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Quick comparison: The Dell XPS 13 versus the MacBook Pro with Retina Display

With the brand new XPS 13, Dell has already launched one of the year's very best Ultrabooks. Right from the day it launched back at CES, inevitable comparisons have been drawn between it and the Apple MacBook Air. Not least because it's taken on Apple at its own game and for many, come out on top.

But, the XPS 13 isn't just a MacBook Air class Ultrabook. The lower spec models, perhaps, but when you ramp up the specs, the top end models are a direct competitor to the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro.

So, how does the XPS 13 stack up against the MacBook Pro? Let's take a look.

Buy the Dell XPS 13, starting at $799.99 (opens in new tab)

Design and hardware

Design has been something which Apple has largely done better than many Windows laptop makers in the past few years. Ditching plastic for all metal constructions, shaving off the thickness wherever possible and creating something truly desirable. This is true of the MacBook Pro, right down to the gorgeous Retina Display and glowing Apple logo on the lid.

The XPS 13's predecessor wasn't a bad looking old thing, but the new one truly is something special. It's made of Aluminium and Carbon Fiber, it's sleek and sharp looking, but it's the Infinity Display that truly sets it apart. It's the first thing people notice and is probably the most striking part of the whole device.

Both are handsome machines, but then we come to the matter of size. This is where the XPS 13 wins easily. When Dell claimed it had squeezed a 13-inch laptop into an 11-inch body, it wasn't lying. The XPS 13 has a footprint more akin to the 11-inch MacBook Air than the 13-inch MacBook Pro. And for a portable machine, that makes all the difference.

Looking closer at the displays, and Dell has an option of either a Full HD 1080p non-touch panel or a whopping 3200x1800 QHD+ touchscreen display. By contrast the Retina MacBook Pro has 'only' a 2560x1600 resolution display. They both look great, and you'd be hard pushed to tell any real differences by eye. But on paper, at least, it's score 1 for Dell.

Both are pretty evenly matched when it comes to ports, too. The big difference is that the MacBook Pro has an HDMI out port alongside a pair of USB 3.0 and a couple of Thunderbolt ports. The XPS 13 has only a miniDisplayport output for an external display, but the same number of USB 3.0 and both have a full size SD Card slot.

Both are certainly premium laptops in design and construction. But the newer offering from Dell seems to have an edge.

The specs

Intel and Mac

Intel and Mac (Image credit: Windows Central)

Here we've rounded up some of the basic comparibles on the spec front from both Apple and Dell.

Pricing

Traditionally Apple is expensive. There's no secret there. So it's of no surprise, then, that it's cheaper to get in with an XPS 13 than it is to get in with a MacBook Pro. We've got a few comparable prices for you below.

We haven't included the cheapest XPS 13 (because it wouldn't fit into the same image!) but it starts at $799. Apple's cheapest, non-Retina MacBook Pro is $1100. And right now you're not getting the latest, 5th generation Intel Core i CPUs in the MacBook, either. While you can spend a lot of money on an XPS 13, it's cheaper to get in on the lower spec models. And of course, on the higher priced versions, you're not just getting a QHD+ display. You're getting a QHD+ touchscreen display.

Also worth noting is that you can get a MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i7 CPU, but you'll be adding $200 or $300 to the base price depending where you start.

Perhaps the closest comparison is the i5 QHD+ XPS 13, which is priced exactly the same as the cheapest Retina MacBook Pro.

Operating system – Windows 8.1 vs OS X

Potentially the ultimate deal breaker. If there are apps you need to run that require Windows, then you'll swing towards the Dell. If you need some apps that require OS X, you'll swing to the MacBook. If you're deeply entrenched in either operating system comparing the two laptops could be a pointless exercise. You probably already know which one you'd get. It's also worth remembering that OS X is perfectly capable of allowing you to run Windows.

But, if you're not so reliant, Windows 8.1, and further beyond Windows 10, has plenty to offer. Sure, there are parts of the current OS that some 'old school' users aren't fond of, but Windows 10 looks to try and address that. If you use Microsoft services, Office, Windows Phone, there's a much stronger case to be made for going the Windows route.

Oh, and you can get iTunes and iCloud access on Windows, if you need it.

The bottom line

As it stands right now the Dell XPS 13 is one of the very best Windows Ultrabooks you can buy. In its own regards it's an incredible machine, but it's also taken the design fight to Apple and come out on top. It'd be easy to describe it as the Retina MacBook Air that Apple never made, and such a statement wouldn't be far wrong. What you have is a pro-class Ultrabook in the most compact form factor to date. And the QHD+ touchscreen display is stunning. If your heart's set on a MacBook, it might be nearly impossible to change that. But the XPS 13 is the one that could, especially if you're flexible on which operating system to use.

Different people will have different opinions, but at this point in 2015, Dell has out-designed Apple in the high-end laptop space. It's not just the Infinity Display (though that is a big part of it), everything about the XPS 13 screams quality. If this is the future of Ultrabook design, Apple has some stiff competition.

We've only scratched the surface very briefly here, but if you've got some thoughts to share, be sure to visit the comments below!

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

179 Comments
  • For the first time in years, I am actually tempted to buy a laptop. Good work, Dell. 
  • Good Work WPCentral presenting the 100 Article from their new sponsor Dell :) Getting kind of obvious, right? I dont mind it since it looks like its a nice machine but hey.. dont need 10 article on that thing
  • Just to defend the guys here, when they like something they buy it themselves and then give a few articles on it comparing it to the competition. Basically so other people can decide for themselves if it is worth the purchase by having all angles explored. I think that's fair enough.
  • Both of those laptops are mine. If an article doesn't interest you, you're welcome to move along. We're expanding our coverage this year (hence why we're no longer called WPCentral) so you'll see a lot more of this. Just like you'll see posts about the Lenovo X1 Carbon when we manage to get one of those in.
  • Thank you for the review!   i've used a few of the newer Dell ultrabooks at work, SUPER machines! I will be buying the Dell, always been waiting for Dell to step up and take on the mighty mac...   if it's half as good as you say, sold!   thanks and have a good day!     Rick
  • Look around at laptops for a minute. Outside of specialty gaming laptops is anyone making decent mainstream devices worth writing about? Last year there was the Aspire S7, and HP is finally making acceptable cheap laptops for the first time in 10 years. But that is it! Everything else in the laptop world outside of Apple has been junk for a long time now. But Dell is really doing a great job, and they deserve the praise they are getting. Maybe if HP, Asus, or MSI ever make a decent mainstream device then they will get some praise too.
    I have hated Dell pretty much from their P4 products onward, but now even I own a Dell laptop (last year's xps12) and am very happy with it. I would much prefer to sport an msi or Asus box, but they do not make good non-gaming boxes. If anything all of this attention dell is getting should get these other companies in gear.
  • i have to totally disagree with you on that. MANY brands had AWESOME CrApple MacCrap killers, which somehow you missed looking into. Sony had several models that eat CrApple for lunch. Sony, Acer, Lenovo, ASUS, HP, Samsung, Toshiba, LG............ even Dell had GREAT none gaming LOW PRICE PC's that was WAY ahead of ANY overrated MacCrap trash. Unfortunately, so many ppl were to busy getting brainwashed by CrApple's marketing, they forgot to look and see what's out there, and/or even bather to compare. Sony had soooo many models that no one even Knew they were even there with touchscreen and NFC(NFC was invented by Nokia, Sony, and Philips, which is used by many comps and in many prods, even CrApple's iJUNK6/6+ are the ONLY prods that uses Limited NFC technology, after making fun of it in front of 10000s of ppl in many occasions). Where do you think CrApple stolen the idea of making thin laptop from??? SONY Everything CrApple does is a COPY of other brands specially SONY. (search,"""apple copied Sony""", and click on images and see). Even iJUNK6/6+ looks like Sony Xperia Z3 phns. however, that's a different story. I own a Dell XPS 15 Touch with 4K screen that i bought 1 year ago, and its AWESOME, that CrApple wished it had, till they COPY IT, AGAIN.    
  • So much frustration, you should get out more. Apple makes great laptops and, I'm happy to say, so does a few traditional PC makers as well these days. By the way, the 4K XPS 15 was released only a few months ago so I doubt you've had one for a year but perhaps the QHD+ version.
  • I can show you the bills/CC statements for both of my XPS 13's... Adrian1338, if you make accusations, you need to show proof, otherwise it's analogous to libel. Here's the thing: we like these laptops and think they're the best thing to happen to the Windows world (which is struggling). User comments contrary to the matter are not my concern as we publish what we want, when we feel like it. We have awesome jobs.
  • Daniel, If you had to choose between the Surface Pro 3 and the Dell, which would you choose since Microsoft is marleting it as a laptop?
  • I've been struggling with this for a while. It's very tough to answer as they are very different devices in some ways, but overlap in others. I think the XPS 13 is one of the best laptops I have ever used, easily. That Surface though is just a piece of art. It really depends if you want an 'all in 1' (Surface) or just a laptop. I don't use tablets as much as most people, so the Dell usually wins out. I think if the Surface had Broadwell, it'd be much tougher to decide. Also, depends on your usage of the pen. I like the pen, I never use the pen. Some people buy the Surface for the pen.
  • I plan on choosing between a Dell XPS 13 and SP4 later this year (just waiting to see what Microsoft releases).  If the rumors are true that the SP4 will be fanless (due to a Core M processor), that would be very appealing to me. With that said... as innovative as the Surface keyboard is... I truly wish they'd release a true laptop as well.  Lapability is important, and that's still the primary weakness of the Surface. I really don't know which way I'll go when I finally decide.
  • The Dell looks gorgeous compared to the Mac in the image above.
  • ikr? sexier.
  • And so no-one can accuse me of being (too) bias, they're both my laptops.
  • I still hate the term Retina display, lol. But yes, that Dell is sexy. If I didn't just get both a gamer PC and an Xbox One, I'd get it.
  • Do you prefer Infinity display? I reckon these tiny bezel machines will be common in a couple of years - impressed Dell haven't asked too much of a premium as the first company to have it. I guess they are using it as a differentiator to get sales, so swallowing the cost to improve their (quite tarnished) rep.
  • Dell has the exclusive on this particular panel with Sharp until later this year. When rumor has it a certain other, fruity company, may also be using a similar display from the same supplier.
  • I actually prefer the "Infinity display" term as it used in other products such as swimming pools, maintains the same meaning. "Retina" is used and promoted as a specification that has no defined parameters. Retina is this generation's "Corinthian Leather".
  • I believe Apple chose the term retina only as a way of misdirection.  I could be wrong, but at least in its oroginal form, the 2048 x 1536 pixels were not  directly addressable.  It was still a 1024 x 768 grid and the system overlaid it with a 2x2 AA mask, making a sharper looking screen.  They chose their own name to avoid lawsuits I think :)
  • You nailed it, and 100% correct. EVERYTHING CrApple does is based on Misleading, Fooling, Pretending, Lying......................... EVERYTHING. unfortunately, this way of misleading practice, is working on Low IQ iSHEEP, which have NO CLUE about anything, specially technology. So they believe whatever CrApple is telling them. i can not tell you, how many ppl i came across, that had NO IDEA, their iJUNK, iMaxi-Pad, MacCrap,....... did NOT have features, that was available 4 years ago on other devices. of touch their iJUNK 6 or 5 or 5s.... was only 600~750 resolution, and its NOT 1080p................................ CrApple=Misleading+Lies+Fooling+brainwashing........... 
  • Truest post here. Thank you.
  • Boy, does that hate consume you much? I said they were misleading.  Name me a company that has never mislead the consumers? I dislike some of the practices, but they do have solid hardware and I was never misled by pixel density.  I personally chose a Mac Book Air.  I know that it does not have "retina", but it is 1600 x 900 which means that I cannot see a single pixel anyway.  I know that it is not upgradeable, but 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM is fine for what I use it for and it performs admirably.  I also own numerous windows computers, mostly Dells, Ipads,  Android Tablets and even a new Acer Iconia Windows tablet.  I hate no company and as an IT Manager, I try to use the best tool for the job whenever I can.
  • No not at all. I know every crop has their evil way of practice. That's what make them a huge corporation. However, in my all the years in technology, I can tell you, NO OTHER comp is as EVIL, as CrApple. It is mark of the beast and just like bible said, ppl will fallow this beast blindly. Just look at those iSHEEP waiting inline for days, weeks, months........sleep in urine and poop........ Just to get something, they NEVER seen or compared before, and pay 1000s more than extremely outrages' MSRP already huge inflated markup price. Who in the right mind dies that???? If you read the bible you'll see it explains CrApple mark if the beast to the T, and those who blindly fallow it. BTW, did CrApple gave a crap, when those poor Chinese that worked 15 hrs a day, 7 days a week at Foxconn factory dedicated CrApple section, that forced 18 of them commit suicide (and they still do)? HELL NO. Does CrApple gives any incentives from that $170,000,000,000 Billions CASH they have overseas from ripping ppl off? HELL NO and they will NEVER WILL. The ONLY organization CrApple support is Gay organization. Beside that, they do NOT support 1 charity. There are 10000s times better prods that are 3 to 4 years ahead of ALL iJUNK and MacCrap out there. However, as I mentioned, ppl are blinded by the mark of the beast CrApple's logo, they can't see anything else, and truly brainwashed by CrApple's Devilish ways of practice. Oh well, they will see it sooner or later. Then I can say, I told you all so. I know truth and facts, does not get to those who are truly blinded by this Pure Evil comp, however, someday they will.
  • I recall; think it is 188,000,000.000 now!  $178 billion was 2nd quarter figures!
  • Im sure saying stuff like CrApple makes you feel better. So much hate their darling. Calm your tits Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • 1st, Crap+apple=CrApple. 2nd, yes I absolutely hate CrApple with every cel in my body till the day I die. This PURE EVIL, one trick pony,......is the most overrated, hyped up , misleading, COPY everyone and then pretends it was all their ideas, ONLY supports Gay organization and NOT 1 charity, purposely breaks good working CrApple prods coming to tech center, so forcing that poor iSHEEP to buy a new prods(I know that for a FACT, since friend of mine worked in tech service, and was told by his supervisor to purposely damage horrible , SSD,or MBs.........beyond repair, so that customer forced to buy a new one. After doing that on few prods, he could not do it any longer, since is was WRONG, and told his iSHEEP boss to shove it, and that was wrong what CrApple was doing and left). 3rd, a comp that makes NOTHING on its own, nor owns a single factories, and have China's Foxconn,... Factories make all their prods after buying parts from Samsung, Sony, LG, Sharp,.............and so many others which apple has a dedicated section at these factories just to make CrApple prods, making them work to death, by making them work 15 hrs a day, 7 days a week, with horrible living conditions for these poor works, that forced 18 of them commit suicide making ONLY iJUNK prod,............is needs to be hated. No human life worth an iJUNK ir MacCrap.. This 100% wrong an unacceptable. After all, its these Chinese workers that made CrApple to have $170,000,000,000 Billion CASH overseas. Maybe sice these poor ppl working so hard making ONLY CrApple prods, could get some incentives from CrApple, after all they have $170,000,000,000 Billion CASH. 4th, maybe you should watch BBC'S special documentary video calls,""""2014 apple broken promises""" the full 56 min long episode, and see the truth and facts how EVIL CrApple really is. 5th, CrApple has/is the mark of the Devil, and has followers that are buying it blindly, without even know what they're buying, and why paying a ridiculous price for something that is 4 years behind other brands. Who in the right mind does that??? When you ask an iSHEEP, why did buy CrApple, they all pretty much tell you the same thing, not even knowing there are 10000s better products are out there, with less money.Even my neighbor and his family have every CrApple prods you can think of. When I said why CrApple, they said, well they think its so best and, they want to look cool and be in that FAD. once I show them other prods that have WAY MORE features, they and how outdatedthier iCRAP is, they tell me, we didn't know that, we were told it was so good, and even celebrities on tv have them, we just bought them so we can say I got one too, but we have no clue what it does or how to use it. I guess if Justin Bibberhas, or so so............ has one they haveti have one too. That makes it a good reason to givento CrApple. Unbelievable
  • Both are sexy.
  • So does the Asus Zenbook that's been here for a few years and got a new model out now. Also Samsung has had a similar Ultrabook for a few years now.
  • This is one of the most attractive Windows laptops I've ever seen.
  • Behind the SP3
  • I would say in a completely different class from the SP3, though there is a lot of overlap. The SP3 is a convertable, slate-oriented device, not an ultrabook.
  • How does battery life compare?
  • I can't honestly say. My own MacBook Pro is a couple of years old (internal refresh, design stayed the same) so it wouldn't be fair to compare them. That said, I've never really seen more than 5 hours on my MBP. I'm getting around 7 per charge on my XPS 13 (i7 touch)
  • I get 10 hours on a 13" Mac Book Air, i5 consistently 
  • Check out the anandtech article, they say the DELL  claim of 15 hours is real. Some how the only website who tells you how they test and have a standard of testing get good results. I dont believe in subjective anecdotal evidence when it comes to numbers....I know, I know ....most of the review is subjective and is just an opinion http://anandtech.com/show/8983/dell-xps-13-review/6
  • Probably better on Mac, Dell batteries are just bad. Dell bateries have a maximum life of 2 years, after that it becomes nearly useless. It's the only bad side of Dell computers, hope it's not true in the XPS.
     
  • Interesting.  I have worked at places where there are lots of Dell Laptops... Most get well over 3 years with battery. 
  • Not here, four laptops with batteries that lasted for just 2 years. Two of them got to the point of being 100% useless, holding zero charge, unplugged the cable and the computer turned off. One was 5 and the other 7 months after completing 2 years.
     
  • That sucks,  were the laptops always plugged in?  Never really used as a laptop?  That can be very frustrating when crap like that happens.
  • No, two of them were for most of the time, but always unplugged at least each day for some hours. I still have two laptops and bought new batteries, one now is three years old and still lasts for 5 hours. The other has a one year old battery and is almost identical, but I know the problem of this laptop, an Inspiron 15 N5010 bought in early 2011, it has a terrible cooling system, and heat is the enemy of batteries.
     
  • I have two older dell laptops, XPS m1530, battery is original, so made in 07, lasts about 30 minutes (not great, but still has charge) and a Inspiron 1720, battery is about same age and lasts about 2 hours on charge...I have no issues with Dell batteries at work either
  • Dell doesn't make the batteries. They're most likely from a supplier that supplies batteries for most other laptop makers as well.
  • I know, but I didn't want to write "the batteries supplied by default by Dell". Also, it's Dell who tells the manufacturer how the battery must be. Or batteries would be the same for all laptops.
     
  • In the XPS 13 i5 4GB RAM model, I easily get 10-12 hours consistently. I rarely charge it (I literally have not plugged it into a wall in days), and I usually use it 2-3 hours at a time doing work and watching videos.
  • Interesting. I have the FHD 8GB version, also i5, and I have never gotten more than 8 hours on low battery settings. It's pretty much on par with my MBP.
  • How do things on the desktop look with QHD? The scaling settings must be through the roof. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Sometimes OK. Sometimes a real PITA (looking at you Photoshop) There are ways and means, like Photoshop has a hidden experimental setting.
  • Thanks! Between the scaling issue and decreased battery life, I would personally lean towards FHD if there was a touchscreen option in that model. Hopefully they will add this choice later in the year. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • LOL exact comment by Linus from Linustechtips youtube
  • I completely agree.  Too much of a good thing is just overkill and serves no useful purpose.
  • It's now time to bring back... "DUDE YOU'RE GETTING A DELL" commercials...
  • I own the earlier XPS 13 and think it was one of the best designs of it's time.  Now with the smaller form factor and availability of core i7 I'm very tempted to upgrade.   Dell makes a nice laptop. 
  • Or just get a sp3, which blows them both away.
  • In some regards yes, but many people prefer the traditional laptop form factor. No matter how much MS says lapability, there is no comparison to having a real, dedicated attached keyboard. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Right. I have a SP3 but the XPS 13 is the one that'll be going in my bag. I personally prefer the ultrabook way of doing things.
  • I don't know, having owned multiple laptops, and now a SP3....I actually prefer the SP3's setup. The type cover works amazingly well, especially with the magnetic catch against the screen.... It really did make all the difference for me. If the external docking station had a gpu built into it and sold for 400$ instead of 200$, I'd be all over that like white on rice
  • Wasn't this "lapability" crap just what the pro-fruit sites came up with to make their Apple tests score higher...?
  • I don't know how you attributed the term to be apple's doing, but "lapability" is clearly invented by M$ to promote how desirable the SP3 is relative to a standard ultrabook.  this video supports the claim https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVIg9xqmiSw
  • I like the slab on the SP3.  But I hate that keyboard.  It doesnt even match.  It looks like a cheap Kennsington add-on.   If Microsoft would create a real solid, lighted BT keyboard made from the same material as the SP3 and still make it like a 2 in 1 and removable, they would have something really special.
  • I think they are leaving that market to the traditional OEMs like Dell, Lenovo, etc. The Surface line is about productivity tablets. I think they are intentionally trying not to overlap and compete directly with the other OEMs in the traditional form factors. I would love to see what the Surface team could make if they built the best ultrabook they could, but I'm not hopeful that we will ever see such a thing.
  • I love the Surface, but I'm a tablet user too. This is a different class of device entirely. If you do a lot of mobile typing and need a better touchpad and prefer a traditional clamshell laptop, this is a better option. If you like being able to go in mobile tablet mode, the SP3 is really nice.
  • There is no comparison between the Sp3 whish is a tablet, and any laptop. My renter has a SP3 and it is nice... But I hate it when I have to use it for any length of time. The keyboard and touchpad are crap, the hinge is much harder to adjust than a traditional laptop, and it is still heavy for a tablet. And it is useless unless using it on a desk! It does have a beautify display and design, and it does have processing power when you need it, but as a work device there is nothing quite like a traditional laptop.
  • I congratulate Dell for such magnificent work. This is true the laptop to beat right now.
  • Good job..Dell+windows
  • hp ultrabook is really amazing.
  • The Mac looks old and kind of cheap compared to Dell.
  • I wouldn't say that, although MacBook's design hasn't changed much it's still one of the best laptops
  • I was only comment on looks. I'm not a fan of Apples design anyway, not dell either but this looks awsome. 
  • based on what exactly? your bias opinion?
  • My subjective taste.
  • Maybe apples next MacBook design will take cues from their mac pro, and look like a donut.
  • Does he have to be "biased" to not like apples design?
  • On "looks" I would still always go with Mac.   Mac's design is kinda like the Porsche 911.   No matter how old, its still classic and still recognizable.  That being said, I doubt you will find Rear backup cameras, navigation system and USB chargers on a Porsche.  I'm not even sure they have cupholders!
  • Agree with you. Moreover, none of Windows laptops have the touchpad that would be as smooth and responsible as MacBook has
  • If you're looking for performance, like a sportscar without the lull lull it's PC to wear.
    Mac is a status gadget, often weaker hardware for higher price but quality feel is high just like a bentley or other gliders. 
  • Macs also have strong hardware, but there's a matter of price on the other hand
  • As I said, my Mac Book air with i5 and 8GB of ram and 256GB SSD was $1299.  Well wiithin the price comparisons of these similar windows computers.
  • You "say" weaker, and in some ways I agree with you, but I currently have my MBA (work) attached to two 1080p displays and running two VMs,  one Windows 8.1 and the other Windows 10 preview.  All are running full screen in the respective screens and I experience no lag of any kind.   It doesnt have any problem getting the job done in any way. It was a $1299 machine with 8GB of ram and 25GB SSD.  I know there are plenty of windows machines that are comparable, but there is nothing wrong with this one either.
  • Unless its a Mac desktop. Those things are freaking insane.
  • Oh gimme a break... opinions aside, that is laying it on way too thick.
  • Too bad that there's only 8 GB of RAM :(
  • true.. would need a notebook with more ram than my gaming station and 4 times as much as my work Notebook.
  • Sarcasm
  • As a developer I'd like to have 16 GB of RAM to be able to run several instances of Visual Studio and have ability to run VMs as well
  • While I understand you because I do my "Off the record jobs" on my Asus ROG (16GB RAM) You don't really need that amount of RAM to work. At my office I have what I call (when I feel generous) a shitty ass crappy poop laptop. 4GB RAM and low end AMD processor from 3 years ago, and I sometimes run 4 instances of Visual Studio, one instance of SLQ Server and SAP Business One. Again, I understand you, because sometimes I just want th throw the laptop through the window and scream in monkey-like language, but 8 of RAM on the DELL XPS seems very good to me hehe.
  • Not to mention a gaming GPU, a bigger battery, more cooling... Seriously, it is an ultrabook, not a gaming laptop! For what it is made to do there is little to no need for 16GB of ram in this thing.
  • My sp3 and desktop both struggle nowadays with only 8gb of ram.
  • I have word excel onennote browser with serveral tabs, groupware emails and 9 instances of SAP logons open in addition i am connected to two monitors. My Lenovo T420 from 2011 with 4gb of ram doesnt seem to struggle.. but hey ho.
  • Really tempted to get xps13 but I wonder if I can get away not having the touchscreen or regret it later.
  • In my own experience once you have a touchscreen on an ultrabook it's hard to go back to non touch. That said I'm sure Win 10 will be much better for non touch users than 8.1 Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Do you get used to using a touch screen on a laptop? I have a 13 inch retina and a SP2. I'm really liking windows 10 preview and I find I'm using touch less with it. Running Parallels with 8.1 on the MBP is ok but not great experience. Do fingerprints show on the Dell's screen or does it have a coating?
  • Not had much issue with fingerprints yet, but I am starting to use it. I also started jabbing at the MacBook screen last night.
  • I tend to always have my keyboard on my SP, but I still use the touch screen for a few things, like changing between programs, and also to go store by side. Oh and the charms bar. For me having touch complements the interface and a combination of the three (touch, keyboard, mouse/trackpad) is very efficient.
  • Touch is a must that I do need now on a laptop. Will Apple some day get it right ?
  • I think you have picked a pretty tough fight here. Apple's Macbook range is apporaching a year old now and due for a design refresh in a couple of months, Dell released their new Laptop a month ago.
  • Doesn't matter. It's what we've got on the market right now. When a refresh happens we can look at revisiting.
  • That's understanable. However the information is key to even a relatively brief comparison, yet missing from yours.
  • Yeah the Dell is better. But keep in mind this is also new vs. old. Its like comparing the Galaxy S6 with the HTC One M8. 
  • And Apple is seemingly incapable of coming out with anything truly "new."  Every Mac, every Ipad and every Iphone so far has just been a variation on a well-established theme. 
  • The Retina MacBook Pro hasn't changed (bar an internal refresh) at 13-inches since it debuted.
  • This has absolutely amazed me. The design was very nice, but has been stale for a while.
  • XPS or Surface? I'm about to do something crazy but pleasant expensive! Any help!
  • The big difference is in how you are going to use it. The new Dells have some of the best keyboards available on a laptop, while the SP3 has a rather terrible keyboard and trackpad. The sp3 gets great battery life in a smaller form factor, but does not fit in the lap as well as any traditional laptop. The only good advice is to use one in a store first before making a decision.
  • I agree. The SP3 keyboard and trackpad are awful. Scrolling is a joke. It's so much easier just to use the touchscreen when web browsing.
  • Please stop these comparizons with Apple laptops. That's a non sense
  • How exactly is it "nonsense"?  both devices compete with each other in the market place and they have similar marketshare.
  • Why? Why is it nonsense?
  • Dell just silenced the "Apple hardware design is the best and most unique" fan chorus. I wonder what Steve would have said about Dell's achievement.
  • "I'll sue Dell with every penny we have because Apple has a patent on all classy designs!"
  • That no-one wants a 13-inch laptop that small? Or something?
  • If Steve were still alive apple would not have sat stagnant for 3+ years to allow PC makers to catch up.
  • So, why aren't you comparing it to the Mac Book AIR? instead of the Mac Book Pro?  The XPS13 is more a drop in replacement for the Air and its better quailfied all around.
  • Did you read any of the words in the post? This isn't just a MacBook Air competitor. Spec one of these up and it's also a competitor for the 13-inch Pro. We will, however, also be looking at the Air eventually.
  • The Mac Book Air can be specced up in every way except the screen resolution.  The MBA has the same size / form / battery life and even arrangement of ports that the XPS 13 does.  I'm not disputing there are reasons to compare it to a pro, but the air is cheaper and compares very favorable on the low end. with the non touch XPS13.
  • Also, the XPS 15 and the Precision M3800 is better than the MBP 15. Dell is on a roll lately :)
  • 4K display on the 'new' XPS 15 is incredible.
  • Hands on video will be much better...
  • We've done hands on with the XPS 13 on video. Twice.
  • Ya I know but I'd love to see the comparison of this 2 laptops in a video. That way we can see the difference in looks, design and build quality clearly
  • I don't see how it'd be any clearer than photos of the same things? Which we have.
  • The last picture is misleading. XPS13 wins, not MBP.
  • Dell vs Mac trackpad?
  • I guess it mostly depends on OS, not tapas itself, Windows is a universal operating system, and OSX is specifically made for Mac, so I think MacBook's track pad is better
  • I don't buy based on looks. Don't care how sexy it is. Don't care to impress people in a coffee shop either. I have evaluated Mac Books and other Mac hardware in my business. They don't work for what i do even running windows through various means. Too slow. I have used Dell for years. Still have a Poweredge Server and it just works. Never crashed. I use Revit and Civil 3D.
  • Oh and don't forget to add an ipad to the price to get touch screen.
  • Unless you are comparing to the non-touch XPS 13.  A Touch interface isnt for everyone, but it by itself, only adds $100 to the cost of a system.
  • I can't imagine someone would like to use a touch screen on a ultrabook. Just doesn't make sense. Using the mice is way more precisely.
  • I use the touchscreen on my 2-in-1 ultrabook every day, especially when I'm traveling and not wanting to connect a mouse (trackpads always suck), but also even when it's docked into 'desktop' mode. It's often faster to do some tasks via touch, such as swiping to Charms or, my favorite, swiping through the open apps, not to mention touch-screen Xbox games like Halo: Spartan Assault and Age of Empires: Castle Siege. For the win.
  • What device do you mean by a 2-in-1 ultrabook? Because I believe that is something else then what the Dell XPS and MacBook Pro are. Also I don't think the trackpad on MacBooks suck (and I'm defintely not alone on that one). And what tasks are easier done by touch? Swiping through open apps.. like for real? I would never get a touchscreen just for swiping through my apps, that's just laughable. I don't even want to talk about getting touch screen for bad games like Halo and a freemium type Age of Empires. Blegh  
  • The Yoga 2 Pro. The trackpads on every computer sucks. They're vastly inferior to a mouse or touch controls. They're slow and clumsy. Even the best ones. What tasks are easier done by touch than a trackpad? Just about everything. Touch is precise and quick. I can tap and swipe on the screen much faster than you can fiddle around with a clumsy track pad. Track pads are the poor man's touch screens. Halo: Spartan Assault and Age of Empires are great, as are many other mobile games with touch controls. My guess is that you're a hypocrite and you greatly enjoy apps and games on your touch-screen smartphone or tablet. Same concept works on the big screen too--except that it's better. Don't be in denial.
  • I would agree, Welbz, up until the time I started using a touchscreen.  I doubt you'll want to go back if you give it a try.
  • I got about this far and gave up.  "This is true of the MacBook Pro, right down to the gorgeous Retina Display and glowing Apple logo on the lid" The sooner that type of crap stops, the sooner this entire game changes.
  • Why? Because you only want writers to write what you agree with? What a boring world that would be. Sorry that you feel so hurt by that sentence but.... it is very accurate. 
  • He's right. It comes off as hagiographic, and the bulk of the tech industry is guilty of it. Frankly, I don't find the Retina Display to be that "gorgeous", and the "glowing Apple logo" is an obnoxious eyesore.
  • If you use Microsoft services, Office, Windows Phone, there's a much stronger case to be made for going the Windows route.
    Why is that?
    Oh, and you can get iTunes and iCloud access on Windows, if you need it.
    You can use all of Microsoft services on every Apple device out there, including the MacBook Pro. That is worth mentioning in a comparison between two devices and operating systems, but this sounds more like a pro-Windows/Dell XPS article. 
  • "this sounds more like a pro-Windows/Dell XPS article." That's only because Windows is a better operating system and the Dell XPS is a better computer, at a cheaper price. It's hard to sping that any other way, even for an Apple fanboy, unless he or she is in some serious denial (as many of them are).
  • Wow well said dude.
  • Have you ever used Office on Mac? Because if you have and you're not just being a fanboy you'll know it's a terrible experience.
  • Why would I even use Office on a Mac? It comes with a free copy of iWork and there are online alternatives like Google Docs for the lighter work. Also you can easily open up and transfer .doc files in Pages. You don't have to continue using Office, do you? It's not the only office suite out there and it doesn't work wel in the Microsoft eco-system (see Windows Phone). And I am really not being a fanboy. Also, if you want to use Office thad badly, I believe they are currently working on the 2015 version for Mac.
  • Dude, come on. Don't be that guy. iWork? Google Docs? Really? They suck. Office is way better (and is much more than a word processor, by the way). Even the free Office Online is better than both of them.
  • I apologize in advance for saying this, but did anyone really expect the mac to win on a Windows dedicated site?
  • Here's the thing you forgot to mention: Richard used to write for iMore and that's his Mac Book Pro in the picture. He's been an Apple user for quite a few years, but has switched to Windows mostly for this job. The fact he likes the XPS 13 over his MBP is not, imo, trivial. He could very well say 'close, but not close enough to Apple'. There's no vested interest in being positive about something that just isn't accurate. You also have not raised counterpoints to the one's he makes, making this just baseless criticism. If you have an argument, make one. Otherwise, we will have to take into consideration your biases and intent on posting here, right? Fair is fair. (Btw, we have compared Windows Phones to the iPhone 6/Plus in the past and guess what...Microsoft didn't' always win).
  • It's not about winning or losing. Besides, that's my MacBook Pro in the pictures. The one I've been using for the past 2 years.
  • this is not about winning, this is as always showing the FACTS and TRUTH about how Overrated, Hyped-Up CrApple's prod are. You can be the judge of that, once you see the FACTS and the TRUTH on your own. Everything you need to know is right there about BOTH prods. No BS brainwashing crap, CrApple does to their iSHEEP users. Good Lord gave you eyes and Brain, use it and compare the 2 on YOUR OWN, and don't let some other iSHEEP or CrApple brainwash you, and say their Overrated prods are so out of this world, Blah, Blah, Blah........  Dell had """4K Touchscreen Laptops""" for nearly 1 1/2 years now, along with several other brands, which CrApple MacCrap book still does NOT have, along with many hardware that is still missing from Copy-Cat CrApple prods. The problem with Windows prods are, they do not market them like CrApple does. My Dell XPS 15 TOUCH that i bought a year ago, is AWESOME with 4K QHD Touch Screen. LOOOOOOVE IT. If you have a Microsoft Store in your home town, just visit them and take several 4K touchscreen PC's for test drive on your own, and YOU be the judge. then you will see, How Heavy, HUGE, Overrated, WAY Overpriced, still NO Touchscreen, NO 4K screen................... MacCrap is.  At 2015 CES show in Vegas, i saw several unbelievable PC's that made you say WOW, WOW, and more WOW, From LG, Dell( this one here), Lenovo(privet viewing for upcoming Windows Prods), Asus,.....that CrApple only could wish they had, till they COPY it of course, and lie to the world, they did it first
  • I feel like the fact that you won't even name the product shows a slight bias. lol.
  • Not sure how you expect to be taken seriously when you use "CrApple", "iSHEEP", etc. Maybe come back to us when you've grown up and reched maturity?
  • I'm grown up. Unlike you that is in CrApple land far far away, and blinded by that mark of the beast CrApple's logo, I can see the truth and facts, and how this Pure Evil comp eays of practice. If you don't like to hear the truth, don't read my comt then. FYI, iSHEEP is even in Wikipedia, along with CrApple,........ So no I'm NOT the only high IQ, person that noticed how overrated, misleading, hyped up, lying, fooling, BS, EVIL,......... CrApple really is, since I did NOT come up with those names. If you iSHEEP would open your eye and see what CrApple is doing wrong, you would use the same names too. I would like to know, what you call those who wait inline, in front of CrApple store, for Days, Weeks, Months,........... In urine and poop and,...... And pay 10000 times more in black market,.......... For something that is 4 years behind other brands technologies, and NEVER even seen it tested, or compared to any other brands, or even know what flaws it might have, and...........??? Who does that with ANY Brian, beside a low IQ, brainwashed iSHEEP, just to buy an overrated iJUNK crap they don't know NOTHING about?????? CrApple =DEVIL AT WORK
  • Has anyone heard about battery performance?
  • I've heard Dell quote it at like 13 hours or something ridiculous like that. Reviewers say 5-7 hours, which seems much better than many current Windows laptops.
  • I talk about this on the Windows Weekly podcast posted earlier today.
  • "It's also worth remembering that OS X is perfectly capable of allowing you to run Windows." I wouldn't say 'perfectly'. There are definitely some issues that pop up. That said, although OS X is fairly capable of running Windows, the Mac hardware is not: no touch-screen = no thank you. I'm not paying more, for less, ever. Plus, the Dell design is way better.
  • HAHAHAHA, LOL, that CrApple's MacCrap looks sooooooooooooooooooooooo freaking OUTDATED and still with NO TOUCH SCREEN, and still wights 3.46 POUNDS. HOLY COW. IT looks HUGE. What a joke. My Dell """XPS 15 Touch""" with QHD TOUCH screen, NVIDIA GeForce 750M with 2GB DDR5, 16GB RAM, Carbon-fiber Base,............, is smaller than the Overrated, MacCrap, with MANY featuers that MacCrap can ONLY dream about(till they COPY IT AGAIN, and tell iSHEEP they were 1st). Don't even get me stared on CrApple's OSX garbage too. that's the whole garbage al by itself.   
  • looks nice, but they really need their version of a MagSafe power adapter! 
  • For me this is really a non-biased good comparison.. Looking forward for XPS13..let me count what i have in pocket ;) ... Oh yeah... QHD+ :-*
  • I have to admit I miss the screen dimensions the Mac uses.  I've never liked the move to widescreen displays on computer screens. I know it's great for HD movies, but when I work, game, or browse, I miss the more "square" screens.  I know I'm an outlier. :)
  • You are not. Widescreen displayers are great for movies and tv shows, but does not really make sense for web browsing because most websites just aren't built for widescreen displays. The more 'square' screen you talk about is indeed way better for just browsing or working in a text editor. Too bad most companies just go along with what the modern standard is and don't think for themselves..
  • The point is regardless the products, I would never touch a icrap in my life. l look at the those who have one in digust. If you want to know why, this is why: the same reason many people who have brain don't like Kim Kardashian. Kim is just a woman with a pretty decent looking, that how much she deserves.
  • If I was not waiting for the Surface Pro 4.  I would open my wallet and purchase this machince immediately.
  • Isn't Iris Pro graphics much better than the HD 5500?  For more graphics/gaming instensive users, that may be a huge factor to choose the MBP.  That kind of seems like that was glossed over.  In this comparision I guess it doesn't matter since we are talking about basic usage.   I can already see the Apple fan POV criticising the size of the Dell.  "A 13" laptop body gives you better keyboard spacing whereas the 11" Dell body makes the keyboard feel scrunched."    Am I right?
  • Mac gaming kinda sucks though in general. Serious gamers don't buy a Mac.
  • I agree but graphic desingers and cinematographers tend to have huge ragers for Macs in general...at least they seem to over here in Los Angeles.  Ahh L.A., the city where a sea of MBAs can be found in every Starbucks you can find.    I'm definitely the weirdo with an SP2 touching his screen constantly...  
  • Tell me which "serious gamer" is going to buy an ultrabook to game in the first place?!
  • The iris graphics are still measurably more powerful than the integrated graphics in the Dell, aren't they? I feel like a little more time should have been spent on that.
  • Dell XPS 13 for the win!
  • Mac book is ugly
  • A review of two laptops and no mention of battery life...? For me that's just about the most important aspect.   Very odd.
  • I just recently purchased an MBP in December and this XPS 13 definitely gives it a run for it's money. The things that always have bothered me about Windows laptops have been the screen resolution. Many windows laptops still have a painstakingly small 1366x768 resolution which is not enough pixels to do work on in my opinion. The Macbook touchpad is iconic and works like a dream. I tried the touchpad on the 2013 XPS13 and thought it was almost up to par. I'm hoping this version succeeds. 
  • 13" is too small for my needs. 15" or 16" would be more like it!  Too bad Dell only makes the 13" model!
  • I think the Yoga 2 Pro top end still gets the "better buy" badge. I bought it a month ago despite availability of dell just because of 500$ less price tag, you get more or less same specced i7 (although 4th gen)
    Though yoga is behind in terms of battery life but the convertible display does compensate making it an all rounded device.
  • As much as I like the Dell design and my love for Windows this comparison is not fair. The MBPs were launched almost a year ago. Perhaps we should wait till Apple refreshes them? Also, the battery life is still not comparable. I can pull about 8-10 hours on my work MBP and I have yet to see a Windows laptop with such sleek specs to do something even close to this.
  • Tempting.. How about temperature?  do you feel warm on keyboard and back after working for a few hours? This is a key factor to me cos my old laptop is always too warm to sweat my hands...
  • Its not about just specifications, its about the complete package working flawlessly when it comes to Apple products. I use MacBook and I also use Windows on it. The experience that I have with Windows on MacBook is way better than other OEMS' devices coming with windows pre-installed.Even with Windows I am able to get a bettery life of around 7 hrs and thats more than the Windows industry standard. So even if I want to use Windows, I'll use it on Mac (currently using technical preview). If I really want to have a complete end to end Windows experience, I would rather buy the Surface Pro 3. Its a way more device amazing than the XPS. XPS13 doesn't change my preferences.  And more importantly, when you compare 2 laptops without comparing their battery life and declare one an undisputed winner, it seems that you have been paid by the brand.      
  • If they made the 15"  version in the size of a 13"  that would be lovely. Ultrabooks are fine for portability, but when we need screen real estate, nothing beats a 15".  Plus they can add all the additional ports that are missing
  • Dell and Microsoft put the price up from $899 to $999.
  • How's the trackpad? I have yet to find a Windows laptop that has as good or better trackpad than MacBooks. Even my 6 year old MacBook Pro has a better trackpad than any current Windows machine I've tried. The trackpad is the #1 reason I use MacBook.
  • The XPS doesn't has a webcam right?
  • Horrible comparison. You only mention that both computers come with i5/i7 processors but you fail to mention that the processor on the Macbook Pro is from a different series which offer a lot more power (both CPU and GPU). The XPS 13 competes with the Macbook Air line.
  • What about longetivty? I'm a college student and don't want to fork out $899 for something I'll have to replace in two years. I'd rather pay $1200 now and not replace it for a couple more years. I've always heard Macbooks have much longer lifetimes.