New Dell XPS 13 vs. Dell XPS 15: Which laptop should you buy?

As you can see from our Dell XPS 13 review and our Dell XPS 15 review, both laptops are class-leading products, to the point that they've both landed on our list of the best Windows laptops available right now. There are obvious similarities between the two models but plenty of differences. By simply being more substantial, the XPS 15 can offer more powerful hardware overall, but the XPS 13 is by far the most portable. Either one works excellently, but your specific choice between the two will ultimately come down to what you want your laptop to be able to accomplish.

Dell XPS 13 vs. Dell XPS 15: Specifications

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CategoryDell XPS 13 (9310)Dell XPS 15 (9530)
OSWindows 11 HomeWindows 11 Home
Row 1 - Cell 0 Windows 11 ProWindows 11 Pro
Processor12th Gen Intel Core i5-1230U13th Gen Intel Core i9-13700H
Row 3 - Cell 0 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1250U13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900H
Row 4 - Cell 0 Row 4 - Cell 1 12th Gen Intel Core i5-12500H
Display size13.4 inches15.6 inches
Display resolutionFHD+ (1920x1200) touchFHD+ (1920x1200) non-touch
Row 7 - Cell 0 UHD+ (3840x2400) touchOLED 3.5K (3456x2160) touch
RAM8GB, 16GB, or 32GB LPDDR5-520016GB, 32GB, or 64GB DDR5-4800
GraphicsIntel Iris XeIntel Arc A370M
Row 10 - Cell 0 Row 10 - Cell 1 NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050
Row 11 - Cell 0 Row 11 - Cell 1 NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060
Row 12 - Cell 0 Row 12 - Cell 1 NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070
Row 13 - Cell 0 Row 13 - Cell 1 Intel Iris Xe (Intel 12th Gen version only)
Storage512GB or 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, or 8TB PCIe NVMe SSD
Ports2x Thunderbolt 42x Thunderbolt 4
Row 16 - Cell 0 Row 16 - Cell 1 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
Row 17 - Cell 0 Row 17 - Cell 1 Full size SD card reader
Row 18 - Cell 0 Row 18 - Cell 1 3.5mm combo jack

Alright, so we've got the cold, hard specs. Now it's time to discuss what these differences between the XPS 13 and XPS 15 mean for you. 

Dell XPS 13 vs. Dell XPS 15: Price and availability

The XPS 13 (9310) is smaller in size and lighter than the XPS 15. (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

At the time of writing this guide, pricing for the Dell XPS 13 (9310) starts at $849, while the MSRP for the Dell XPS 15 (9530) starts at $1,499. Obviously, the price of either device goes up depending on the configurations you select. The XPS 15 costs so much more than the Dell XPS 13 due to the larger screen size, greater capacity for RAM and storage options, higher caliber processors, and the option of dedicated graphics cards (the XPS 13 only has integrated GPUs).

Both models are the latest available from Dell and can be bought directly from the manufacturer or through partner retailers like Amazon and Best Buy. If you want more say in choosing the exact components placed in your laptop, we recommend purchasing from Dell itself. Otherwise, you can find pre-built versions of the XPS 15 and XPS 13 at most tech retailers.

Dell XPS 13 vs. Dell XPS 15: Portability and design

Gorgeous Dell XPS 13 curves. (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

The nice thing about the Dell XPS line is that they all have sleek casing with chassis that aren't very thick considering all of the components they contain inside. So really, the size for these Dell ultrabooks is simply not as big a deal as with other laptop makers unless you are really cramped for space or would prefer a larger display. 

The XPS 13 is incredibly thin and decently compact with its 13.6-inch display. It's kind of amazing that Dell squeezes it into the form factor of something closer to Apple's old 11-inch MacBook Air. Meanwhile, the XPS 15 is also smaller, lighter, and slimmer than the average 15.6-incher, with a form factor more akin to a 14-inch notebook. So you've still got a few inches between the two XPS laptops, but both are slimmer than their display sizes would indicate.

In particular, the XPS 13's smaller size makes it excellent to throw in a bag if you're a frequent traveler, run between office buildings at work, or are in school and need to tote a laptop around to your various classes. It's so compact that it takes up very little room, will fit in any laptop bag or backpack, and is light enough that you'll barely know it's there.

Although it has a large screen, the Dell XPS 15 (9530) is relatively thin when closed. (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / Windows Central)

But both are among the most portable laptops of their class, and Dell was one of the first manufacturers to pioneer such a space-saving form factor. Of course, on the flip side, if you tend to work on large documents or perhaps do creative work like in an Adobe Creative Cloud program, then you can benefit from utilizing the larger 15.6-inch screen of the XPS 15 to see your work better.

Dell XPS 13 vs. Dell XPS 15: Performance and gaming

Dell XPS 15 has an impressive display size and both the CPU and GPU to back gaming like Cyberpunk 2077. (Image credit: Rebecca Spear / Windows Central)

One of the major hardware differences between the latest XPS 13 and XPS 15 is the processor. With the XPS 15 13th Gen version, you can choose between two 13th Gen Intel Core H-Series CPUs — i7-13700H or i9-13900H. Meanwhile, the Intel 12th Gen version of the XPS 15 offers an i5-12500H. Regardless, all of these CPUs sport more raw power than the 12th Gen Intel Core i5-1230U or i7-1250U chips available in the XPS 13. The difference matters most for heavy-load processing, making the XPS 15 a much better choice for developers, graphic artists, and anyone else who does a lot of data crunching. 

The XPS 13 is much more proficient than it once was, though, with hyperthreading giving 12 hardware threads to the Core i5 and Core i7 versions. If more power is something you need for gaming, creative work, or data crunching, you can stop right here and order a higher-end XPS 15 configuration. 

More CPUs & GPUs

Intel CPU with motherboard socket

(Image credit: Daniel Rubino | Windows Central)

- Best Intel CPUs

Regarding gaming and graphical abilities, the latest XPS 15 allows you to choose from the NVIDIA RTX-40 series GPUs, including the ultra-powerful RTX 4050, RTX 4060, or RTX 4070. These are top-of-the-line and have higher graphical capabilities in things like fast 3D rendering, life-like ray tracing, and smoother performance. When I tested the latest XPS 15, I found that it ran Cyberpunk 2077 at an average of 62.07 FPS while displaying high texture quality and with ray tracing turned on. That's not bad, considering this is one of the most graphically demanding games right now, and the XPS 15 isn't even a gaming laptop. 

You don't have to get an RTX GPU with the XPS 15 since the simplest and least powerful graphics card option for the larger Dell laptop is the Intel Arc A370M. Intel's GPU is decently powerful in its own right but not anywhere near the NVIDIA RTX-40 series.

Meanwhile, the XPS 13 only offers an integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics card. This should work just fine for simpler creative tasks in programs like Photoshop and Illustrator but it could struggle in larger projects and cannot handle certain video games. 

Dell XPS 13 vs. Dell XPS 15: Display and camera

Xps 13 9310 Oled

(Image credit: Windows Central)

The XPS 13's FHD+ 1920 x 1200 display can be touchscreen if you are willing to pay a little more, or you can keep it simple as a non-touch display. In our testing, this IPS display produced 100% sRGB, 79% AdobeRGB, and an impressive 79% DCI-P3 and can go up to a respectable 500 nits of brightness. It's a great panel for displaying schoolwork, daily office tasks, and even some creative programs.

However, the XPS 15's display options can look even better thanks to the choice between a 15.6-inch FHD+ IPS display or an OLED 3.5K panel. The OLED option, in particular, is extremely clear and large enough for easy multimedia editing. Developers and gamers will love it when combined with the aforementioned processor power. 

In my testing, I had the XPS 15 OLED version, and this display produced an even better color gamut than the XPS 13 at 100% of sRGB, 96% of AdobeRGB, and 100% of P3. It can only achieve up to 400 nits of brightness, but OLEDs don't need to be as bright since they can achieve true black instead of having dark parts of images coming through as grey. This allows for better contrast to pull out darker details better and make it so low-lit scenes can be viewed to their best advantage. 

Dell XPS 13 vs. Dell XPS 15: Battery life

Dell XPS 13 (9310) battery life. (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

There's honestly not much of a contest between the XPS 13 and XPS 15's battery life as both will serve you well. They both can last up to around 10 hours on one battery charge while performing basic tasks like surfing the internet, running average programs, and attending video calls. As is usually the case, the battery will run out faster if the laptops are running more demanding software and performing more complex tasks such as intensive video games or 3D rendering programs.

Dell XPS 13 vs. Dell XPS 15: Model variants

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (9315) can be used as either a laptop or a tablet thanks to its convertible design.  (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

The XPS 15 only comes in either the 13th Gen or 12th Gen configurations previously discussed. However, in addition to the base XPS 13, different variants of this laptop might be worth considering. Most notably, the smaller laptop has a 2-in-1 option that folds so that it can be used as a tablet or a laptop. As you can see from our own Zachary Boddy's Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 review, this convertible XPS 13 is versatile but not as powerful as the full XPS 13 laptop. 

On the other side of things, there is also the more powerful XPS 13 Plus, which, as stated in our XPS 13 Plus review, offers a more beefy Intel Core i7-1360P CPU making it capable of handling more complex programs than any of the base XPS 13 configurations. However, it only offers the Iris Xe graphics card, so it's still not a great choice for mid-to-high-end gaming or other graphically intensive software. 

Dell XPS 13 vs. Dell XPS 15: Which should you buy?

Dell XPS 15 offers more powerful processors and an optional OLED display.  (Image credit: Rebecca Spear | Windows Central)

You won't make a wrong decision if you go with an XPS laptop. They have powerful processors, beautiful displays, and chassis that are as functional as they are attractive. The final decision is always yours, but based on what we know of these great laptops, we feel comfortable making a couple of recommendations.

If you're not interested in dedicated graphics or gaming isn't on the agenda, go for the XPS 13, which is our pick for the very best Dell laptop available today. Unless screen real estate is of the utmost importance, you'll have a better all-around experience with the smaller model. It's powerful, has excellent battery life, and can be tossed into any bag. But if you can, avoid the entry model, as the higher-spec versions represent better overall value.

When you step up the hardware, the decision comes down to what you do want. If graphics, gaming, and computing power are essential, grab the XPS 15. It has some genuinely mindblowing specs for a laptop of this size, including up to an i9 H-series 13th Gen processor and RTX 40-series GPUs.

The larger Dell XPS laptop comes at a price, but it's worth paying if you need the power. Additionally, as with the XPS 13, you want to avoid the entry model if you can, as it doesn't represent the best value you'll get overall from an XPS 15.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a 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 on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

With contributions from
  • netflexx
    Don't - if you want to throw hard earned money away, buy a Lenovo, ThinkPad preferred- You can even look for refurbished older ones which still beat those Dells in usability---
  • wojtek
    Windows Central said:
    Have your heart set on a new Dell XPS laptop but not sure which one to go for? Let us help as we break down some of the key points to consider.

    New Dell XPS 13 vs. Dell XPS 15: Which laptop should you buy? : Read more
    which laptop? MBP :P :p