

Design

The Dell XPS 13 Plus on a table outside.
Dell XPS 13 Plus Digital Trends

The XPS 13 9315 design retains the basic form of its predecessor but is now an all-aluminum laptop in Sky and Umber color schemes. With its incredibly tiny bezels and clean lines, it’s a very modern machine, even if it no longer stands out quite so starkly. The build quality remains as good as it gets, with zero bending, flexing, or twisting.

The XPS 13 Plus looks eerily similar from the outside, with the same aluminum build albeit with more conservative Platinum and Graphite colors. But open it up, and it couldn’t be more different. First, as with the base XPS 13, there’s no longer any fiber in the keyboard deck — it’s now all aluminum, losing that warmth enjoyed by the older XPS 13. It’s a bolder look than the new XPS 13, though, thanks to an edge-to-edge keyboard and a glass-covered palm rest that hides the touchpad. It, too, maintains the usual XPS build quality.

The XPS 13 Plus keyboard is markedly different as well, no longer simple chiclet keycaps as with the XPS 13 but rather a flatter, edge-to-edge design that offers less key spacing but larger keycaps. It’s a great typing experience, closer in overall feel to Apple’s excellent Magic Keyboard, and it’s a more precise experience than the XPS 13’s also excellent keyboard.

The Dell XPS 13 on a table with the Start Menu open.
Dell XPS 13 9315 Digital Trends

Even more striking is the lack of physical function keys on the XPS 13 Plus, with LED-backlit touch buttons without haptic feedback — it’s a strange choice that we found lacked the kind of responsiveness that would have made them more comfortable to use. We’re not sure that the touch keys improve over the physical keys on the XPS 13, and it seems to us that Dell is emulating Apple’s Touch Bar, which was abandoned on the most recent MacBooks.

The touchpad is also brand new, disappearing entirely and incorporating a haptic mechanism that works well. The XPS 13’s physical touchpad is great for a traditional model, but it lacks the XPS 13 Plus touchpad’s precision. Overall, the keyboard and touchpad combine to give the interior of the XPS 13 Plus a different and more minimalist design. Whether it’s better or not is more a question of personal taste.

The XPS 13 and XPS 13 Plus both have limited connectivity, with just two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support. Dell made the controversial decision to remove the audio jack and the microSD card reader on both laptops. Wireless connectivity is up to date on both, with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.

Finally, Dell remains behind the curve with the XPS 13 and XPS 13 Plus with HD (720p) webcams, while the premium laptop market is migrating to at least 1080p. At the same time, the four speakers on the Plus model provide enhanced audio over the XPS 13’s two speakers.

Performance

side view of a dell xps 13 plus
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The XPS 13 9315 uses 9-watt Intel 12th-generation CPUs, specifically the 10-core (two Performance and eight Efficient), 12-thread Core i5-1230U and Core i7-1250U. As such, the laptop promises a mix of solid productivity performance and enhanced efficiency. The XPS 13 Plus utilizes one of several 12th-gen Intel CPUs, from the Core i5-1240P up to the Core i7-1280P. These are 28-watt, 12-core (four Performance and eight Efficient), 16-thread chips and should be significantly faster.

Dell also improved airflow in the XPS 13 Plus, up to 55%, meaning that the new processors should have a higher performance ceiling. Finally, the XPS 13 Plus can be configured with up to 64GB of faster LPDDR 5 RAM and up to 8TB of PCIe Gen 4 SSD storage.

In our benchmarks, the XPS 13 Plus was definitely faster, particularly in the most CPU-intensive multi-core tests. Both laptops benefited from Dell’s thermal tuning utility, demonstrating faster speeds in performance mode.

Dell XPS 13 9315
(Core i5-1230U)
Dell XPS 13 Plus
(Core i7-1280P)
Geekbench 5
(single / multi)
Bal: 1,393/ 4,459
Perf: 1,477 / 5,350
Bal: 1,316 / 8,207
Perf: N/A
Handbrake
(seconds)
Bal: 333
Perf: 192
Bal: 170
Perf: 94
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
Bal: 1,379 / 3,457
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,311/ 6,308
Perf: 1,650 / 7,530
PCMark 10 Complete
(higher is better)
4,023 4,309

Display

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Like with performance, Dell differentiates between the XPS 13 and XPS 13 Plus by the quality of displays it offers. The XPS 13 9315 is limited to touch and non-touch Full HD+ IPS, and the higher-resolution and OLED options are now reserved for the XPS 13 Plus.

We reviewed the latter with the 3.5K OLED display, and it’s stunning, as always. The XPS 13’s display is fine for productivity work, but for creative tasks and media consumption, you can’t beat OLED with its incredibly wide and accurate colors and inky blacks.

Dell XPS 13 9315
(IPS)
Dell XPS 13 Plus
(OLED)
Brightness
(nits)
444 386
AdobeRGB gamut 75% 99%
 sRGB gamut 99% 100%
Accuracy
(DeltaE, lower is better)
1.33 0.83
Contrast ratio 1,390:1 386,030:1

Portability

The USB-C port on the Dell XPS 13.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The XPS 13 Plus is almost the same size as the XPS 13, coming in at 11.63 inches by 7.84 inches by 0.60 inches, compared to the XPS 13 at 11.63 inches by 7.86 inches by 0.55 inches. That makes the XPS 13 Plus slightly thicker than the XPS 13 but still quite thin. The XPS 13 Plus is heavier at 2.73 pounds versus 2.59 pounds. Both laptops are tiny, thanks to their minimal display bezels, and both will slip into a backpack and be barely noticeable.

While the XPS 13 Plus has a slightly larger battery at 55 watt-hours compared to 51 watt-hours in the XPS 13, the latter has more efficient CPUs and lower-power displays. Unsurprisingly, it also had a significantly longer battery life. For example, it lasted 13.25 hours in our web browsing test compared to the XPS 13 Plus at eight hours. You’re much more likely to get all-day longevity out of the XPS 13.

Go fast or save money — either way is fine

Both the XPS 13 and XPS 13 Plus are excellent premium 13-inch laptops. You get good enough productivity performance and solid battery life at less money with the XPS 13 9315, while the XPS 13 Plus is more futuristic and faster with a price to match.

Which is the better laptop? That’s hard to say. Most likely, your choice between the two will come down to whether you want the haptic touchpad, edge-to-edge keyboard, and touch function keys or whether the XPS 13’s more traditional design appeals to you.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Coppock
Mark has been a geek since MS-DOS gave way to Windows and the PalmPilot was a thing. He’s translated his love for…
Save $480 on this Dell XPS PC with an RTX 4070, 32GB of RAM
The Dell XPS Desktop on a desk placed next to a curved monitor.

If you’re looking for great gaming PC deals, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the Dell XPS desktop which is currently $480 off right now at Dell. Usually priced at $2,130, it’s down to $1,650 for a limited time only. Looks-wise, it may have more in keeping with the many desktop computer deals going on but under the hood, it’s a potent gaming machine too. If any of that sounds appealing, hit the link below or keep reading while we take you through everything else it has to offer.

Why you should buy the Dell XPS Desktop
With hardware that can compete with the best gaming PCs, the Dell XPS Desktop is ideal if you want a gaming rig that’s a little more subtle than the competition. This particular model has a 13th-generation Intel Core i7-13700 processor paired up with an impressive 32GB of memory. It also has 1TB of SSD storage so there’s plenty of room for installing all your favorite games.

Read more
This popular Dell 2-in-1 laptop is $250 off while stocks last
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 2023 top down view in tent mode.

By now, we all know that Dell is one of the best places to go for excellent laptop deals. That’s easily the case with the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 laptop that’s on sale right now. Usually priced at $700, it’s down to $450 for a limited time making it far more affordable for many people. Ideal if you can’t decide between a laptop or a tablet, you won’t want to miss out on this $250 saving. Here’s what you need to know about it before you buy this well-priced system.

Why you should buy the Dell Inspiron 14

Read more
I write about laptop deals for a living — don’t miss these four today
The Dell XPS 13, open on a table in front of a window.

There are all kinds of laptop deals out there, so if you need help in narrowing down your choices, you should check out our top picks for today's bargains. We've got offers on laptops made by HP, Dell, and Apple, which are among the best laptop brands. This means you won't have to worry over how dependable these laptops will be, but you'll need to hurry with your decision on which one to purchase because we expect high demand for these devices.
HP Laptop 17t -- $300, was $500

Affordable laptops don't have to be small and slow, as evidenced by the HP Laptop 17t. Its 17.3-inch display with HD+ resolution is among the biggest screens that you can get on a laptop for any price, which is perfect for working on projects and watching streaming shows. The HP Laptop 17t is also capable of handling your daily activities with its Intel N200 processor, Intel UHD Graphics, and 8GB of RAM, with Windows 11 Home pre-loaded in its 256GB SSD.

Read more