The Dell XPS 13 is one of the best Ultrabooks on the market, and the same can be said for sister devices like the Dell XPS 13 Plus and the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 as well. However, one of the main drawbacks of Dell's premium 13-inch devices is that they don't come with an HDMI port. This means that out of the box, these laptops are not compatible with TVs that use an HDMI connection.
Thankfully, though, there are a few ways to get around this issue by utilizing the Thunderbolt 4 ports that come with Dell XPS 13 devices. Here's a guide to what you'll need to do so, as well as how to do it.
Products used in this guide
- One cable: Cable Matters Thunderbolt 4 to HDMI Cable
- Port expansion: Plugable USB-C 4K Docking Station
- Dock connection: Cable Matters Thunderbolt 4 USB-C to USB-C Cable
How to connect your XPS 13 to your TV
Since the Dell XPS 13 doesn't have an HDMI port, you won't be able to use a traditional HDMI cable to connect it to your TV. However, thanks to adapters like Cable Matters' Thunderbolt 4 to HDMI cable, it's possible to hook up the laptop by converting its Thunderbolt 4 signal into an HDMI one your TV can receive. Here's what you need to do:
- Connect the USB-C end of the cable to the Thunderbolt 4 port on your laptop.
- Connect the HDMI end of the cable to an empty HDMI input on your TV.
- Press the Power button on your laptop.
That's all there is to it. Once your laptop turns on, Windows 11 will be visible on your TV and you can begin using your Dell XPS 13 like you normally would. Thunderbolt 4 has an incredible amount of bandwidth to deliver video output, and the cable we've recommended here is capable of delivering 4K at 60Hz to your TV. It's also compatible with HDR, too, though your TV will also need to support HDR for it to work properly.
How to connect your XPS 13 using a dock
While using a single cable is the cheapest and quickest way to hook up your XPS 13 to your TV, there are advantages to using a dock to do so instead. Docking stations add a significant number of connectivity ports to your setup, which helps offset the limitations of the Dell XPS 13's paltry dual Thunderbolt 4 slots. Using a dock is much more expensive, but for those that have lots of peripheral accessories, it will likely be the best option.
The Plugable USB-C 4K dock is a particularly good choice because in addition to offering four USB-A ports, a USB-C port, an SD card reader, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a slot for Ethernet, it also has HDMI outputs that you can use with your TV and the HDMI cable it came with. Additionally, it will also keep your Dell XPS 13 juiced up with 100W of charging power when connected, ensuring that you won't have to worry about the laptop's battery. Note that you'll need a cable like Cable Matters' Thunderbolt 4 USB-C to USB-C cable to connect your Dell XPS 13 to the dock.
Using a dock and a USB-C to USB-C cable to connect your XPS 13 to your TV is simple. Here's how to do it:
- Connect the USB-C to USB-C cable to the Thunderbolt 4 port on your laptop.
- Connect the other end to the USB-C input on the back of the dock.
- Connect a regular HDMI cable from your TV to the HDMI output on the dock.
- Press the Power button on your laptop.
Once your laptop boots up, you'll be able to use it with your TV while also taking advantage of the extra ports and host charging offered by Plugable's USB-C 4K docking station. Note that this process works exactly the same way with other USB-C docks, though other docks may not offer charging capabilities. Also, other docks may have the USB-C slot intended for connection to your laptop located somewhere other than the back of the docking station.
Ultimately, both of these methods will provide you with a working connection between your XPS 13 and your TV, and both will leave just a single cable coming from the laptop. It's a quick and affordable process, with enough flexibility to add plenty of additional ports and charging capabilities into the mix if you don't mind paying extra.
Our top pick
Using a single cord like the Cable Matters Thunderbolt 4 to HDMI cable is the quickest and most affordable way to connect your XPS 13 to your TV. On one end, you have the USB-C connector for the Thunderbolt 4 port on the laptop, and on the other, you have the HDMI connector that you need to plug into the TV.
This simple Thunderbolt 4 to HDMI cable allows you to transfer a 4K 60Hz video signal to your TV from your Dell XPS 13. Its also fully compatible with HDR, though your TV needs to support HDR as well for it to work properly.
A single cable might be the easiest way to hook up your Dell XPS 13 to your TV, but more advanced needs can be met by using a docking station and a USB-C to USB-C cable. It's more expensive, but the value of the extra ports and host charging capabilities you get with the best laptop docking stations will be worth it for some.
This dock from Plugable supports 4K HDMI video signals and comes with a large variety of ports, including four USB-A, a USB-C slot, an SD card reader, a 3.5mm audio jack, and Ethernet. It also provides your Dell XPS 13 with 100W of host charging.
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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.
- Richard DevineManaging Editor - Tech, Reviews