The Dell XPS 13 has been our favorite 13-inch laptop for quite some time now, and in fact, it tops our list of best laptops, period. Apple’s MacBook Pro 13 M1 is getting a bit long, but it remains the best option too. Which of these two masterpieces is the best value?
|Apple MacBook Pro 13 M1||Dell XPS 13|
|Dimensions||11.97″ x 8.36″ x 0.61″||11.64″ x 7.82″ x 0.58″|
|Weight||3.0 pounds||2.8 EGP|
|Healer||Apple M1||Intel Core i3-1115G4
Intel Core i5-1135G7
Intel Core i7-1185G7
Intel Core i7-1195G7
|Graphics||Apple M1||Intel Iris XE|
|an offer||13.3 inch 16:10 IPS WQXGA (2560 x 1600)||13.4 inch 16:10 IPS Full HD + (1920 x 1200)
13.4 inch 16:10 IPS Full HD + touch screen
13.4 inch 16:10 OLED 3.5K (3456 x 2160) touch screen
13.4-inch 16:10 IPS UHD+ (3840 x 2400) touchscreen
|storage||256 GB SSD
512 GB SSD
1 TB SSD
2 TB SSD
|256 GB SSD
512 GB SSD
1 TB SSD
2 TB SSD
|touch. Contact. Link||no||my choice|
|ports||2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
3.5 mm audio jack
|2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
3.5 mm audio jack
MicroSD Card Reader
|wireless||Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0||Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1|
|Webcam||720 p||720p, Windows Hello IR . Webcam|
|Operating System||Mac OS||Windows 10 or 11 Home or Pro|
|battery||58.2 W/h||52 watts/hour|
|evaluation||4 out of 5 stars||5 out of 5 stars|
The MacBook Pro 13 M1 hasn’t changed much since it was introduced in 2020. That’s not necessarily bad, as it’s probably still the best 13-inch laptop you can buy. It’s CNC machined from a block of aluminum and feels as solid as rock while having a simple, elegant design that many laptops try to emulate. Available in space gray or silver, the MacBook Pro 13 M1 exudes quality. The XPS 13 has a more glamorous look, featuring a CNC-machined aluminum cover, chassis base, and a choice of black carbon fiber or white fiberglass in the keyboard deck. It also has a streamlined design, but has sharper angles and looks like a more modern laptop. It’s also very well built, rivaling the MacBook Pro 13 M1 and sitting at the top of the Windows laptop pile.
One area where the XPS 13 excels over the MacBook Pro 13 M1 is in its screen edges, which are noticeably thinner and fit a laptop that looks smaller but with a larger screen. We’ll talk about portability later, but in general appearance, this slight difference greatly affects the identity of the laptop. The XPS 13 feels like a more modern device, and the fact that its screen appears to float in midair contributes a lot. Sure, Apple will catch up at some point, but for now, the MacBook Pro 13 M1 looks a bit outdated by comparison. And the fiberglass palm rest gives the XPS 13 a warmer typing feel than the cooler metallic feel of the MacBook Pro M1, making the XPS 13 more attractive to use.
Apple’s Magic Keyboard, which is now used in all MacBooks, is an amazing powerhouse. It doesn’t have the greatest travel, but its keys are great with perfect click, light touch, and accurate feedback, making it a very comfortable keyboard for long typing sessions. The keycaps and the spacing between the keys are perfect, and simply the best laptop keyboard. The XPS 13’s keyboard is also very good, with its precise keys, light touch, and clear action, making it among the best Windows laptops in this regard. It just can’t live up to the overall writing feel of the MacBook Pro 13 M1.
The MacBook Pro 13 M1’s touchpad is also superior, it’s larger and uses Apple’s Force Touch haptic feedback solution. It’s incredibly accurate and its click is perfectly consistent across the entire surface, something the XPS 13’s smaller mechanical touchpad can’t match. It stands out among Windows laptops, and it’s a Microsoft Precision touchpad, so support for multi-touch gestures Excellent, but Apple’s touchpad remains the norm.
Connectivity is almost a wash, as both laptops are limited to two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support and a 3.5mm audio jack. The XPS 13 includes a microSD card reader, which is an additional feature that the MacBook Pro 13 M1 lacks. Both use Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 or 5.1 for wireless connectivity.
Both webcams have a resolution of 720p, which puts them behind the curve as more laptops include 1080p webcams to support hybrid workers. The XPS 13 has a fingerprint reader and infrared camera for facial recognition, both of which support passwordless login for Windows 10 Hello quickly and reliably. The MacBook Pro 13 M1 uses Apple’s Touch ID support built into the power button, and it works just fine.
We’ll notice that the MacBook Pro 13 M1 still has the Touch Bar, which has been abandoned in every other MacBook. It’s an anachronism and we’re pretty sure it won’t appear in the next laptop update.
There’s nothing wrong with the XPS 13’s performance, compared to most 13-inch laptops. It can be configured with up to a Core i7-1195G7, which is a fast quad-core CPU, but is lagging behind as 12th-generation Intel chips begin to hit the market. And it couldn’t hold a candle to the Apple M1 processor in the MacBook Pro 13 M1. The hybrid ARM chip has eight cores, four performance and four efficiency cores with 16 GPU cores. It outperforms Intel’s 11th-generation processors and will likely compete aggressively with 12th-generation CPUs as well, although we’re waiting for more benchmarks that we should know for sure.
On Geekbench 5, for example, the XPS 13 with the Core i7-1165G7 scored 1,540 in the single-core test and 5,432 in the multi-core test. The MacBook Pro 13 M1 scored 1,707 and 7,337, respectively. In our Handbrake test encoding a 420MB video as H.265, the XPS 13 took 201 seconds while the MacBook Pro 13 M1 finished in 156 seconds. Finally, in the CPU-based Cinebench R23 benchmark, the XPS 13 scored 1,449 single cores and 4,267 multiple cores. The MacBook Pro 13 M1 managed 1,487 and 7,547. All of these scores point to an Apple 13-inch laptop that is significantly faster and can even handle some creative tasks, compared to Dell’s which is good for demanding productivity applications but can’t compete with the MacBook Pro 13 M1.
Neither laptop is a true gaming machine, with the XPS 13 using integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics and the MacBook Pro 13 M1 using the integrated M1 graphics card. But to get the work done, the MacBook Pro 13 M1 is the clear winner. We’ll note that it was also much quieter, even under load, as its fans were spinning at a much lower rate than the XPS 13. If a quiet laptop is important to you, the MacBook Pro 13 M1 is a great choice.
Dell gives you plenty of options when it comes to monitors, all of which are 13.4 inches in size with a productivity-friendly 16:10 aspect ratio. You can choose from a non-touch or Full HD+ IPS touchscreen (1920 x 1200), an IPS UHD+ touchscreen (3840 x 2400), or a 3.5K OLED touchscreen (3456 x 2160). The latter is particularly good, with dynamic, accurate colors and grainy black contrast. We couldn’t get our colorimeter to work with the MacBook Pro 13 M1 thanks to the CPU’s novelty at the time, but Apple confirmed that the screen is equivalent to the previous generation. That means it beats the XPS 13’s 4K+ IPS display at 91% AdobeRGB versus 79%, 1470:1 contrast compared to 1,360:1, and brightness at 485 nits versus 420 nits.
However, the XPS 13’s OLED display is better, with wider colors and that deep contrast that only OLED can provide. This gives Dell an edge for creative types who demand wide, accurate color and anyone else who wants a dynamic monitor capable of displaying true blacks.
While the XPS 13 looks smaller than the MacBook Pro M1 thanks to its smaller screen bezels, these two laptops are actually close in size. The Dell is about half an inch less deep than the Apple and a little narrower, but the difference isn’t surprising. The XPS 13 is 0.58 inches thick and weighs 2.8 pounds, compared to the MacBook Pro M1 at 0.61 inches and 3.0 pounds. You won’t notice much difference between them when you carry it in your backpack.
Battery life is where the MacBook Pro 13 M1 shines in its portability. While the XPS 13 4K+ managed just 6.3 hours in our web browsing test passing through a series of popular and complex websites, the MacBook Pro 13 M1 lasted 16 hours, which is one of the best performances we’ve seen. In our loop test video playing local Full HD Avengers Trailer, the XPS 13 lasted 12 hours compared to the MacBook Pro 13 M1 at just over 21 hours.
The Apple M1 is clearly a very efficient processor and gives the MacBook Pro 13 M1 a real advantage. It can last for days of work, while the XPS 13 4K+ probably won’t last for a day. You can configure the XPS 13 with a Full HD+ display that extends battery life by several hours, but it won’t come close.
There was a time recently when you could get the XPS 13 for $1,000 in its base configuration, but right now, the best you can do is $1,274 with a Core i3, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, and a UHD+ panel for a few things. strange reason. The high-end configuration comes in at $1,833 for a Core i7, 16GB of RAM, 1TB SSD, and a UHD+ display (with the same OLED panel costing).
The MacBook Pro 13 M1 starts at $1,299 for the Apple M1, 8GB of RAM and a 246GB SSD. The most expensive configuration with 16GB of RAM and 2TB SSD comes in at $2299.
The XPS 13 should at some point be updated with 12th-generation Intel processors which should compete more aggressively with the Apple M1, and hopefully bring their prices down to what they were a couple of months ago. Until then, as we noted in our comparison of the MacBook Air M1 to the XPS 13, the MacBook Pro 13 M1 wins this match. It starts at about the same price as the entry level and is not much more expensive on the high end while offering significantly better performance and battery life.