That is no longer the case as Apple has rested on laurels for a few years while Windows PC makers have scrambled to improve their products to gain a bigger share of the premium market, even while the PC market itself continues to shrink. The best Windows notebook is not a Mac.
Personal computers in the 21st century come a number of ways. First, hardware, then software. All software is not created equally, either. Windows, macOS, various and sundry flavors of Linux and Unix (Chromebooks are built on Linux Inside). Neither is all hardware. These days we have PCs with Intel Inside, AMD inside, even ARM and other CPUs from smartphone component makers inside.
Davindra Hardawar thinks the Dell XPS 13 is the best Windows laptop. Even if it’s more notebook than laptop, I agree.
They’ve always been gorgeous and capable machines, with near bezel-less screens that other computer makers quickly copied. Most importantly, they brought an air of refinement to the Windows laptop market — something you could previously only find from Apple.
Apple’s Mac hardware game might be good but it no longer sets the standard. Dell?
This year’s XPS 13 comes in a slimmer and lighter package, weighing in at 2.7 pounds and measuring between 7.8 mm and 11.6 mm thick… you’ve got three USB-C ports, two of which are compatible with Intel’s Thunderbolt 3 standard, as well as a micro-SD card slot. And yes, you can charge from any of the USB-C connections.
By comparison, a 13-inch MacBook Pro is fatter and heavier and seems to be carrying more of the technology from the year before last rather than leading the industry.
You can choose between standard and touchscreen options, and there’s HDR support… a gorgeous 13.3-inch screen available in 1080p or 4K… It’s plenty fast, thanks to Intel’s eighth-generation processors.
The MacBook line still comes with 7th generation Intel Inside (or older; the Mac mini is 4th generation, yet still sold as new). What about battery life?
In our battery test, it lasted 9 hours and 50 minutes, which is better than the XPS 2-in-1 and the Zenbook 3, but less than what we’ve seen from the Surface Laptop and other premium notebooks. The somewhat average performance can be chalked up to the 4K display, which takes more power to drive.
I’m not sure how battery life works these days. Engadget’s tests show the Microsoft Surface Book 2 with almost 21 hours of battery life, while the best MacBook Pro model was under 12 hours.
XPS 13 starts at $999 with an 8th gen Core i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. That’s decent, but we’d recommend bumping up to the $1,200 model at least, which has 8GB of RAM and a faster 256GB SSD.
By comparison, a comparable MacBook Pro starts at $1,799. For an older Intel CPU, lesser graphics, but similar storage and RAM. Not considered in the comparison is Windows 10 vs. macOS High Sierra or Apple’s mobile device ecosystem.
Dell’s hardware might be as good as you can get for the money. Apple’s hardware might be a few years behind. Windows 10 is the best Windows version I’ve ever used. macOS High Sierra is not Mac OS X Snow Leopard.
Jealous? Yeah, a little.