Apple MacBook Air M1 vs. Dell XPS 13

Apple MacBook Air M1 vs. Dell XPS 13

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The Dell XPS 13 has been rated arsenic the best laptop for a fewer years now, acknowledgment to a streamlined and high-quality plan and fantabulous performance. It’s seen its challengers, but they’ve each fallen short. Now, Apple has its MacBook Air M1 equipping its ain precise accelerated ARM-based CPU, and it’s giving the XPS 13 a tally for its money. And it’s connected the aforesaid database of champion laptops.

These are some fantabulous laptops with large portability and robust physique quality. But lone 1 tin travel retired connected top.

Specs

  Apple MacBook Air M1 Dell XPS 13
Dimensions 11.97 inches x 8.36 inches x 0.63 inches 11.64 inches x 7.82 inches x 0.58 inches
Weight 2.8 pounds 2.8 pounds
Processor Apple M1 Intel Core i3-1115G4
Intel Core i5-1135G7
Intel Core i7-1185G7
Intel Core i7-1195G7
Graphics Apple M1 Intel Iris Xe
RAM 8GB
16GB
8GB
16GB
32GB
Display 13.3-inch 16:10 IPS WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) 13.4-inch 16:10 IPS Full HD+ (1,920 x 1,200)
13.4-inch 16:10 IPS Full HD+ touch
13.4-inch 16:10 OLED 3.5K (3,456 x 2,160) touch
13.4-inch 16:10 IPS UHD+ (3,840 x 2,400) touch
Storage 256GB SSD
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
2TB SSD
256GB SSD
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
2TB SSD
Touch No Optional
Ports 2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
3.5mm audio jack
2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
3.5mm audio jack
MicroSD paper reader
Wireless Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1
Webcam 720p 720p, Windows Hello IR webcam
Operating system Mac OS Windows 10 oregon 11 Home oregon Pro
Battery 49.9 watt-hours 52 watt-hours
Price $999+ $1274+
Rating 4.5 retired of 5 stars 5 retired of 5 stars

Design

The M1-powered Macbook Air, unfastened  connected  a table.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The MacBook Air M1 is fundamentally unchanged successful its plan from its Intel-based predecessor. It’s the aforesaid unibody operation from CNC machined aluminum with arsenic coagulated a physique prime arsenic you’ll find connected a laptop today. It feels similar a fusion of solid and metallic successful hand, with nary twisting, bending, oregon flexing. The XPS 13 has received immoderate insignificant refinements implicit the past respective generations. Still, it retains the aforesaid hybrid plan of aluminum successful the lid and bottommost chassis and a prime of achromatic c fibre oregon achromatic solid fibre successful the keyboard deck. The second makes the XPS 13 a spot warmer and much inviting acknowledgment to the precise comfy thenar rest, portion the MacBook Air M1 is each acold metal. Both laptops bask hinges that let the show to beryllium opened with 1 hand, portion the XPS 13 incorporates a dual hinge that’s remarkably fluid.

Aesthetically, the MacBook Air M1 presents a simpler appearance, being a azygous colour passim different than the achromatic keycaps. It retains the wedge signifier that MacBook Airs person ever sported, and it exudes quiescent elegance. That doesn’t mean it’s boring — you tin take from 3 colors, abstraction gray, gold, and silver. The XPS 13 is much flamboyant, with a metallic aluminum lid and chassis bottommost contrasted with the achromatic oregon achromatic keyboard deck. The XPS 13’s lines are besides much streamlined and modern, giving it a somewhat much refined aesthetic. Both are good-looking laptops, but we deliberation the XPS 13 stands retired a spot more.

Dell XPS 13 9310 Featured Image showing show  and keyboard deck.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The XPS 13 has 1 of the amended keyboards among Windows laptops, with large capable keycaps and fantabulous cardinal spacing. The switches are accordant crossed the keyboard, providing a assured bottoming enactment with a precise click. The MacBook Air M1, though, incorporates Apple’s Magic Keyboard, which has little question than the XPS 13’s but arsenic comfy keycaps and abstraction and adjacent amended switches. The MacBook’s keyboard is airy and springy and incredibly precise and responsive. It’s the champion keyboard you’ll find connected immoderate laptop today.

The MacBook Air M1 utilizes Apple’s Force Touch haptic touchpad, and it’s ample and acold much precocious than the smaller mechanical mentation connected the XPS 13. The MacBook Air M1’s touchpad is pressure-sensitive and provides precise cursor power crossed the full surface. The XPS 13’s touchpad is simply a Microsoft Precision version, and it supports Windows 11’s multitouch gestures with precision. But the MacBook Air M1’s touchpad is amended successful each way.

Both laptops person constricted connectivity, with 2 USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 and a 3.5mm audio jack. The XPS 13 adds a microSD paper reader, though, thing the MacBook Air M1 lacks. Both enactment Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 oregon 5.1.

In addition, some laptops person 720p webcams, which connected the XPS 13 supports Windows 11 Hello password-less login via facial recognition. The XPS 13 besides offers a fingerprint reader, the aforesaid arsenic the MacBook Air M1 for Apple’s Touch ID support.

Performance

The XPS 13 tin beryllium configured with a prime of Intel 11th-gen CPUs, from the two-core/four-thread Core i3-1115G4 up to the four-core/eight-thread Core i7-1195G7 with Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics. That makes it a coagulated productivity performer but not an fantabulous instrumentality for demanding creators. The MacBook Air M1 utilizes Apple’s M1 CPU, a hybrid ARM processor with 8 full cores — 4 show cores and 4 ratio cores. It tin beryllium configured with either a seven-core oregon eight-core GPU. It’s a importantly faster laptop that tin not lone grip demanding productivity tasks but tin tackle originative applications arsenic well. The MacBook Air M1 is besides fanless and wholly quiet, portion the XPS 13’s fans rotation up nether dense loads. Neither laptop is large for gaming.

In Cinebench R23, which tests the CPU’s video processing performance, the XPS 13 scored 1,449 successful single-core mode and 4,267 successful multi-core mode. This compares to the MacBook Air M1 astatine 1,479 and 6,680. In our Handbrake trial that encodes a 420MB video arsenic H.265, the XPS 13 took 201 seconds erstwhile equipped with a Core i7-1165G7, compared to the MacBook Air M1, which took 158 seconds. That’s with a somewhat newer mentation of Handbrake, but the results are comparable and the MacBook Air M1 is importantly faster.

If you’re looking for a highly portable laptop that doesn’t dilatory you down, past the MacBook Air M1 is the 1 for you. The XPS 13 is accelerated enough, but it can’t support up with Apple’s latest.

Display

You get 1 prime of show with the MacBook Air M1, a 16:10 WQXGA WQXGA (2560 x 1600) IPS panel. The XPS 13 offers acold much options, each 13.4 inches successful the productivity-friendly 16:10 facet ratio, from a Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) non-touch show up to a 3.5K (3456 x 2160)  OLED interaction panel. There’s besides a UHD+ (3840 x 2400) IPS panel, but portion little successful resolution, the OLED show is acold superior successful colors and contrast.

The MacBook Air M1’s show is simply a small supra mean for premium laptops. It offers 389 nits of brightness, somewhat wider-than-average colors astatine 79% of AdobeRGB and 100% sRGB with bully accuracy acknowledgment to a DeltaE of 1.39 (less than 1.0 is considered excellent). Contrast came successful astatine 1,130:1, supra our 1,000:1 threshold. We tested the Dell XPS 13 with the UHD+ IPS panel, and it was somewhat amended than the MacBook Pro M1. It was brighter astatine 420 nits, provided adjacent colour width with somewhat amended accuracy astatine 1.21, and higher opposition astatine 1,360:1. We didn’t trial the XPS 13’s OLED display, but we warrant it volition supply much dynamic and close colors and inky-black contrast, making it the amended prime for creators.

Portability

Apple MacBook Air M1 broadside  view.

The MacBook Pro M1 and XPS 13 are astir arsenic wide, but the XPS 13 is shorter and thinner astatine 0.58 inches heavy versus 0.63 inches. Both measurement 2.8 pounds, making them casual to worldly into a backpack and hide they’re there.

Battery beingness is simply a antithetic matter, though. The M1 spot is highly efficient, making the MacBook Air M1 a long-lasting laptop indeed. It managed 15.5 hours successful our web browsing test, 1 of the longest results we’ve seen. And it went for 18.5 hours successful our video looping test, not rather arsenic agelong arsenic the longest we’ve tested but overmuch amended than average. The XPS 13 UHD+ mentation wasn’t adjacent close, astatine conscionable six hours successful our web browsing trial and 9 hours successful our video test.

The MacBook Air M1 volition get you done days of use, portion the high-res mentation of the XPS 13 volition get you past luncheon and into the aboriginal afternoon. The OLED mentation is apt to beryllium adjacent worse, portion you tin opt for a Full HD+ show and compression retired a fewer much hours. But it won’t substance — Apple wins here.

Given the terms and performance, the MacBook Air M1 gets the triumph — for now

Macbook Air M1Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Dell XPS 13’s existent prices are higher than they erstwhile were. While you could get an entry-level XPS 13 for astir $1,000 a fewer months ago, close now, its basal configuration comes successful astatine $1,274 with a Core i3, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and oddly capable a UHD+ panel. You tin walk arsenic overmuch arsenic $1,833 for a Core i7, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and the UHD+ panel. The OLED show enactment costs the same.

The Apple MacBook Air M1 represents thing of a bargain by comparison, antithetic for Apple products. It starts astatine $1,000 for an M1 CPU with a 7-core GPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. At the precocious end, you’ll walk $2,049 for an M1 with an eight-core GPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 2TB SSD.

With the XPS 13’s unexplained terms summation and the upcoming displacement to Intel’s 12th-gen CPUs, which should beryllium much competitory with the Apple M1, it’s hard to grant Dell with the triumph successful this shootout. The MacBook Air M1 tin beryllium had for little money, and it provides importantly amended show and artillery life. For the moment, it’s the amended buy.

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