Review: The 2022 Dell XPS 13 is more than just a pretty face


two Dell XPS 13 2022 (9315) laptops
Scharon Harding

Specs at a glance: Dell XPS 13 2022 (9315)
Worst Best As reviewed
Screen 13.4-inch 1920×1200 IPS non-touchscreen 13.4-inch 1920×1200 IPS touchscreen
OS Windows 11 Home Windows 11 Pro Windows 11 Home
CPU Intel Core i5-1230U Intel Core i7-1250U vPro Intel Core i5-1230U
RAM 8GB LPDDR5-5200 32GB LPDDR5-5200 16GB LPDDR5-5200
Storage 512GB NVMe PCIe 4.0 x2 SSD 1TB NVMe PCIe 4.0 x2 SSD 512GB NVMe PCIe 4.0 x2 SSD
GPU Intel Iris Xe
Networking Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
Ports 2x Thunderbolt 4
Size 11.63×7.86×0.55 inches
(295.4×199.4×13.99 mm)
Weight 2.59 lbs
(1.17 kg)
Battery 51 Wh
Warranty 1 year
Price (MSRP) $849 $1,499 $1,150
Other USB-C to USB-A and USB-C to 3.5 mm adapters included

I was treated to a welcome surprise when I first laid eyes on the latest Dell XPS 13 (9315). The color options—a youthful sky blue or a unique purplish brown—are visual candy in a PC world dominated by shimmery silvers, grown-up grays, and boring blacks. Dell’s 2022 XPS 13 doesn’t compromise by offering a more traditional colorway for cheaper, as prior XPS 13 laptops did, either.

After I moved past appearances, I found there was more to enjoy under the hood. While this machine isn’t as wild of a redesign as the one given to the costlier Dell XPS 13 Plus, the company did some tinkering to make the XPS 13 lighter and thinner than ever, all while accommodating quality-of-life upgrades like better speakers and a bigger battery. Unfortunately, it has a dreadfully limited and dongle-dependent port selection.

There are flashier alternatives for a thin-and-light laptop, but the 2022 XPS 13 is an admirable clamshell with more to offer than a couple of unique hues.

If looks could kill

I’ve worked with numerous XPS 13s over the years, including personal purchases, review units, and work-issued systems. So you can forgive me if I’ve found an iteration or two boring in terms of design changes. After all, it’s not every year you get a spinout like the Dell XPS 13 Plus.

The 2022 XPS 13 has a memorable appearance. Just take a look:

The 2022 XPS 13 in Umber (top) and Sky (bottom)
Enlarge / The 2022 XPS 13 in Umber (top) and Sky (bottom)
Scharon Harding

The laptop’s chassis is CNC-machined aluminum tinted to a “tone-on-tone” design, as Dell describes it. There’s a subtle icy blue called Sky and a sophisticated, HP Spectre-like deep purple called Umber.

I’m delighted to see uniquely shaded PCs and peripherals that help to brighten work and home office spaces. But I’m surprised there isn’t a more traditional color available. Dell found a decent medium: In certain lighting, the lids have a more muted look, with the blue version even being able to pass for a silver-ish color. But blue and purple laptops are understandably not for everyone.

Still, the XPS 13 has a frosted finish and thoughtfully selected hues that feel fun but not excessive, making it one of the most attractive laptops we’ve reviewed all year. Its build is firm and professional-feeling, with a thin lid bringing minimal flex and a deck that shows just a smidge of give when I forced it.

This year’s XPS 13 is the thinnest yet, and while that’s good news for portability, it’s terrible news for port selection. There are just two USB-C ports on the XPS 13.

Dell's 2021 XPS 13 9305 on top of the 2022 XPS 13 9315 in Sky and Umber.
Enlarge / Dell’s 2021 XPS 13 9305 on top of the 2022 XPS 13 9315 in Sky and Umber.
Scharon Harding

At least they’re powerful Thunderbolt 4 ones (Thunderbolt 4 supports USB4.) Plus, the laptop comes with two dongles for adding a USB-A and 3.5 mm connection. But a computer this beautiful and portable shouldn’t be bogged down with adapters.