The Surface Laptop is an excellent machine, with a gorgeous display and support for a digital pen. However, in most areas, the XPS 13 is the better choice, with a wider selection of ports, and better battery life. Microsoft diehards will adore the Surface Laptop, though, and as a refreshed model is likely coming soon, the prices are now lower than ever.
XPS 13 vs. Surface Laptop tech specs
|Category||Dell XPS 13||Surface Laptop|
|OS||Windows 10 Home
Windows 10 Pro
|Windows 10 S (upgradeable to Pro)|
|Processor||Intel 8th Gen Core i5-8250U
Intel 8th Gen Core i7-8550U
|Seventh-gen Intel Core i5-7200U, i7-7660U|
|Display size||13.3 inches||13.5 inches|
|Display resolution||UltraSharp 4K (3840×2160), 100 percent color gamut
FHD (1920 x 1080) touch display, 72 percent color gamut
FHD (1920 x 1080) non-touch display, 72 percent color gamut
|2,256 x 1,504 touch (3:2 aspect ratio)|
|RAM||4GB/8GB/16GB DDR3||4GB/8GB/16GB DDR3|
|Graphics||Intel UHD 620 (Eighth-gen)||Intel HD 620 (i5)
Intel Iris Plus 640 (i7)
|Storage||128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB SSD||128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB SSD|
|Ports||Two Thunderbolt 3 with PowerShare
One USB-C 3.1 with PowerShare
microSD card reader
|Dimensions||7.8 mm to 11.6 mm x 302 mm x 199 mm||308mm x 223mm x 14.5mm|
|Weight||Starting weight: 2.67 lbs (1.21 kg) for non-touch
Starting at 2.68 lbs (1.21 kg) for touch
|2.76 lbs (1.25kg)|
Close but the XPS 13 has it
The Surface Laptop is due for a refresh, with its specs very much reflecting 2017 across the board. The XPS 13, on the other hand, benefits from the latest 8th generation Intel quad-core processors, providing twice the cores and threads you get on a Surface Laptop for much better multitasking and intensive performance. You’ll also find better battery life in the XPS 13 and Thunderbolt 3 USB-C, which you do not get on the Surface Laptop.
The graphics performance on the Surface Laptop is superior on the Core i7 model, leaving it suitable for even some moderate gaming like Fortnite. But with only two cores, the XPS 13 is easily more powerful for intensive processes like video editing.
The Thunderbolt 3 support on the XPS 13 is a big deal, too. Not only does it mean the new USB-C standard connector is available, but you can hook up things like external high-resolution displays, docks, and even eGPUs to turn your laptop into a powerful desktop gaming PC or workstation.
And you can’t forget the Alcantara-covered keyboard on the Surface Laptop. Alcantara is an Italian-made fabric that looks and feels a lot like suede and has been used on a number of Microsoft products. Fabric gets dirty easily, that’s just fact, which means if you decide on the Surface, you’re going to have to deal with a mess after a few weeks.
The XPS 13 is tough to top
Both are incredible laptops in their own right, but the XPS 13 has more features that are more important to more people. Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C are both standards, unlike the Surface Connect, the quad-core processor is plenty powerful and you still get things like a gorgeous display, design and top notch build quality.
It also doesn’t get dirty as easily!
One of the best laptops money can buy.
It doesn’t take long to see why the XPS 13 is incredibly popular, and the latest model pushes the boundaries even further. Quad-core processors join Thunderbolt 3 and 4K displays in one of the essential Ultrabooks.
Priced well, but still best for the fans
Microsoft fans will love the Surface Laptop with its amazing design and build quality, gorgeous display and maybe even the unique alcantara keyboard.
But, it’s getting a little long in the tooth now compared to more recent laptops, like the latest version of the XPS 13. It’s likely being refreshed soon, but until then, it’s priced well at least.
For Microsoft fans
Well priced right now but overshadowed.
Even with the recent price cuts, it’s still tough to recommend the Surface Laptop over the Dell to anyone but Microsoft diehards and folks looking for pen support.