A couple of weeks back, this author reviewed the dark gray version of the Dell XPS 13 – the one with an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, 4K screen, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD — for the Inquisitr. At the time, it was $1699. The device received a positive review with reservations on display issues and battery life.
Three weeks later, this author is using the white version of the new XPS 13 9370, which doesn’t have the issue with brightness being automatically changed. Even better is the fact that it can be purchased for $1499 with the same specs as the dark gray one. For this article, it’s being compared to Microsoft’s Surface Book 2, the version with the 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM, 256 SSD, Quad HD+ screen, and discrete NVIDIA GPU. This version now costs $1799.
Unless you need digital inking, there is a strong case for purchasing the new XPS 13 9370 over the Surface Book 2, which is still a great device. The XPS 13 is a laptop, and it’s very good at being one. It’s not a hybrid that makes sacrifices to satisfy a certain market.
Better Design and Display
The most outstanding thing about the XPS 9370 is the display, and it looks even better in a white chassis than it did in a dark one. This 4K display is crisp and clear and doesn’t hurt your eyes. You may think that there isn’t much of a difference between a 4K display and a Quad HD+ display, but you’ll notice the difference between the XPS and Surface Book 2 displays right away.
One has to give credit to Microsoft for allowing a design in which the screen can be removed from the Surface Book rather easily. But when the screen is put on, it feels heavy. If you like to type while lying on your pillow, you’ll be frustrated when the screen wobbled towards you and doesn’t stay in place.
However, the XPS 13, which is almost as light as a tablet with the screen, can be used in any position whatsoever. Yes, the screen doesn’t detach, but you won’t need it to. This author took a walk with the XPS 13 9370 while watching a movie. Not only did it feel comfortable holding it under the base with a keyboard, but it didn’t feel heavy at all – even after 10 minutes.
A Better Typing Experience
The keyboard on the Surface Book 2 is great but not as good as the one on the new XPS 13. While the Book 2’s keys have more travel, the XPS 13’s keys have more of a comfortable click. When first looking at the keys on the XPS 13, one may think they are too cramped. However, that fear goes away when using the keyboard, which allows you to type up documents faster than you can on the Surface Book 2.
No, we’re not talking about the flying critters here. We’re talking about annoying bugs in the Surface Book 2. One is that with the latest update, you have to detach and reattach the screen if you want to start the device after putting it in Sleep mode. Microsoft may fix this with a future update, but it’s downright annoying right now. And updates are supposed to fix problems, not invent new ones.
Although the touchpad is great on the Surface Book 2, slowly selecting text can be downright frustrating. Sometimes if you slide your thumb even a little, it won’t select any text. Then, if you slide your thumb even more, it selects too much text. This is both annoying and time-consuming.
Dell’s XPS 13 line has been known for its bugs, and the one where automatic brightness is changed on certain programs to match the environment is still there – but it’s hardly noticeable anymore. If you leave the screen on above average brightness and don’t put it into “Night Mode,” you probably won’t notice the issue at all.
That said, three days with the new white version of the Dell XPS 13 has revealed no other bugs. Dell’s quality control has become almost as good as Apple’s.
Not Everything Is Better
The Surface Book 2 still has better battery life than the new XPS 13, but the device is also less portable. One can still get a full day’s use out of the Dell XPS 13. The USB-C charger this time is less heavy, so carrying it around won’t be half as annoying as the huge and cumbersome charger for the Surface Book 2.
If you are a gamer, you’ll appreciate that the Surface Book 2 has discrete NVIDIA graphics. But you can add portable gaming capabilities with the XPS 13’s two Thunderbolt 3 ports – something the Surface Book 2 lacks. If you don’t play graphics-intensive games, the Intel UHD shared GPU is more than powerful enough – even for those who do heavy duty photo and video editing.
The Surface Book 2 is a laptop-tablet hybrid aimed at people who mostly do laptop-aimed tasks, but still like to have a tablet for other things. It makes some small sacrifices in both aspects. The Dell XPS 13 9370 is a pure laptop (although it has a touchscreen) and doesn’t pretend to be anything else. It may be worth your time and money to buy an XPS 13 and a separate iPad Pro instead of just buying the overpriced Surface Book 2.