Which Ultrabook is best for me: HP Spectre x360 13t or Dell XPS 13?

Both Dell and HP have really stepped up their Ultrabook game over the last few years. The Dell XPS 13 has been collecting accolades for its intelligent design and stellar display, while the HP Spectre x360 13t has been chosen as a top budget convertible by many.

HP Spectre x360 13t | See at HP

Are you in the market for a new Ultrabook and not sure which is best for your needs? We focus on the differences between the two devices to make it easier for you to choose between the HP Spectre x360 13t and the Dell XPS 13.

Dell XPS 13 | See at Dell

HP Spectre x360 vs Dell XPS 13 quick reference table

Category HP Spectre x360 Dell XPS 13
Display 13.3-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS
13.3-inch 2560 x 1440 IPS/OLED
13.3-inch 1920 x 1080 non-touch
13.3-inch 3200 x 1800 touch
Processor Intel Core i5/i7 (6th generation) Intel Core i3/i5/i7 (6th generation)
RAM 4/8/16GB 4/8/16GB
Graphics Intel HD/Iris Intel HD/Iris
Storage 128/256/512GB SSD, 1TB SSD 128/256/512GB SSD, 1TB SSD
Weight 3.26 pounds (1080p)
3.06 pounds (1440p)
2.7 pounds (non-touch)
2.9 pounds (touch)
Convertible Yes No
Price From about $900 From about $800


Dell XPS 13 display

The Dell XPS 13's display is pretty difficult to beat. It is 13.3 inches, but rests in a chassis normally reserved for an 11-inch screen. The result is an almost complete lack of bezel which really makes the display pop out at you, especially with the 1800p touch version.

Both displays are the same size, but the HP Spectre x360's display only goes up to a max 1440p with the QHD IPS and QHD OLED options. It's still a great touch display, but if you're in the field of graphic design or multimedia editing, you'll definitely want to go for XPS 13's higher resolution.

Just want a quality touchscreen with a 1080p display? The HP Spectre x360 will do you just fine. The bezel around the display is fairly wide, but you won't mind at all when you have the laptop in tablet mode — your thumbs need somewhere to grip without interfering with the screen's function.

Bottom line: If your daily workload requires a high resolution, opt for the Dell XPS 13's 1800p touch display. If you can live with a 1080p or 1440p touch display, go with the cheaper HP Spectre x360.


HP and Dell have some great customization options on their website, making the performance category pretty much a draw. Both have a battery life that will last you a full workday, both have solid-state drive options from 128GB to 1TB, both have Intel Iris graphics options for some decent gaming, and both can have from 4GB to 16GB of RAM.

If you're in the market for a workhorse that can handle a heavy workload or some gaming with respectable framerates, either laptop will do if you go with a customization option with all the best hardware.

The only major difference is in processor options. The HP Spectre x360 does not have a Core i3 option — only Core i5 and Core i7. The Dell XPS 13 does have a Core i3 option, so if you have a really light workload, you might want to opt for the Dell XPS 13 to save a few bucks.

Bottom line: Both laptops have essentially the same hardware options, excepting the HP Spectre x360's lack of Intel Core i3 processor option. If you have a very light workload, the Dell XPS 13 will probably be better for you with its Core i3 option.


HP Spectre x360 ports

As far as ports go, the Dell XPS 13 has one SD card slot, two USB 3.0, one Thunderbolt 3 Type-C, and a headphone jack. Yes, Dell does sell an adapter with Ethernet, VGA, HDMI, and USB 2.0, but it costs about $60 extra.

The HP Spectre x360 offers a bit more functionality in its port variety right out of the box, with three USB 3.0, one HDMI, one Mini DisplayPort, and a headphone/microphone combo. If you're someone who watches a lot of movies on your TV and can't live without an HDMI port, the HP Spectre x360 is your best bet unless you don't mind carrying an adapter around with you.

The major difference between these two Ultrabooks is that the HP Spectre x360 is convertible. Want to watch a movie while you lie in bed? Rotate the keyboard to create a stand. Cooking in the kitchen and want to save as much space as possible on your countertop? Switch to tent mode and read the recipe with ease.

For someone who loves the idea of having a tablet for light gaming and reading, and a notebook for when it's time to sit down and crush a workday, the HP Spectre x360 is your only option here — the Dell XPS 13 does not convert.

Bottom line: If you're looking for a convertible laptop — one that can change to tent mode, tablet mode, stand mode, and notebook mode — with a few more port options, you have to go with the HP Spectre x360. If you're set on a laptop that stays in notebook mode permanently, the Dell XPS 13 should be your go-to option.

Design and mobility

Dell XPS 13 underside

If you're in the market for an Ultrabook that looks like it cost a fortune, either of these will do. The Dell XPS 13 has an aluminum chassis with a carbon-fiber inside that is soft to the touch and doesn't get hot when you're putting it through a heavy workload. The HP Spectre x360 likewise has a beautiful aluminum body that comes in either natural silver or ash silver and copper color options. The keyboard on both laptops has comfortable key spacing and sufficient key travel for easy typing. The touchpad on the Spectre x360 is quite a bit bigger than the XPS 13's, and might get in the way of some while some of you with large hands are typing.

Let's be fair: size and weight dimensions are almost the same, but those of you looking for the absolute lightest and smallest laptop will be interested in the marginal difference. Both laptops range in weight depending on the display configuration you choose. The HP Spectre x360 with the 1080p display weighs 3.26 pounds, while the ones with a 1440p display weigh about 3.06 pounds.

The Dell XPS 13 with the touch display weighs 2.9 pounds, and the one with a non-touch display weighs 2.7 pounds. That's only about a half-pound difference between the two most extreme weights, but Dell holds the title for lightest laptop between these two competitors.

Why is it lighter? The Dell XPS 13 has more of a tapered design that gets thinner near the front — 0.33 inches, to be exact. The back is 0.6-inches thick, which is the same thickness the HP Spectre x360 has all the way across its body. The Dell XPS 13 also has a smaller chassis: it is 11.98-inches wide, and 7.88-inches deep. The HP Spectre x360 is 12.79-inches wide, and 8.6-inches deep.

Bottom line: If you're interested in a laptop that isn't just silver on the outside, the HP Spectre x360's ash silver and copper color is an attractive option. If you're just looking for the smallest, lightest laptop, the Dell XPS 13 edges out the HP Spectre x360 by about an inch and a half-pound.


The price difference between the two base models is only about $100, with the HP Spectre x360 being more expensive. This isn't a very big difference when you consider what you're getting.

The Dell XPS 13 base model comes with a 6th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, and a 1080p non-touch display. The HP Spectre x360 base model, however, comes with a 6th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, and a 1080p touch display. For only one hundred dollars more you're getting a touchscreen, convertible laptop with an Intel Core i5 processor. Not bad when it comes to the base models.

In the higher end models, HP has Dell beat. A Dell XPS 13 with an Intel Core i7-6560U processor, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an 1800p touch display starts at about $2000. An HP Spectre x360 with an Intel Core i7-6500U processor, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 1440p IPS touch display will set you back only about $1350. The specs are pretty comparable, and with a price difference of about $650, your decision might be harder to make than you originally thought.

Bottom line: The Dell XPS 13 is initially cheaper with its Intel Core i3 option, but as performance ramps up, the HP Spectre x360 price stays down.


Choosing the right laptop for yourself ultimately depends on what your daily workload looks like. If you're into graphic design or multimedia editing and want one of the best displays there is, the Dell XPS 13 is your best option.

If you're looking for the cheapest laptop that will get you through a very light workload, the Dell XPS 13 should also be your choice with its Core i3 processor option.

For the cheapest option in the higher range of specs, go with the HP Spectre x360. As performance specs ramp up, the price doesn't quite jump as high as the Dell XPS 13's, and you'll be getting essentially the same processor, graphics, RAM, and SSD options.

HP Spectre x360 13t | See at HP

For a convertible laptop that won't break the bank, the HP Spectre x360 is your only choice when it comparing these two Ultrabooks — the Dell XPS 13 is stuck being a notebook.

Dell XPS 13 | See at Dell