Dell XPS 13 vs Dell XPS 15: Which should I buy?

Dell's XPS 13 and XPS 15 both share the same design language, with nearly borderless displays and bodies constructed of aluminum and carbon fiber.

Both are extremely enticing. So, if you're set on a Dell XPS and you don't know which one to choose, we can help.

XPS 13 vs XPS 13 2-in-1

Dell made the buying process a little more complex by introducing a 2-in-1 version of the XPS 13. It offers a lot of the same great stuff the regular model does with some additional goodies on top.

It's a consideration in its own right which of these two you prefer, so we've put them both under the microscope to help you out.

Dell XPS 13 vs. XPS 13 2-in-1: Choosing between power and flexibility

The specs

Let's start at the very top and break down the specs you can get in each XPS model.

Category XPS 13 (9370) XPS 15 (9570)
Processor 8th-Gen Intel Core i5-8250U
8th-Gen Intel Core i7-8550U
8th Gen Intel Core i5-8300H
8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H
8th Gen Intel Core i9
Display size 13.3 inches 13.3 inches | 15.6 inches
Display resolution 1,920 x 1,080 (FHD)
3,840 x 2,160 (4K UHD)
3,840 x 3,160 (4K UHD)
1,920 x 1,080 (FHD)
RAM 4GB/8GB/16GB DDR3 8GB/16GB/32GB DDR4-2666MHz
Graphics Intel UHD 620 Intel UHD Graphics 630
NVIDIA GTX 1050 (4GB GDDR5)
NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti (4GB GDDR5)
Storage 128GB SATA SSD
256GB/512GB/1TB PCIe SSD
128GB SATA SSD + 1TB HDD
1TB SSHD
256GB/512GB/1TB PCIe SSD
Battery 52Wh 56Wh or 97Wh
Wireless Killer 1435
802.11ac (2 x 2)
Bluetooth 4.1
Killer 1535
802.11ac (2 x 2)
Bluetooth 4.1
Dimensions 11.9 in x 7.8 in x 0.3-0.46 in
(302 mm x 199 mm x 7.8-11.6 mm)
14.06 in x 9.27 in x 0.45-0.66 in
(357 mm x 235 mm x 11-17 mm)
Weight 2.67 pounds (1.2 kg) non-touch
2.68 pounds (1.2 kg) touch
4 pounds (1.8 kg) with 56Wh battery, SSD, non-touch
4.5 pounds (2 kg) with 97Wh battery, SSD, touch
Ports Two Thunderbolt 3
USB-C 3.1
microSD card reader
3.5mm audio
Thunderbolt 3
Two USB-A 3.1
HDMI 2.0
SD card reader
3.5mm audio
Price from $999 from $999

Besides the obvious things, such as size, one of the most important hardware differences to point out is the dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti graphics cards available in the XPS 15. If you enjoy gaming and would like more power than Intel UHD 620, you'll have to go with the XPS 15.

One of the other major hardware differences is the processor. The XPS 15's Core i5 and Core i7 processors are now 6-core chips that sport more power than the quad-core processors in the latest XPS 13 models. 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.

If more power is something you need, you can stop right here and order a higher-end XPS 15 configuration. It's great for gaming thanks to the NVIDIA graphics, the 4K display is clear and large enough for easy multimedia editing, and developers will love the quad-core processor. Don't forget you also have the option for more RAM and a larger battery.

See XPS 13 at Dell See XPS 15 at Dell

The price

XPS 15 FHD

The XPS 13 starts at $999 for the latest model and the XPS 15 also starts at $999. If you're looking for the absolute cheapest Dell XPS laptop out there and don't mind what hardware it has within, grab the previous generation XPS 13 for $799.

As expected the top XPS 15 configuration is pricey at about $2,500. If you don't care for a 4K display and don't need the dedicated graphics card, you'd be better suited sticking with the XPS 13. If money is no option and you want the best possible hardware and a 4K display, the XPS 15 should be your choice. The lower-spec models start at $999, but you don't get SSD storage in that model and you don't really gain anything over the XPS 13 other than a larger screen.

The size

XPS 13

Size for these notebooks is simply not as big a deal as with other laptop makers, but it is still worth consideration. The XPS 13 is incredibly small for a 13-inch notebook, with Dell having squeezed it into the form factor of something closer to Apple's 11-inch MacBook Air.

The XPS 15 is also smaller, lighter, and slimmer than the average 15-incher, with a form factor more akin to that of a 14-inch notebook. So you've still got a few inches between them, it's just that both are smaller than their display sizes would indicate.

The XPS 13 in particular is great to throw in a bag if you're a frequent traveller. It's so compact that it takes up very little room, will fit in any laptop bag, and is light enough you'll barely know it's there.

The bottom line

XPS 13

You won't really make a wrong decision if you go with an XPS laptop. They now have the latest 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 the high-resolution displays, and dedicated graphics aren't on the agenda, go for the XPS 13. Unless screen real estate is of the utmost importance, you'll have a better all-round experience with the smaller model.

When you step up the hardware, the decision comes down to what you actually do want. If graphics and computing power are important, grab the the XPS 15. Likewise, if you need more RAM and a larger, higher-resolution display, you should also go with the XPS 15.

See XPS 13 at Dell See XPS 15 at Dell

Updated May 11, 2018: Updated to reflect the latest models of both the XPS 13 and XPS 15.