HP Spectre x360 13.5 vs. Dell XPS 13: which flagship should you buy?


In the event you’re seeking to purchase a premium, light-weight, 13-inch Home windows laptop computer with top-notch construct high quality and a recognizable model identify, I’ll guess that you just’ve been beneficial not less than one of many following two fashions: the Dell XPS 13 and the HP Spectre x360 13.5. These two laptops are the cream of the 13-inch Home windows laptop computer crop. They’re expensive, they’re light-weight, and so they’re pleasing to the eyes.

However what precisely are the variations between them, and which one do you have to select? I’ve spent period of time utilizing each of those gadgets, and I’m right here that will help you. A quick spoiler: the Spectre might be the one I’d purchase, because it has a number of benefits over the XPS (which its increased worth displays). It does, nevertheless, have one sizable drawback that try to be conscious of.

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Proper, let’s get this half out of the best way. You’ll be able to at the moment purchase a Spectre x360 13.5 with a Core i7, 16GB of reminiscence, and 1TB of storage (the configuration I examined) for $1,434.99. A equally specced XPS 13 has an MSRP of $1,449 however is at the moment discounted to $1,299 on Dell’s website. (The 1TB mannequin of the XPS 13 can solely be bought with 32GB of RAM.)

That’s a distinction of $135.99, which can range as reductions change. That extra cash doesn’t fully go to waste, although.

Feel and look

This can be the distinction between the XPS and the Spectre that can most affect your day by day life. They’ve very totally different visible vibes, and there’s no mistaking one for the opposite.

I want the look of the Spectre. It’s beautiful and complex. The black mannequin I’ve has gold accents across the touchpad, on the hinges, and in another alternative areas, and whereas they’re refined, they provide the gadget a suave C-Suite look. The place the Spectre is constructed to face out, the XPS is constructed to mix in. It has a bit extra of a plasticky really feel (although it’s not flimsy by any means) and extra of a generic aesthetic. It’s not ugly, however I wouldn’t flip to stare if I walked previous.

That mentioned, there’s one thing else that Dell’s chassis has going for it: it’s extra transportable. The Spectre is simply over three kilos, which is a bit on the heavy facet for contemporary 13-inchers. The XPS is nearly half a pound lighter, and that’s a distinction I really feel when carrying each laptops round in my backpack or tote.

The Spectre’s weight has finally been the first motive I’ve been avoiding buying it myself regardless of loving all the pieces else about it. It’s not heavy by any means, however I nonetheless like my ultraportables to be a bit extra comfy to elevate and carry with one arm. As somebody who does a number of commuting to and from the workplace, the XPS is simply far more nice to lug round.

I’ve additionally discovered that the XPS’s end scratches extra simply, whereas the Spectre’s is far more vulnerable to fingerprint smudging.

This was shot earlier than there have been too many fingerprints, however you possibly can spot some should you look intently.

Video calling expertise

The XPS’s webcam isn’t nice. It’s not horrible, but it surely’s not nice. My backgrounds had been typically fairly washed out after I used it for calls.

The Spectre’s, whereas not wonderful, is best. The picture it produces is far much less grainy, and it does a greater job with brilliant backgrounds. It additionally has a bodily shutter (managed through the keyboard), which simply offers me some peace of thoughts after I’m at residence.

Pictured: 50 % of the XPS’s port choice.

The Spectre additionally comes loaded with a set of “beautification” options that HP calls GlamCam. There’s one which’s just like Apple’s Heart Stage and follows you round should you’re on the transfer throughout your name. There’s a lighting correction filter, which by no means made that a lot distinction in my assessments. There’s a hilarious “BRB Mode” that, once you toggle it on, places “BRB” in your display screen should you… get uninterested in your Zoom name and have to duck out for a nap, I suppose? And there’s an look filter that “retouches” your face. There’s a separate dialogue available about whether or not it’s applicable for laptop computer producers to be governing these sorts of magnificence requirements, but when these results are one thing you need, you will get them on the Spectre.

The Spectre additionally has twice as many audio system because the XPS, and it sounds nice, with crisp audio and strong bass. The XPS’s audio isn’t horrible, however it’s a noticeable notch down, significantly when it comes to quantity. I typically had bother listening to my calls in public areas when utilizing that gadget.

3:2. One thing you don’t see a lot anymore.


HP wins right here. The XPS has a 1920 x 1200 IPS panel, and that’s all you will get. In order for you a higher-resolution OLED possibility, you’ll want to have a look at the dearer XPS 13 Plus. That gadget truly has a a lot higher-resolution OLED show, but it surely additionally has an invisible haptic touchpad, an LED perform row, and another odd stuff.

The Spectre I’ve has a 3000 x 2000 OLED display screen, and it’s divine. There’s barely any glare, even within the brightest doable settings. Colours are vivid, and particulars are crisp. I virtually want I didn’t must ship this unit again to HP as a result of I’ve such a good time it.

HP’s laptop computer additionally has a 3:2 facet ratio, whereas the XPS is 16:10. I want each of those to the basic outdated 16:9, however 3:2 offers you barely extra vertical room and is the one of many two that I’d select.

I want you lasted longer.

Battery life

Right here’s the place the Spectre runs into bother. I averaged simply over 4 hours from steady use of this OLED gadget. Regardless that it has a bigger battery than the XPS does, the high-resolution display screen is eagerly consuming up the battery.

That low battery life, whereas not essentially sudden given the display screen’s decision, is a serious hangup for such a dear gadget. It’s just about my solely vital criticism concerning the Spectre; if I had been in a position to get, say, 10 hours out of it, I’d be critically considering giving it a ten out of 10 rating. It’s a standout throughout many classes, however the quick lifespan makes it a tricky promote for people who could need to use it out and about.

The XPS did a lot better right here, averaging six hours and 42 minutes from the identical workload. That isn’t nice as XPS fashions of the previous few years have gone, but it surely is among the higher outcomes I’ve seen from a latest Home windows laptop computer. With Intel’s choices lately, all-day battery life on my private workload has turn into extra of a luxurious than a staple.


I don’t need to make too large of a deal about benchmark scores on these two gadgets, as neither is absolutely designed for use for lengthy durations of time beneath heavy hundreds. Nonetheless, for individuals who need to know, the scores are above.

The Spectre has a barely extra highly effective processor than is accessible within the XPS. The scores I acquired are comparable however not fairly the identical, with the Spectre popping out on high in virtually each case. In the event you plan on taking part in video games or exporting video as I did right here, you possibly can count on that the Spectre may be barely sooner. But when these are common duties for you, neither of those gadgets must be in your shortlist.

When it comes to basic use in Chrome, Safari, and such, I didn’t see a distinction. For workplace workloads and residential leisure, each of those computer systems are — and I can not stress this sufficient — high quality. One factor I did discover is that the Spectre is quieter than the XPS. Dell’s followers got here on fairly simply, like after a pair Chrome tabs, throughout my testing course of. The Spectre was cool and quiet all through my use, with noise solely obvious throughout heavy benchmarking. In the event you don’t like fan noise, the Spectre is the best way to go.

That is the one my coronary heart desires.

That is the one my pockets desires.

Which do you have to purchase?

Finally, the Spectre is a step up from the XPS in lots of necessary areas. It might be my hands-down advice.

Aside from that stinkin’ battery life. 4 hours is simply unlucky for a tool that’s nicely over $1,000. And the distinction between 4 and 6 hours may very well be the distinction between needing or not needing to deliver your charger to a espresso store, making it by means of a flight, or ending a college day. That issue alone is a large level within the XPS’s favor.

Regardless of that shortcoming, I nonetheless suppose the Spectre affords higher worth for its worth. Its construct high quality and facet ratio are pretty distinctive in at this time’s panorama. I believe it affords a package deal that’s troublesome to search out from different producers proper now, and HP is innovating with this in ways in which Dell hasn’t with this era of the old-school XPS. That makes me barely extra excited concerning the Spectre x360 this yr.

With that mentioned, I’d not fault somebody for going for the XPS as a substitute as a result of till HP figures out the right way to make a high-resolution OLED display screen play good with the 67Wh battery, that cheaper price and better battery life are fairly enticing. Whereas Dell’s machine is just not as thrilling or showy of a product, I wouldn’t be shocked if it finally ends up being a extra pragmatic purchase for many individuals.


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