MacBook Air has dominated the game especially in the light weight laptop segment. For long the segment had been reined by Apple, with Windows laptops providing very little resistance. Since the last few years though things have really changed and presently the OEMs are coming up with a number of MacBook competitors and well, the Dell XPS 13 (2015) is one of them.
Dell has in fact made a number of changes over their previous XPS lineup in their new light weight portable laptop. In fact, the Infinity Edge 4K 13.3-inch display is one of the major selling factors of the Dell XPS 13. But how does it stack up against the MacBook?
The Dell XPS13 comes in four variants starting from Rs 75,990 and retails in India via Amazon. The top end variant with Intel i7-5500U on the inside goes up to Rs 1,33,990. The Apple MacBook Air on the other hand is priced slightly lower with the based variant with 128GB SSD priced at Rs 58,000. For the sake of comparison, we are pitting this 13 inch MacBook Air with the based variant of the Dell XPS 13 having similar specifications. So without further ado let's get started.
Infinity Edge Display is the best 'laptop' display yet
Dell has really improvised with their XPS 13 lightweight Ultrabook this time around. The feather light laptop comes with a stunning edge to edge display which Dell fondly refers to a "InfinityEdge". While the smartphone makers are battling out there to make device with the narrowest bezel possible, such a tussle was missing in the laptop space. In fact, all most all laptops irrespective of the price comes with a wide bezel all around the display, however this isn't the case with Dell XPS13.
The 13.3-inch Anti-Glare display with a resolution of 1920x108p in the base variant has minimal bezels to the top and the sides. The display is exceptionally bright too and can be flawlessly used in brightly lit conditions. In fact, the Dell XPS 13's display can drive the market leading Retina display of the MacBook Pro to shame, leave alone the 1440x900p display of the MacBook Air. The best part is that the near bezel less display of the XPS 13 has given it a form factor of the smaller 11 inch MacBook Air.
Metal Exterior with a Carbon Fibre Finish to interior
Unlike the MacBook Air which is completely made out of Aluminum, the Dell XPS 13 boasts of a Carbon Fibre interior especially around the touchpad and the keyboard area. The exteriors are however made up of aluminum like the MacBook Air.
The soft to touch Carbon Fibre finish of the interiors are rather comfortable for resting your palms while chugging away heavily on the keyboard. However, it's worth noting that the MacBook Air has a sturdier built.
Intel Core i5 chip on the Mac is still one of the best around
The internals are of the most disappointing factors of the Dell XPS13. Despite being priced about Rs 18,000 higher than the MacBook Air, the lightweight Ultrabook from the American OEM comes with a 6th gen Intel i3-6010U SoC on the inside. This is accompanied by Intel 520 graphics.
As compared to the Intel chip on the XPS 13 which boast of two cores clocked at 2.3GHz and a cache of 3MB, the MacBook Air dons a last gen Intel Core i5 chip. Despite being a year old this chip is still stronger than the newer gen i3 especially because of the high clock speed of 2.7GHz.
Identical RAM but with higher clock speed
While both the MacBook Air and the Dell XPS 13 has identical 4GB RAM on the inside shouldered onto the motherboard, the clock speed of the RAM module on the Windows powered Dell is markedly higher. The LPDDR3 RAM module is clocked at 1866MHz as compared to the 1600MHz on the MacBook Air. This slightly higher clock speed though gives a marginal edge to the XPS 13 Ultrabook. However, the most disappointing part about the Dell XPS 13 is that it lacks RAM expansion slots, so you have to remain content with only 4GB of RAM throughout your life. But this isn't the case with the 13 inch MacBook Air.
Backlit keyboard but too much key travel
The Dell XPS 13 just like the Mac has a Full Size backlit keyboard but sadly the keys have far too much travel than what one would like. If you are used to the smooth keyboard of the MacBook Air, you wouldn't be quite impressed with the one on the Dell XPS13.
Glass Trackpad at par with that on the MacBook
The trackpad of the MacBook has always been the selling factor for Apple laptops, with professionals loving the smooth buttery feel of its. This way however missing in the identically priced Windows powered machine. Dell XPS 13 is however going to diminish previous beliefs. In fact, it comes with on the smoothest glass trackpads found in a Windows 10 device, however it's worth noting that one found on the Surface Book is slightly better.
Identical 128GB SSDs?
While both the Dell XPS 13 and the 13 inch MacBook Air comes with identical storage options namely 128GB SSD, it's worth noting that the one inside the MacBook is markedly faster. This is because Apple uses a 128GB PCie SSD which has about two times faster read speeds as compared to the M.2 SSD found in the Dell XPS 13.
The Million Dollar Question: Is it time to dish out the Mac?
Well, the verdict is quite complex, however we at GizBot have tried to make it as simple as possible. The choice between the two extremely capable Ultrabook will depend on your work profile.
- Dell XPS 13 (2015) is for those Video Editors, Content Creators and YouTube addicts who simply can't live without a top notch display. The InfinityEdge display definitely gives it an 'edge' in this area.
- Apple MacBook Air 13 inch on the other hand is more those hardcore business users who won't be doing much video editing or media consumptions. So if you are one of those who primarily use your laptop for official work like Email, Excel, Word, Presentations etc. along with high amount of surfing time, the MacBook is still the best for your needs.