Surface Pro vs Dell XPS 15: Comparing two powerhouses

Surface Pro
Surface Pro (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft took some time out in Shanghai, China to announce a new generation of Surface Pro. Instead of continuing with the current naming scheme, this latest Surface Pro will simply be called Surface Pro, dropping the "5". It's a big deal because while it may look like a Surface Pro 4 on the outside, it's a whole new device underneath the aluminum casing. With more than 800 new parts, redesigned thermal system, it's an incredibly versatile device.

The XPS 15 by Dell is one of the most recognizable Windows-powered PCs and the company played it safe with the recent refresh, as highlighted by Executive Editor Daniel Rubino in his review of the XPS 15 (9560). It's an absolute powerhouse of a laptop and is even viewed by Apple fans as the viable alternative should they wish to hop ship from OSX to Windows.

Technical jargon

Looking at the specifications for both options and it's easy to see just how close they can be. No matter which you choose to purchase you'll be partnering up with a capable Windows 10 PC.

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CategorySurface ProDell XPS 15 (9560)
Operating SystemWindows 10 ProWindows 10 Pro
CPU7th-gen Intel Core m3
7th-gen Intel Core i5
7th-gen Intel Core i7
7th-gen Intel Core i3
7th-gen Intel Core i5
7th-gen Intel Core i7
Display112.3-inch Pixel Sense display
2736 x 1824 (267 PPI)
1080p matte non-touch
4K glossy touch
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD500GB HDD + 32GB SSD
256/512GB/1TB PCIe SSD
1866Mhz LPDDR3
8GB, 16GB, or 32GB
2400MHz DDR4
GTX 1050 (4GB GDDR5)
Rear Camera8MP
Full HD (1920 x 1080)
Front Camera5MP720p camera
Windows HelloIR cameraSynaptics fingerprint reader
Dimensions11.50 inches x 7.9 inches x 0.33 inches
(292 mm x 201 mm x 8.5 mm)
14.06 inches x 9.27 inches x 0.45 – 0.66 inches (357mm x 235mm x 1-17mm)
Weight1.69 lbs to 1.73 lbs (768 g to 784 g)4 lbs (1.8 kg)
PortsOne full-size USB 3.0
Mini DisplayPort
Headset jack
Surface Connect
microSDXC card reader
HDMI 1.4
USB 3.0 (x2) with PowerShare
Headset jack
SD card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC)
Kensington Lock slot
USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3
WiFiIEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac compatibleKiller 1535 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Battery13.5 hours10 hours
PenSurface Pen
4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity
Magnetic storage

Important numbers

Surface Pro

When it comes to pricing, the Surface Pro 2017 edition starts from just $799 and can cost as much as $2,699 depending on what options are selected. As for the Dell XPS 15, things kick off from $999.99 but can hit $2,549.99 if everything is set to "premium without compromise". A breakdown of the different configurations can be found below:

Microsoft Surface Pro

  • 128 GB / Intel Core m3 / 4GB RAM - $799
  • 128 GB / Intel Core i5 / 4GB RAM - $999
  • 256 GB / Intel Core i5 / 8GB RAM - $1,299
  • 256 GB / Intel Core i7 / 8GB RAM - $1,599
  • 512 GB / Intel Core i7 / 16GB RAM - $2,199
  • 1 TB / Intel Core i7 / 16GB RAM - $2,699

Dell XPS 15

  • 500GB HDD, 32GB SSD / Intel Core i3 / 8GB RAM - $999.99
  • 256GB SSD / Intel Core i5 / 8GB RAM - $1,349.99
  • 512GB SSD / Intel Core i7 / 16GB RAM - $1,749.99
  • 512GB SSD / Intel Core i7 / 16GB RAM / touch display - $2,149.99

Just how mobile are you?

Dell XPS 15

Both are incredibly powerful machines, depending on which configuration you opt to pay for. The Surface Pro 4 is more of a portable tablet come notebook with more emphasis on being carried around, while the XPS 15 is a bulkier PC that focuses on getting even demanding tasks done. The choice one has to make between these two portable options depends largely on just how mobile they plan to be.

See the links below to make a purchase.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a 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 on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.