We've tested a lot of Dell laptops over the years and there's no doubt that its current crop is some of the best laptops it's ever made. Whether you're looking for a, a stylish , a budget-friendly model for or a , there's something for everyone. Many of the best Dell laptops have features to Boost remote or hybrid work or school such as and microphones, , longer battery lives and and the .
Like other PC makers such as, Lenovo, Acer and Asus, Dell is in the midst of updating the processors in its laptops and two-in-ones. That means Intel-based models are moving from 11th-gen to 12th-gen CPUs while AMD Ryzen systems are switching from 5000-series chips to 6000-series. If you're looking for laptop deals, look for older models of the best Dell laptops. However, we've seen big performance improvements with the new processors. An updated model might cost a little more but will add to the overall longevity.
The Dell XPS 13 is a perennial favorite for its size, weight and performance and just overall good looks. In 2020, Dell made the laptop even smaller, while making the laptop screen larger and increasing performance for both CPU and graphics-intensive tasks. For 2022, it made the XPS 13 even smaller and lighter, kept its sub-$999 starting price the same and dropped in the latest 12th-gen Intel processors.
While we haven't had a chance to test the new model yet, we expect it to be a strong Windows alternative to the M1 MacBook Air. Also, if you want to save money, the 2021 XPS 13 with 11th-gen Intel chips is available for less now.
Dell's everyday Inspiron laptops are much closer in design and performance to its premium XPS models than they were in the past. Its Inspiron 14 2-in-1 starts at $650 but still features extras like a full-HD webcam with a privacy shutter, a fingerprint reader for secure sign-ins, an HDMI 1.4 output and a full-size SD card slot. It even has an aluminum exterior for a more polished appearance.
The 16-inch display on the Inspiron 16 Plus is a great size since the laptop is barely bigger than a 15.6-inch model, but you get more room for work and a roomier keyboard and touchpad along with it. For this Inspiron, Dell packed in performance parts including Nvidia RTX discrete graphics (though it's nearly half the price if you go with Intel integrated graphics) and the display covers 100% sRGB color gamut, which is good enough if you're getting started with creating web content. Also, the laptop has a more premium fit and finish than we're used to seeing in the Inspiron line.
The XPS 17 combines the same slim, premium design of its 13-inch linemate but with increased performance possibilities. It can be configured with up to a 12th-gen Intel Core i9 processor, 64GB of memory and a 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics chip. The best part: Dell trimmed up the chassis so much that you get a 17-inch display in a body that's the size of an older 15-inch laptop. You're getting a lot of power and a big screen in the smallest possible package.
Starting at a low $784 and available with AMD Ryzen 6000 or 12th-gen Intel Core processors, the G15 is essentially a budget-friendly version of an Alienware laptop, the company's top-tier gaming brand. All of the processors can be paired with up to an 8GB Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti, 8GB,16GB or 32GB of memory and up to 1TB of storage. It can even be configured with a choice of displays with 144Hz, 165Hz or 240Hz refresh rates for smooth visuals and the price stays well under $2,000.
Dell XPS 15 OLED specs
Price: $1,449 (starting), $2,299 (tested)
Display: 15.6-inch OLED touchscreen (3,456 x 2,160 pixels)
CPU: Intel Core i7-12700H
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
RAM: 16 GB
Storage: 512 GB SSD
Ports: 3 Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports, headphone jack, microSD card reader
Size: 13.6 x 9.1 x 0.73 inches
Weight: 4.2 pounds
The Dell XPS 15 OLED 2022 (starting at $1,449, $2,299 as tested) isn’t an innovative or revolutionary laptop. Aside from its updated internals, it’s virtually identical to the Dell XPS 15 OLED 2021. But while this machine isn't shaking things up, it's still one of the best laptops and best Windows laptops you can buy.
All models of the refreshed Dell XPS 15 pack the latest 12th gen Intel Core CPUs and come bundled with Windows 11. Higher-end configurations feature an Nvidia 30-series GPU. Like last year's iteration, Dell offers a model with a 3.5K OLED touch display.
Not only is this a stellar laptop for everyday use, but it’s also a competent gaming machine. Though it’s admittedly pricey, it’s hard to argue against its impressive performance. It can handle almost anything you throw at it.
I’ve tested quite a few laptops for Tom’s Guide and the Dell XPS 15 is now one of my favorites. I recently said the new MacBook Air 2022 could make me ditch Windows laptops. But the XPS 15 has made me rethink that stance. Not only is it capable of handling my regular workloads, but it’s powerful enough to play Steam games as well as some of the best gaming laptops. Even the mighty MacBook Pro 16-inch can't compete on that front. In that regard, the Dell XPS 15 offers a fuller package. (For a more detailed comparison you can check out our Dell XPS 15 OLED 2022 vs MacBook Pro 16-inch).
Aside from its weak webcam, I have almost no complaints with Dell's notebook. In this review, I’ll go over why the Dell XPS 15 OLED (2022) is arguably the best Windows laptop out there.
The Dell XPS 15 OLED 2022 is available now for a starting price of $1,449 on Dell’s website (opens in new tab). This configuration features a 12th gen Intel Core i5-12500H processor, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, Intel UHD graphics and a 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1200) 60Hz display.
The highest-end configuration packs a Core i9-12900HK CPU, an Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti mobile GPU, 64GB of RAM, 2TB of storage and a 15.6-inch 4K (3840 x 2400) 60Hz touch display. This model costs $3,579.
Our review model is valued at $2,299 and features a 15.6-inch 3.5K (3456 x 2160) OLED 60Hz touch display, a Core i7-12700H CPU, an Nvidia 3050 Ti GPU, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. The 3.5K display is the only OLED option, and in person it looks great.
The new Dell XPS 15 features the sleek design language the XPS line is known for. Considering how these are some of the most elegant-looking Windows laptops, it’s hard to complain about the unchanged design.
At 13.6 x 9.1 x 0.73 inches, the Dell XPS 15 is the definition of an ultrabook. Its machined aluminum chassis feels smooth and sturdy. It looks great at home, at a cafe or at the office. Save for the iconic Dell logo on its silver lid, the laptop is free of adornments. It’s somewhat heavy at 4.2 pounds but it’s still light enough to comfortably carry around.
The all-black interior features large keycaps and a spacious touchpad. Front-facing speakers flank the keyboard. The thin bezels surrounding the InfinityEdge display give the laptop another layer of elegance. For lack of a better term, the Dell XPS 15 is a sexy machine.
The Dell XPS 15 has two USB-C ports and a security slot for a Kensington lock along its left edge. There's another USB-C port on the right, along with a full-sized SD card slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Admittedly, the laptop doesn’t have an abundance of ports. However, Dell packs a USB-A and Ethernet adapter with the XPS 15. Though this still may not be enough ports for some people, it was plenty for my everyday usage. I suspect the same will be true for most people who work on this laptop.
Streamed content and video games alike look fantastic on the 15.6-inch 3.5K OLED 60Hz InfinityEdge display. Equally, the large and vibrant 16:10 screen is ideal for scrolling through websites and for work.
I was impressed by how cinematic the Wakanda Forever appeared on a display a fraction the size of a movie screen. All of the various colors popped off the screen, especially in some of the battle scenes involving Namor the Submariner. A quick scene of the sun setting on the city of Wakanda displayed multiple hues of orange light contrasted with deep shadows.
The XPS 15 registered an average brightness of 382 nits on our light meter. This is a smidge lower than the 2021 Dell XPS 15 OLED (398) but far under the Alienware m15 R4 (460) and MacBook Pro 16-inch (520 nits).
In terms of color reproduction and accuracy, the XPS 15’s display registered 122% of the sRGB color gamut and 86.9% of the more demanding DCI-P3 color space. This puts it above the MacBook Pro 16-inch, which registered 109% and 77.4%, respectively.
I found the touchscreen as responsive as those on the best tablets. It registered all my taps, pinches and zooms. I often alternated between using the touchpad and touch screen to select and click on items. The touch screen is simply intuitive and natural to use.
The XPS 15 OLED has some of the best laptop speakers I’ve ever heard. The punchy speakers are loud enough to fill an entire room while remaining crystal clear even at high volumes. Bass isn't always great on laptops but the XPS 15 didn’t disappoint in that area.
The speakers handled everything from the booming shotgun blasts in Doom Eternal to the city ambiance in Cyberpunk 2077. Music tracks like Trivium’s In the Court of the Dragon and Symphony X’s Nevermore sounded a bit thin on the high end but retained their potency on the low end. From games, music to podcasts, I couldn’t find much that didn’t sound amazing on the laptop’s speakers.
To boost the audio experience further, the XPS 15 features Waves Maxx Audio Pro technology and Waves professional tuning – along with a slew of EQ presets within the included companion app. The presets do a decent job of enhancing the sound, especially within different music genres. I was especially impressed by how awesome film trailers sounded with the Movie preset enabled. You’re free to adjust the EQ to your desire if you don’t want to rely solely on the presets.
Thanks to its 12th gen Intel Core CPU, 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD, the XPS 15 is more than capable of handling heavy workloads. The laptop never stuttered or slowed, even when I had over 20 open Chrome tabs while running a YouTube video and chatting on Slack. This is a multi-tasking beast.
|Dell XPS 15 OLED (2022)||MacBook Pro 16-inch||Asus Zephyrus G14 (2022)||Alienware x14|
|Copying 25 GB from flash drive (MBps)||1,637 MBps||N/A||1,260.45 MBps||1,156 MBps|
|Handbrake video encoding (minutes:seconds)||5:42||4:48||5:58||5:04|
On Geekbench 5.4, which measures overall performance, the XPS 15 scored 11,258 on the multicore portion. In contrast, the MacBook Pro 16-inch scored 12,683, while the Alienware x14 scored 13,353.
On our Handbrake video editing test, which involves transcoding a 4K video clip to 1080p, the Dell XPS 15 took 5 minutes and 42 seconds to complete the task. This is slower than the MacBook Pro 16-inch (4:48) but a tad faster than the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (5:58).
The XPS 15 OLED can transfer files to its SSD at a zippy 1,637 MBps when tasked with copying 25GB of multimedia files. This is faster than the Zephyrus G14 (1,260.45 MBps) and Alienware x 14 (1,156 MBps).
Our XPS 15 packs an Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti laptop graphics card, meaning it can also serve as a decent gaming laptop. When benchmarking Sid Meier's Civilization VI on the laptop, the game reached 40 frames per second at 3.5K resolution. The game ran at 60fps at 1080p resolution. While this particular title isn’t technically demanding, those are still solid frame rates that most non-gaming laptops can't match.
For my own testing, I fired up Doom Eternal and God of War. Being an exceptionally optimized game, I wasn’t surprised to see Doom Eternal running between 85 and 100 frames per second at medium settings. It ran buttery smooth, even when battles became chaotic. God of War on PC stayed within the 30 to 40 fps range. This is similar to how it performed on the PlayStation 4 Pro, though it’s less than the 60 fps most PC players would desire.
Though the Dell XPS 15 isn’t specifically marketed as a gaming laptop, it sure makes for a competent gaming machine. It’s nearly on par with dedicated devices like the Alienware x14 in terms of performance.
I’ve said this in nearly all of my laptop reviews, but I’m generally not a fan of laptop keyboards since they don’t feel as good to type on as mechanical keyboards. With that said, I adored using the XPS 15’s roomy and responsive backlit keyboard.
Aside from the low key travel that allowed me to type effortlessly, my favorite feature was the soft textured carbon fiber covering the palm rests. It was a delight working on the laptop for hours at a time because of how great the typing experience was.
Equally, the large touchpad gave me plenty of space to work with. It registered all of my swipes and gestures without a hitch. The cursor always went where I wanted it to, making this an effortless experience.
While everything about the XPS 15 screams quality, the same isn’t true for its subpar 720p webcam.
I looked grainy and washed out, even in a well-lit environment. Considering how important video conferencing has become over the past two and a half years, a webcam of this caliber is unacceptable. I’d recommend using one of the best webcams so that you don’t appear like a pixelated mess to people you’re video chatting with.
We weren’t enthused with the Dell XPS 15 2021’s 7-hour battery life. Thankfully, this year’s model lasts much longer. While the latest XPS 15 doesn’t boast the longest-lasting battery like the MacBook Pro M2, it should be sufficient enough to get you through an entire workday.
On the Tom’s Guide battery test, which involves continuous web surfing at 150 nits of screen brightness, the XPS 15 lasted for 10 hours and 5 minutes. That's a significant improvement over last year's Dell XPS 15 OLED 2021, which lasted under 8 hours in the same test. Now that the 2022 model lasts over 10 hours in our battery test it trounces the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7 (8:06) and demolishes the Alienware x14 (5:35). However, the MacBook Pro 16-inch surpasses it with 15 hours and 31 minutes of battery life.
In our standard heat test, which involves running a heat gun over the laptop after streaming 15 minutes of full HD video on it, we found the hottest point to be on the underside of the XPS 15, which peaked at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Generally, we consider temperatures over 95 degrees as being uncomfortable. However, if you have the laptop on a desk, then the heat it produces won’t be an issue.
The Dell XPS line of laptops has long been regarded as the pinnacle of portable Windows computing. The Dell XPS 15 OLED (2022) continues this legacy of excellence. Even if it isn’t shaking up the computing world with never-before-seen features, it's an all-around solid machine that's perfect for everyday work and high-end gaming.
But if you’re not convinced the XPS 15 is for you or don’t want a Windows laptop, consider the MacBook Pro 16-inch, which costs roughly $50 more than what our XPS 15 review unit sells for. While Apple's premium laptop isn’t great for gaming (unless you're playing games from Apple's macOS/iOS App Stores), it’s exceptional for everyday work and serious photo/audio/video editing.
If you're looking for a gaming laptop comparable to the XPS 15 OLED, the Alienware m15 R4 and Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) are solid choices. And if you want a more affordable alternative, the Alienware x14 is a good pick, even if it lacks an OLED screen.
Still, there’s something to be said for a dependable laptop that does exactly what it needs to. While the Dell XPS 15 OLED is more of the same, that same is pretty darn awesome. If you need a great Windows ultraportable, this is it.
4K resolution is going mainstream—even among PC monitors. Delivering a pixel count four times higher than a 1080p display, 4K provides a massive and obvious improvement to image quality. It’s useful not only in games and movies but also when editing documents or browsing web pages. The extra pixels make text look clear and crisp.
Here are the best 4K monitors available today. If you’re looking for additional options, we also have roundups of the best monitors overall and the best gaming monitors.
The Dell U3223QE, which also tops our list of the best monitors overall, is an excellent 4K monitor for professionals and everyday users who want excellent image quality.
Technology is what sets this monitor apart. It has a new IPS Black panel that offers roughly twice the contrast of computer monitors with older IPS panels. This provides a richer image with a better sense of depth and darker black levels in dark scenes. The U3223QE also has a high maximum brightness and excellent color performance with high color accuracy. Images are vibrant and true to life.
Yet there’s more to the Dell U3223QE than image quality. It’s also a versatile USB-C hub monitor with up to 90 watts of Power Delivery. The built-in hub has multiple USB-A ports, Ethernet, and even DisplayPort out.
This is a 32-inch 4K monitor, which may be too large for some desks. Dell also has a 27-inch model, the U2723QE, which offers 4K resolution and the same IPS Black panel. We haven’t reviewed that model but expect it will deliver similar performance.
Want a great 4K monitor, but need to spend less than $500? The Asus ProArt PA279CV is an excellent choice.
The ProArt PA279CV is a 27-inch 4K monitor that targets entry-level professional use. It has excellent color accuracy, high maximum brightness, and a good contrast ratio for an IPS monitor.
This monitor also throws in USB-C connectivity. It’s not a great USB-C hub, as it has only a couple USB-A ports, but it offers 65 watts of Power Delivery for charging a connected laptop or tablet.
Asus throws in adaptive sync support compatible with AMD and Nvidia video cards. This prevents screen tearing and provides smooth motion in 3D games. The monitor has a maximum refresh rate of 60Hz.
The ProArt PA279CV carries an MSRP of about $500, but that price can swing significantly lower when retailers run a sale. We recommend waiting for a discount if possible.
Want a 4K monitor with a high refresh rate for smooth gaming? The Dell G3223Q is an excellent option.
The G3223Q is a 32-inch, 4K monitor with a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz and support for AMD FreeSync Premium Pro (Nvidia G-Sync also works, unofficially). You can play games at high refresh rates with no screen tearing and smooth frame pacing.
You’ll find two HDMI 2.1 ports on the rear. They’re great for connecting a PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X game console, since you can play at each console’s maximum resolution and refresh rate. There’s also a DisplayPort input for connecting your PC.
None of this would matter if the G3223Q’s image quality wasn’t excellent—but it is. The monitor has great color performance, high brightness, good contrast, and a razor-sharp image thanks to its 4K resolution.
It’s a good value, too. The G3223Q is towards the low end of pricing for a 32-inch, 4K 144Hz monitor but doesn’t sacrifice features or build quality to achieve it.
Want the last word in high-resolution, high-definition gaming and entertainment? You need a fantastic HDR monitor like the Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX.
This monitor has a Mini-LED backlight with 1,152 independent backlight zones. The backlight greatly improves the monitor’s contrast ratio and achieves eye-searing levels of brightness in small areas of the display. The monitor’s maximum sustained brightness is exceptionally high, as well.
As a result, the PG32UQX delivers excellent detail in bright areas of the screen while maintaining good contrast and black levels in darker scenes. It also has exceptional color, which further contributes to a great HDR experience. Overall HDR performance rivals the best HDTVs and blows away most HDR monitors.
This is also a 4K 144Hz monitor with support for Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate. HDMI 2.1 is missing, but Xbox Series X|S consoles can achieve 4K 120Hz over HDMI 2.0 through a chroma subsampling mode.
The only problem? You can expect to pay up to $3,000 for this monitor. Viewsonic’s XG321UG is a less expensive alternative that performs similarly, though it lacks 4K 120Hz support on Xbox Series X|S.
A 32-inch 4K monitor is great for everyday PC tasks like web browsing and document editing, but it can be more than that. Monitors in this category are an ideal substitute for a television in a small mixed-used space like a studio apartment, rented room, or dormitory.
Samsung’s M8 Smart Monitor leans into this by fusing the features of a Smart TV with a traditional 32-inch 4K monitor. The monitor comes with a remote and runs Samsung’s Tizen operating system. You can access streaming content, like Netflix or Hulu, directly from the monitor.
Yet this is still a great PC monitor. A connected PC or other external device can be used by flipping the input source, as you would on a television. Image quality is solid with excellent sharpness, top-tier contrast, high brightness, and attractive color performance.
The monitor also comes in a variety of attractive stand and bezel color options, with a detachable webcam, and has a USB-C port with up to 65 watts of Power Delivery. It supports Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi 5, too.
4K monitors are more expensive than other monitors, so they pack numerous features and a quality display panel. A typical 4K monitor will have features that are optional on a 1080p monitor. Still, there are a few details you should know before buying a 4K monitor.
USB-C is an excellent choice for connecting a 4K monitor to a modern laptop with USB-C or Thunderbolt. USB-C can bundle Power Delivery and DisplayPort Alternate Mode, which means the monitor can charge a connected device while it outputs video to the monitor. Some monitors, like the Dell U3223QE, are USB-C hubs that expand connectivity for the connected device.
Most 4K monitors have a 60Hz refresh rate. Those that go beyond 60Hz may only support an enhanced refresh rate over a specific port, so be sure to check the specifications. A monitor will need to support HDMI 2.1 or DisplayPort 1.4 to handle 4K at up to 144Hz.
Many 4K monitors support HDR, but most offer lackluster HDR performance. HDR will function, and may look better than SDR, but won’t approach the quality of a good HDTV. If you want quality HDR, look for a minimum of VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certification (or VESA DisplayHDR True Black).
We test 4K monitors with a DataColor SpyderXElite color calibration tool. It provides objective measurements for contrast, brightness, black levels, color gamut, color accuracy, and gamma, among other metrics. These objective results can be compared with other monitors to see how each performs against the competition.
These objective image results are supplemented with our subjective evaluation of a monitor. We evaluate out-of-box image quality, sampling all types of content from gaming to movies. We look at the feature set. We closely consider details like a monitor’s on-screen menu, ergonomic stand (or lack thereof), and overall build quality.
SA Rugby and its IT partner Dell Technologies have introduced an immersive Virtual Reality (VR) Experience to enhance the fan experience at all international games played in South Africa until 24 September 2022.
Digital transformation is one of the key priorities for SA Rugby, and the VR Experience will allow them to engage more closely with fans through customised experiences, broadening the reach of content and involving sponsors more authentically.
The VR activation is an exciting and immersive rugby experience where fans are able to test their rugby skills in a stadium environment and prove that they are “Bok”.
With the launch of SA Rugby’s new digital fan club, BokSquad, CEO Jurie Roux includes digital initiatives aimed at reaching a younger and more digital-savvy audience among his priorities off the field.
Often the first adopters of cutting-edge technologies, millennial sports fans typically have the widest access to new platforms. In addition, a survey conducted by Deloitte showed that VR front-row seats would increase the likelihood of watching a game for 54% of fans.
SA Rugby works with Dell to help it achieve its digital transformation goals and to support the Springboks with digital technologies and communications infrastructure.
“We place enormous value on Dell’s ongoing support and guidance to help us achieve our digital transformation goals,” said Roux.
“As South Africans, we can be successful on the world stage and give our nation a unifying source of hope by combining our hard work, adaptability and use of the latest technologies.”
Digital technologies are also changing everything, from helping fans better experience games, informing training and coaching methods, rating the performance of athletes, helping referees make better decisions, enhancing athletes' public profiles and even how competitive events are adjudicated.
It’s also allowing the industry – and sponsors – to better understand what excites fans and how they can tailor content to be more effective, as well as what engagement models work best for individual audiences.
“SA Rugby has recognised that it needs to accelerate its digital transformation efforts to realise the opportunities that technology offers and is working to embed digital throughout the organisation,” said Doug Woolley, General Manager for Dell Technologies in South Africa.
Dell has also provided SA Rugby with a highly flexible data platform built with PowerEdge servers and Latitude laptops, providing coaches and players with anywhere access to video snippets and data insights to help Boost collaboration, training and strategy.
These insights – along with innovations in data analytics and modern security technologies – have made it easier for the Springbok team to monitor player and team performance.
The Dell XPS 13 Plus appears to be capable of outperforming Apple's new MacBook Air M2 in terms of raw CPU power, which means Apple silicon still faces serious competition from Intel's new Alder Lake laptop chips.
We know this because we're currently testing an XPS 13 Plus with an Alder Lake Intel Core i7 CPU that Dell sent us for review. That means we'll be updating our Dell XPS 13 Plus hands-on review within the next week or so with a full evaluation of Dell's thinner, lighter spin on an XPS 13, but some of our testing results were so intriguing that we couldn't wait until the review to share them.
One important caveat here: neither the XPS 13 Plus nor the Air M2 we tested are the entry-level models. Below you'll find a chart comparing the entry-level specs for both laptops (plus the 13-inch Pro M2) for context, but the genuine units we reviewed are a bit pricier and more powerful.
The XPS 13 Plus we're testing sports an Intel Core i7-1280P CPU, 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM, a 512GB SSD and a 3.5K OLED touchscreen. To buy the same configuration directly from Dell, you'd pay roughly $1,910 -- though if you ditched the OLED touchscreen upgrade and went with the default 1,920 x 1,200 display, it'd cost closer to $1,616.
The MacBook Air M2 we tested, by comparison, arrived sporting an upgraded M2 chip with a 10-core GPU (instead of the default 8-core), 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. To buy the same laptop from Apple you'd pay $1,899, though if you downgraded it down to a 512GB SSD like the XPS 13 Plus has you'd pay just $1,699.
|MacBook Air 13-inch (M2, 2022)||Dell XPS 13 Plus|
|Price||from $1,199||from $1,399|
|Display||13.6 inches (2560 x 1664)||13.4 inches (full HD+, full HD+ touch, 3.5K OLED or 4K LCD)|
|CPU||8 core M2 CPU||12th gen Intel Core i5, Core i7|
|GPU||8-10 core M2 GPU||Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics|
|RAM||8GB to 24GB||8GB to 32 GB|
|Storage||256GB to 2TB SSD||256GB to 2TB SSD|
|Ports||Two Thunderbolt / USB-4, mic||2 Thunderbolt 4 / USB-4|
|Size||11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44 inches||11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches|
|Weight||2.7 pounds||2.73 pounds|
|Dell XPS 13 Plus||Dell XPS 13 Plus (Ultra mode)||MacBook Air M2|
Most notably, the XPS 13 Plus earned a score of 10,621 in the Geekbench 5.4 multi-core CPU benchmark test. When we put the XPS 13 Plus into its "Ultra" performance mode it scored even higher, netting 11,217. This is a test that, put very simply, puts your CPU through a variety of workloads meant to replicate real-world tasks (creating content, playing games, etc.) and then assigns it a score. The higher the score, the better (or at least, more performant) the CPU.
The score earned by the Dell XPS 13 Plus is high for an ultraportable, and it beats the MacBook Air M2's 8,965 score by a decent margin. The MacBook's lower multi-core score vs. the XPS 13 Plus suggests Intel's chip is more efficient at tackling multi-threaded workloads -- that is, apps which can take advantage of multi-core CPUs and issue complex instructions to multiple cores at once.
While both scores are quite good for these thin-and-light laptops, the fact that the XPS 13 Plus blew past the Air M2 in the multi-core CPU benchmark suggests that Intel's latest laptop chips can still muscle out Apple's M2 — even if there's active cooling to keep Apple's silicon cool under pressure.
Because while the new MacBook Air's M2 chip relies entirely on airflow and heat sinks to stay cool, the M2 chip in Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Pro has the added benefit of active cooling via fans. And since we put those fans to the test during testing for our Macbook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) review, I know that it earned a score of 8,911 in the Geekbench 5.4 multi-core CPU benchmark. That's roughly the same as the numbers the Air M2 put up, suggesting whatever difference active cooling makes isn't readily apparent in raw CPU tests.
CPU power is just one aspect of a laptop's performance. There are a host of other reasons to buy (or skip) a notebook, including battery life, screen quality, port options, and more. Depending on what you plan to use it for, a laptop's raw CPU power might not even make that much of a difference in your day-to-day work.
With that in mind, let's look at some of the other results from our testing to see how the MacBook Air M2 stacks up against the XPS 13 Plus across the board.
|Dell XPS 13Plus||Dell XPS 13Plus (Ultra mode)||MacBook Air M2|
|Time||8 minutes 31 seconds||6 minutes 49 seconds||7 minutes 52 seconds|
When we ran both laptops through our video encoding test, for example, which times how long it takes a notebook to transcode a 4K video down to 1080p using Handbrake, the MacBook Air M2 did the work quicker than the XPS 13 Plus -- until we put the XPS 13 Plus into Ultra mode, at which point it sped past the MacBook.
The Air M2 completed the task in an average of 7 minutes and 52 seconds, while the XPS 13 Plus took roughly 8 minutes and 31 seconds on average, though that dropped down to 6:49 in Ultra mode. It's slightly hard to say because we witnessed some unusual results when running this test on the XPS 13 Plus that occasionally saw it completing the test in as little as 7 minutes 20 seconds, but that's so far below the average that we consider it something of a fluke.
We also ran both laptops through PugetBench's Adobe Creative Cloud suite benchmark tests, using a script which automatically runs through tests for Adobe Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro and Lightroom Classic. Apple's MacBook Air M2 took an average of 4:49 to complete the Photoshop test (running Photoshop 23.3.2 via Rosetta) and earned an average score of 821, while the XPS 13 Plus we're reviewing earned a lower score (670) and took longer (6:28) to do it.
|13-inch MacBook Air M2 (2022)||Dell XPS 13 Plus (Ultra mode)||Dell XPS 13 Plus|
|Pugetbench Photoshop test||821||691||670|
|Pugetbench Premiere Pro test||452||325||279|
Likewise, when we ran both laptops through a benchmark test for Premiere Pro, the MacBook Air M2 earned an average score of 452, handily beating the XPS 13 Plus' average score of 279. So clearly if you plan to do a lot of work in Adobe's suite of apps, Apple's laptop has a clear advantage over Dell's latest flagship 13-incher.
|13-inch MacBook Air M2 (2022)||Dell XPS 13 Plus (Ultra mode)||Dell XPS 13 Plus (2022)|
|Sid Meier's Civ 6: Gathering Storm (in frames per second)||40.3 fps @ 1470 x 956||33 fps @ 1080p||22.9 fps @ 1080p|
If you like to play games on your laptop, both the Dell XPS 13 Plus and MacBook Air M2 will afford you some good options. To get a sense of how well they run games we ran both through the graphical benchmark in Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm, an oldie but a goodie that we use in testing because it runs on a wide variety of both MacBooks and Windows PCs.
However, it can be tricky to get MacBooks to run Civ VI in a comparable resolution to most Windows laptops. For example, the highest resolution we could get it to run in on the M2 Air was 1,470 x 956, which is significantly lower than the Air's 2,560 x 1,664 native resolution. At that resolution, the Air M2 achieved an average of 40.3 frames per second (fps) in the graphical benchmark.
That's more frames per second than the Dell XPS 13 Plus could manage to crank out, but that's at least partially explained by the fact that the XPS 13 Plus was also running the game at a higher resolution. At 1080p (1,920 x 1,080) resolution the XPS 13 Plus achieved an average of 22.9 fps in the Civ VI benchmark, though at its native 3.5K (3,456 x 2,160) resolution the XPS could only manage 14.6 fps.
So while the XPS 13 Plus couldn't run Civ VI in anything approaching a reasonable framerate (22.9 fps at 1080p is playable but not enjoyable, in my view), we don't really know how well the Air M2 would run the game if it could display it at a native resolution. As it stands, the game likely runs better on the Air M2 but looks worse than it does on the XPS 13 Plus.
So is the MacBook Air M2 a better laptop for gaming than the XPS 13 Plus? Well, it's complicated. In terms of raw graphical performance, maybe -- but gaming on macOS is a different beast than gaming on Windows. For starters, many of the best PC games don't run natively on macOS, and even if you get them up and running performance often lags behind comparable Windows PCs.
However, the Air M2 has access to all the games on Apple's App Store, which the XPS 13 Plus does not. And with MacBooks potentially about to become legit gaming laptops thanks to macOS Ventura, at least one of my colleagues finally has hope for the future of Mac gaming.
When we tasked each laptop with running through BlackMagic's disk speed tests, we saw some intriguing results. The MacBook Air M2's SSD is clearly slower than the one in the XPS 13, as it managed average write and read scores of 2,800 and 2,210 respectively.
|13-inch MacBook Air M2 (2022)||Dell XPS 13 Plus (Ultra mode)||Dell XPS 13 Plus (2022)|
|Blackmagic Write Test||2800||4058||3638|
|Blackmagic Read Test||2210||4529||4879|
Those are decent numbers, but the XPS 13 Plus is clearly faster on both counts. In the same test it delivered an average write score of 3638 and average read score of 4879. These numbers are an abstract way of quantifying and measuring how fast a drive can read and write data, so they should give you some indication of which laptop is quicker to store and retrieve files.
Apple silicon has given every Mac that gets it a boost in both performance and power efficiency. That's why the new MacBook Pro M2 is the longest-lasting laptop we've ever tested, taking 18 hours and 20 minutes (!) to run out of juice in our battery test, which tasks the laptop with endlessly surfing the web via Wi-Fi with its screen brightness set to 150 nits.
|13-inch MacBook Air M2 (2022)||Dell XPS 13 Plus (2022)|
|Battery life (hours:minutes)||14:06||7:34|
The new MacBook Air M2 couldn't last quite as long in the same test, but it still lasted an impressive average of 14 hours and 6 minutes. That's nearly twice as much batter life as the Dell XPS 13 Plus, which ran out of juice in an average of 7 hours and 34 minutes.
I was personally hoping that the Plus would do a little better since the XPS 13 line has long had a hard time climbing past the 10-hour mark in our battery test. However it actually lasted a little less time than the Dell XPS 13 OLED we reviewed last year, which took nearly 8 hours (7:59) to die in our battery test.
As you can see, based on the specs and numbers shared above, the Dell XPS 13 Plus with a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU appears to deliver more CPU power than the MacBook Air M2 for roughly the same amount of money. And since both ultraportables are relatively similar in size and price, the XPS 13 Plus offers a more enticing package for speed freaks, which includes faster SSD speeds.
However, that doesn't mean it's a better laptop overall. The Air M2 is an excellent ultraportable with faster video transcoding, better performance in Adobe apps and nearly double the battery life. So if you need an ultraportable for creative work on the go, a new MacBook Air M2 might be just the thing. It also sports a brighter display (though sadly no OLED option) and a headphone jack -- something Dell cut from the XPS 13 Plus in the name of making it thinner and lighter.
Indeed, the XPS 13 Plus' lack of a headphone jack, coupled with the addition of a row of capacitive touch keys and a trackpad with haptic feedback, make it seem more like a MacBook than the new MacBook Air. Are these design changes a winner, or is the Plus a step in the wrong direction from the XPS 13, one of the best laptops on the market right now? Stay tuned for our full XPS 13 Plus review to find out!
Next: Speaking of comparisons, you can also check out our detailed look at the new Dell XPS 15 OLED 2022 vs MacBook Pro 16-inch.
Dell’s XPS 13 Plus once again tries to set standard for all laptops and largely succeeds, but its battery life and lack of ports don’t inspire.
Like cars and fashion, laptop makers tend to all mirror each other’s looks and features. For example, ridiculously large bezels were all the rage until Dell’s original XPS 13 broke from the pack and introduced InfinityEdge bezels. Within a generation, any laptop with large bezels looked years if not a decade out of date. The latest Dell XPS 13 features much of the same design cues, but with some, shall we say, interesting changes.
The XPS 13 offers blazing fast processing performance, a gorgeous OLED display, and above-average audio. When it comes to what most people want in an ultraportable, it tics off a lot of boxes. It’s lightweight, luxurious, and powerful. However, it’s missing a headset jack and there are only two USB-C ports. The lack of a headset jack is certainly odd, but we still feel this is a fantastic pick for business professionals or graphic designers.
Let’s check out what’s inside the XPS 13 Plus. The review demo has an Intel Core i7-1280P CPU. The CPU features an impressive sounding 14-cores (6 performance cores and 8 efficiency cores) of Alder Lake CPU inside. Here’s the rest of the specs for you to eyeball, but the key features include a standard M.2 Gen 4 SSD and the option for a luscious 3.5K OLED panel.
The Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 once again tries to set the style stage for all laptop makers. The most striking feature is its “trackpad-less” look that masks the trackpad underneath a contiguous piece of Gorilla Glass. It gives the user the impression of a large wrist rest without the typical rectangular cutout for the trackpad we’re so used to. The trackpad actually starts around the left side of the space bar and stretches to the right Alt key. There’s also a slight margin of about a quarter of an inch from the top and bottom as well.
In many ways, it’s sized about the same as the conventional trackpads you’ve seen—but hidden. Feedback is via a haptic feedback much like your phone’s haptic buzz. On the XPS 13 Plus, the haptic feedback works surprisingly well versus conventional trackpads that physically move and click. With a conventional trackpad, it gets nearly impossible to click as you approach the spacebar where the hinge pivots. With the XPS 13 Plus, the “click” uses tiny mechanism instead and works equally anywhere on the trackpad.
Adam Patrick Murray
Although amazing to look at, one issue with the hidden trackpad is not knowing where the edges are. In my experience, however, using the trackpad felt as natural as any other. It’s likely years of conditioning from the trackpad always being in the central portion between your palms. Others may have their brains broken with it and want to see the lines around the edge, but the experience was seamless for me.
The obvious question is why even bother with the trouble if what works ain’t broke? The answer is known by anyone who wants form over function, which is most of the world. That answer won’t satisfy many, but if you’re memorizing this wearing skinny jeans instead of loose-fitting jeans, you might be a hypocrite about function taking precedent over form.
What’s perhaps scary clever about the trackpad is that it’s so attention grabbing you may skip the other things worth talking about. For example, the other little noticed design change with the XPS 13 Plus are the capacitive touch function keys (these replace mechanical buttons). They default to media functions and screen brightness. With the press of the function key to the left of the spacebar, it converts to F1 to F12.
Look, I don’t mind the screen brightness and volume being capacitive touch, but having the escape, delete, home, and end key as capacitive touch is particularly jarring. Pressing Ctrl-Alt using physical keys and then having your finger crunch into the capacitive Del key just feels wrong. The all important Esc just doesn’t feel right without physical feedback.
Dell said the capacitive touch keys wasn’t done to anger you further. It just chose function over form. The capacitive touch keys take no space while a standard physical key will eat up precious millimeters of space.
When it comes to ports on the XPS 13 Plus 9320, it’s about as minimalistic as the trackpad. In fact, it’s barely clinging on to even being a plural. Yes, it has two USB-C ports, but lose one of those and the XPS 13 Plus goes form “ports” to port. You can see that below where the left side of the has a single USB-C port available.
We have no need to show you the other side because that it’s essentially a mirror image of the left side. There’s no 3.5mm combo jack for your headset or a USB-A port. The good news is Dell does at least give you a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle as well as a USB-A to USB-C adapter. This isn’t the first XPS 13 Plus to ditch a headset jack nor USB-A, but it still makes us sad. Yes, removing ports saves on internal space—but that’s starting to sound like an excuse for everything.
At least both ports offer Thunderbolt 4 support, so you can charge and run an external display of off a single port at very high speeds (with a dock or hub). On the road, however, plug in the 60-watt charger and you have one port free.
Adam Patrick Murray
Dell has been leaning into better audio on its XPS-series of laptops and the XPS 13 Plus doesn’t disappoint. The speakers are bottom firing through slots milled into the aluminum body. It gets decently loud with fairly rich sound. To be honest, the XPS 13 Plus sounds better than most thin gaming laptop’s we’ve seen.
Other premium laptops are offering 1080p resolution and higher so the XPS 13 Plus’ 720p webcam seems pretty pedestrian. In reality, the image quality is fine. The webcam module also includes a separate IR camera for Windows Hello biometric support.
The XPS 13 Plus supports presence detection, which means the screen dims when you look away and then brightens up when you walk up to it. With Windows Hello enabled, you should be able to have it log in for you as well. If you’re not into all the facial features, you can also just touch your finger to the power button, which has an integrated finger-print reader.
If you’re the kind of laptop buyer more interested in what’s inside, we’ll kick off our look at performance of the XPS 13 Plus in Maxon’s Cinebench R20 benchmark. For our CPU and graphics testing, all of the tests were conducted in Windows 11 and with the laptops set to their performance presets.
Cinebench is a test based on the same engine used in its professional 3D modelling product. We run the test using all cores, and a single core.
Under a multi-core load that scales well, the XPS 13 Plus and its Core i7-1280P easily outpaces laptops based on Intel’s older 11th gen CPUs as well as all generations of AMD’s Ryzen U-class CPUs. The upshot is if you’re looking for ultra portable laptop that can actually belt out decent performance for 3D modelling the XPS 13 Plus is a contender. That also likely means it should do well with compiling code as well as other tasks that use all of the cores.
In single-threaded or single-core performance the XPS 13 Plus also leads the pack which means it should do well in lightly-threaded tasks such as most things people do in Office, photo editing and browsing.
Although Cinebench R20 is a fine measurement for an all-core load that may take a minute or three, some things take far longer. Longer workloads build up heat. Laptops deal with this by increasing fan noise or simply by slowing down the CPU.
For this test, we use the free and popular Handbrake encoder to convert a 4K 6.3GB video encoded in H.264 to the more efficient H.265 CODEC using the CPU. The tasks leans more CPU cores and takes quite some time to run. On the quad-core 11th gen MSI Prestige 14 Evo, for example, it takes about one hour and 40 minutes.
The XPS 13 Plus manages to outpace the Asus Zenbook 13 with its 8-core Ryzen 7 5800U. It outpaced the newest Zenbook 13 S OLED with its 8-core Ryzen 6800U by a hair.
You can also see the direct impact of the laptop maker’s decisions with the older Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7, which slides in front of the XPS 13 Plus. Performance on very long running and CPU-heavy tasks puts the XPS 13 Plus in good company, but it doesn’t quite end up in first place. Realistically, it’s fine.
Up next is UL’s PCMark 10, which is a benchmark that attempts to measure usage tasks in video conferencing, document editing, and digital content creation such as 3D modelling and rendering. The overall winner is the Zenbook 13 S OLED with its Ryzen 7 6800U, but we’re basically looking at a spread of about 4 percent. Overall, we’d call it not a big deal and most people will be happy with either.
The real upshot is that for what most people do on very thin and very light laptops, any of the machines will do quite well. On the flip side, the Intel-based laptops do better in the Essentials category, which measures app startup using Chromium, Firefox, LibreOffice Writer, and GIMP image editor. Both Intel laptops also do better in video conferencing.
In digital content creation, the XPS 13 Plus and the newer Asus Zenbook 13 S OLED easily outpace their rivals.
Although gaming isn’t typically what people do on premium ultra portable laptops, we take a quick look at graphics performance using 3DMark Time Spy. It’s a popular synthetic and reliable benchmark. The benchmark is weighted toward graphics performance and the newer Asus Zenbook 13 S OLED with its Ryzen 7 6800U and RDNA2 graphics has a decent edge over Intel’s best Iris Xe graphics. The XPS 13 Plus does lead in the CPU performance, but gaming is still largely about graphics performance and it shows.
We certainly didn’t expect the stellar run time like we saw in the Asus Zenbook 13 S OLED with its Ryzen 7 6800U, especially since it has a 22 percent larger battery, but we were hoping for similar run times as the MSI Prestige 14 Evo with the same size battery. As I noted above, the screen resolution of the XPS 13 Plus is far higher than the Prestige 14 Evo, but at the same time—it’s an OLED, which should do better on video run downs.
The upshot is battery life won’t be horrible on the XPS 13 Plus, but it certainly won’t impress either. It lasted a little over eight hours on a single charge.
There’s a lot to unpack with the XPS 13 Plus. Dell’s decision to lose the headset jack and cut down to two ports as well as the inclusion of capacitive touch keys aren’t exactly welcome. But is it enough to knock out the other design cues? The hidden haptic trackpad, for example, makes the XPS 13 Plus downright modern and elegant looking. Yes, many will claim to not care about style. However, one look at your clothes, car, and furniture will indicate that style does largely dictate consumer choice.
Although the style of XPS 13 Plus isn’t guaranteed to set the standard for other laptops to follow, there’s a lot of history that says it will. Beyond the style, you’re still getting leading edge performance and a beautiful OLED panel all wrapped in a stunningly beautiful laptop. It’s still a solid option for business professionals and graphic designers.
Adam Patrick Murray