Top Ultrabook

Dell XPS 13 9380

Top 2-in-1

Microsoft Surface Pro 6

The XPS 13 is generally the best all-rounder and became the class leader for a reason. The battery life and port selection in particular are worth highlighting.

From $900 at Dell

Pros

  • Quad-core processors
  • Optional 4K display
  • Great battery life
  • Thunderbolt 3 USB-C

Cons

  • No digital pen support
  • Not all models have touch

The Surface Pro 6 is the best 2-in--1 Windows machine you can buy, with the flexibility you don't get from an Ultrabook and one of the best digital inking experiences around.

From $900 at Microsoft

Pros

  • Touch display
  • Digital pen support
  • Can be used as just a tablet
  • Quad-core processors

Cons

  • Keyboard an extra purchase
  • No USB-C or Thunderbolt 3

The Surface Pro 6 is essentially an Ultrabook without a fixed keyboard, but it has much more to offer than that. The Dell XPS 13 is a more traditional laptop, one of the very best around no less. Much of what makes up these two is comparable, but choosing the right one for you should hinge on what type of device you want and are more comfortable with — a standard ultrabook or a 2-in-1.

Dell XPS 13 9380 vs Surface Pro 6 tech specs

Category Dell XPS 13 9380 Surface Pro 6
OS Windows 10 Home
Windows 10 Pro
Windows 10 Home
Processor Intel 8th Gen Core i3-8145U
Intel 8th Gen Core i5-8250U
Intel 8th Gen Core i7-8550U
Intel 8th Gen Core i5-8250U
Intel 8th Gen Core i7 8650U
Display size 13.3 inches 12.3 inches
Display resolution UltraSharp 4K (3840x2160)
FHD (1920 x 1080) non-touch display
2,736 x 1,824 touch (3:2 aspect ratio)
RAM 4GB/8GB/16GB DDR3 8GB/16GB DDR3
Graphics Intel UHD 620 Intel UHD 620
Storage 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB SSD 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB SSD
Ports Two Thunderbolt 3 with PowerShare
One USB-C 3.1 with PowerShare
microSD card reader
headset jack
USB-A 3.0
Surface Connect
Mini DisplayPort
3.5mm jack
microSD card reader

Similarities and differences

Surface Pro 6

The Surface Pro 6 and XPS 13 are closely matched on their specifications and on their price. Both currently start at $900, though you'll get a higher spec base model for that price from the Surface Pro. Both have quad-core processors, but the XPS 13 starts with a Core i3, while the Surface Pro at the same price has a Core i5.

Both have options for a lot of RAM and storage and both have gorgeous displays. On the Surface Pro, though, one of the biggest differentiators comes into play since it has touch on all models and supports digital inking. The XPS 13 has an optional touch display but no pen support.

On the other hand, the XPS 13 always has a keyboard, while on the Surface Pro you have to spend an additional $150 to use it like a laptop. The XPS 13 also not only has USB-C but Thunderbolt 3, making it easy to expand with external docks, displays, and connectivity. The Surface Pro 6 has an element of this, but through the first-party Surface Connect port and the Surface Dock. The omission of USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 continues to be a disappointment.

It also means the XPS 13 can be used with an external GPU for either workstation use or gaming. Whether you have some video to crunch, CAD files to handle, or you want to jump into Apex Legends, the XPS 13 can see you through. With the Surface Pro 6 you get integrated graphics and nothing else.

Laptop or tablet?

Dell XPS 13

Neither the XPS 13 or Surface Pro 6 are bad choices, and there's no definitive right and wrong choice. The deciding factor should be the type of device you're looking for.

If you want something more like a tablet experience that you can use without a keyboard with your feet up on the sofa or to relax reading a book on, the Surface Pro 6 is the winner. Its ability to be a digital notebook for a paperfree workflow is a definite plus, and it's an incredibly versatile device for modern computing.

The XPS 13 is about the best Ultrabook money can buy and it's perfect for anyone who wants a great laptop. You can't ink on it, and the keyboard is always attached, but it's a machine. Whether you need to hit the road for the day, treat it like your desktop workstation, or unwind with some top-notch PC gaming, the XPS 13 has the ability to handle everything you throw at it.

Top Ultrabook

Dell XPS 13 9380

An incredible Ultrabook for everyone

The latest update to the ever popular XPS 13 doesn't change much, but pairs great hardware and design with portability and solid battery life. And the webcam is back where it belongs!

Top 2-in-1

Microsoft Surface Pro 6

The 2-in-1 refined as only Microsoft can

The blueprint device for the 2-in-1 category, the Surface Pro 6 is a high-end laptop stuffed into the body of tablet. Toss in digital pen support and an optional keyboard and you have quite the portable computer.

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