Updated: May 12
As per Our Opinions:
We’ve already run the numbers on the Dell XPS 13 and the 13-inch MacBook Pro, but now it’s time for the two bigger models to face off.
Apple and Dell have adopted completely different philosophies in the building of their two laptops. While Apple has gone with a tried and tested aluminium unibody design, Dell has opted for an aluminium lid and carbon fibre-coated wrist rest and keyboard tray, with a metal base.
Both are exceptionally pretty and well-built machines so there’s no real loser here. Aside from the obvious operating system difference – you’ll have to make up your own mind whether you want macOS Sierra or Windows 10 – the two machines’ technical specifications and build quality need a close look to understand what you’re getting for your money.
There are four specified Dell XPS 15s available and three 15-inch MacBook Pros.
As ever, this is where things get messy. With a variety of different processors available on both devices, let’s keep it simple. The least powerful MacBook Pro gets a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with a maximum Turbo Boost speed of 3.4GHz. This is only slightly slower than the fastest Dell XPS 15, whose Core i7 has a maximum Turbo Boost of 3.5GHz.
Beyond that, every upgrade to the MacBook Pro 15’s processor makes it faster than the Dell XPS 15. Still, both devices are highly capable and will have no problem editing Ultra HD video.
In the graphics department, things are less clear cut. The MacBook Pro 15 debuts AMD’s Radeon Pro graphics brand, with a choice of three chips on board. There are a pair of 2GB GPUs and a third 4GB model called the 460, but this is an upgrade you’ll have to pay for. The Dell XPS 15, meanwhile, gets a 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M in all models. The cheapest MacBook Pro 15-inch is more expensive that the second-from-top-end Dell XPS 15, which is slightly more powerful than its Apple-made rival, so at that end of the market the Dell would seem to be better value.
However, as you move beyond the bottom-spec MacBook, the additional 8GB of RAM, faster processors and super-bright screen start to become more attractive. Without having reviewed the MacBook Pro, a final judgement call is hard.
Both the Dell XPS 15 and MacBook Pro 15 are capable video and photo editing workstations, and spending more on the MacBook gets you the clever Touch Bar, a thinner and (at the top-end) lighter design. Right at the very top of the range, the Dell once again seems better value with its huge 32GB of RAM, which will be very helpful for a lot of people.