The Dell XPS 13 is a hugely popular laptop so giving it a complete redesign seems like a risky move. That's perhaps why Dell has left the current model alone and instead created the Dell XPS 13 Plus.
The XPS 13 Plus (9320) will sit alongside the existing XPS 13 (9310) but will offer a new modern design and even more power. It uses Intel's latest 12th gen processors at 28W rather than 15W, delivering a maximum of 4.8GHz with 14 cores and 24MB cache. It has Intel Iris X graphics and comes with memory options of up to 32GB RAM and 2TB SSD.
Display options include the excellent 4K UHD and 3.5k OLED touch displays we have seen on the XPS 13 (9310), as well as the FHD+ touch and non-touch models. All of these options include Dolby Vision and Dell's Eyesafe technology.
The big changes come below the screen though, with a brand new look for the keyboard and trackpad. The keyboard fills the space from edge to edge without gaps, providing larger keypads and a deeper 0.3mm press. The glass touchpad in front uses force pad haptics and blends seamlessly into the casing, so you can't see where it actually starts and ends.
The biggest surprise though is the addition of a capacitive touch function row above the keys. This takes the place of the F-keys as well as quick keys for volume, brightness and other functions. Apple introduced a similar touch function on its 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro models but notably removed it again on the latest models.
The addition of the touch bar is likely to divide opinion, as will the removal of the headphone jack and micro-SD card slot in the sides – another decision Apple reversed in its latest models. The XPS 13 Plus features just two USB-C ports, one of which must be used for power, though it does come with a USB-C to A adapter in the box.
It's certainly a bold new look for the XPS but it looks stunning in person, both in the black and white versions. I expect that the original design will sit alongside the XPS 13 Plus for some time to come but I hope this new look is here to stay. It may only be the start of January but this is already a contender for the best-looking laptop of 2022.
The Dell XPS Plus will be available from spring 2022 with an expected starting price of $1,199.99.