While lots of PC manufacturers design many offerings to compete with MacBooks, many end up falling short. This tends to be especially true when it comes to the look and feel of the product. The new Dell XPS 17 combats this with incredibly small bezels that give it a form-factor close to what you’d find in most 15-inch laptops. For some, this will make it one of the strongest 16-inch MacBook Pro competitors out there. So how does it stack up next to Apple’s most powerful laptop? Keep reading to find out.
Design and connectivity
Let’s get this out of the way. The edge-to-edge display in the new Dell XPS 17 looks to be downright gorgeous. By shrinking the bezels, Dell has managed to deliver a 17-inch laptop that measures 9.76- by 14.74- by 0.77-inches and weighs as little as 4.65-pounds. Despite having a screen that’s an inch smaller, Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro only narrowly wins in this category measuring 9.68- by 14.09- by 0.64-inches with a weight of 4.3-pounds.
When it comes to connectivity, Dell XPS 17 and the 16-inch MacBook Pro are once again strikingly similar. Both feature four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports and a 3.5mm audio port, but Dell comes out on top thanks to the inclusion of an SD card reader.
Processor, memory, and storage
Right out of the gate, Apple proves to be a challenging competitor by adding internals that are more high-end than what Dell does. The entry-level MacBook Pro has a 2.6GHz 6‑core Intel Core i7 processor while Dell’s base model sticks with a 2.5GHz 4-core Intel Core i5 CPU. Both can be upgraded, but only Apple offers an i9 configuration.
As with the CPU, both memory and storage start out higher on the MacBook Pro, clocking in at 16GB and 512GB, respectively. This is compared to a minimal 8GB and 256GB on the Dell XPS 17. While this seems like a loss for Dell, both RAM and NVMe storage are user-upgradable, paving the way for a much more affordable way to spec out your new computer as the need arises.
Display, battery life, and graphics
With Apple being known for Retina displays, it should not come as a shock that all models of the 16-inch MacBook Pro have a clear 3072‑by‑1920 resolution screen compared to the entry level Dell at 1920 x 1200. Those looking for a clearer display can upgrade to a touch-friendly 3840 x 2400 option, something that’s not at all available in Apple’s offerings.
The Dell XPS 17 has up to a 97WHr battery while the MacBook Pro reaches a bit higher with its 100WHr offering. Actual usage results are bound to vary, but by sticking with a 1200p display, Dell appears to have pummeled Apple here with “up to 25-hour battery life” considering the MacBook Pro tops out at 11-hours.
Despite having a large form-factor, the Dell XPS 17 does not start out with a discrete graphics card. You’ll need to pay extra for that, unlike Apple which includes discrete graphics in every model. The Dell tops out at NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6 with Max-Q while Apple delivers a maximum offering of AMD’s Radeon Pro 5500M 8GB GDDR6.
This is where Dell XPS 17 wins. When we originally covered Dell’s announcement, it was slated to start at $1,500. Now that it’s officially launched, this PC surprisingly starts at $1,400. That’s $1,000 less than the base 16-inch MacBook Pro’s official price. Yes, Apple’s does start out with higher specifications, but by letting users upgrade storage and memory themselves, there’s next to no way the sheer value can be beaten here.
I’ve been a Mac user for 13-years now and I’m not joking when I say that I find the Dell XPS 17 to be one of the most compelling alternatives I’ve ever seen. It looks fantastic and is said to deliver mind-blowing 25-hour battery life, a feature that I chase down more and more all the time.
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