Dell’s XPS 13 2-in 1 is advertised as the much-loved XPS 13 turned into a tablet. However, that’s not really the case. In order to get the tablet thinner, many of the ports have been taken off. Dell is also including mobile processors that are just updated versions of their slow Core m chips. That’s not to say that Dell created a lemon — it’s anything but that. Let’s compare the XPS 13 2-in-1 to the Surface Pro 4, the item it is trying to beat.
The design of the XPS 13 2-in-1 is the same as the regular XPS 13. The machine still has an aluminum outside and a carbon-fiber inside. The keys are very much the same, except they may have slightly less travel. The new XPS 13 feels great in tablet mode, although one may wish it had more of a 3:2 aspect ratio instead of the predictable 16:9 one.
The Surface Pro 4 has a metallic-grey magnesium finish and an adjustable kickstand. The Type Cover is optional, but something no Surface Pro 4 owner should do without. It’s lighter than the XPS 13 2-in-1, but also smaller.
Dell kept the same 3200 x 1800 (276 PPI) screen on the XPS 13 2-in-1, and that certainly isn’t a bad thing. A lot of people hoped for a 4K screen, but not only will the human eye not be able to tell much of a difference, but a 4K screen would eat more battery life.
The Surface Pro 4 has a 12.3-inch 2,736 x 1,824 (267 PPI) display that equals the XPS 13 display depending on your unit. Many of the early Surface Pro 4 units had problems with backlight bleed (something nobody has complained about on the XPS 13) and dead pixels.
For the purposes of this review, the higher-end versions of both devices are being compared. The $1,799 version of the XPS 13, has 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and what Intel refers to as a i7-7Y75 processor, which means it has no fan and it runs slower than the regular i7 processor. The XPS 13 2-in-1 will be fine for those who do office work. But for those who want to do heavy Photoshop work or video editing, look away.
In terms of performance, the higher-end Surface Pro 4 truly is the tablet that can replace your laptop. For just $100 more than the XPS 13, you can get a Pro 4 with the same specs, but with a high-powered Intel Core i7 processor. You will have no problem editing your 4K movies or editing selfies to make yourself look noticeably thinner.
One of the reasons Dell included a lower-powered CPU was to save battery life. Although this reviewer hasn’t been able to test the battery life, others say that the battery can last up to eight hours for regular users and seven hours for power users.
The same can’t be said about the Surface Pro 4. When first released, the battery life was the achilles heel of the unit. However, Microsoft has improved things with updates, and now, the battery life is below average, but not a deal breaker. The Pro 4 will last most users six hours on a single charge. Power users will have to do with four-and-a-half hours to five hours of use.
There really isn’t much competition here. Both are great laptops, but for the money you pay, the Surface Pro 4 gives the user more power and a better user experience. One can only hope that Microsoft fixes the battery life issue with the upcoming Surface Pro 5.
[Featured Image by Daryl Deino]