Dell XPS 13 Plus: Reasons to buy and skip this Black Friday deal

Dell XPS 13 Plus deal
(Image credit: Dell)

The end of the year is nearly here, and we know that means lots of folks have to think really carefully about what they're buying for the holidays and why. 

We're all sorting through the best Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday sales on gifts we want to give others, and it's important to know what parts of a product's marketing are true vs. what's just hype. 

I've been doing this for years now, and I can tell you this year's Dell Black Friday deals include some of the best we've seen so far, with discounts of 20% or more on Dell's Windows 11 laptops and Alienware gaming laptops packing new Intel Raptor Lake 13th Gen chips and Nvidia GeForce RTX 40-series GPUs.

That means right now you can save at least a couple hundred bucks on a new Dell XPS 15 OLED (which I think is one of the best laptops you can buy) or an Alienware m18 if you want one of the best gaming laptops on the market. 

Those laptops are easy to recommend, but if you have your eye on a sleek new Dell XPS 13 Plus (2023) there are some things I think you should know before you pull the trigger and snag that holiday discount. 

Dell XPS 13 Plus (2023): was $1,499 now $1,199 @ Dell

Dell XPS 13 Plus (2023): was $1,499 now $1,199 @ Dell
Dell's knocking $300 off the price of an entry-level XPS 13 Plus with its 13.4-inch 1200p touchscreen, 13th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage.

Dell XPS 13 Plus OLED (2023): was $1,949 now $1,499 @ Dell

Dell XPS 13 Plus OLED (2023): was $1,949 now $1,499 @ Dell
If you want an XPS 13 Plus with an OLED display like the one we reviewed, this deal takes $450 off the price of the laptop with the 3.5K OLED touchscreen, the 13th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 32GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage. 

I reviewed the latest OLED-equipped version of Dell's sleekest, lightest laptop, and while there are some things I love about this elegant ultraportable laptop, I also think there are a few things you should know before you bring one home.

Dell XPS 13 Plus (2023): Reasons to buy

Dell XPS 13 Plus (2023) review unit on desk

(Image credit: Future)

You want a 13-inch OLED display that looks great

I have mixed feelings about the XPS 13 Plus, but one of the things I love about this little laptop is the look of its 3.5K OLED display. 

This is an optional upgrade over the entry-level model's FHD+ (1,920 x 1,200 pixels) touchscreen, but I think it's worth the splurge because it makes everything you do on the laptop look better—as long as you regularly clean the touchscreen. While it's not the brightest or most color-accurate laptop we've tested, the XPS 13 Plus OLED does offer support for HDR and Dolby Vision, which helps movies and games look their best.

The XPS 13 Plus is light, slim and looks great on a table. I'm a big guy and find the keyboard a little cramped for comfort, but it's in line with other 13-inch laptops. (Image credit: Future)

You like a light, premium Windows laptop

If you want a Windows 11 laptop that feels like a premium device yet remains light and easy to carry, the XPS 13 Plus is a great choice. 

The XPS 13 Plus' aluminum chassis weighs under 3 pounds and is small enough to throw in the glove compartment of my car, yet sturdy enough that I don't feel bad about doing it. It's nearly as thin and light as a MacBook Air M2, and the thin bezels around the screen help it feel like you're getting every centimeter of usable screen space out of this elegant ultraportable.

Dell XPS 13 Plus (2023) review unit on desk

(Image credit: Future)

The lack of ports and swap from function keys to a capacitive touch row also keep this laptop looking sleek, though you pay for the trade-off in a lack of port variety (Dell does include some USB-C adapters in the box) and the unreliability of capacitive touch keys.

Dell XPS 13 Plus (2023): Reasons to skip

Dell XPS 13 Plus (2023) review unit on desk running Windows 11

The XPS 13 Plus is fine for a few hours at the cafe, but it won't last all day. (Image credit: Future)

You expect great battery life

One of the more disappointing things about the XPS 13 Plus lineup (and frankly, Windows laptops in general) is how poorly they've performed in our battery tests over the past few years, especially when compared to the best MacBooks

The 2023 model of XPS 13 Plus is no exception, lasting just 6 hours and 20 minutes in our lab's in-house battery test. We run this test several times on every laptop we review, and the 2023 XPS 13 Plus was among the worst performers of the year. It's even worse than the 2022 XPS 13 Plus, which itself lasted just 7 hours and 34 minutes in the same test.

Now, that doesn't mean much if the laptop will only be used unplugged a few hours a day, tops. But if you want this laptop for work, school, or other situations where you might spend eight hours or more working away from reliable power sources, you may want to look for a different laptop. Our guide to the best laptops for battery life is a good place to start.

Dell XPS 13 Plus (2023) review unit on table running Fortnite

(Image credit: Future)

You expect great performance

A more understandable weakness of the XPS 13 Plus is its poor performance relative to other laptops on the market. It's fine for web browsing, working and even some light gaming, but don't expect more.

In that way, the 2023 Plus is comparable to Apple's MacBook Air M2 in terms of performance, which is good company to be in. And while Dell's ultraportable can't match Apple's lightest MacBook in terms of raw CPU performance or battery life, the 2023 XPS 13 Plus does at least deliver decent results in our video editing and SSD tests,—especially when you turn its performance mode up to Ultra.

But in terms of raw CPU performance, the 2023 XPS 13 Plus performed even worse than its predecessor in our testing, and that wasn't great to begin with. So if you need a laptop that's powerful enough for meaty tasks, like photo/video editing, coding, animating or gaming, you'll want to look for a different laptop.

If that's the case, make sure to check out our regularly-updated list of the best Black Friday laptop deals for more opportunities to save on portable PCs big and small.

Alex Wawro

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.