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

Dell’s 13-inch XPS laptop lineup got a shake-up in 2022, with the clamshell splitting into the more affordable XPS 13 9315 and the more powerful XPS 13 Plus. Now the old 360-degree convertible XPS 13 2-in-1 has turned into a detachable tablet.

That presents a bit of a challenge if you’re looking for a 13-inch device and are leaning towards an XPS. Every 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
Dimensions 11.5″ x 7.9″ x 0.29″. 11.63 inches by 7.86 inches by 0.55 inches 11.63 inches by 7.84 inches by 0.60 inches
weight 1.23 pounds 2.59 pounds 2.71 pounds
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
graphic Intel Iris Xe Intel Iris Xe Intel Iris Xe graphics
R.A.M. 8GB LPDDR4x
16GB LPDDR4x
8GB LPDDR5
16GB LPDDR5
32GB LPDDR5
8GB LPDDR5
16GB LPDDR5
32GB LPDDR5
advertisement 13.0 inch 3:2 2880×1920 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″ 16:10 IPS Full HD+ touchscreen
13.4-inch 16:10 OLED 3.5K (3456 x 2160) touchscreen.
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
Touch Yes Optional Optional
ports 2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x Nano SIM (optional)
2 USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 2 USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
Wireless WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1
Optional 5GB WWAN
WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
cam 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 Windows11 Windows11 Windows11
battery 49.5 watt hours 51 watt hours 55 watt hours
Price $1,000 $749+ $1,299+
valuation 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. Max the machine and it’s $1,299 for a Core i7, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and a touch display.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 is the second cheapest, with a starting price of $1,000 for a Core i5, 8GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and no keyboard and pen (which adds $100 to the price ). . At the higher end, the 2-in-1 costs $1,699 for a Core i7, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a keyboard and pen.

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

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The XPS 13 9315 and the XPS 13 Plus went in different design directions, both from each other and from the previous XPS 13 generation. They look pretty similar with the lid closed, dropping the older model’s mix of aluminum and carbon or fiberglass for an all-aluminum chassis. Open the lid, however, and the XPS 13 Plus is a truly modern design with a glass-covered palm rest that hides an embedded haptic touchpad, borderless keyboard with large keycaps and minimal spacing between keys and LED function keys. The XPS 13 9315 is much simpler, with a standard island-style keyboard and mechanical touchpad. Both laptops feature tiny bezels, and the XPS 13 9315 comes in Sky and Umber colors, 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-sized bezels. It’s a rather unassuming slate, available in Sky and Slate (the latter being the only color available with the 5G version). Add in the Dell Folio keyboard and it takes on a profile very similar to Microsoft’s Surface Pro 9.

Every XPS laptop is as strong as ever and represents the very best in modern laptop construction. Each clamshell laptop’s hinge is excellent, while the tablet doesn’t have a built-in kickstand, relying instead on the keyboard’s three magnetic angles.

Speaking of keyboards, each is very good, with plenty of room and snappy, precise switches. Of the three, the XPS 13 Plus’s keyboard is the best. While the XPS 13 9315’s mechanical touchpads and XPS 13 2-in-1’s folio keyboard are fine, the XPS 13 Plus has a haptic touchpad that offers precise control over its entire surface and virtual key clicks that feel better feel natural. Whether the LED function keys on this laptop are a good thing is a matter of personal preference, but they work well.

Connectivity is almost exactly the same across every laptop, meaning it’s pretty limited. The 2-in-1 has a Nano SIM slot for optional 5G WWAN support, and neither laptop has audio jacks. All of them include USB-C to USB-A and USB-C to 3.5mm audio dongles in the box. Wireless connectivity is also identical, although as mentioned, the XPS 13 2-in-1 offers optional always-on internet support.

Finally, the XPS 13 2-in-1 has a superior 1080p webcam compared to the 720p versions of the clamshells. Every laptop has an infrared camera for facial recognition login via Windows Hello.

perfomance

The XPS 13 2-in-1 and XPS 13 9315 both use 9-watt Intel 12th Gen U-series CPUs with 10 cores (two Performance and eight Efficient) and 12 threads. As such, both offer less performance than the XPS 13 Plus with 28-watt P-Series CPUs with 12 cores (four Performance and eight Efficient) and 16 threads. Dell made a very conscious distinction between the XPS 13 Plus and the XPS 13 9315 on a few key points, and performance was one of them.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 was faster than the XPS 13 9315 on Geekbench 5 and our Handbrake video encoding test, while the latter was faster in Cinebench R23. The tablet was also surprisingly faster than the two clamshells in the PCMark 10 Complete benchmark. But in our CPU-intensive benchmarks, the XPS 13 Plus was the clear leader. Neither machine makes for a particularly good gaming laptop.

Geekbench
(single / multiple)
handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single / multiple)
PC Mark 10
Completely
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 9315
(Core i5-1230U)
Sal: 1,435 / 6,099
Power: 1,572 / 7,028
balls: 139
Power: 144
Sal: 1,064 / 3,032
Power: 1,065 / 3009
4,535
Dell XPS 13 9315
(Core i5-1230U)
Bal: 1393 / 4,459
Power: 1,477 / 5,350
Ball: 333
Power: 192
Bal: 1379 / 3457
Performance: N/A
4,023
Dell XPS 13 Plus
(Core i7-1280P)
Ball: 1,316 / 8,207
Performance: N/A
balls: 170
Power: 94
Bal: 1,311 / 6,308
Power: 1,650 / 7,530
4.309

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Front view of the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 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 superior colors and, in the former, intense contrast with deep blacks. The XPS 13 2-in-1’s display was sharper than the XPS 13 9315’s Full HD+ panel and offers slightly better colors with much better contrast. The XPS 13 Plus’ OLED display is the best option for those who want to be (limitedly) creative on their laptop, and it’s also the best option for dedicated media consumers.

brightness
(nits)
contrast sRGB scale AdobeRGB scale Accuracy DeltaE
(less is better)
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
(IPS)
480 1,840:1 99% 78% 0.8
Dell XPS 13 9315
(IPS)
444 1,390:1 96% 75% 1.33
Dell XPS 13 Plus
(OLED)
386 386,030:1 100% 99% 0.83

portability

The USB-C port on the Dell XPS 13.

The laptops are similar in width and depth, while the XPS 13 2-in-1 without a keyboard attached is obviously the thinnest and lightest. All XPS devices are highly portable laptops that you’ll hardly notice in your backpack.

Battery life was best on the XPS 13 9315, with the XPS 13 Plus coming in second and the XPS 13 2-in-1 offering the lowest longevity. The two clamshells are more likely to go an entire day unplugged, and each has small power bricks that are easy enough to carry.

surf the Internet Video
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-inchers

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, although it’s not as good at a round as clamshell machines. The clamshells do not support tablet mode with inking.

That important consideration aside, the question then becomes: do you want a faster, more modern, more expensive laptop with a better display, or do you want to save some money and go a less powerful route? We think the XPS 13 9315 is a great “budget” option among premium laptops, while the XPS 13 Plus is the better laptop at a higher price point. The choice then comes down to which form factor you prefer and how important performance and state-of-the-art features are to you.

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