Dell XPS 13 Plus 2023 Review

Dell XPS 13 Plus front view

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Table of Contents


Product review summary.

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The Dell XPS 13 Plus offers a sleek design, a comfortable keyboard, and impressive speakers. However, it lacks a headphone jack, has limited ports, and the display lacks brightness. It performs well for everyday tasks but falls short for GPU-intensive work. Battery life is also average.

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Performance 8
Build Quality 9
Display 8
Battery Life 7
Ports & Connectivity 3
Upgradability 6
  • 13th Gen Intel has amazing performance
  • Minimalistic Design
  • Snappy and satisfying keyboard
  • The OLED variant looks beautiful
  • The performance starts to fall when it thermal throttles
  • The OLED variant is known to fall off
  • Touch bar may not be for everyone
  • Awful I/O ports, no headphone jack


The Dell XPS lineup has been my favorite lineup when it comes to the Windows laptop lineup. The perfect balance of design, performance, and efficiency is often hard to strike but the XPS lineup has been one of the few laptops that have done it right.


And the 2023’s XPS 13 Plus is no different. Though do note that the 2023’s XPS 13 Plus is pretty much the same as the 2022 XPS 13 Plus with the major change being the 13th gen Intel processor, along with some other minor improvements.


That being said, I decided to give the XPS 13 a go and see how much it has improved from the 2022’s XPS and well, I am a bit disappointed.

Specs at Glance

CPU:Core i7 1360p | GPU:Iris Xe Graphics  | RAM: 16GB DDR5 (soldered) | Display: 13.4” 1920×1200 touch supported | Storage: 512GB SSD | Battery: 55Wh | OS: Windows 11


Chassis and Design

Dell XPS 13 Plus lid front view


XPS 13 Plus bottom view


The XPS lineup design has been consistent over the years and stayed pretty much the same over the years. Major changes are only done on the keyboard deck side of things which we will talk about in detail later.


As for the rest of the chassis including the graphite aluminum lid and the base of the laptop, it has been unchanged from the last year’s XPS 13 Plus. To some extent, the design language reminds me of Apple MacBook’s design due to the XPS 13’s simplicity.


Overall the XPS 13 has a very simple and basic design. And doesn’t do something that makes your laptop stand out like the HP Spectre x360 copper accents, or something like the ceramic finish on the Zenbook S13 OLED.


Though if you prefer something even more muted and stealthy looking, then Galaxy Book 3 with its matte black look. Though, thankfully the XPS 13 Plus doesn’t catch fingerprint smudges like the Galaxy Book 3 thanks to its graphite finish.


And when it comes to the overall rigidity of the XPS 13 Plus, it feels quite solid despite having a thin profile, thanks to its entire body being CNC machined aluminum. 


And the hinges also feel solid which allows the screen to go back up to 130 degrees, though I personally prefer if it went a little more back around 170 degrees, as it allows me to have it in a more comfortable position while am using it in my lap.


If you mostly use your laptop in your lap then you might find the HP Spectre x360 or the Asus Zenbook S13 OLED a much better option. 

Also speaking of the screen, it doesn’t have a protruding lip which makes it easier to lift it, so that’s my minor gripe but overall I feel the XPS 13 Plus is quite solid when it comes to handling it.


I/O Ports

Side view of Dell XPS 13 Plus showing I/O ports


Let’s talk about my biggest issue with the XPS 13 Plus. The lackluster ports. Now at first glance, it may seem similar to the Macbook Air M2 with just two Thunderbolt ports. But what the M2 Air has is a headphone jack, which the XPS 13 Plus doesn’t have.

I HATE the Bluetooth experience on Windows, it’s clunky and sometimes it doesn’t work, and the XPS 13 Plus is no different. Like Dell, the ones who started the dongle party have a built-in headphone jack in their laptop, while you guys don’t.

I was really hoping that the 2023 revision at least had a headphone jack but sadly it doesn’t, you would have to join the dongle life. Also, they didn’t bother to include an SD card slot considering that this device would be perfect for photographers when it comes to its display and performance (more on that later), but Dell decided to just not bother.

And the size shouldn’t be an issue here, even the Galaxy Book 3 and the Zenbook S13 OLED have better I/O ports while also including USB Type-A ports, a full-size HDMI 2.1 port, and well… a headphone jack.


Keyboard & Touchpad


top view of XPS 13 Plus keyboard


The keyboard deck also remains unchanged from the 2022 XPS 13 Plus. Let’s talk about the design first.

The overall design seems to look quite minimal and clean. The capacitive button row at the top of the keyboard reminds me of the touch bar that used to exist on older MacBooks. 

Now I don’t mind having capacitive keys for media controls and other miscellaneous stuff, though making the Esc button capacitive feels weird. Like I prefer some sort of physical feedback when pressing it but in turn, it feels like tapping my finger on a solid surface.

As for the rest of the keys they sit flush with the keyboard deck. So when you start typing it feels like you are digging your fingers in the chassis. Putting that aside, the keys feel quite spacious and have a nice snappy feel to them. There isn’t much depth when it comes to travel but despite that, they feel satisfying and smooth.

The overall typing experience is on par with the Air M2 and the rest of the competition, though if you prefer your keys to be really quiet while typing then the Galaxy Book 3 might interest you.

The XPS 13 Plus keyboard is perfect for someone who is a light tapper and wants to type for longer sessions. I am quite satisfied with it.



Top view of XPS 13 Plus Touchpad


The XPS 13 is a bit weird when it comes to the touchpad. Unlike other laptops, the touchpad is flush with the keyboard deck and there’s no visual or physical sign of where it starts or ends.

Now some may like this seamless design of the touchpad with the keyboard deck but I personally don’t. I like my touchpad to have boundaries so I can at least know where it starts and ends. 

Having said that, the touchpad is still quite big and spacious, and in the natural hand position, you won’t have any issues using it. In fact, it performs really well in regular use. The glass surface feels nice and smooth and it’s quite responsive and accurate. Despite the odd design, I really ended up liking this touchpad.

However, where I don’t appreciate the design is when I am unable to tell the difference between the right and the left click buttons. That did bother me. As for the button’s feedback, it’s pretty much what you would expect.

What kinda puts me off is when manufacturers take features away that were previously present. That’s exactly what Dell did here, the 2022 XPS 13 Plus had a numpad in the touchpad, but they decided to remove it this year. So if you were really looking for a numpad in 13-inch laptop, the older XPS 13 Plus might be your only option.


Speakers & Webcam



The XPS 13 Plus has one of the best speakers in a laptop. It has a quad-speaker setup which sounds extremely good. Despite being a physical constraint in size and form factor, it outputs a decent amount of bass. But where it really shines is the mids and highs where it sounds full and detailed.

Apart from the M2 Air, it’s really hard to find a 13-inch laptop that rivals the XPS 13 Plus’s speakers.


The 720p webcam despite outputting a decent, natural-looking image, feels disappointing at this price point as many manufacturers including Apple and Samsung have moved towards a 1080p webcam. Which, just looks sharper and a bit more detailed than any 720p webcam.

Despite that, it’s sufficient for frequent video calls and also supports Windows Hello.



XPS 13 Plus front display view


Displays on the XPS lineup are pretty good and the XPS 13 Plus is no different. Our review unit has a 1920x1200p 16:10 touch display which looks beautiful and it’s amazing for content consumption. It covers the entire sRGB and Adobe RGB which makes it amazing for Lightroom and other color-sensitive work.

The contrast is also quite good and despite being an IPS panel, it has punchy blacks which look amazing when watching something like The Batman trailer as it has many dark scenes. 

What I found weird and disappointing about the XPS 13 Plus display is the lack of brightness of this panel. It maxes out at around 330 nits which makes it barely usable in a bright environment, such as in daylight. This is bad considering that the Air M2’s miniLED display easily gets bright at over 400 nits with relative ease. 

You can get the OLED version too which looks absolutely gorgeous. However, I would advise against using that as it can easily shave off an hour of battery life, and also there have been multiple reports of the OLED panel just falling off from the screen. And that’s the last thing you want to happen to your premium 13-inch laptop

But if you can’t accept anything less than an OLED panel, then the Galaxy Book 3 would appeal to you with its AMOLED panel which is as good as the XPS 13 Plus in terms of color reproduction. Also, it has a 120Hz panel which both the Air M2 and the XPS 13 Plus lack.



Let’s talk performance. The Dell XPS 13 Plus performs as you expect in basic daily tasks like web browsing and word processing. It’s snappy and blazing fast. I believe that even if you go with the basic 16GB RAM config and decide to save some money by going with the 12th Gen Intel processor, you won’t really notice a difference. And the same could be said for other laptops around the same price range.


However, things get slightly different when we talk about something more demanding like code compiling, video editing or any other demanding task. Before I talk about that, let me first get you through the Cinebench and Geekbench benchmarks.


A graph showing Geekbench 5 benchmarks


A graph showing Cinebench R23 benchmarks of XPS 13 Plus


So in Geekbench 5, the 2023 XPS 13 Plus is significantly ahead compared to the last year’s offering. And it also leaves the Macbook Air M2 and the Galaxy Book 3 in the dust. This similar trend is also seen in our Cinebench R23 single-core benchmarks. However, the Galaxy Book 3 is just slightly behind the XPS 13 Plus in single-core performance. It’s quite clear that raptor lake brought significant improvement in single-core performance.

The story is more or less the same in our multi-core benchmark too. The 2023 XPS 13 Plus gets over 10000 points in Geekbench 5 and Cinebench R23, leaving everything else in the dust. I am honestly quite impressed seeing the multi-core performance of the XPS 13 Plus considering the Galaxy Book 3 also has the same processor yet it struggles to get over 9000 points. 

However, do note that even though the XPS 13 Plus 2023 would do great in all CPU-intensive tasks such as code compiling and stuff, it along with the rest of the laptops we benchmarked here have integrated Iris Xe Graphics which are nowhere near as powerful as the Macbook Air M2 GPU.

This means that if your workflow includes something that is GPU intensive such as game development, or graphic designing, the M2 Macbook Air would be a better option for you. 

And for those wondering about gaming, the Iris Xe Graphics on the Dell XPS 13 Plus is only powerful enough to run eSports titles at medium to low settings at playable framerate. So I won’t recommend the XPS for gaming

As for the thermals. The XPS 13 Plus didn’t hesitate to ramp up its fans and get loud under load. There were noticeable hot spots in the middle of the keyboard, and around the base of the laptop. And we did see the XPS 13 Plus thermal throttle under intense load. 

So Dell really needs to work on making the thermal design better to help keep that i7 cooler.

Keep the thermal issues aside, I think the Dell would be a solid choice for someone who mostly does something casual on their laptop such as browsing the web and working on spreadsheets, and doing something demanding every once in a while.


The XPS 13 Plus is decent when it comes to battery life. Similar to my review unit if you get the normal IPS 1200p variant then you can expect it to last just over 8 hours in basic daily usage.

This is a minor improvement over the 2022 XPS 13 Plus, but if you expect to go with the OLED variant, then expect this runtime to drop by an hour. 

Though this battery runtime is pretty standard among Windows laptops, it’s nowhere near as good as the Macbook Air M2 which lasts easily over 14 hours on casual simple use. 

The XPS 13 Plus provides a pretty mediocre battery life, and honestly, it’s quite disappointing.


Expandability & Upgradability

As expected, the soldered RAM trend is also seen on the XPS 13 Plus sadly, so choose your RAM config wisely. If you intend to do something intensive like using Photoshop or Lightroom or do code compiling, then go with the 32GB RAM variant.

But if you are a casual user that won’t do something more than web browsing or watching youtube every now and then, then you should be fine with 16GB RAM.

Storage is thankfully upgradable though it only has one single M.2 slot, so it means that you would either have to re-install Windows on your new drive or just clone your drive.

Overall in terms of expandability, the XPS 13 Plus is not exciting whatsoever.



There’s no doubt that the PS 13 Plus is a great offering by Dell. It offers amazing performance, a beautiful display, and a snappy keyboard. Having said that, it has its minor annoyances such as a lack of a headphone jack, getting quite loud under load, and losing some of its performance.

Furthermore, if your workload includes something demanding that requires a dedicated GPU, and you can’t go over the 13-inch form factor, then the Macbook Air M2 would be much better despite its relatively weak CPU performance.

But overall, the Dell XPS 13 Plus is a solid laptop I would happily recommend it as long as you are willing to keep up with its minor annoyances.


What is the difference between XPS and Inspiron?

The difference between XPS and Inspiron lineups is that the XPS lineup is a more premium lineup that is intended to be used as a lifestyle laptop that can also be used for slightly demanding tasks like music production, Lightroom, etc, similar to a Macbook.

The Inspiron lineup is more of a mainstream lineup that though comes with high-end internals, often cut corners on the chassis and stuff like I/O ports.

Why does the Dell XPS get so hot?

The reason Dell XPS gets so hot is because of poor thermal design. The XPS lineup is slim in design, which means there’s not a lot of room to breathe, which causes the laptop to overheat and thermal throttle.

Is Dell XPS 13 good for college students?

The Dell XPS 13 is really good for college students thanks to its amazing performance, beautiful display, and decent battery life. However, students might find it annoying to carry a dongle around.

However, the Dell XPS 13 won’t be good for students if they do something that requires a dedicated GPU such as gaming, or video editing as it lacks a dedicated GPU.