Dell recently unveiled the XPS 13 2-in-1 at CES 2017, more or less adding the whole convertible laptop deal to the original XPS 13, and because of that, it's now on the same playing field as Microsoft's Surface Pro 4.
Even though the Surface Pro 4 rolled out way back in 2015, it's still capable of standing up to most of the hybrid machines today.
On that note, here are some points between the two that consumers typically compare when in the market for a new device, from specs and price to the design and features.
Fanless Configuration Sacrifices Performance
The XPS 13 is loaded with Intel's seventh-generation chips or Kaby Lake, and particularly speaking, these are the i5-7Y54 and i7-7Y75. Packed with the low-voltage Y-series, Dell's 2-in-1 is running without fans, which is good when it comes to portability and A-OK for light usage but not so much for intensive tasks.
Meanwhile, the Surface Pro 4 is available in configurations with m3-6Y30, i5-6300U, and i7-6650U. Just to be clear, the base model is also fanless since it uses an M-series processor, and speaking of which, it's the new option that doesn't come with a Surface Pen.
In terms of specs, the distinction between the two mainly lies in the chips that power them. Across the board, they are pretty similar — RAM that ranges from 4 GB to 16 GB, SSD that goes from 128 GB to 512 GB (though the Surface Pro 4 has a 1 TB option), and Intel HD Graphics.
Display: The Viewing Experience
While the XPS 13 can have either a 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) or QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) display, the Surface Pro 4 comes only with a 12.3-inch PixelSense Display with a 2,736 x 1,824 resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio, which might take some getting used to.
Now the XPS 13 is fitted with hinges that allow it to swing 360 degrees, and that means it essentially has three modes in store: laptop, tent, and tablet modes.
On the other side of the fence, the Surface Pro 4 relies on its kickstand to provide a wide range of viewing angles.
Ports: Is It Time For A Dongle Life?
Regarding ports, Microsoft managed to pack in one full-size USB 3.0. Meanwhile, Dell also equipped the XPS 13 with not one but two USB-C ports, one of which is compatible with Thunderbolt 3.0. However, the machine is way too thin for two full-size ports, but it's packaged with a USB-C to USB-A adapter, though.
Both of them have a microSD card reader.
Battery Life: How Long The Convertible Laptops Can Go
Dell claims that the XPS 13 can last up to 10 hours when streaming and up to 15 hours when using Word or other productivity apps. On the other hand, Microsoft says the Surface Pro 4 is rated to keep the lights on for up to nine hours. Put simply, Dell takes the cake on this one — on paper, at the very least.
Price: How Much You're Going To Fork Over
The XPS 13 starts at $999.99 and tops out at $1,799.99. That's from the base model with i5-7Y54, 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB SSD, and FHD display to the high-end variant with the i7-7Y75, 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB SSD, and QHD+.
Now the Surface Pro 4 starts at $799, and that's the m3-6Y30 model with 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB SSD minus the Surface Pen. If money is no object, there's the i7-6650U variant with 16 GB of RAM and 1 TB SSD for $2,599, but even at that price, it doesn't come with the Type Cover, which is $129.99.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to the midrange and topped-out variants, the Surface Pro 4 is faster and has a full-size USB port. It's the pick for those looking for a mix of portability and performance. However, the XPS 13 can offer a better typing experience than Microsoft's Type Cover and the QHD+ option is an assurance for a clear-cut display.
Design is subjective, so we can't really say which one comes out on top, though it's worth pointing out that the XPS 13 has some gorgeous narrow bezels.
Long story short, the XPS 13 is winning in terms of updated hardware components, keyboard offering, and QHD+ display, but the Surface Pro 4 still offers what the people want from a 2-in-1: a full-size USB port to avoid the dongle life and enough processing power to replace a laptop.
With the details we have here, the Surface Pro 4 beats the XPS 13, but not by a mile.