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Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 vs. Surface Pro 7: Which is a better buy?

If you're all about true versatility, the Surface Pro 7 is a fantastic Windows-powered tablet that can also be used as a notebook with the optional Type Cover. Should you need a more traditional laptop, the new XPS 13 2-in-1 is a gorgeous convertible PC with everything you need for work and a little play.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 vs. Surface Pro 7 tech specs

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (7390)Microsoft Surface Pro 7
Processor10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1
10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1
10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7
10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1
10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1
10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7
RAM4GB LPDDR4x 3733MHz
8GB LPDDR4x 3733MHz
16GB LPDDR4x 3733MHz
32GB LPDDR4x 3733MHz
8GB LPDDR4x
16GB LPDDR4x
Storage256GB PCIe SSD
512GB PCIe SSD
1TB PCIe SSD
128GB CIe SSD
256GB CIe SSD
512GB CIe SSD
1TB PCIe SSD
Display size13.4-inch12.3-inch
Display resolution1920 x 1200 (touch)
3840 x 2400 (touch)
2736 x 1824 (touch)
Aspect ratio16:103:2
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics
Intel Iris Plus Graphics
Intel UHD Graphics
Intel Iris Plus Graphics
Ports2x Thunderbolt 3
MicroSD
3.5mm audio
1x USB-C 3.1
1x USB-A
3.5mm audio
Surface Connect
microSD card reader
SecurityFingerprint readerIR camera
BatteryUp to 9 hoursUp to 10.5 hours
Dimensions11.69 x 8.15 x 0.28 - 0.51 inches
( 297 x 207 x 7 - 13 mm)
11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches
(292mm x 201mm x 8.5mm)
WeightFrom 2.9 lbs (1.32 kg)From 1.7 lbs (775g)

Design and tech

Dell's XPS 13 is a stunning laptop and is one of our favorite notebooks around. The 2-in-1 takes what makes the normal notebook version work so well and adds more versatility with the addition of a tablet mode. There's the choice of two exterior finish options and black and white interior options, depending on your personal preference.

The Surface Pro 7 from Microsoft is also great to look at thanks in large part to the tablet form factor and aluminum build. You're more limited in choice of color for the tablet itself, but the optional Type Covers allow you to add some personal touches to the experience.

Both the Surface Pro 7 and XPS 13 2-in-1 are gorgeous in their own right.

XPS 13 2-in-1 is a laptop convertible, while the Surface Pro 7 is a tablet at heart, which makes it weigh considerably less. It's certainly possible to use the XPS 13 2-in-1 as a notebook or tablet, but for long durations in your hand, you may want to consider the Surface for its lighter build.

When it comes to connectivity, the XPS 2-in-1 wins with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack, while the Surface Pro 7 houses USB Type-A, USB Type-C, Surface Connect, microSD card reader, and 3.5mm headset jack.

If you need a tablet that can be used as a laptop when it's required, the Surface Pro 7 makes more sense, while the XPS 13 2-in-1 is for those who will enjoy a notebook that can be used in tent, stand, and tablet mode — perfect for enjoying movies.

Looking at the display

Dell makes some killer displays and the XPS 13 2-in-1 has a super panel. The 16:10 ratio is a great upgrade from older models thanks to the increased screen real estate, and the optional 4K display can hit a brightness of around 500 nits — it's also HDR400 certified for better color and contrast production.

The Surface Pro 7 display isn't as good as what Dell has to offer with the optional 4K panel, but with a resolution of 2736x1824 (touch) and a 3:2 aspect ratio, it's not a bad panel to gaze at throughout the day so long as you don't mind dropping down a notch in terms of size.

Performance and pricing

Both the new XPS 13 2-in-1 and Surface Pro 7 come equipped with Intel's latest 10th Gen processors. Compared to the older 8th Gen processors, these new CPUs offer better efficiency and performance. Combined with the new CPUs is the option for 32GB of RAM and up to 1TB of PCIe SSD storage with the XPS 13 2-in-1.

The same amount of storage can be configured with the Surface Pro 7, but it's capped at 16GB of RAM. You can't upgrade the RAM in both devices after purchase, which is a shame, though Microsoft does allow for the SSD to be replaced in the Surface tablet.

For pricing, the Surface Pro 7 starts at just $749, which will see you own a powerful Windows tablet with an Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM. The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 begins at $1,000, rocking an Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM, so you do get a little more for your money with Microsoft.

Dell's XPS 13 2-in1 is a more traditional laptop

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. This all makes the convertible notebook that much more powerful, allowing you to get more done and the move to a 16:10 ratio is a fantastic upgrade, especially if you opt for the 4K display. This is perfect for those needing a capable convertible laptop.

A more affordable and truly portable Windows tablet

Microsoft's Surface Pro 7 is a killer tablet, allowing you to take with you an Intel-powered PC in your backpack that you can use literally anywhere. You'll need to buy the keyboard cover separately, but considering it's more versatile, it's a worthy trade-off if you can make use of the different modes.

Rich Edmonds
Rich Edmonds

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.