The MacBook Pro only has one screen: the gorgeous 13-inch Retina Display screen, while the Dell XPS 13 lets you pick between a Full HD screen for longer battery life and a 4K screen for gorgeous image quality (they even offer touchscreens, which have yet to make it to a MacBook). The MacBook Pro also offers Apple's own True Tone display technology, which gives you the option to have the system automatically adjust the panel's white balance based on ambient lighting. The Dell XPS 13 doesn't have such an option, but nobody's crying foul.
In our lab tests, key differences emerged. The MacBook Pro's screen (according to our Klein K-10a Colorimeter) gets brighter, maxing out at an average of 485 nits of brightness. Dell Battery https://www.dellbattery.net
That beats both the Dell XPS 13's 301-nit 4K screen and its 1080p panel (417 nits) as well.
A closer battle was found in color reproduction. The MacBook Pro's screen produces 114% of the sRGB color gamut, which is near the 1080 XPS 13 (114.8%) and above the 4K XPS 13 (107.5%).
The most important part of the 2020 MacBook Pro is that Apple ditched the flawed "butterfly" switch mechanisms, and went back to a traditional scissor-switch keyboard. Meanwhile, the XPS 13 has found other ways to improve for this year's model.
Keyboard reliability has never been an issue for the XPS 13. Not only do its keys feel great to type on, but Dell has also applied a soft-touch keycap coating for better tactile feedback. The XPS 13 also features a textured and soft wrist, for comfy typing.
Oh, and since the XPS 13's keyboard is also edge-to-edge, it's able to make its keys larger, a big deal for people with larger hands.
Both the MacBook Air and Dell XPS 13 we reviewed feature 10th Gen Intel CPUs, but there's a big difference between them. Apple's decision to put less-impressive Y-series Intel processors in the MacBook Air puts that laptop at a disadvantage, as the XPS 13 rocks faster U-series chips.
Our XPS 13 review unit packs a speedy Core i7-1065G7 CPU and 16GB of RAM, which soundly (and predictably) trounces the Core i5-1030NG7 chip and 8GB of RAM in the MacBook Air 2020 we tested. We look forward to testing a Core i5 version of the XPS 13 to see how a more comparable model compares to the MacBook Air.
The Geekbench 5 general performance benchmark gave the MacBook Pro 2020 (10th Gen Core i5, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD) a strong multi-core performance score of 4,399. The Dell XPS 13 (Core i7-1065G7, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD) did even better, posting a score of 4,648. That's not really a loss for the MacBook, though, considering the XPS 13's Core i7 CPU is a notch higher.
The MacBook Pro took a clear win in our Handbrake video editing test, needing only 12 minutes and 43 seconds to convert 4K video to 1080p. The Dell XPS 13 (15:40) needed a little under 3 more minutes.
The Dell XPS 13 took that win back on the PugetBench Photoshop benchmarks, which perform the same 21 tasks three times. The XPS 13 netted a 657, beating the MacBook Pro's 569.
Neither the MacBook Pro 2020 nor the XPS 13 (both armed with Intel Iris Plus graphics) proved to be a gaming machine. The MacBook Pro only ran Civilization VI at 18 frames per second, a second behind the XPS 13’s 19 fps. Both rates fell below our 30 fps smoothness threshold.
The XPS 13 can outlast the MacBook Pro; it just depends on what screen you choose.
Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro falls right in the middle of those two times, lasting 10 hours and 21 minutes.
Personally, this is part of why I prefer the MacBook Pro. It gives you more than 10 hours of battery life with a super-sharp screen, without making you choose one over the other.
When we tested these laptops' sound systems out, Apple showed serious audio chops with the MacBook Pro's speakers that "pump out and clear sound," according to my colleague Mark Spoonauer, who also noted a "surprising amount of bass."
Odds are, you know if you prefer Windows 10 or macOS. Both are pretty good platforms, each with its own pros and cons.
Lately, Windows has been more known for the never-ending series of bugs that arrive through Windows Update, and not the diverse array of applications available to it. Windows is also the better platform for gaming, with access to a wider range of titles across storefronts such as Steam, Epic Games Store and Origin. But neither of these laptops are serious gaming machines, as I've explained above.
The incoming macOS Big Sur update is going to be a part of a gigantic rethinking of the Mac. It gives the Apple desktop OS a more iPhone-like look, with squared icons and the Control Center. It's only one half of this fall's big change to the Mac: Apple Silicon will enable better battery life and faster performance, as well as emulation of iOS apps.
We appreciate how the new MacBook Pro resolves Apple's keyboard issue, but we really wish it came with 10th Gen Intel Processors standard, and didn't make you pay up to get them. And while it goes toe to toe with the Dell XPS 13 on battery life and performance, its superior screen isn't enough for this duel.
On the other side of the table, the Dell XPS 13 stands strong, like a mountain lion watching out for challengers to its throne. Its screen to body ratio is impressive, its battery life (with its 1080p screen) is phenomenal and it's available at much more affordable prices.