CES 2022: Dell boosts XPS to 28 watts for new look XPS 13 Plus

Keyboard on the new laptop ditches function keys for a capacitive row, increases the keycap sizes, and decides users don't need to know where the trackpad is.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor on
Image: Dell

Dell has wheeled out a new look XPS model, the XPS 13 Plus, with many of the design language changes occurring with the keyboard and touchpad.

Out is any indication of where the touchpad is, with parting lines removed and Dell instead choosing to say it has a "seamless glass touchpad" that uses haptics to provide feedback.

For the keyboard, Dell has increased the keycap size and tripled each key's dish on top to 0.3 millimetres, with travel distance said to be 1 millimetre. Up top, the traditional row of function keys has been replaced by a capacitive row that changes between media and function key lights according to whether the function lock is engaged or not.

In a briefing with journalists, senior manager of industrial design at Dell's experience innovation group Nick DiLoreto explained the trackpad is found in the "centre section of that large seamless piece of glass", and said the capacitive row was different from what Apple tried with its recently ditched Touch Bar.

"The solutions are different and they're both trying to accomplish very different goals," DiLoreto said. "Apple was trying to bring more functionality into that area. We were trying to add more simplicity. Hence why lights either to function keys or the media keys depending on what the user chooses."

"This solution also allowed us to put more power into a very similar Z-height as the previous system because the solution is thinner than conventional function keys.

"We were able to boost the total power of the system to 28 watts from the 15 seen in its predecessor."

With that extra power and thanks to larger dual fans, under the hood the laptops sport 12th generation Intel silicon -- either an i5-1240P, i7-1260P, i7-1270P, or i7-1280P -- arriving with up to 32GB of memory and 2TB of SSD storage. Buyers will be able to choose between a 3840x2400 touch panel, 3456x2160 OLED touch panel, or a Full HD panel either with or without touch capabilities.

Ports-wise, the XPS 13 Plus is down to one Thunderbolt 4 port capable of DisplayPort and power delivery on either side, and the battery in the new laptop is 55Wh.

Physically, the laptop is 15.3 millimetres by 295 millimetres by 199 millimetres, and weight is upwards of 1.24 kilograms. Windows 11 will be the standard operating system, but a developer version will come bundled with Ubuntu 20.04,

The XPS 13 Plus is priced from $1200, and is slated to be available in Spring, presumably the northern hemisphere timing of the season. It will be available in a light platinum colour, or a darker graphite-like colour.

At the same time, Dell launched a new 32-inch 4K ultrasharp video conferencing monitor, the U3223QZ. The monitor has a 4K HDR Sony Starvis sensor and two 14 watt speakers positioned at the top, as well as having a USB-C hub monitor that packs a built-in KVM to allow two machines to operate side-by-side or picture-in-picture.

Port-wise, the U3223QZ has one HDMI, one Ethernet, two DisplayPort, two USB-C upstream ports with one that handles video and 90 watts of power, one USB-C downstream port capable of 15 watts of power, five 10Gbps USB-A ports, and a headphone jack.

The monitor is available on March 29, with pricing yet to be confirmed.

Image: Dell
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