Dell XPS 13 Plus vs. XPS 13 (9315)

Ultimately, we believe that the Dell XPS 13 Plus will be better device for most people, as its top-of-the-line specs, larger battery and camera, and speaker improvements make it a better device despite its higher price. With that said, the classic Dell XPS 13 is still a phenomenal device as well, and we recommend it if you find yourself preferring the traditional Dell XPS 13 design that has function keys instead of finnicky capacitive touch buttons.

XPS 13 Plus vs. XPS 13: Design and specs

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The Dell XPS 13 Plus. (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

When it comes to specs, the Dell XPS 13 Plus surpasses its Dell XPS 13 predecessor in the CPU department. Its Intel 12th Gen Mobile P-Series processors are more efficient and performant than the Intel 12th Gen U-Series chips found in the latest model of the Dell XPS 13, though both devices have excellent CPU power overall. It has the same options for displays and ports (dual Thunderbolt 4 slots), but it comes with two extra upward-firing speakers, an extra option for up to 2TB of SSD storage, and individual RGB and IR 720p webcams. On the Dell XPS 13, you're limited to a 1TB SSD, and RGB and IR have been combined into one webcam, lowering image quality considerably. The Dell XPS 13 Plus also features a slightly larger 55WHr battery that will likely last even longer than the standard 51WHr battery found in the newest XPS 13.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Dell XPS 13 PlusDell XPS 13 (9315)
CPUIntel Core i5-1240P, Intel Core i7-1260P, Intel Core i7-1270P, Intel Core i7-1280PIntel Core i5-1230U, Intel Core i7-1250U
GPUIntel Iris Xe GraphicsIntel Iris Xe Graphics
Storage512GB SSD, 1TB SSD, 2TB SSD512GB SSD, 1TB SSD
Display13.4 inches16:10 aspect ratio1920x1200/3456x2160/3840x2400Touch/non-touchLCD/OLED13.4 inches16:10 aspect ratio1920x1200/3456x2160/3840x2400Touch/non-touchLCD/OLED
Ports2x USB-C Thunderbolt 42x USB-C Thunderbolt 4
Audio4x stereo speakers2x stereo speakers
Front camera720p RGB camera720p IR camera (Windows Hello)720p RGB/IR camera (Windows Hello)
BiometricsFingerprint readerFingerprint reader
ConnectivityIntel Killer Wi-Fi 6E 1675 (AX211), Bluetooth 5.2Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6E 1675 (AX211), Bluetooth 5.2
Battery55WHr51WHr (up to 14 hours)
Weight2.73 pounds (1.24kg)2.59 pounds (1.17kg)
PriceStarts at $1,225Starts at $980

Design-wise, the Dell XPS 13 Plus has a wider keyboard with larger keycaps, and its trackpad is also powered by haptics. The function keys have been replaced by capacitive touch buttons, which may not be as reliable. However, Dell says this change was necessary so that it could use the extra space for thermals. Ultimately, the newer design will appeal to people who prefer haptics, wider keyboards, and larger keycaps. Traditionalists will naturally gravitate to the classic Dell XPS 13's design, which has a more standard keyboard and trackpad. Both laptops have razor-thin bezels and a very low weight.

XPS 13 Plus vs. XPS 13: Which should you buy?

The classic Dell XPS 13. (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

While the traditional Dell XPS 13 is a superb laptop in all respects, we ultimately feel that the Dell XPS 13 Plus is an even better device because of its more powerful specs, larger battery, and the inclusion of individual RGB and IR webcams as well as two more upward-facing speakers. New design aside, the laptop was one of our best of CES 2022 picks for a reason — it simply has the best of the best in its chassis, and when you're buying premium laptops like these, getting the best performance matters.

With that said, we still wholeheartedly recommend the "old" Dell XPS 13 if you prefer its classic design and don't mind sacrificing some performance to get it. Its specs are still excellent, especially since Dell recently refreshed the model with 12th Gen U-Series CPUs and DDR5 RAM, and it's also more affordable. The Dell XPS 13 has held the crown of the best Windows laptop for years, and it's not going to stop being an incredible device just because there's a new type of model available.

Something else worth noting is that you might be able to save additional money by opting for the 11th Gen-powered 9310 version of the Dell XPS 13. Compared to the newer Dell XPS 13 9315, it's slightly less performant, but also less expensive. In fact, the price has already begun to drop, with the starting price for the device currently sitting at $853. 

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.