Generation after generation, Dell and Apple keep refreshing their best-selling laptops—the XPS 13 and the MacBook Pro—trying to sway consumers one way or the other. With the XPS 13 now sporting Intel’s 8th gen processors, and the MacBook Pro bringing to the game the Touch Bar, the time has come to compare the two premium laptops to see which of them is better.
XPS 13 vs MacBook Pro
|ImgAmazon.com Link||Brand||ProductAmazon.com Link||Price on Amazon.com|
|Dell||Dell XPS 13.3" Laptop||1499.44|
Design and Build
Dell deserves proper respect for not being afraid to experiment with various materials. Apple has been married to its aluminum unibody design, which the company has arguably perfected, for years now, while Dell has tried just about every material imaginable. The new XPS 13 has a metal body with a carbon fiber wrist rest. The combination of the two materials gives the laptop great durability and cooling capability while also minimizing physical contact with cold metal.
The most notable design feature of the MacBook Pro is only available to those who decide to pay $1,799.00 for the most expensive 13-inch model or at least $2,399 for any of the two better 15-inch models. We’re talking, of course, about the Touch Bar.
The Touch Bar is a narrow and wide OLED display that sits right above the keyboard and displays app-specific controls. It works in all apps made by Apple and in more and more third-party apps. All the big-name apps, such as Photoshop or Illustrator, are supported, and even most smaller developers have updated their apps to support the Touch Bar.
Just how useful the Touch Bar really is could be debated, but some people love it and have developed a number of interesting widgets for it. For example, there’s a well-designed Touch Bar cryptocurrency ticker that allows you to see the price of your investments rise directly above your keyboard.
Both the XPS 13 and the MacBook Pro have excellent input devices, but each laptop has a different strength. The touchpad on the MacBook Pro is significantly larger than the one on the XPS 13, making the MacBook Pro better for web browsing and all other tasks that don’t require a lot of typing. On the other hand, the XPS 13 has a more responsive keyboard that, unlike Apple’s Butterfly keyboard, isn’t fatiguing.
When it comes to connectivity, it’s probably no surprise that the XPS 13 offers more options: two standard USB 3.0 ports, one USB-C 3.1 port with PowerShare, DC-In, and DisplayPort, one card reader, one headset jack, and one Noble lock slot. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has up to four Thunderbolt 3 ports (the same as the 15-inch MacBook Pro), but only if you pay for the most expensive model. The $1,299.00 and the $1,499.00 models only have two Thunderbolt 3 ports.
The cheapest MacBook Pro costs $1,299 and comes with a 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor clocked at 2.3 GHz, with turbo boost up to 3.6 GHz. The cheapest XPS 13 costs $999 and comes with the i5-8250U, which is an 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor with a base frequency of 1.6 GHz and a maximum turbo frequency of 3.4 GHz. The cheapest Dell also has 4 GB less RAM than the cheapest MacBook Pro, but the price difference between the two models makes the comparison unfair.
It makes more sense to compare the $1,499.00 MacBook Pro with the $1,399.99 XPS 13. For $100 less, the Dell offers the same amount of RAM, the same storage capacity, and a higher turbo boost. It also lasts a few extra hours on a charge than the 13-inch MacBook Pro thanks to a 52 WHr battery.
If you need as much processing power as you can possibly get, then you should buy any of the two 15-inch models of the MacBook Pro. They both come with 16 GB of RAM and up to 512 GB SSD storage, and they feature a quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor and a dedicated Radeon Pro graphics card with up to 4 GB of video memory. The most expensive XPS 13 only has an integrated graphics card from Intel, making it less than ideal if you often use software that relies on GPU acceleration.
Dell makes the XPS 13 available with two displays. The two cheaper models come with a Full HD InfinityEdge display, while the two more expensive models have a 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge touch display.
All MacBooks Pro come with Retina screens, offering 2560 × 1600 resolution, great viewing angles, and accurate color reproduction. For professionals who require excellent color accuracy for their work, the MacBook Pro remains the best choice.
The biggest selling point of the XPS 13 is the fact that the 4K display is touch-enabled. Being able to interact with the laptop with touch allows for natural web browsing and drawing, providing a welcome alternative to traditional input methods.
Where the Dell XPS 13 shines the most is the value it offers. For $999, you can have a premium laptop with capable hardware and fit and finish that can easily rival even the MacBook Pro. But for professional users looking for exceptional performance regardless of the price tag, the MacBook Pro is still the laptop to buy.