Dell’s new XPS 13 adds Alder Lake CPUs, but that’s more than a spec bump

Today Dell is releasing a 2022 revision of the XPS 13 to include Intel’s latest 12th generation Alder Lake processors that add more cores and hybrid architecture, while saying the new version is the thinnest and lightest 13-inch XPS ever. The new laptop is 13.9 mm (0.55 in) thick and weighs just under 2.59 pounds, compared to its predecessor’s 14.80 mm (0.58 in) and starting weight of 2.64 pounds for the non-touchscreen model. The new XPS 13 is available starting today in the US and Canada, starting at $999 with Windows 11 or $949 for the Ubuntu 20.04-equipped Developer Edition.

The flagship XPS 13 went from previewing the future of laptops when Dell introduced the InfinityEdge design with slim bezels in 2015, to kind of archaic a few years later, and now, it’s good enough to earn our review that the latest iteration calls “everything in Windows should” The laptop is on its way to being placed in multiple Best Laptops lists.

To avoid accusations the streak is getting stale again, Dell is splitting the wilder options with the XPS 13 Plus that kicked off the year featuring a touch bar, a flowing keyboard, and slightly more powerful P-Series CPU options, plus a new 2022 XPS announced today. 13 2-in-1 that replaces the slim, foldable design with a keyboard tray + folio.

Photo: Dell

On the outside, the new 9315 has a similar look to the 11th-generation CPU 9310 that debuted in 2020 before the OLED display option was added last year, but the differences should emerge once you open it up.

Dell says it has “removed redundant steps, reduced finishes and materials” on the new laptop that undoes a contrasting interior to highlight the “coordinated, premium” CNC-machined aluminum that is now the star of the show inside and out. It’s a familiar look, but it’s perfectly clean in both sky (gray) and brown (brown) colours, and we hope it keeps the sturdy design as well as the solid keyboard and trackpad we’ve been lauding in 2020. Other touches like the fingerprint sensor/remain button Power and Thunderbolt 4 ports on both sides are unchanged, but there’s no headphone jack on this year’s laptop.

There are noticeable changes inside, and it addresses some of the weaknesses we recalled on the 9310, with a bad webcam, speakers that lack bass, and a keyboard that can get hot to the touch under load. The interior has been redesigned to include Dell’s smallest-ever motherboard, which is 1.8 times smaller than the previous model, making room for large speakers and other tech. The spec sheet mentions using that space for a larger battery, however, and it does list the new model’s unit at 51 Wh, compared to the 9310’s 52. It also has a single fan design now rather than dual.

We’ll need to review the new model to see what the new chipset and new design make for these changes, which could be an area for the new Alder Lake CPUs to shine inside. As we’ve shown before, this generation of Intel chips is better positioned to battle the competition from AMD, Apple, and everyone else by adopting a setup similar to many ARM-based CPUs, with more cores being split between those built in. For performance or energy efficiency.

At launch, Dell is listing two 10-core CPU options of either the Intel i5-1230U or i7-1250U with Iris Xe graphics, 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB RAM options, and 256GB SSDs. GB, 512 GB, or 1 TB. According to Dell, the more power-efficient i5 model can stream Netflix continuously for up to 12 hours, or 11 hours on the more efficient i7 setup, and up to 6 hours on a model with the i7 chip, 16GB of RAM, and 1 TB SSD, 4K screens.

Dell XPS 13 9315 in Umber

Dell XPS 13 9315 in Umber
Photo: Dell

In terms of displays, a new OLED-equipped version is now not available, with options including a 4K UHD+ (3840 x 2400) or FHD+ (1920 x 1200) touch screen in touch or non-touch configurations. This year includes support for WiFi 6E, but the integrated 5G is reserved for the upcoming 2-in-1 version. Aluminum is in the low-carbon frame to reduce carbon emissions, while this year’s model ships in new packaging made with “100 percent recycled or renewable content.”

The webcam has been updated, too, separating the IR and RGB sensors in ways the company says will make you look better in low light, and while Dell finally got the camera in the right place a few years ago, it’s still limited to 720p. True or not, this model also adds Dell ExpressSign-In technology that uses a proximity sensor with a Windows Hello facial-recognition webcam to detect if you’re in front of your laptop and automatically log you in, like in addition to locking it when you walk away or Dim the screen to save battery life while you’re looking at something else.

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