Dell XPS 13 Plus vs. XPS 13 2-in-1

While both the Dell XPS 13 Plus and Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 are going to serve you well, we think the winner in this matchup is the Dell XPS 13 Plus. Between its top-tier specs, extra RAM and storage configuration options, better audio, and higher-res displays, it will reign supreme over Dell's classic convertible for most people. The latest XPS 13 2-in-1 is still an awesome option for people who need a convertible laptop, though, and you shouldn't overlook it.

Dell XPS 13 Plus vs. 2-in-1: Design and specs

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The Dell XPS 13 Plus. (Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

In terms of specs, the Dell XPS 13 Plus is simply better than the XPS 13 2-in-1, though not by a significant amount. Between 12th Gen Intel P-series processors, up to 32GB of DDR5 RAM, and up to 2TB of SSD storage, the XPS 13 Plus surpasses the new XPS 13 2-in-1's 12th Gen U-series CPUs, maximum of 16GB of DDR4, and 1TB SSD storage limit. Additionally, the XPS 13 Plus also comes with two additional speakers for better audio. However, the XPS 13 2-in-1's user-facing camera fights back with a sharper 1080p resolution than the 720p one found on the XPS 13 Plus. Additionally, the 2-in-1 also comes with a 2160p world-facing camera for taking high-res pictures.

It's important to note that while the XPS 13 Plus had a connectivity edge back when the XPS 13 2-in-1 was limited to standard Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 instead of Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, that gap has been closed thanks to the recent improvements made with the new version of the convertible. Both devices now have the most advanced Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support available.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Dell XPS 13 PlusDell XPS 13 2-in-1 (9315)
CPUIntel Core i5-1240P
Intel Core i7-1260P
Intel Core i7-1270P
Intel Core i7-1280P
Intel Core i5-1230UIntel Core i7-1250U
GPUIntel Iris Xe GraphicsIntel Iris Xe Graphics
Memory8GB LPDDR5, 16GB LPDDR5, 32GB LPDDR58GB LPDDR4, 16GB LPDDR4
Storage256GB SSD, 512GB SSD, 1TB SSD, 2TB SSD256GB SSD, 512GB SSD, 1TB SSD
Display13.4 inches, 16:10 aspect ratio, 1920x1200/3456x2160/3840x2400, Touch/non-touch, LCD/OLED13 inches, 3:2 aspect ratio, 2880x1920, Touch LCD
Ports2x USB-C Thunderbolt 42x USB-C Thunderbolt 4
Audio4x stereo speakers2x stereo speakers
Front camera720p RGB/IR camera (Windows Hello)1080p RGB/IR camera (Windows Hello)
BiometricsFingerprint readerFingerprint reader
ConnectivityIntel Killer Wi-Fi 6E AX211 (2x2), Bluetooth 5.2Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6E AX211 (2x2), Bluetooth 5.2
Battery55WHr (Up to 13 hours)51WHr (Up to 14 hours)
Weight2.73 pounds (1.24kg)2.83 pounds w/ Folio (1.29kg)
ConvertibleNoYes
PriceFrom $1,399From $999

The matchup gets more interesting when you look at the design of each of these laptops. The XPS 13 Plus sports a unique design with a wider keyboard, wider keycaps, a haptic and invisible touchpad, and capacitive buttons, while the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 features a Surface Pro-like detachable XPS Folio keyboard with a standard layout. The XPS 13 Plus' larger keys make it easier to type accurately with, but the capacitive touch buttons can be a little finnicky and aren't as reliable as standard function keys. We think the XPS 13 Plus' keyboard is more enjoyable to use overall, but if you often use the function keys, it may be better to opt for the XPS 13 2-in-1.

In terms of the displays the laptops are available with, both have sharp and attractive panels with thin bezels, a stellar color gamut, and an excellent brightness of 500 nits. You have the option of FHD+, 3.5K, or 4K UHD with the XPS 13 Plus, while your only option with the XPS 13 2-in-1 is a 3K panel. Overall, we're giving a point to the XPS 13 Plus here, as we feel that the availability of both FHD+ and 4K makes the device suitable for a wider range of users.

One big advantage of the XPS 13 2-in-1 is that it's a convertible laptop with a display hinge, making it ideal for inking with one of Dell's active pens (you can pay extra for a Dell XPS Stylus when purchasing the device). This gives the laptop an excellent amount of additional flexibility compared to the XPS 13 Plus, especially if you're someone who likes to use a stylus to navigate Windows, jot down notes, or create digital artwork. The fact you can take off the folio keyboard also means you could reduce the weight of the device whenever using it like a tablet, which could be useful.

Dell XPS 13 Plus vs. 2-in-1: Which should you buy?

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (9315). (Image credit: Dell)

While both the Dell XPS 13 Plus and Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 are excellent laptops, we think most people will be better served by the Dell XPS 13 Plus. Not only are its specs better, but the device also has more options for memory, storage, and the display, as well as two additional speakers. In most respects, it's simply a better laptop, and while the convertible does have some advantages, the XPS 13 Plus comes out on top overall. It's one of the best Windows laptops ever made without a doubt.

Don't overlook the newest Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, though. Its specs are still great, and unlike the XPS 13 Plus, it can be used like a tablet thanks to the display hinge. Additionally, its regular function keys are more reliable than the XPS 13 Plus' capacitive touch buttons, and it comes with a sharper front-facing camera and a fantastic world-facing camera, too. It's also a little more affordable, and that's always something worth considering.

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.