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

The XPS 13 and XPS 15 are both class-leading products, both on our list of the best Windows laptops available, with obvious similarities but also 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. Both are excellent, but the choice will ultimately come down to what you want to do with it.

Dell XPS 13 vs. Dell XPS 15: Specifications

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CategoryDell XPS 13 (9315)Dell XPS 15 (9520)
OSWindows 11Windows 11
Row 1 - Cell 0 Windows 11 ProWindows 11 Pro
Processor12th Gen Intel Core i5-1230U12th Gen Intel Core i5-12500H
Row 3 - Cell 0 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1250U12th Gen Intel Core i7-12700H
Row 4 - Cell 0 Row 4 - Cell 1 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900HK
Display size13.4 inches15.6 inches
Display resolutionFHD+ (1920x1200) touchFHD+ (1920x1200) touch/non-touch
Row 7 - Cell 0 UHD+ (3840x2400) touchUHD+ (3840x2400) touch
RAM8GB, 16GB, or 32GB LPDDR5-52008GB, 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB DDR5-4800
GraphicsIntel Iris XeIntel UHD
Row 10 - Cell 0 Row 10 - Cell 1 Intel Iris Xe
Row 11 - Cell 0 Row 11 - Cell 1 NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050
Row 12 - Cell 0 Row 12 - Cell 1 NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
Storage256GB, 512GB, or 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD512GB, 1TB, 2TB, or 4TB PCIe NVMe SSD
Ports2x Thunderbolt 42x Thunderbolt 4
Row 15 - Cell 0 Row 15 - Cell 1 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
Row 16 - Cell 0 Row 16 - Cell 1 Full size SD card reader
Row 17 - Cell 0 Row 17 - Cell 1 3.5mm combo jack

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

Pricing for the Dell XPS 13 (9315) and Dell XPS 15 (9520) start at $980 and $1,420 at the time of updating this guide. The XPS 15 is almost 50% higher than that of the 13-inch Windows laptop, but one does get to enjoy better processors and the option of dedicated graphics.

Both models are the latest available from Dell and can be bought directly from the manufacturer (recommended) or through partner retailers like Amazon.

Dell XPS 13 vs. Dell XPS 15: Performance

XPS 15 9500

Dell XPS 15 in the wild. (Image credit: Windows Central)

One of the major hardware differences is the processor. The XPS 15's processors are 12th Gen H-Series that sport more raw power than the chips 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 8 hardware threads to the Core i5 and Core i7 versions. If more power is something you need, you can stop right here and order a higher-end XPS 15 configuration. It's also pretty decent for gaming, thanks to the NVIDIA RTX 3050 or 3050 Ti graphics. 

The 4K display is clear and large enough for easy multimedia editing, and developers will love the processor power. It's important to point out that you don't even get the newer Intel Iris Plus graphics on the entry-level model, just the lesser UHD spec. The H-Series chips, in general, aren't going to find themselves in many situations where there isn't a dedicated GPU paired to the processor.

Dell XPS 13 vs. Dell XPS 15: Portability

Dell XPS 13 9310

Gorgeous Dell XPS 13 curves. (Image credit: Future)

Size for these notebooks is simply not as big a deal as with other laptop makers, but it's still worth considering. The XPS 13 is incredibly small for a 13-inch notebook, with Dell squeezing it into the form factor of something closer to Apple's old 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 a 14-inch notebook. So you've still got a few inches between them, but both are smaller than their display sizes would indicate.

The XPS 13, in particular, is excellent to throw in a bag if you're a frequent traveler. 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.

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.

Dell XPS 13 vs. Dell XPS 15: Portability or performance

The Dell XPS 15

Impressive Dell XPS 15 display size. (Image credit: 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 is something you can toss into any bag. But if you can, avoid the entry model as it comes standard because the higher-spec versions represent better overall value.

When you step up the hardware, the decision comes down to what you actually do want. If graphics and computing power are essential, grab the XPS 15. It has some genuinely mindblowing specs for a laptop of this size, including an H-Series 12th Gen processor and RTX 3050 Ti.

It's great for everyday computing, more serious creative or programming work; you can even do some decent gaming on it. It comes at a price, but it's worth paying if you need the power. And as with the XPS 13, avoid the entry model if you can, as it doesn't represent the best value you'll get overall from an XPS 15, and it has a much smaller battery.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

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.

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