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HP Spectre x360 13.5 (2022) vs Dell XPS 13 Plus: What’s the best ultrabook?

We’re not quite halfway through 2022, but we’ve already seen some spectacular laptops being introduced this year. Among them, HP and Dell have both brought out some of their best devices yet, those being the HP Spectre x360 and the Dell XPS 13 Plus. Buying a new laptop right now can be a difficult choice, and we’re here to help. In this article, we’re comparing the HP Spectre x360 13.5 and the Dell XPS 13 Plus to see which one makes the most sense to buy for you.

Right off the bat, one thing worth mentioning is that HP’s laptop is a convertible, meaning you can use it as a tablet if you want to, as well as in a couple of different modes. The Dell XPS 13 Plus is just a clamshell laptop, though, to be fair, it does give you the option for a touchscreen as well. With that out of the way, let’s get into the finer details of this comparison.

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HP Spectre x360 13.5 (2022) vs Dell XPS 13 Plus: Specs

HP Spectre x360 13.5 Dell XPS 13 Plus (9320)
Operating system
  • Windows 11
  • Windows 11
  • Ubuntu 20.04 (in Developer Edition)
CPU
  • 12th-generation Intel Core i5-1235U (15W, 10 cores, 12 threads, up to 4.4GHz, 12MB cache)
  • 12th-generation Intel Core i7-1255U (15W, 10 cores, 12 threads, up to 4.7GHz, 12MB cache)
  • Intel Core i5-1240P (28W, 12-core, 16-thread, up to 4.4 GHz, 12MB cache)
  • Intel Core i7-1260P (28W, 12-core, 16-thread, up to 4.7 GHz, 18MB cache)
  • Intel Core i7-1270P (28W, 12-core, 16-thread, up to 4.8 GHz, 18MB cache)
  • Intel Core i7-1280P (28W, 14-core, 20-thread, up to 4.8 GHz, 24MB Cache)
Graphics
  • Intel Iris Xe
  • Intel Iris Xe
Display
  • 13.5 inch IPS, Full HD+ (1920 x 1280), touch, 400 nits, 100% sRGB, anti-reflection
  • 13.5 inch IPS, Full HD+ (1920 x 1280), HP Sure View Reflect, touch, 1000 nits, 100% sRGB
  • 13.5 inch OLED, 3K2K (3000 x 2000), touch, 500 nits (HDR), 100% DCI-P3, anti-reflection
  • 13.4-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge non-touch, 500-nit, anti-reflective
  • 13.4-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge touch, 500-nit, anti-reflective
  • 13.4-inch UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge touch, 500-nit, anti-reflective
  • 13.4-inch 3.5K (3456 x 2160) InfinityEdge OLED touch, DisplayHDR 500, 400 nits, 100% DCI-P3 color gamut, anti-reflective, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
Storage
  • 512GB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
  • 1TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
  • 2TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
  • 256GB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
  • 512GB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
  • 1TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
  • 2TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
RAM
  • 8GB LPDDR4x 4266MHz (soldered)
  • 16GB LPDDR4x 4266MHz (soldered)
  • 32GB LPDDR4x 4266MHz (soldered)
  • 8GB dual-channel DDR5 5200MHz
  • 16GB dual-channel DDR5 5200MHz
  • 32GB dual-channel DDR5 5200MHz
Battery
  • 4-cell 66Whr battery
    • Up to 65W USB Type-C power adapter
  • 60Whr battery
    • 65W USB-C charger
Ports
  • 2 x Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C)
  • 1x x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • microSD card reader
  • 2 Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C) ports
    • USB Type-C to Type-A adapter included
    • Optional USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter
Audio
  • Quad speakers by Bang & Olufsen
  • Dual-array digital microphones
  • Quad stereo speakers (8W total output)
  • Dual-array microphones
Camera
  • HP True Vision 5MP IR camera with camera shutter and temporal noise reduction
  • 720p HD camera
Biometric authentication
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Fingerprint reader
  • IR camera
Connectivity
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX211
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX211 (2×2)
  • Bluetooth 5.2
Color
  • Nightfall Black with Pale Brass accents
  • Nocturne Blue with Celestial Blue accents
  • Natural Silver
  • Platinum
  • Graphite
Size (WxDxH)
  • 297.94 x 220.47 x 17.02 mm (11.73 x 8.68 x 0.67 in)
  • 295.3 × 199.04 × 15.28mm (11.63×7.84×0.6 inches)
Dimensions
  • Starts at 1.37kg (3.01 lbs)
  • Starts at 1.24kg (2.73 lb)
Price Starting at $1,249 Starting at $1,199

Performance: 15W or 28W Intel processors

Both the HP Spectre x360 13.5 and the Dell XPS 13 Plus are using Intel’s 12th-generation Core processors, as you’d expect for a laptop in 2022. While they’re similar in some ways – featuring a new hybrid architecture with performance and efficient cores, plus integrated Iris Xe graphics – there’s a significant difference. The HP Spectre x360 14 is sticking with Intel’s U15 series processors, which have a 15W TDP just like before. Dell, on the other hand, opted for the new P-series processors, which have a higher 28W TDP. That means better performance for Dell’s laptop, but in turn, it will likely have much worse battery life.

The HP Spectre x360 13.5 comes with up to an Intel Core i7-1255U, which has a total of 10 cores (2P + 8E), and the Dell XPS 13 Plus can be configured with up to a Core i7-1280P, with 14 (6P + 8E) and 20 threads, so the difference in performance is significant. We can see that in the Geekbench benchmark results below, though we should note these are early tests and there haven’t been enough of them to establish a proper average score. These are random individual results, so the numbers can vary a lot.

Intel Core i7-1280P
(see test)
Intel Core i7-1255U
(see test)
Intel Core i5-1240P
(see test)
Intel Core i5-1235U
(see test)
Geekbench 5 (single/multi-core) 1,763 / 8,256 1,682 / 6,912 1,635 / 7,303 1,586 / 6,432

Again, the performance numbers clearly favor Dell’s laptop, but it’s important to keep in mind the battery life of each of them. Between the lower-power processor and the physically larger battery, the HP Spectre x360 13.5 will probably last you much longer on a charge.

As for the integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, there aren’t any huge differences between the U15 and the P series. Both laptops have the same number of execution units, but the P-series models are clocked slightly faster.

The Dell XPS 13 Plus uses newer LPDDR5 RAM.

Aside from that, both laptops come with up to 32GB of RAM, though Dell is using the newer LPDDR5 RAM clocked at 5200MHz, while HP is still using LPDDR4x clocked at 4266MHz. They also both have up to 2TB of SSD storage, but the base configuration of the HP Spectre x360 includes a larger 512GB SSD compared to the 256GB unit inside the Dell XPS 13 Plus.

Display and sound: Two great options

As far as the display goes, the HP Spectre x360 13.5 and the Dell XPS 13 Plus are actually quite similar – at least in the base configuration. The Spectre x360 comes with a 13.5-inch display and a 3:2 aspect ratio. The base configuration is a Full HD+ (1920 x 1280) panel, and you can upgrade it with an HP Sure View Reflect privacy screen, which is an option Dell doesn’t give you. If you want the most premium configuration, there’s a 3K2K (3000 x 2000) OLED panel, giving you both a sharper image and the usual benefits of OLED, such as true black, vivid colors, and a very high contrast ratio. Because it’s a convertible, the display also supports touch and pen input in every configuration.

On the other hand, the Dell XPS 13 Plus has a slightly smaller 13.4-inch screen and it comes in a 16:10 aspect ratio. That’s still taller than your typical laptop display, but not as tall as the 3:2 panel on the Spectre x360, and that’s also way it’s smaller overall. The base model of the Dell XPS 13 Plus comes with a Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) panel, and it doesn’t support touch (though you can add touch support). The upgrade options are also fantastic – there’s a 3.5K (3456 x 2160) OLED display option and an Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400) IPS panel, which also covers 100% of Adobe RGB. Both of these are sharper than the Spectre x360, and both of these options also include touch support by default.

While the Dell XPS 13 Plus does technically give you a sharper screen, it won’t make a noticeable difference in a display of this size. The pixels in HP’s 3K2K OLED panel are already tiny, and going any further than that can be a bit overkill. In fact, you might be better off with a slightly lower resolution to save battery.

Above the display, HP pulls ahead when it comes to webcam quality. The previous iterations of these laptops were actually on par with each other, but for this year, HP has upgraded to a 5MP camera, complete with smart features like auto framing and backlight adjustment so you always look your best during video calls and meetings. Dell has improved the overall quality of its webcam, too, but it stuck with a 720p sensor, so HP is definitely in a better position here.

HP has upgraded to a 5MP webcam with smart features.

As for sound, both of the laptops have a quad-speaker stereo setup, and that should give you a pretty immersive listening experience overall. Dell touts a peak 8W of total output, but HP hasn’t shared such detailed information. Both laptops also have dual-array microphones for voice capture.

Design: The Dell XPS 13 Plus looks like it’s from the future

Design is admittedly a very subjective topic, so let’s start with what isn’t. As far as size goes, the Dell XPS 13 Plus is smaller in every dimension, including thickness, and it’s lighter, too. It starts at 2.73lbs, while the HP Spectre x360 starts at 3.01lbs. Of course, that doesn’t come without sacrifices, like the lower resolution webcam or the more limited supply of ports (we’ll get to that in a bit).

The HP Spectre x360 also has the benefit of being a convertible, which often results in a larger and heavier design. But being a convertible means you can use it as a tablet with the included pen, or prop it up in tent mode to watch a movie, and so on. You get more versatility, and that’s a big plus that might justify the slightly less portable design.

But design is also about looks, and these are two very different laptops, though both are great in their own way. The HP Spectre x360 13.5 is a beautiful premium laptop, and it uses a dual-tone design that you don’t see that often in laptops these days. The Nightfall Black model uses black for the surfaces with pale brass accents around the edges, while the Nocturne Blue model has a lighter shade of blue (called celestial blue) around the edges. You can stick with a more subdued Natural Silver, though.

On the other hand, the Dell XPS 13 Plus looks incredibly futuristic and modern. It doesn’t have the dual-tone look, but the chassis is super clean, and there are a couple of reasons for that. First, there’s no touchpad, or at least not a visible one. Dell created a touchpad that blends seamlessly with the rest of the chassis, and it’s using haptic motors to simulate the feeling of a click. On top of that, the zero-lattice keyboard spans the entire width of the laptop, adding to the clean look. And, to round things out, the function row at the top of the keyboard is replaced by a capacitive touch row, which can toggle between typical function keys and media controls as needed.

These are two flavors of great, and it’s really up to you what you prefer. Admittedly, some users may have trouble getting used to the invisible trackpad on the XPS 13 Plus, but it’s something you might want to try for yourself before making a decision.

Ports and connectivity: The Spectre x360 has a headphone jack

So we come to the ports, and this is where the sacrifices Dell made to get its compact design become apparent. The Dell XPS 13 Plus has two Thunderbolt 4 ports. That’s it, there’s not even a headphone jack. If you want other ports, Dell does include a USB Type-C to Type-A adapter, and you may be able to get an adapter for a 3.5mm headphone jack as well, but that’s not exactly the most convenient way to do things. You’re going to need adapters, or a Thunderbolt dock, for almost anything you want to plug in.

The Dell XPS 13 Plus only has two Thunderbolt 4 ports and nothing else.

The HP SPectre x360 13.5 frankly doesn’t have a super-wide range of ports, but in addition to the two Thunderbolt 4 ports, you get one USB Type-A port, a headphone jack, and a microSD card reader. It ensures you can at least use a legacy peripheral like an external mouse, as well as wired headphones you may have lying around.

As for wireless connectivity, the two laptops are nearly identical. Both support Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.

HP Spectre x360 13.5 (2022) vs Dell XPS 13 Plus: Final thoughts

It may sound a bit cheeky to say, but the truth is whether you prefer one laptop or the other is ultimately up to you. They’re both fantastic devices, and they excel at different things. The HP Spectre x360 13.5 should be your choice if you want a device that last longer on battery power, if you want the versatility of a convertible, or if you value the additional ports it includes. You might also prefer its premium dual-tone design and the more traditional keyboard and touchpad.

The Dell XPS 13 Plus may be more appealing to you if you want as much performance as possible, thanks to its P-series processors, if you have an even sharper display, or if you’re in love with the futuristic design philosophy Dell went for here. It might also be more suited for creative professionals thanks to the Ultra HD+ display covering 100% of the Adobe RGB color gamut.

Regardless, as we’ve said, they’re both phenomenal, and you can’t go wrong either way. If you’ve made your choice, you can buy your preferred laptop below. Otherwise, check out the best Dell laptops and the best HP laptops to see what else each of these companies has to offer.

    HP Spectre x360 13.5

    The 2022 HP Spectre x360 13.5 has a 3:2 display and 12th-generation Intel processors with 10 cores and 12 threads.
    Dell XPS 13 Plus

    The Dell XPS 13 Plus is a futuristic-looking laptop with 12th-gen Intel processors, and a fantastic display.

The post HP Spectre x360 13.5 (2022) vs Dell XPS 13 Plus: What’s the best ultrabook? appeared first on XDA.

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