Best Alternatives to Dell XPS 13 Windows Central 2020
Dell's XPS 13 is an impressive 13-inch notebook, but if it's not quite what you're looking for, Lenovo's IdeaPad S940 will make an outstanding alternative. It has a brilliant 14-inch 4K HDR display with smooth contour, awesome audio from Dolby Atmos speakers, and plenty of configuration options for strong performance. If it's a notebook you're after and the XPS 13 isn't on your shortlist, definitely consider the S940, though there are plenty of other options available that we've rounded up here.
- Best Overall: Lenovo IdeaPad S940
- Best Convertible: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
- Best Gaming: Razer Blade Stealth
- Best Design: HP Spectre x360 13t
- Best Business: Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1
- Best Thin and Light: Acer Swift 7
- Best Notebook: Huawei MateBook X Pro
- Best Surface: Microsoft Surface Laptop 2
Best Overall: Lenovo IdeaPad S940
Lenovo's IdeaPad S940 doesn't include a touch display like you can get with the XPS 13 7390, but its 13.9-inch display comes in either 4K or FHD. The former is truly a stunner, with 100% sRGB and 86% AdobeRGB color reproduction and HDR support. The display is contoured like a smartphone, curving away along the edges for a truly thin bezel.
The all-metal chassis has precisely cut angles, and it's one of the slimmest options available. It would be nice to see USB-A or HDMI here, but the size limits ports to two Thunderbolt 3, one USB-C, and 3.5mm audio jack. A sizeable Precision touchpad sits below the comfortable keyboard, and awesome speakers powered by Dolby Atmos run along the sides of the keyboard for unmuffled audio.
Get up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U "Whiskey Lake" processor (CPU), 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 1TB M.2 PCIe solid-state drive (SSD) for excellent performance. With the 4K display, battery life won't last through a workday, though opting for the FHD display will boost it significantly.
- Outstanding 4K HDR display
- Excellent Dolby Atmos speakers
- Small 14-inch form factor
- Contoured display
- Plenty of configuration options
- Battery life could be better
- No touch display
- Limited port selection
Awesome screen, great speakers, thin body
The IdeaPad S940 brings exciting technology like contoured 4K HDR display and Dolby Atmos quad sound to one of the smallest 14-inch Ultrabooks available.
Best Convertible: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
The official convertible counterpart to the XPS 13 is the XPS 13 2-in-1, featuring 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs, up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB PCIe SSD. This is enough performance to easily cut through a day's work, and the new CPUs will extend battery life. Ports include two Thunderbolt 3, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack.
The 13.4-inch touch display has a 16:10 aspect ratio and works with an active pen for inking. It's available with either a 1920x1200 or 3840x2400 resolution, and with either option, you're getting excellent color reproduction. There's hardly any bezel around the display, adding to the overall thin look of the PC.
A unibody aluminum design adds durability and improved thermals keep the laptop cool under load, and for some added security you can add a fingerprint reader to the power button. The keyboard is comfortable and the Precision touchpad is large for easy productivity. If you love the XPS line and need a convertible, definitely consider this laptop.
- Beautiful unibody design
- 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs
- Superb touch display options
- Excellent keyboard and touchpad
- Fingerprint reader
- No discrete GPU option
- Battery could be larger
Turn your XPS into a tablet
The refreshed XPS 13 2-in-1 features the latest Intel hardware, a beautiful unibody convertible design, and unreal display options.
Best Gaming: Razer Blade Stealth
The XPS 13 7390 isn't exactly cut out for gaming, both in design and performance, but the Razer Blade Stealth makes a great alternative. It has a dedicated NVIDIA MX150 graphics card (GPU) with 4GB of VRAM for a bit of extra power, and along with an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U "Whiskey Lake" CPU, 16GB of dual-channel RAM, and a 512GB SSD, you'll be able to enjoy some light to medium gaming.
Choose from either a low-watt matte FHD display or 4K touch display, both with perfect sRGB color reproduction. If you plan on using the laptop primarily for gaming, the FHD display will make a far better choice, as it will prolong battery life and be much easier for the discrete GPU to hit a high framerate.
The Precision touchpad is excellent and the keyboard has customizable RGB backlight. Four top-mounted speakers offer excellent audio and make a suitable alternative to a gaming headset. Altogether, the Blade Stealth isn't as powerful as a full-on gaming PC, but it's certainly a more powerful alternative to the XPS 13.
- Low-watt, matte FHD display
- Outstanding audio
- Long battery life
- Premium build
- Dedicated NVIDIA MX150 GPU
- Some coil whine
A fun, functional Ultrabook
The Blade Stealth adds Windows Hello IR, correctly lit function keys, and an MX150 to make it a compelling Ultrabook that gamers will love.
Best Design: HP Spectre x360 13t
HP's Spectre x360 13t is available at a great price considering everything you get. Its unique gem-cut convertible design has angled corners for a premium look, and it provides two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one USB-A 3.1, and a microSD card reader. A fingerprint reader and IR camera for Windows Hello also add convenient security.
The 13.3-inch touch display comes in either FHD or 4K options, and an active pen is included for inking. If you love to sketch or take notes, you're immediately ahead of the XPS 13 here. Get up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 2TB PCIe SSD for excellent performance, and expect all-day battery life.
HP still uses Synaptics drivers for the x360's touchpad, but it's relatively large. The keyboard is comfortable and stretches from edge to edge, making it easy to get work done. As long as you don't mind the convertible design, the Spectre x360 is an awesome alternative available for less than the XPS 13.
- Elegant gem-cut design
- Excellent battery life
- Active pen included
- Fingerprint reader, IR camera
- Great value
- Lots of configuration options
- Synaptics touchpad drivers
- Thick top and bottom bezel
Both bling and real value
The all-new Spectre x360 13t demonstrates HP can do jaw-dropping hardware and design. Expect good performance and excellent features.
Best Business: Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1
Dell's Latitude 7400 2-in-1 manages to blur the line between business and casual convertible Ultrabook. It brings up to 15 hours of battery life from a charge, has a durable brushed-aluminum body, and it holds onto a ton of ports for connecting accessories. It's heavier than the XPS 13, but it also brings convertible function for tent, stand, and tablet modes.
There's unfortunately no 4K options available, but the FHD low-watt display has perfect sRGB color and is compatible with an active pen for inking. Above the display is an IR camera for Windows Hello, which can unlock or lock your laptop as soon as you sit down or walk away.
4G LTE connectivity is available if you need to stay connected at all times, with a SIM slot on the right side. Other ports include two USB-A, two Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, a microSD card reader, and 3.5mm audio. Speakers provide good audio, making it ideal for consuming media when you're not hitting deadlines.
- Low-watt FHD display
- Good audio
- Impressive battery life
- Premium convertible build
- Generous port selection
- A bit heavy
- No 2K or 4K display
Excellent battery, super adaptive
Dell's revamped Latitude 7400 2-in-1 for 2019 leads the pack for 14-inch Ultrabooks and overall battery life.
Best Thin and Light: Acer Swift 7
The Acer Swift 7 delivers a 92% screen-to-body ratio; if you hate bezel around your display, this laptop will please. It's just 0.39 inches (9.9mm) thin and weighs in at 1.96 pounds (0.89kg), making it thinner and lighter than the XPS 13.
The 14-inch display doesn't have a 4K option, but the FHD model includes touch. It hits 300 nits brightness and manages 100% sRGB color reproduction for an awesome picture. Rather than a webcam above the display (not enough room in the bezel), it pops up above the keyboard for a weird angle.
Ports are limited due to the size, but it holds onto two Thunderbolt 3 and a 3.5mm audio jack. For some added security through Windows Hello, a fingerprint reader is built into the power button.
- Unbelievably thin and light
- Beautiful FHD touch display with almost no bezel
- Fingerprint reader for Windows Hello
- Decent battery life
- Weird camera angle
- Relatively expensive
- No 4K option
Best Thin and Light
The Acer Swift 7 is unbelievably light, and it packs a beautiful FHD display with almost no bezel at all.
Best Notebook: Huawei MateBook X Pro
Huawei's MateBook X Pro is an exceptional laptop with few flaws. The 13.9-inch touch display has a 3:2 aspect ratio for more screen real estate, and it was a 3000x2000 resolution for a crisp picture. There's almost no bezel at all, though it does lack pen support.
It weighs in at just 2.93 pounds (1.33kg) and is about 0.57 inches thick, making it easy to take with you wherever you go. Port selection is a bit limited because of the size, but you still get USB-C, Thunderbolt 3, USB-A 3.0, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Performance hardware includes a discrete NVIDIA MX150 GPU, 8th Gen Intel Core i5 or Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD.
The keyboard stretches from edge to edge, and an enormous Precision touchpad promotes productivity. Loud, full speakers allow you to watch TV and movies comfortably, and you can expect long battery life. One of the only issues here is that the camera pops up from the keyboard for a weird angle.
- Awesome 3:2 3K display
- Outstanding performance
- Exceptional value
- Stylish but understated
- Premium build
- Bad camera angle
- No pen support
- 2019 model hard to find
2018 version still available
Huawei's MateBook X Pro refresh for 2019 brings some mild changes, but they add to what is already an excellent Ultrabook.
Best Surface: Microsoft Surface Laptop 2
Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 is a 13.5-inch notebook with touch display at 2256x1504 resolution. The 3:2 aspect ratio allows for more screen real estate, and thin bezel adds to a slim look. Add a Surface Pen for quality inking, and enjoy 99% sRGB color reproduction for a great overall picture.
The battery lasts between 8–10 hours on a full charge, allowing you to leave a charger behind when you leave home. For some extra security, an IR camera is positioned above the display. The comfortable keyboard is surrounded with an Alcantara fabric finish, and the Precision touchpad is large and accurate.
Get up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD with speedy read and write performance. Connect your accessories with USB-A 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, Surface Connect, and 3.5mm audio.
- Stunning 13.5-inch touch display
- Premium build with Alcantara fabric palmrest
- All-day battery life
- IR camera for Windows Hello
- No USB-C or Thunderbolt 3
Premium Surface notebook
With high-res touch display with pen support and a premium build that includes Alcantara fabric on the palmrests, the Surface Laptop 2 is a great choice.
It's available with either an FHD or 4K display, the latter with precise color reproduction and HDR support. It curves away along the edges for a sleek contour like a smartphone, resulting in almost no bezel at all. 8th Gen Intel Core CPUs provide excellent performance to get through a day's work, and the keyboard and Precision touchpad promote productivity. It's all wrapped up in a sleek aluminum chassis that's easy to take with you wherever you go.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Cale Hunt is a staff writer at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on PC, laptop, and accessory coverage, as well as the emerging world of VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.
Daniel Rubino is executive editor of Windows Central. He has been covering Microsoft since 2009 back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Surface, HoloLens, Xbox, and future computing visions. Follow him on Twitter: @daniel_rubino.
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