Dell and Apple have put out two of essentially the most cutting-edge laptops we’ve seen shortly. The Dell XPS 13 Plus and the M2 MacBook Air each push the boundaries of laptop computer design however in several methods. Which is extra forward-thinking and most worthy of your cash?
Having reviewed each gadgets myself, I’m prepared to put out the positives and negatives of each — and provide you with my finest advice for which you can purchase.
Each of those laptops are leading edge when it comes to appears and aesthetics. The MacBook Air M2 appears extra typical in that it takes plenty of the design components from the MacBook Professional 14 and 16-inch and interprets them right into a smaller measurement. That features the notch, the thinner bezels, the rounded corners, and the flat lid.
The XPS 13 Plus takes the XPS model in a wholly new route. A lot of the hallmarks of the model are gone, and it’s as adventurous as laptops get. The keyboard stretches from edge to edge, giving it a really fashionable look. The trackpad, in the meantime, is totally invisible. Just like the MacBook Air, it makes use of a haptic suggestions trackpad, that means there’s no bodily click on mechanism.
However the place the MacBook Air M2 stays a trailblazer is in measurement. At simply 0.44 inches thick, it’s by far the thinnest laptop computer of this sort. The one different laptops that come this shut are a few premium Chromebooks and a few nerfed Home windows laptops. Constructed across the effectivity of the M2 chip, the MacBook Air is ready to be extremely skinny with out sacrificing efficiency. On that degree alone, it’s a game-changer.
Whereas the XPS 13 Plus is pretty compact in its personal proper, it’s nearer to what you get with the M1 MacBook Air in that regard.
Keyboard and trackpad
These two gadgets function among the finest keyboards and trackpads on a laptop computer you should buy. There’s rather a lot in frequent about these pairs of inputs too. They each function 1mm of key journey within the keyboard and haptic suggestions trackpads.
There are two issues to contemplate in regards to the format of those keyboards, nonetheless. First, the MacBook Air features a row of full-size perform keys, versus the half-sized ones on the M1 MacBook Air. They make fast entry to brightness or quantity management simpler than ever. The Dell XPS 13 Plus takes the alternative strategy, by changing the perform keys with capacitive contact buttons. Although they didn’t hassle me as a lot as I believed they might, I vastly desire the bodily keys. The sunshine-up buttons actually look futuristic, although.
Lastly, I actually like how massive the keycaps are on the XPS 13 Plus. The “edge to edge” design means keys just like the Shift and Ctrl keys are additional large.
Each laptops are pretty minimalist in relation to ports. They each rely totally on USB-C, although there are a few essential distinctions. First off, each the MacBook Air M2 and the Dell XPS 13 Plus function two USB-C ports. The MacBook Air retains each on the left aspect, whereas the XPS 13 Plus has one of many left and one on the best. I desire the XPS 13 Plus on this regard, clearly, only for comfort’s sake.
The XPS 13 Plus has one other benefit over the MacBook Air although with the capabilities of those ports. The MacBook Air can nonetheless solely help a single exterior monitor as much as 4K, whereas the XPS 13 Plus can deal with two. That’s pretty essential for folks trying to dock their laptops and use them as an at-home workstation.
In fact, the MacBook Air M2 additionally comes with its MagSafe 3 energy connector, which may unencumber one among your USB-C ports for different connections. It additionally comes with a headphone jack, which the XPS 13 Plus leaves out utterly. Whereas Dell throws in a free USB-C adapter within the field, you would end up with very restricted ports in case you’re utilizing one for audio and one for energy.
Show and webcam
The MacBook Air has only a single show on provide: the 2560 x 1664, 13.6-inch “Liquid Retina” panel. It’s a fantastic display screen that goes as much as 486 nits of brightness. It doesn’t have the unimaginable HDR efficiency of the 14-inch MacBook Professional, however neither does the XPS 13 Plus.
There are various totally different display screen choices with the XPS 13 Plus. I examined the three.5K OLED display screen choice, which is the best choice when it comes to picture high quality. You can even go for both a decrease decision LED panel or a better decision 4K LED configuration. The three.5K OLED display screen isn’t fairly as brilliant because the MacBook Air, nevertheless it has higher colour saturation and accuracy than the MacBook Air. In fact, as a result of it’s OLED, it additionally has deeper black ranges and higher distinction.
It’s additionally a contact panel, which the MacBook Air nonetheless doesn’t provide.
As for webcams, the MacBook Air is the far superior choice. It’s 1080p versus 720p, and gives much better low-light efficiency for video calls.
Efficiency and battery life
In nearly all circumstances, the MacBook Air M2 is the extra highly effective laptop computer. Which may come at a shock, contemplating how a lot thinner the chassis is and the way for much longer the battery life is. And but, whether or not it’s uncooked single-core muscle in benchmarks, GPU efficiency, or video modifying in Premiere Professional, the MacBook Air M2 is the extra highly effective laptop computer. For instance, the MacBook Air M2 is 54% sooner at exporting timelines in Premiere Professional. Even within the XPS 13 Plus’ efficiency mode, the M2 continues to be 36% sooner with exports.
The MacBook Air additionally manages to stay a cooler laptop computer on the surface. Whereas internally it might probably get fairly sizzling, the MacBook Air’s floor temperatures keep amazingly cool, particularly within the palm rests. It doesn’t have a fan, both, which implies it’s a far quieter laptop computer than the XPS 13 Plus.
There are some caveats to those claims, although. First off, the configuration I examined was not the bottom mannequin, which reportedly options nerfed efficiency in a few totally different areas. It solely has an eight-core GPU, and the SSD has only a single NAND chip. This has resulted in considerably worse storage efficiency, which has an impact on duties like file transfers — or something that is determined by having fast entry to the SSD.
This doesn’t affect battery life, although. No matter what configuration you purchase, the MacBook Air M2 delivers unimaginable battery life — particularly in comparison with the Dell XPS 13 Plus. It’ll final 18 hours in comparison with the eight hours of the Dell XPS 13 Plus. It’s not even in the identical league.
When deciding between these two laptops, most individuals will defer to whichever working system they’re extra snug with. And in each circumstances, you’re getting a wonderful, high-end laptop computer.
As a lot as I just like the boldness of the XPS 13 Plus’ design, in case you actually wish to evaluate them aspect by aspect, the MacBook Air M2 is clearly the higher laptop computer. It’s sooner, lasts considerably longer on a cost, and even gives a much better video conferencing and media expertise. Curiously sufficient, the 2 laptops are additionally equally priced, relying on the configuration.