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Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 vs. Surface Book 2: Which is a better buy?

XPS 13 2-in-1
XPS 13 2-in-1 (Image credit: Windows Central)

The Surface Book 2 is due for an update at this point, and in most areas the XPS 13 2-in-1 has it beaten on a pure hardware level. Unless you want the added horsepower you get from the GTX 1060 in the 15-inch Surface Book 2 for gaming or professional work, the XPS 13 2-in-1 is the better choice right now.

Surface Laptop 2 vs. Surface Book 2 tech specs

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1Surface Book 2 (13.5 inch)Surface Book 2 (15 inch)
Processor10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1
10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1
10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7
7th Gen
Intel Core i5-7300U
8th Gen
Intel Core i7-8650U
8th Gen
Intel Core i7-8650U
RAM4GB LPDDR4x 3733MHz
8GB LPDDR4x 3733MHz
16GB LPDDR4x 3733MHz
32GB LPDDR4x 3733MHz
8, 16 GB 1866MHz LPDDR316 GB 1866MHz LPDDR3
Storage256GB PCIe SSD
512GB PCIe SSD
1TB PCIe SSD
256, 512 GB
1 TB
256, 512 GB
1 TB PCIe SSD
Display size13.4 inches
Touch
13.5 inches
Touch
15 inches
Touch
Display resolution1920 x 1200 (touch)
3840 x 2400 (touch)
3,000 x 2,000
3:2 aspect ratio
3,240 x 2,160
3:2 aspect ratio
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics
Intel Iris Plus Graphics
Intel UHD Graphics 620
NVIDIA GTX 1050
NVIDIA GTX 1060
Ports2x Thunderbolt 3
MicroSD
3.5mm audio
Two USB-A 3.1
USB-C 3.1
Two Surface Connect
3.5 mm audio
SD card reader
Two USB-A 3.1
USB-C 3.1
Two Surface Connect
3.5 mm audio
SD card reader
BiometricsFingerprint readerIR camera for Windows HelloIR camera for Windows Hello
Battery51 Wh70 Wh80 Wh
Dimensions11.69 x 8.15 x 0.28 - 0.51 inches
( 297 x 207 x 7 - 13 mm)
12.3 inches x 9.14 inches x 0.51 - 0.90 inches
(312 mm x 232 mm x 13 - 23 mm)
13.5 inches x 9.14 inches x 0.59 - 0.90 inches
(343 mm x 251 mm x 15 - 23 mm)
WeightFrom 2.9 lbs (1.32 kg)From 3.38 poundsFrom 4.20 pounds

Get an XPS 13 2-in-1 unless you need dedicated graphics

For as good as the Surface Book 2 is, it's at a point in its life cycle now where it makes little sense to buy one. If you were considering the 13-inch model at all, you should probably discount it and get the XPS 13 2-in-1. The only real positive for the 13-inch Surface Book 2 is that the display detaches entirely so you have a proper tablet, and you can use it with some of the handy Surface accessories like the Dial and Dock. Even though it can come with a GTX 1050, Intel's latest integrated graphics won't be a million miles behind on the 10th Gen processor.

When spending this kind of money, you want the latest hardware

The XPS 13 2-in-1 is just better all-round, especially when considering overall value. The Surface Book 2 is still really quite expensive, especially considering it's still using Intel processors that are a couple of generations old at this point, along with slower LPDDR3 RAM. The XPS 13 2-in-1 is also good for inking with a digital pen thanks to its fold-around display and Dell Premium Active Pen (opens in new tab) support.

The biggest reason for still getting the Surface Book 2 is if you want the added power provided by the GTX 1060 in the 15-inch model. Even then you need to be absolutely sure it's something you'll use a lot be that for professional applications or gaming since you'll be paying more and dealing with a larger laptop. It still only has 8th Gen Intel processors, which still perform well, but when you're paying this kind of money you shouldn't be buying outdated hardware.

The next revision to the Surface Book is the one to wait for if you absolutely definitely want one at this point in time.

Dell's XPS 13 2-in1 is the one to buy

Dell revamped the XPS 13 2-in-1 with new 10th Gen Core CPUs, along with a switch to a 16:10 screen and a revamped cooling system. It's packing more up to date hardware than the Surface Book 2, with faster RAM on top of the latest processors, and it still has a cheaper entry-level model than the Surface Book 2. It's easy to recommend as the one to get right now.

Wait for the next Surface Book

If you're still really keen on a Surface Book it's probably best to wait right now. The current model is still pretty expensive and it's pretty outdated internally compared to the XPS 13 2-in-1. We'd expect a refresh in the not too distant future, so it really doesn't make sense to recommend it right now.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.