Dell XPS 13 Review: Better Than a MacBook?

Dell XPS 13 Review: Is it better than a MacBook? Is the Dell XPS 13 Skylake 9350 the best ultrabook?
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As a Mac user I replaced my MacBook Pro with the Dell XPS 13 for the past month, and I’m here to share my experience and full review. Dell sent this to me for free, but these are my honest opinions. The Dell XPS 13 9350 was released in late 2015 and starts at $799. My model includes Windows 10 64-bit, Intel 6th Gen Core i7 6500U 2.5Ghz Skylake processor, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, Intel HD 520 Graphics, and a 13.3″ QHD+ InfinityEdge touch display.

The Dell XPS 13 is currently the world’s smallest 13″ laptop, with an aluminum exterior and carbon fiber interior. It’s Dell’s attempt at a MacBook killer. It has a stunning display like the 12″ Retina MacBook, the portability and slimness of the MacBook Air, and the power and ports comparable to the 13″ MacBook Pro.

The InfinityEdge QHD+ touch display is one of my favorite features and has 5.7 million pixels. That’s 276ppi compared to the Retina MacBook’s 226ppi. The colors are rich with just the right amount of contrast, and since it is an IPS panel it has good viewing angles. Unfortunately, due to the nearly border-less display, Dell had to put the webcam in the bottom left which is kind of awkward. But at least it’s an HD webcam unlike the 2015 Retina MacBook. The touch screen is a glossy finish with scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass, but there is a matte option for their non-QHD model.

The Dell XPS 13 touchpad is the best touchpad I’ve used on a Windows laptop, but it’s also frustrating. One of the reasons I immediately fell in love with my MacBook Pro was the Apple trackpad, mainly the two-finger scrolling. For the most part the Dell XPS 13 touchpad does a good job, and it is comfortable to use. However it has big problems with certain apps, most importantly Google Chrome. It may be a Chrome or Windows driver issue because the touchpad works great in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer. But in Google Chrome the touchpad is constantly causing the page to jump up and down when trying to two finger scroll. On the other hand, I love the keyboard. It has backlit chiclet style keys which I got accustomed to on my Mac and I am able to type super fast on it.

The Dell XPS 13 shines in mobility & performance. Weighing less than 3lbs and super thin, it’s one of the most portable laptops. It’s much easier to carry around compared to my 15″ MacBook Pro. It has a 56 watt hour battery that lasts a decent amount of time. I’m getting around 6-12 hours of battery life on a single charge. In addition, you can purchase the Dell Power Companion which is a portable battery that can charge your XPS 13 and other devices.

With the 6th gen Intel Core i7 Skylake processor and 16GB of DDR3 RAM, the XPS 13 is a speedy machine. The 1TB PCIe solid state drive has fast read/write speeds which you will notice when the laptop cold boots in about 10 seconds . The speeds are very similar to my 2012 Mac Mini’s Fusion Drive. Apps load very quickly, and the XPS 13 was able to handle multiple browser tabs just fine. Even though this ultrabook was designed for mobility, it is still fast and powerful. It can certainly handle casual HD video editing and other tasks like Photoshop. Another exciting feature is the new USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port. A separate Dell Adapter can turn the USB-C port into a single hub for Ethernet, USB, HDMI, and VGA ports.

I enjoy this new Dell XPS 13 even with its minor flaws, but is it better than the MacBook or MacBook Air? That depends on what you’re specifically looking for out of a laptop. I own an iPhone and I use Apple’s Final Cut Pro X so it makes sense for me to use a Mac unless I want to learn a new video editing app. A Mac would be best for you if you’re already invested in the Apple ecosystem and you want the additional benefits of owning a Mac because of the tight integration between iOS and OS X.

If you’re not already invested in the Apple ecosystem and you’re looking for a small, compact, yet fast laptop that looks good and feels solid then you should consider the Dell XPS 13 9350. To me it’s the best Windows ultrabook of 2016 and excles in productivity. It’s perfect for people who are on the go but still need a strong machine to help them get things done quickly. That’s why I’m keeping mine and will continue to use it as my go-to travel laptop when I don’t need to do any video editing.

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36 thoughts on “Dell XPS 13 Review: Better Than a MacBook?

  1. I have the dell XPS 15 and the touch pad is very touchy… liked that you noticed it more with other browsers instead of edge…I too are in the Apple ecosystem. Luv Apple wish they weren’t so expensive and still high end like the dell XPS … great video.

  2. Quick answer before watching the video, no its not better. I have had windows computers forever but now I have a 2017 macbook pro with touchbar and it has been my favorite computer so far, I have windows on bootcamp for any apps that dont carry over.

  3. I have a Dell high spec computer cost me £1599.00 earlier this year, brilliant machine…. I'm a spec guy, so when I buy a computer I want to feel value for money for the power i'm getting…. Mac's just don't provide that, yeah the build quality might be better on mac' physically, but if you want a high spec mac in comparison to the price of a windows computer in a similar range you're looking at spending anywhere between £2000-£4000…

  4. Dell Mobile Connect is an app from dell/microsoft where you can control your mobile phone from Dell XPS – i believe you can send text messages there, because you see your own phone screen at your laptop.

  5. Dell customer service (Indian customer service) kept on telling us lies about repairing the laptop and this video shows us even after paying $400 for the motherboard and multiple repairs not only it didn't get fixed. They only connect you to the India's calling center and those people don't give a shit about it. They didn't take responsibility over anything. Do not buy this laptop, don't waste your money and time on Dell. They need to have a fucking US representative to take care of such issues. All they didn't even offer to replace it with another shitty Dell computer . Long story short if you have already got this computer go return it if you can! I suggest you guys to watch this and not to buy any computer from fucking Dell. They don't deserve the support!!! Even to this day I am not sure if the motherboard was the issue since this has been going on since September and it has cost me time, money, and to miss grads during my final exam.
    Keep away from Dell because of terrible Indian's customer service, rude technicians, ignorant and insensitive people. All their models are like that and at the end of the day if you end up with issues it will be directed to someone sitting in India picking up the phone from their kitchen and so many people talking in the same room. I couldn't even hear what the fucking manager was saying because of all the noises.
    Keep away & don't buy Dell!!!

  6. Checked out the XPS at Costco, sorry this is not a Mac killer. The design is like comparing a muscle car(dell) to a Porsche(Mac). The aesthetics and ergonomics on a Dell are not even close to a Mac.

  7. And once again: be careful, when you buy the Dell XPS 13 – i7. It does not run fast on Battery. Video can be found in my profile.

  8. what in the world is so special about retina display..only the ones who really know the hardware side of knowledge know that apple have overpriced the mac's also because of the stupid over sell ads of the retina…its just an ips display with twice the pixels …come on stop making it sound like a alien technology …even a cheap smartphone have an ips display nowadays i've got a bunch of em ….the present day is all about oled displays …better contrast …better balance ..even apple realized that and implemented it in iphone xssssssspensive……and by the way even the new mac book pro sucks…what on earth is wrong with apple…someone needs to bring back steve from the afterlife..

  9. It's funny because I was considering this machine and today I stopped at best buy just to check it out. Same thing I am a Mac person but looking for a lightweight powerhouse to carry around. I been seeing a lot of good reviews on pretty much everything even boot time. So there I stood checking this machine out and it was pretty nice as I was casually zipping through the Windows software checking it out and the pen and all, was just fine. I hit restart to see the boot time and and  and and it CRASHED. It did recover its self after ten minutes as I was checking out the machine right next to it but not being on a Windows machine for over seven years and considering adding one to my lifestyle but I don't know it's a toss up.

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