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

Dell’s XPS 13-inch laptop lineup changed in 2022, with the clamshell split into the cheaper XPS 13 9315 and the more powerful XPS 13 Plus. Meanwhile, the old 360-degree convertible XPS 13 2-in-1 became a detachable tablet.

This presents a bit of a challenge if you’re looking for a 13-inch machine and lean towards the XPS. Each machine has its place, but which one is best for you? Read on to find out.

Specifications and configurations

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 Dell XPS 13 9315 Dell XPS 13 Plus
Sizes 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.29 inches 11.63 x 7.86 x 0.55 inches 11.63 x 7.84 x 0.60 inches
Weight 1.23 lbs 2.59 pounds 2.71 lbs
Processor Intel Core i5-1230U
Intel Core i7-1250U
Intel Core i5-1230U
Intel Core i7-1250U
Intel Core i5-1240P
Intel Core i7-1260P
Intel Core i7-1280P
Graphics Intel Iris Xe Intel Iris Xe Intel Iris Xe graphics
RAM 8 GB LPDDR4x
16 GB LPDDR4x
8 GB LPDDR5
16 GB LPDDR5
32 GB LPDDR5
8 GB LPDDR5
16 GB LPDDR5
32 GB LPDDR5
Display 13.0-inch 3:2 2880 x 1920 IPS 13.4 inch 16:10 Full HD+ (1920 x 1080) IPS
13.4 inch 16:10 Full HD+ IPS touch
13.4-inch 16:10 IPS Full HD+ (1920 x 1200)
13.4 inch 16:10 IPS Full HD+ touch
13.4 inch 16:10 OLED 3.5K (3456 x 2160) touch
13.4-inch 16:10 IPS UHD+ (3840 x 2400) Touch
Storage 512GB PCIe SSD
1TB PCIe SSD
512GB PCIe SSD
1TB PCIe SSD
512GB PCIe SSD
1TB PCIe SSD
2GB PCIe SSD
Tap Yes Optional Optional
Ports 2 USB C with Thunderbolt 4
1 nano SIM card (optional)
2 USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 2 USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1
Optional 5 GB WWAN
Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
Webcam 1080p with infrared camera for Windows 11 Hell0
2160p rear facing
720p with Windows 11 Hello IR webcam 720p, Windows 11 Hello IR webcam
Operating system Windows 11 Windows 11 Windows 11
Battery 49.5 watt hours 51 watt hours 55 watt hours
The price 1000 USD $749+ $1299+
Rating 3.5 out of 5 4 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

The XPS 13 9315 is the most economical sibling, starting at $749 for a Core i5, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB solid-state drive (SSD), and a Full HD+ IPS non-touch display. Take the machine to the max, and it costs $1,299 for a Core i7, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a touchscreen display.

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The XPS 13 2-in-1 is the second most affordable, with an entry-level price of $1,000 for a Core i5, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and no keyboard and pen (which add $100 to the price). . The top-of-the-line 2-in-1 is $1,699 for a Core i7, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a keyboard and pen.

The most expensive XPS laptop is the XPS 13 Plus. Its lowest configuration is $1,299 for a Core i5, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a Full HD+ non-touch IPS display. The most you’ll spend is $2,399 for a Core i7, 32GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, and a 4K+ IPS or 3.5K OLED panel.

Design

The XPS 13 9315 and XPS 13 Plus took different design directions from each other and from the previous XPS 13 generation. They look pretty similar when the lid is closed, with the old model’s mix of aluminum and carbon or fiberglass for an all-aluminum chassis. Open the lid, though, and the XPS 13 Plus has a truly modern design, with a glass-encased palm rest that hides an embedded trackpad, an edge-to-edge keyboard with large keycaps and minimal key spacing, and LED function buttons. The XPS 13 9315 is much simpler, with a standard island keyboard and mechanical trackpad. Both laptops have small bezels, with the XPS 13 9315 available in Sky and Umber, while the XPS 13 Plus comes in Granite and Platinum.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 is a standard detachable tablet with rounded edges and medium bezels. It’s a fairly nondescript slate available in Sky and Slate (the latter being the only color available in the 5G version). Add the Dell folio keyboard and it takes on a profile very similar to Microsoft’s Surface Pro 9.

Every XPS laptop is as tough as ever, representing the best in modern laptop design. Each clamshell laptop has a great hinge, while the tablet has no built-in kickstand and rests on the keyboard’s three magnetic corners.

As for the keyboards, each one is very good, with plenty of space and light, precise switches. Of the three, the keyboard on the XPS 13 Plus is the best. Additionally, while the mechanical touchpads on the XPS 13 9315 and XPS 13 2-in-1 foil keyboards are excellent, the XPS 13 Plus features a haptic touchpad that provides precise control over the entire surface and virtual button clicks that feel natural. Whether the laptop’s LED function buttons are good is just a matter of preference, but they work well.

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Connectivity is pretty much the same across all laptops, meaning it’s pretty limited. The two-in-one has a nano SIM slot for added 5G WWAN support, and neither laptop has an audio jack. All USB-C to USB-A and USB-C to 3.5mm audio dongles are included in the box. Wireless connectivity is also identical, although as mentioned, the XPS 13 2-in-1 has optional always-connected Internet support.

Finally, the XPS 13 2-in-1 has an excellent 1080p webcam compared to the 720p versions on clamshells. Each laptop has an infrared camera for facial recognition login using Windows Hello.

Performance

Dell XPS 13 Plus chassis edge.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 and XPS 13 9315 use 9-watt Intel 12th generation U-series CPUs with 10 cores (two performance and eight efficiency) and 12 threads. As such, they both deliver less performance than the XPS 13 Plus with a 28-watt P-series CPU with 12 cores (four performance and eight effective) and 16 threads. Dell was very intentional about differentiating the XPS 13 Plus and the XPS 13 9315 in a few important ways, and performance was one of them.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 was faster than the XPS 13 9315 in Geekbench 5 and our Handbrake video encoding test, while the latter was faster in Cinebench R23. The tablet was also faster in the PCMark 10 Complete benchmark than both clamshells, which was surprising. But in our processor-intensive benchmarks, the XPS 13 Plus was the clear leader. Neither machine makes particularly good gaming laptops.

Geekbench
(one / several)
Hand brake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(one / several)
PCMark 10
Completed
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 9315
(Core i5-1230U)
Bal: 1435 / 6099
Perf: 1572/7028
Score: 139
Perfect: 144
Score: 1.064 / 3.032
Perf: 1065/3009
4535
Dell XPS 13 9315
(Core i5-1230U)
Score: 1393 / 4459
Perf: 1477/5350
Score: 333
Perfect: 192
Bal: 1379/3457
Perf: N/A
4023
Dell XPS 13 Plus
(Core i7-1280P)
Score: 1,316 / 8,207
Perf: N/A
Vote: 170
Perfect: 94
Score: 1,311 / 6,308
Perf: 1650/7530
4.309

Display

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 preview with display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

If you want the best possible display, the XPS 13 Plus is the clear choice. It offers higher-resolution OLED and IPS options with brilliant colors and, for the first time, intense contrast with inky blacks. The XPS 13 2-in-1’s display was sharper than the XPS 13 9315’s Full HD+ panel, offering slightly better colors with much better contrast. The XPS 13 Plus’s OLED display is the best option for anyone who wants (a limited amount) of creative work with a laptop, and it’s also the best option for dedicated multimedia consumers.

Brightness
(nits)
Contrast sRGB gamut AdobeRGB gamma Accuracy DeltaE
(lower is better)
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
(IPS)
480 1840:1 99% seventy eight% 0.8
Dell XPS 13 9315
(IPS)
444 1390:1 96% 75% 1.33
Dell XPS 13 Plus
(OLED)
386 386 030:1 100% 99% 0.83

Portability

Dell XPS 13 USB-C port.

The laptops are similarly sized in width and depth, and the XPS 13 2-in-1 is certainly the thinnest and lightest without an attached keyboard. All XPS machines are highly portable laptops that you’ll barely notice in your backpack.

The XPS 13 9315 had the best battery life, with the XPS 13 Plus coming in second, but the XPS 13 2-in-1 offering the least longevity. Two clamshells are likely to get close to a full day’s worth of work without plugging in, and each has small power bricks that are easy enough to carry around.

Web browsing Videos
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 9315
(Core i5-1230U)
Five hours 55 minutes Eight hours, 25 minutes
Dell XPS 13 9315
(Core i5-1230U)
13 hours, 18 minutes N/A
Dell XPS 13 Plus
(Core i7-1280P)
Eight hours, zero minutes Nine hours, 20 minutes

Different but all solid 13 inch machines

If you want an XPS tablet, there’s only one choice: the XPS 13 2-in-1. That’s not to say it can’t compete with the other two as a laptop, though it’s not as good on the lap as the clamshell machines. Flips do not support inked tablet mode.

That key consideration aside, the question becomes: do you want a faster, more modern, and more expensive laptop with a great display, or do you want to save money and go the less powerful route? We think the XPS 13 9315 is a great “budget” option among premium laptops, while the XPS 13 Plus is a better laptop at a higher price. Choosing between them all depends on which form factor you prefer and how important performance and ultra-modern features are to you.

Editors’ recommendations






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