If you're looking for a laptop that offers quick and snappy performance in a premium, sleek, and portable form factor, an Ultrabook will be right up your alley. Ultrabooks are amongst the best laptops on the market since they offer an excellent balance of horsepower and battery life longevity, and two of our favorites are the Dell XPS 13 and the Surface Laptop 4. Both offer top performance and have exceptional battery life, though there are some key differences between the laptops that we'll go over below.
It's a tough choice, but overall, the Dell XPS 13 will be the better option for most folks due to the availability of 4K, better port selection, and more available storage. With that said, the Surface Laptop 4 is an awesome laptop, and we highly recommend it if you need something with the best possible battery life or if you need AMD's overall superior multi-core performance.
Dell XPS 13
The Dell XPS 13 continues to be a superb offering from Dell, as it offers excellent performance, plenty of awesome displays from which to choose, a suite of top-notch ports, and up to 2TB of storage available. However, it has shorter battery life than the Surface Laptop 4 and has less maximum RAM. There are no AMD versions of the device, either.
- Excellent hardware
- 4K display is available
- Better overall port selection
- More available storage
- Lower battery life
- Less available RAM
- No AMD option
Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 13.5"
The Surface Laptop 4 matches the Dell XPS 13 when it comes to performance and its quality display, and surpasses it when it comes to battery life. The base model is also slightly less expensive than the Dell XPS 13 equivalent. However, the device's weaker port selection and the lack of a 4K option are disappointing. The laptop also comes with lower maximum storage options.
- Excellent hardware
- Better battery life
- Options for AMD and Intel
- Less expensive base model
- No 4K option
- Worse port selection
- Less available storage
XPS 13 vs. Surface Laptop 4: Comparison and specs
In many ways, the Dell XPS 13 and the Surface Laptop 4 13.5 are surprisingly similar. Both devices have excellent performance, as they both can be outfitted with a variety of 11th Gen Intel CPUs and Intel's advanced new Xe graphics. Notably, the Surface Laptop 4 can also be configured with the AMD Ryzen 4680U, which will deliver better performance than Intel's processors in multi-core applications but worse performance in single-core ones.
Both devices can also be configured with plenty of RAM and storage — the Dell XPS 13 can have up to 16GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD storage, while the Surface Laptop 4 is available with up to 32GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage. Both devices are Windows Hello compatible, and both are also compatible with Wi-Fi 6.
|Dell XPS 13 (9310)||Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 13.5|
Intel i5-1145G7 (Commercial only)
AMD Ryzen 5 4680U
|GPU||Intel UHD Graphics|
Intel Iris Xe
|Intel Iris Xe|
Radeon RX Graphics
|Display||13.4-inch FHD+ (1920x1200) InfinityEdge non-touch anti-glare display (500 nits)|
13.4-inch OLED 4K (3456x2160) InfinityEdge touch anti-reflective display (400 nits)
|13.5-inch PixelSense 2256x1504 (201 PPI) display (touch)|
|Ports||2x USB-C Thunderbolt 4|
1x microSD card slot
|Biometrics||Windows Hello-enabled 720p camera|
|Windows Hello-enabled 720p camera|
|Battery||10-14 hours||17-19 hours|
|Weight||2.64-2.80 pounds||2.79-2.84 pounds|
|Price||Starts at $980||Starts at $800|
The differences between the laptops become clearer when you look at the specifics, however. The Dell XPS 13 can be configured with a gorgeous 4K display and also comes with dual Thunderbolt 4 ports. These features give it a huge edge over the Surface Laptop 4 when it comes to display quality at the high end of things as well as peripheral connectivity.
Notably, the Surface Laptop 4 does boast a better battery life, which comes in at 17-19 hours. This beats out the 10-14-hour battery life of the Dell XPS 13. The base model of the laptop is also $100 less expensive than the Dell XPS 13's, though the prices equalize when looking at the other available configurations.
XPS 13 vs. Surface Laptop 4: Which should you buy?
Ultimately, we think that the Dell XPS 13 is the better option between these two devices because it matches the Surface Laptop 4's performance while also offering excellent advantages such as 4K availability, better ports, and more storage. It's a close call, but we feel that these benefits give the Dell XPS 13 the edge at the end of the day.
With that said, the Surface Laptop 4 is still an awesome device, and it will serve you well if you opt for it. The improved battery life and the availability of AMD Ryzen will both benefit the people who want or need these advantages immensely. Since the Surface Laptop 4's hardware matches that of what's available in the Dell XPS 13, you'll still be getting top-notch performance. The base model being slightly less pricey is also great for people looking for the most budget-friendly configurations.
If neither of these laptops appeals to you, make sure you check out our list of the best Windows laptops for more options. It's also worth keeping the Dell XPS 13 Plus in mind, as the newest version of Dell's flagship 13-inch device features cutting edge 12th Gen Intel P-series CPUs and a gorgeous new design with an edge-to-edge keyboard and a significantly larger trackpad for hassle-free mousing. It's pricier than both of the laptops discussed in this matchup and the lack of a 3.5mm audio port is disappointing, but it's nevertheless worth considering as an alternative to the Dell XPS 13 and Surface Laptop 4 if you want some of the best possible ultrabook performance money can buy.
New Dell XPS 13 (9310)
The king holds onto the crown
The Dell XPS 13 continues to be a superb offering from Dell, as it offers excellent performance, plenty of awesome displays from which to choose, a suite of top-notch ports, and up to 2TB of storage available. However, it has shorter battery life than the Surface Laptop 4 and has less maximum RAM. There are no AMD versions of the device either.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 13.5"
A superb alternative
The Surface Laptop 4 matches the Dell XPS 13 when it comes to performance and its quality display and surpasses it when it comes to battery life. The base model is also slightly less expensive than the Dell XPS 13 equivalent. However, the device's weaker port selection and the lack of a 4K option are disappointing. The laptop also comes with lower maximum storage options, which will disappoint some.
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