New Dell XPS 13 (2020) vs 13″ MacBook Pro (2019) — In depth comparison w/ benchmarks
Well, it took over a month for me to get my new XPS 13, but it’s finally here, and I can’t wait to share the results. Also, the MBP used in this review is the higher model with 4 thunderbolt 3 ports. I also ordered a 4K version, but it’s going to take another month until I get it, so I’ll probably be comparing that to the 2020 MBPs.
Dell XPS 13 ($1549)—-Macbook Pro 13″ ($1799)
* 10th Gen i7-10657G (15W)—-8th Gen i5-8279U (25W)
* 256GB SSD—-Same amount of storage
* 8GB DDR4X RAM—-8GB DDR3 RAM—-Same amount of storage
* Intel Iris Plus G7—-Intel Iris Plus 655
* FHD IPS display (1920 x 1200)—-Retina IPS display (2560 x 1600)
* 52 whr/ 9 hours battery life—-58 whr/ 10 hours battery life
* Dell Keyboard and MSP Track-Pad—-4th Gen Butterfly Keyboard/Force Touch Track-Pad
***PERFORMANCE:*** Geekbench 5/Cinebench/3D Fire Strike/Unigine Heaven/Black Magic/Crystal Disk Mark
PassMark Benchmark (CPU)
* MBP/i5-8279U: **10599**
* XPS/i7-1065G7: **10489**
Geekbench 5 (CPU):
* Average score of XPS 13 from 5 results: **1217 (Single-Core)/4155 (Multi-Core)**
* 13-inch MBP (average of 5): **981 (Single-Core)/3958 (Multi-Core)**
Cinebench 20 average of 5 (CPU):
* DELL XPS 13: **1562**
* 13-inch MBP: **1679**
Black Magic and Crystal Disk Mark (SSD):
* Crystal Disk Mark–XPS 13: **1683 mb/s read and 1164 mb/s write**
* Black Magic–13-inch MBP: **2885 mb/s read and 2603 mb/s write**
3D Mark Fire Strike (GPU):
* XPS 13: **3061**
* 13″ MBP: **2372**
Unigine Heaven FPS (GPU):
* XPS 13: **22.6 FPS average**
* 13-inch MBP: **15.7 FPS average**
In terms of CPU, the XPS benched higher in GeekBench 5, whereas the MBP benched higher in PassMark and Cinebench. Both the **8279U and the 1065G7** are relatively the same, with the MBP pulling out a head by a little. But where the new XPS takes it is with Intel’s new Iris Plus GPUs–around 15% better, but both aren’t good enough to fully game or do any GPU heavy workflows.
The XPS also has faster and more efficient DDR4X RAM (although speed difference isn’t noticeable vs DDR3) which helps with its battery life–but is still an hour short of the MBP that uses DDR3 with a higher resolution display as well. The SSD on the MBP scored two times faster during benchmarks, and 4 times faster (around 2000 mb/s vs 500 mb/s) in file transfer speed tests (transferring 10-50GB files). Thermal wise, they both hover around 50 degrees, and 85 degrees under heavy workloads.
The highest I hit on my XPS 13’s display is 458 nits, and 506 nits on my MBP. Both displays are 13:10 aspect ratio, which is awesome, and supports 100% RGB. However, the MBP has a much wider color range and better color reproduction, which is crucial for professional workflows. Its Retina display also has double the resolution compared to the XPS (3K vs FHD) for a sharper and more detailed viewing experience.
The MBP covers **100% DCI-P3 and 93% AdobeRGB, whereas the XPS covers 73% DCI-P3 and 65% AdobeRGB;** the 13” MBP is also rated as having one of the best laptop displays from [notebookcheck.](https://www.notebookcheck.net/The-Best-Notebook-Displays-As-Reviewed-By-Notebookcheck.120541.0.html) So although the XPS has a good display for daily usage, it falls short when compared to the MBP’s that’s made for professional work flows.
Another advantage the MBP has is its image/text scaling. TLDR, MacOS does a better job of scaling various image/text sizes. The reason why many professionals use Macs is because of the better scaling and color consistency/calibration, especially since you’re working with higher resolution workflows and need to frequently re-scale. It’ll be a lot wiser to have the better scaling from MacOS in this case. True Tone is also useful when the ambient lighting changes in your surroundings, but for maximum color accuracy/consistency, I would recommend you to turn it off. The MBP’s display also has a better reflective coating, and wider viewing angles than the XPS.
Touchscreen/touchbar wise both aren’t too useful in my opinion. There are barely any apps that are optimized for touch, so I constantly found myself using the touchscreen for scrolling/tapping links. Most of the time it‘s really awkward/annoying because I have to reach further from my keyboard when I’m working—which slows down my workflow—when I can just use the trackpad which is not only closer, but is also more accurate/easier to use than touch. I also find that besides the scrolling here and there, I barely use it. Also, it’s a huge fingerprint magnet.
The touchbar is slightly better because you can customize your keys and it’s actually useful for some workflows, but the problem is that it lacks app support and it sometimes freezes/is more convenient to have physical keys most of the times.
Thickness and weight wise, both are about the same and you won’t notice much of a difference **(0.58 inch 2.65 pounds XPS/ 0.59 inch 3.02 pounds MBP)***.* Both are very well-built machines, but the noticeable Aluminum premium finish does still favor the MBP in-terms of build quality, verses the carbon fiber plastic mix of the XPS. Both devices also have excellent battery life. I got around 8-9 hours on my XPS, and 9-10 hours on my MBP, which was surprising since the MBP has a higher resolution display but it still lasted longer.
Regarding performance when not plugged in, the XPS can handle light usage like browsing and streaming videos without dropping in performance, but for gaming/video editing/rendering/more complicated tasks there still is a significant drop in performance (around 35-60% depending) when compared to the MBP that stays the same without being plugged in.
It’s still clear to me that the track-pad, and speakers on the MBP is still a tier above every other laptop. Although windows’ precision trackpad is good, it’s still not as accurate and responsive as Apple’s. The MBP’s gestures also feel a lot intuitive and smoother to use, and the user has the ability to customize them which helps a lot with productivity.
The keyboard on the XPS is awesome. Not quite Lenovo, or Magic keyboard level to me, but still solid. It’s very subjective when it comes to which one’s better, the 4th gen butterfly’s or Dell’s, but for most users that like higher travel, the XPS’ is generally better. In terms of reliability, I’ve never had an issue with the 4th gen butterflies, nor the very 1st gen. Some users really dislike the low travel on the butterfly’s, but I wouldn’t call them so horrible that you should avoid a Mac all together just because of it, like many reviewers and tech outlets are making them out to be, but again, that’s just my opinion.
In terms of port selection, both are also very similar. The only difference is that the XPS has a SD slot (yes!), while the MBP offers two more thunderbolt 3 ports instead (which are surprisingly expensive/around $100-150 for a TB3). Dell still gives you the ability to swap your SSD, while Apple is, well, Apple. The RAM on both devices are soldered on and can’t be upgraded.
To conclude, I’m very satisfied with the new XPS. Dell has done a great job with it, but if you have the 2018 or 2019, or even the 2017 XPS, I would say you don’t necessarily need to upgrade. So, that said, is the 2019 MBP worth the extra $200, and should you get it over the XPS? Well, if you’re an artist, designer, photographer, or anyone that heavily relies on a good display, then yes, it is. The display alone is worth that $200. For video editors that use Final Cut, your only choice is the MBP, but it’s fine since the MBP performs better than the new XPS via Final Cut, and much better while not plugged in/on the go. The better track-pad and battery life are also features for consideration, as well as the much higher resell value that will get you back the original $200 difference.
Personally, I would recommend waiting for either the new 2020 MBPs that are just around the corner, or wait for Dell to put the XPS on sale, which they will do in a few months. However, if you really need a new laptop right now, **I would say go with the 13″ MBP since it’s better overall with a better CPU, display, battery life, SSD, speakers, and track-pad.**
Although the GPU in the XPS outperforms the MBP’s, I found the extra 15% wasn’t too helpful when testing it in gaming, video editing, and 3D renders. The G7 is similar to the MBP in the aspect that it’s still not going to allow you to do anything heavy/complex with it either way; and you simply won’t notice the DDR4X vs DDR3 speed difference in daily usage. So in this case, I would prioritize the CPU, display, SSD, and trackpad over RAM and GPU. **BUT**, if you’re not set on MacOS or need to have the newest XPS, the [2019 XPS](https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/laptops/xps-13-7390-laptop/spd/xps-13-7390-laptop?~ck=bt) with 16GB RAM/512GB SSD is a bargain at $1299 for the i7 model, or the 2019 XPS [2-in-1](https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-laptops/new-xps-13-2-in-1-laptop/spd/xps-13-7390-2-in-1-laptop) at $1449.