There is a couple of things a great video editing laptop should have, and both the Surface Book 2 and the Dell XPS 15 tick all the essential checkboxes. The question is which of these two fantastic laptops is better and why.
Both the Surface Book 2 and the Dell XPS 15 9570 offer adequate performance for video editing, but we expect that each laptop will appeal to a different kind of video editor. The Surface Book 2 is perfect for video editors who like to work on the go and brainstorm ideas with colleagues over a cup of coffee, while the XPS 15 is better for video editors whose work is more methodical.
Surface Book 2 vs Dell XPS 15
|XPS 15 9570||New Dell XPS 15 9570 Gaming Laptop||2,899|
|Microsoft||Surface Book 2 13 in||2,180|
If you’ve seen the first Surface Book, the Surface Book 2 will be instantly familiar to you. Microsoft’s beautiful machine stands out with its unique fulcrum hinge, which is now easier to open with one hand. The hinge allows the touch-screen display to detach from the keyboard and be used a table.
If you think that using a 13-inch or 15-inch (the 15-inch version of Surface Book 2 is available only in the United States) as a tablet makes no sense, we recommend you try it first. Because the Surface Book 2 starts at only 3.38 pounds, with the 15-inch version starting at 4.20 pounds, it actually works great as a productivity-oriented tablet, especially with the Surface Pen (included) and the Surface Dial ($99.99).
The Dell XPS 15 9570 is a completely different breed of laptop than the Surface Book 2, following a much more traditional design formula. But just because the XPS 15 isn’t detachable doesn’t mean that it’s boring or uninspired. Dell has used a combination of aluminum, magnesium, and carbon to create a stunning laptop with a very wide appeal and no superfluous gimmicks to distract you from your work.
The weight of the XPS 15 starts at 4 pounds, and Dell claims that there’s no thinner productivity-oriented 15-inch laptop on the market. It’s also one of the most powerful productivity-oriented laptops on the market, but more on that later.
Ports and Inputs
The first Surface Book seems slightly outdated because it doesn’t come with one essential port: USB Type-C. Fortunately, Microsoft has fixed this omission, and the Surface Book 2 features one USB Type-C port, although without Thunderbolt 3 support, making it impossible to use external GPUs or other higher-speed peripherals. Other ports include two USB 3.0 ports, a mini DisplayPort, a headphone jack, Microsoft’s Surface Connect port, and there’s even an SD card reader.
The full-sized keyboard on the Surface Book 2 has 1.5 millimeters of travel, and we’ve enjoyed typing on it despite being used to mechanical keyboards. The touchpad is also very competent, and we wouldn’t even hesitate to compare it with the touchpad on the MacBook Pro.
We, however, wouldn’t compare it with the touchpad on the Dell XPS 15 9570, which is, frankly, terrible. It feels mushy and is too hard to press to be as comfortable as one of the two main input methods. Fortunately, the keyboard on the XPS 15 is great, offering a solid typing experience and accuracy.
In terms of ports, the XPS 15 is slightly better equipped than the Surface Book 2. It has a USB Type-C port on the left side, a full-fledged USB 3.0 port available on either side of the device, and an integrated card reader with a maximum transfer rate of more than 200 MB/s. What’s more, the USB Type-C port supports Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 Gen 2.
Despite being smaller, the screen on the Surface Book 2 has a higher resolution (3240 x 2160) compared with the Dell XPS 15 9570 (1920 x 1080). It also has an aspect ratio of 3:2, which makes it more suited for Excel, PowerPoint, and Word than games, movies, and pictures.
Although Dell’s screen looks worse at first glance, there are several aspects where it outshines the Surface Book 2. For example, the maximum brightness of the XPS 15 is 413 nits, whereas the maximum brightness of the Surface Book 2 is “only” 376 nits. In reality, both displays are adequately bright, and both are also pleasant to look at.
As you might expect, Surface Book 2 performs worse than the Dell XPS 15 9570. That said, the difference between the two laptops isn’t huge, and, unless you plan on doing something very resource-intensive, you should be happy with either one as they both come with the latest 8th gen CPU from Intel and a powerful graphics card from Nvidia.
Where things get more interesting is battery life. The 13.5-inch Surface Book 2 with Nvidia’s GTX 1050 GPU lasts approximately 11 hours on Wi-Fi and a little over 3 hours under load. The XPS 15, on the other hand, lasts nearly 16 hours on Wi-Fi but less than 2 hours under load, confirming that the laptop is capable of delivering more processing power at the expense of battery life.