Dell’s latest ultrabook, the XPS 13 Plus, is now available in South Africa. The whole schtick with ultrabooks is to pack as much performance as possible into a portable form factor without sacrificing battery life and thermals and without getting too loud. Dell’s XPS (“eXtreme Performance System”) range has done this, with varying degrees of success, since 1993. We’ll have to wait for a review sample before we can definitively say so but, at least on paper, the XPS 13 Plus seems to live up to the ultrabook moniker.
X as in eXtreme
You do need to make some sacrifices when buying an XPS 13 Plus, however. Your money, for one, because this thing ain’t cheap. Its recommended retail price starts at R33,000. That’s quite a bit of money for not that much laptop. It weighs just under 1.5kg. But for your money, you’re getting a whole lot of performance in a properly portable machine.
That performance stems from Intel’s P-range of CPUs. The XPS 13 Plus can be fitted with up to the Core i7-1280P. That only has a base power draw of 28W but has six performance cores and eight efficiency cores for a total of 20 threads and a max turbo frequency of 4.8GHz.
You can also spec it out with up to 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM and up to a 2TB M.2 NVMe SSD. There are self-encrypting options if you’re carrying around serious secrets. These generally aren’t aimed at gamers though, so you won’t find any dedicated GPU here. There’s no space, plus GPUs get too hot and use too much power. But Dell’s machine should handle any media playback with ease.
There are also several display options for the XPS 13 Plus. You can have either a touch or non-touch 13.4in (they’re all that size) 16:10 FHD display. Or you could opt for fancier UHD or OLED displays, but those will add to the price.
Belongs on a display
Dell has opted for a very minimalist aesthetic. The keyboard, which has been redesigned from the last generation, spans the whole chassis. There’s even a
Touch Bar capacitive touch row instead of a function row. This was presumably to make room for more cooling components. That’s also presumably why you only get two (2) ports. There’s a Thunderbolt 4 port on either side. That’s it. It didn’t work that well for Apple but maybe Dell can do it better. We doubt it, but stranger things have happened.
In fact, this whole machine seems geared specifically for people who want the performance and portability of a MacBook but don’t like macOS. It should also be mentioned that the XPS 13 Plus is made using hydroelectricity with 100% recyclable aluminium. That level of ecological friendliness justifies the R33,000 price tag, doesn’t it?