Comparing the Dell XPS 13 9370 versus Apple's 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited July 2018
Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar gets some pretty substantial improvements for 2018, with a beefier processor, faster GPU and new True Tone display. The upgrades bring the small form factor Pro on par with Dell's XPS 13, our all-time favorite Windows laptop. But which one is right for you?





In an earlier comparison of the previous generation 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar and a comparable XPS 13-inch, Apple's notebook edged out the Dell in a few key categories. The base 13-inch MacBook Pro is completely unchanged from last year, so if you're in the market for a computer in the $1300 price range, it's worth a look.




The 13-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pro for $1,799 has seen some massive updates, so this time it will be compared to the $1,799 version of Dell's XPS 13.

As Dell is constantly having sales on their laptops, you can probably find the 9370 on offer at a much lower price.

Big differences

The main differences between both computers is that the Dell comes with double the SSD storage and a 4K-resolution display instead of a 2.5K display on the MacBook Pro.The XPS is also smaller and lighter than the MacBook, even though it has the same 13-inch screen, thanks to the infinity edge design

Most would agree that the XPS's design isn't as nice as the MacBook's beautiful all aluminum build, but it still looks and feels great.




The MacBook has a larger 58 Watt-hour battery, compared to 52 on the Dell. It also includes a higher-wattage USB-C charger. Either way, battery life is great on both laptops.

The XPS has three USB-C ports, two of which support Thunderbolt 3, and a microSD card slot, along with a USB-A adapter that ships with it in the box. The MacBook Pro has four Thunderbolt 3 ports, meaning you can connect more demanding devices like eGPUs or 5K displays.

Performance

Both machines come with 8 gigabytes of RAM, but the MacBook's memory is clocked slightly faster.

The new Touch Bar 13-inch MacBook Pro is now powered by Intel's 8th generation i5 quad-core processor, comparable to the XPS's quad-core i7. The base clock speed is quite a bit higher on the Mac, but the XPS boosts to a slightly higher 4.0GHz.




In the first benchmark, Geekbench 4's CPU test, both laptops turned in nearly the exact same single-core score, However, the MacBook Pro completely destroyed the XPS in multi-core tests.

Taking a look at Cinebench R15, the MacBook Pro scored 621 points, compared to 598 on the XPS. It's close, but there's no doubt that the MacBook Pro has a faster CPU.

Testing graphics performance, the MacBook Pro again defeats the XPS with a score of 32,831 against 22,008.

The MacBook Pro is the obvious choice for performance. In everything from light gaming to video editing, it comes out on top. It then becomes a case of looking at the rest of the MacBook Pro's features to see if it's worth the extra cash.

Keyboards and Trackpad

Apple has updated the keyboard to include silicone barriers under each key, potentially protecting the key switches from dust. While Apple has not officially confirmed the purpose of the barriers, they could address keyboard issues that popped up in older butterfly key MacBooks.




The XPS keys are fairly quiet with good travel and a quality feel resulting in a keyboard we think most will prefer compared to Apple's minimal-travel butterfly keys.

The XPS's trackpad is likely one of the best for Windows laptops, but it's a huge step behind Apple's Force Touch trackpad, one that's twice as large and has perfectly even input no matter where you press. Feedback can also be adjusted to a user's preference, and honestly, nothing else compares.


Audio, Touch Bar, and T2

In our previous comparison, the 13-inch base MacBook Pro's speakers blew the XPS out of the water. For 2018, the MacBook Pro's speakers have been updated with great improvements in the bass and mids. Volume on the XPS is good enough for most situations but the sound quality is subpar and the speakers fire to the sides. The MacBook speakers face the user and are louder with much more bass, clean mids and crisper highs.

The Touch Bar MacBook Pro obviously comes with the Touch Bar, but without wide third-party app support, its utility is very limited. MacBook also boasts a fingerprint scanner in Touch ID, a function mirrored by a generic scanner on the XPS.




However, the Touch Bar model comes with Apple's T2 chip, which takes care of a bunch of system controllers so the CPU doesn't have to handle those tasks. The list includes automatic SSD encryption that doesn't slow down the SSD, previously one of the biggest drawbacks of encrypting Mac storage.

The T2 chip also enables "Hey Siri" on the MacBook, and when macOS Mojave arrives this fall, it can be used to control your HomeKit devices.

The Dell's almost bezel-less design is striking, but it also forces the webcam down next to the hinge. This makes for a very unflattering perspective that could be a dealbreaker for those who use the webcam often. Apple's version not only sports a better and higher viewing angle, but also tops the Dell in video and sound quality.




One of our favorite features on the XPS is Windows Hello sign in. While not as advanced as Face ID, the software-based bio-recognition function works incredibly well. Unfortunately, Apple's new MacBook Pro didn't get Face ID like we hoped it would, so the XPS wins there.

Screens

Both of these machines fall into the 13-inch category, but the MacBook's screen is slightly larger and uses a 16:10 format resulting in extra vertical space. Because of this, the MacBook Pro has just over 22 percent more surface area when compared to the XPS 13-inch, which is closer to the 12-inch Retina MacBook in terms of usability.

The XPS features a beautiful 4K display, which obviously tops the MacBook Pro's 2.5K display. On top of that, it's more color accurate, with 100-percent sRGB color.

The XPS is advertised at 400 nits of brightness, but many reviewers rated it at about 350 nits. The MacBook Pro comes out at an accurate 500 nits of brightness, so it will be much better for outdoor use.




The 2018 MacBook Pro now comes with True Tone, a feature that automatically adjusts the screen's color temperature to match the ambient light in your room, so it'll look more natural. For anyone doing professional editing work that requires accurate color reproduction, switching True Tone on is a bad idea.

Although the 4K display on the XPS is nice, it's ultimately going to affect battery life, and for a screen so small, 4K isn't as noticeable as it would be on a larger display.

In Summary

Dell has done a great job creating and updating the 13-inch XPS. Not only is it thinner, lighter, and smaller than Apple's latest 13-inch MacBook Pro, but it's got a better keyboard, better display, and better sign-on tech.




However, the 2018 MacBook Pro is much more powerful, with a better trackpad, much better speakers, better camera, the dedicated T2 chip, True Tone display and arguably better design.

The choice you make will ultimately come down to what features you care about most. Although the operating system comes down to personal preference, almost everyone can admit that Windows 10 experiences a lot more issues and glitches compared to macOS, and to me, that's the most important factor of all.

Where to buy

The Dell XPS 13 9370 can be configured to your liking at Dell Home. At press time, the system qualifies for an additional $50 off with coupon code 50OFF699. B&H Photo also carries several configurations with instant discounts of up to $700 off MSRP.

Apple's 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is also on sale with $50 off coupon code APINSIDER at Adorama. For step-by-step instructions on how to redeem the coupon, please see our how-to guide.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 66
    tjwolftjwolf Posts: 303member
    You mention the XPS has double the SSD storage - but you didn’t give any information about their relative performances.  Not all SSDs are created equal.  Personal example: started a new job last year and they gave me a super powerful Lenovo Windows desktop w. 64gb RAM and a 1TB SSD.  A complete build of our application  - very IO intensive activity -  took 15 seconds.  Very fast compared to my colleague’s hard disk based times (30+ seconds).   When I needed to replace it with a laptop, I got a 2017 15” MBP with 16gb RAM and a 512gb SSD.   It builds the same application in 7 seconds flat.  Because the SSDs in Macs are the fastest on the planet.
    racerhomie3AvieshekbackstabchiaStrangeDaysredgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 66
    tjwolf said:
    You mention the XPS has double the SSD storage - but you didn’t give any information about their relative performances.  Not all SSDs are created equal.  Personal example: started a new job last year and they gave me a super powerful Lenovo Windows desktop w. 64gb RAM and a 1TB SSD.  A complete build of our application  - very IO intensive activity -  took 15 seconds.  Very fast compared to my colleague’s hard disk based times (30+ seconds).   When I needed to replace it with a laptop, I got a 2017 15” MBP with 16gb RAM and a 512gb SSD.   It builds the same application in 7 seconds flat.  Because the SSDs in Macs are the fastest on the planet.
    The XPS SSD was actually just as fast, so we didn't add it into the vid.
    appleismymiddlenamechiaGeorgeBMacaylkmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 3 of 66
    toysandmetoysandme Posts: 223member
    Can this Mac run Windows as well as the Dell?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 66
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,697member
    It’s interesting to see what the “best” of the competition has to offer, and nice to compare non-OS factors, but for me the comparison starts and stops with operating system. But even if it didn’t, I can natively run all three of the major OSes on only one of these machines.
    baconstangbackstabtoysandmelamboaudi4StrangeDaysGeorgeBMacredgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 66
    toysandme said:
    Can this Mac run Windows as well as the Dell?
    Probably better. Mac has a better Windows driver update system than Windows does lol.

    Very easy to set Windows up using bootcamp.
    racerhomie3backstabchiatoysandmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 66
    GeiersteinGeierstein Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    "The XPS is also smaller and lighter than the MacBook, even though it has the same 13-inch screen..." vs "Both of these machines fall into the 13-inch category, but the MacBook's screen is slightly larger and uses a 16:10 format resulting in extra vertical space. Because of this, the MacBook Pro has just over 22 percent more surface area when compared to the XPS 13-inch..." Different authors? Schizophrenic?
    edited July 2018 bdkennedy1002thtd_2StrangeDaysaylkwatto_cobra[Deleted User]
  • Reply 7 of 66
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 1,166member
    God knows how many corners the Dell is cutting. They are not usually reliable.
    Avieshekredgeminipamacxpresswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 66
    "The XPS is also smaller and lighter than the MacBook, even though it has the same 13-inch screen..." vs "Both of these machines fall into the 13-inch category, but the MacBook's screen is slightly larger and uses a 16:10 format resulting in extra vertical space. Because of this, the MacBook Pro has just over 22 percent more surface area when compared to the XPS 13-inch..." Different authors? Schizophrenic?
    They are both able to report a 13” screen, but each laptop uses a different shape to achieve that 13” area. The XPS screen is a longer, shorter rectangle than the MacBook, so the diagonal measurement is still around 13” same as the MacBook, but the usable screen area is still a noticeable amount less.
    watto_cobramuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 9 of 66
    RTCRTC Posts: 14member
    I bought a Surface 4 Pro recently, fastest configuration available (i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD) because I needed a Windows computer for some work related stuff. Nice hardware, quality top notch but Windows? Oh boy, so bad... I am used to the lag free iOS and MacOS operation but it seems I forgot how annoying Windows can be in this regard. Pretty annoying also the Surface Pencil, not even close to Apple's pencil.
    Overall, I regret getting the Surface Pro, even if I got it at a special sale here in Germany for under 2000 EUR. Conclusion: You cannot really compare a Windows laptop to a MacOS device, it makes no sense. DELL offers some nice hardware but as long as Windows sucks...
    dewmewilliamlondonaylkmike54watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 66
    seankillseankill Posts: 492member
    toysandme said:
    Can this Mac run Windows as well as the Dell?
    Probably better. Mac has a better Windows driver update system than Windows does lol.

    Very easy to set Windows up using bootcamp.
    This has not been my experience. I find the windows on Mac experience to be subpar to windows on an OEM windows machine. A good example is poor battery life because of boot camp lacking the drivers to enable auto graphics switching on windows. My 2012 just runs the discrete Nvidia. Other issues with minors errors and sleep issues from time to time. 
    Runs well but not as well
    toysandme
  • Reply 11 of 66
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,722member
    AppleInsider said:

    The XPS has three USB-C ports, two of which support Thunderbolt 3, and a microSD card slot, along with a USB-A adapter that ships with it in the box. The MacBook Pro has four Thunderbolt 3 ports, meaning you can connect more demanding devices like eGPUs or 5K displays.
    Nice review! While it’s true that the MacBook has more high speed ports, this is only an issue if you need to connect 3 or 4 high bandwidth devices. I suspect very few people will want to connect anything more than an external monitor and hard drive, so the practical difference here is negligible. 

    Regarding the memory, I don’t know if this still applies or not, as I haven’t used windows machines in years, but it used to be that windows was such a resource hog that you could count on needing 1½ - 2x more memory for equivalent performance wiht a windows machine compared to a Mac.

    FaceId really is a non-issue, IMO. Between my Apple Watch and TouchID, signin on my 15” MacBook Pro is virtually effortless.

    Finally, I have to wonder if Dell’s thin bezel design would make the screen more prone to damage in a laptop. Most people are certainly careful with their machines, but the inevitable ding on the corner may be more likely to cause an issue with such a thin bezel. (This is purely speculative - I haven’t heard any stories either way)

    ultimately this is really an academic discussion for most people, since they decide on a platform first, then a machine second.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 66
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,045member
    "Both of these machines fall into the 13-inch category, but the MacBook's screen is slightly larger and uses a 16:10 format resulting in extra vertical space. Because of this, the MacBook Pro has just over 22 percent more surface area when compared to the XPS 13-inch, which is closer to the 12-inch Retina MacBook in terms of usability."

    Nowadays Windows users spend more time watching movies than Mac users. lol MacBooks are more suitable for work. But today a lot of workers spend a lot of time not on work. lol
    williamlondon
  • Reply 13 of 66
    [quote]The XPS features a beautiful 4K display, which obviously tops the MacBook Pro's 2.5K display. On top of that, it's more color accurate, with 100-percent sRGB color. [/quote] MacBook Pro supports P3 wide color, which is a much bigger color space than sRGB.
    edited July 2018 toysandmecgWerksfrantisek
  • Reply 14 of 66
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,887member
    I prefer the dimensions of the MacBook Pro screen, but the infinity edge is nice. The deal breaker though is the webcam placement because of the the infinity edge screen. Eeeew!
    edited July 2018 mike54watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 66
    Dell XPS 13” coil whine issue : 
    https://youtu.be/blyswNKEPEY
    https://youtu.be/ATxR9FyBrVw
    https://youtu.be/1sW3O63bGr0

    Has this problem been fixed ? Is the problem present on the MacBook Pro?
    edited July 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 66
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 933member
    I'll agree with the AI writer: Mac trackpads are the best and everything else pales in comparison. The Mac trackpad, even the one on my 2009 MBP, is my favorite pointing/clicking device of all time. I can't stand the puny one on my Dell work laptop. I've noticed almost nobody uses a mouse while mobile on a Mac yet 80% of the time I see people crack out a mouse with a non-Apple laptop.

    If I were a frequent user of FaceTime-like applications for video calls then I certainly wouldn't like the "up the nose" perspective of the low mounted camera. Hopefully Apple doesn't follow this trend.
    liketheskydewmechiatoysandmeStrangeDaysentropysbigbillygoatgruffwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 66
    henrybayhenrybay Posts: 106member
    If Apple doesn’t increase the travel on its keyboards soon, I will probably move to a product like this Dell. I have been using Apple products for decades, but when they drastically reduced the amount of travel on the keys - the prime interface - I have found the latest MacBooks to be unsuitable for extended typing. 

    The other improvements to the MacBook, such as great screen, more power, faster processor, excellent trackpad - are all welcome. But the lack of a decent keyboard is a dealbreaker. 
    toysandmewilliamlondon
  • Reply 18 of 66
    What about the elephant in the room? Overheating. The MacBook Pro obviously doesn't live up to its potential. I haven't read one review where the MacBook Pro has been able to reach its advertised clock speed.
    edited July 2018 williamlondon
  • Reply 19 of 66
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,026member
    Older versions of Macbook Pro without Touch bar and whatever keyboard had was good design. I really don't like or care touch bar so please offer Macbook Pro like what it used to be with newer internal  hardware.

    williamlondon
  • Reply 20 of 66
    AsParallelAsParallel Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    It's not remotely the same size screen. The 13" on the MacBook has 10% more surface area. The Dell would need a 14.3" screen to have the same actual screen size.
    williamlondonmike54watto_cobra
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