The new Dell XPS 13 comes with Alder Lake CPUs, but this is more than just a performance boost

The 2022 revision of Dell's XPS 13 comes with Intel's 12th-generation Alder Lake processors, adding more cores and a hybrid architecture setup, and is the thinnest and lightest 13-inch XPS Dell has ever offered. For a non-touchscreen model, the new laptop is 13.9mm thick (0.55-inches) and weighs as little as 2.59 lbs, compared to its predecessor's 14.80 mm (0.58-inches) and 2.64 lb starting weight. XPS 13 starts at $999 with Windows 11 or $949 with Ubuntu 20.04 in the US and Canada, starting today.

As the flagship XPS 13 has evolved from previewing the future of laptops when Dell introduced its InfinityEdge design with thin bezels in 2015, to becoming stale a few years later, and now good enough to earn our review calling the last version 'everything a Windows laptop should be' on its way to placements on multiple 'Best PC laptops' lists.

For now, Dell is splitting wilder options with the XPS 13 Plus launched earlier this year with a touch bar, flush keyboard, and slightly more powerful CPU options, as well as the new 2022 XPS 13 2-in-1 announced today replacing the old thin and foldable design with a tablet and folio keyboard case.

While the new 9315 has a similar look to the 11th-gen CPU-powered 9310, which debuted in 2020 and added an OLED display last year, the differences should become evident the moment you open it. In its new laptop, Dell says it has 'dumped superfluous steps, reduced finishes, and emphasized CNC machined aluminum that is now the star of the show both inside and outside, instead of contrasting interior colors. The design is familiar, but quite clean in either a sky (gray) or umber (brown) tinted aluminum finish, and hopefully, it will maintain the sturdy design plus solid keyboard and trackpad we praised in 2020.

The 9310 has been improved inside, and addresses some of its shortcomings, including a bad webcam, subpar speakers, and a hot keyboard. Dell's smallest motherboard ever measures 1.8x smaller than the previous model, making room for larger speakers and other technologies. Spec sheets mention that space will be used for a larger battery, but the new model's battery is listed at 51 watt-hours, down from 52 on the 9310. It also has a single fan instead of two.

We'll have to review the new model to see how its new chipset and design take advantage of those changes, which could put the new Alder Lake CPUs inside on display. We explained before that Intel's new generation of chips is better suited to tackle the competition from AMD, Apple, and everyone else by adopting a setup similar to many ARM-based CPUs, with more cores that are split between ones designed for performance and power efficiency.

In the launch lineup, Dell is offering two 10-core CPUs: Intel's i5-1230U or i7-1250U with Iris Xe graphics, 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB RAM, and SSD storage options of 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB. Dell said the most power-efficient i5 model could stream Netflix for up to 12 hours, or up to 11 hours on the most powerful i7 setup, and up to 6 hours on a model with the i7 chip, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, and a 4K display.

There is currently no OLED-equipped version available now, with the options of a 4K UHD+ (3840x2400) touch display or a FHD+ (1920 x 1200) tough or non-touch display. Support for WiFi 6E is included this year, however built-in 5G is reserved for the upcoming 2-in-1 model. This year's model ships in packaging made from '100 percent recycled or renewable content.' The aluminum in the frame is low-carbon to reduce the carbon footprint.

As part of the update, the webcam's infrared and RGB sensors are separated, making it easier for you to see in low light. It's also adding Dell's ExpressSign-In technology, using a proximity sensor paired with a Windows Hello camera to detect when you're in front of the laptop and automatically log you in, as well as dim the screen to save battery life while you're doing other things.

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