Dell XPS 15 (9500) vs. MacBook Pro: Which should you buy?
Dell manages to pack everything you need from a powerful notebook into the XPS 15 to comfortably take on the MacBook Pro. You can enjoy a similar processing power, more RAM, and more storage for the same price.
From $1,274 at Dell
- Better value
- Latest Intel processors
- Dedicated NVIDIA GTX GPU
- Wide range of ports
- Faster RAM
- No physical store support
- No 64GB RAM option
Apple creates premium products and prices them accordingly. The MacBook Pro is a powerful machine on paper, rocking an 8-core processor, dedicated GPU, as well as 16GB of RAM, but you're also paying way more for additional features you may never use.
From $2,400 at Apple
- Intel Core i9 processor
- Dedicated AMD Radeon GPU
- Brick and mortar store support
- 64GB RAM option
- Huge 100Whr battery
- Worse value overall
- Need to use a dongle for most ports (HDMI, LAN, SD, etc.)
- Slower RAM
If you prefer Windows and getting more for your money, go with the Dell XPS 15. If you're locked into Apple's ecosystem, then the MacBook Pro will be the better choice.
When looking at the two different prices, you'd assume the MacBook Pro packs more of a punch, but throwing these two notebooks into the ring would result in a draw. The numbers don't lie.
|Dell XPS 15 (9570)||MacBook Pro|
|Processor||Up to 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10875H
2.3GHz (5.10GHz boost)
|Up to 9th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H
2.4GHz (5.0GHz boost)
|RAM||Up to 32GB
|Up to 64GB
|GPU||NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti
|Up to AMD Radeon Pro 5500M
3840 x 2160
|Storage||Up to 1TB M.2 PCIe||Up to 8TB SSD|
|Ports||2x Thunderbolt 3 with power delivery & DisplayPort
1x USB-C 3.1 with power delivery & DisplayPort
1x Full size SD card reader v6.0
1x 3.5mm combo jack
1x Wedge-shaped lock slot
|4x Thunderbolt (USB 3.1 Gen 2)
1x 3.5mm jack
|Wireless||Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2x2)
|Battery||Up to 86Whr||100Whr|
|Dimensions||0.71 x 13.57 x 9.06 inches (18 x 344.72 x 230.14 mm)||9.68 x 14.09 x 0.64 inches
(246 x 358 x 16 mm)
|Weight||Up to 4.55 lbs (2.05kg)||4.3lbs (2kg)|
The two notebooks are very similar, though the MacBook Pro can be equipped with a full 8TB worth of storage and an additional 32GB of RAM. That may not sound like much in the long run, but when you're doing intensive tasks like video editing, that extra RAM may come into play.
The Dell XPS 15 (9500) isn't slow, however. It too can hold up to 1TB of data and come with 32GB of RAM, but Dell uses faster RAM at 2933MHz vs. Apple's 2666MHz. It also uses a touch-enabled 4K display, whereas Apple uses a screen that has a lower resolution but is still decent in color testing. Still, working on both displays is a dream, so it's a tie with the screens. Dimensions and weight really don't mean much, nor does the battery since both notebooks should provide similar results. The differences between the GTX 1650 Ti and Radeon 5550M are also minimal.
Where this does matter is when you consider the price. The XPS 15 starts from around $1,300, while Apple charges $2,400 for the base model MacBook Pro. This is a solid deal for those who need capable portable PCs that can handle powerful software, but Dell simply provides more for your buck on paper.
Gorgeous aluminum design
The Dell XPS 15 sports Dell's current aluminum and carbon fiber design and Infinite display, both of which result in a gorgeous laptop. We're big fans of the XPS 13 design, and the XPS 15 is essentially the same notebook but with a larger chassis and display. At just 18 mm thick and weighing in at a whopping 2.0 kg, it's also great for taking on a work trip.
Apple's MacBook Pro looks similar, thanks to the familiar aluminum construction, but even the main plate around the keyboard and touchpad is aluminum, whereas the Dell XPS 15 is carbon fiber. This isn't a negative nor a positive of either laptop. It's a difference in design that lead you to prefer one or the other. The Pro also comes in space grey or silver.
Both are solid looking notebooks.
Windows vs. macOS
Comparing the operating system on desktops and laptops of today between the Windows and macOS camps isn't such a significant factor anymore simply because you should go with the OS you prefer using. You could create a list of all the features one does that the other doesn't, but there's no point in buying a laptop with an OS that you won't be able to get along with.
Both macOS and Windows 10 will be able to handle all your design print works, video editing, and other productivity tasks while on the go without issue, so long as you have the necessary tools and software installed. Where they differ is in the UI, how you install software, as well as other functions. For example, macOS is a little more secure and robust, while Windows 10 has way better software and gaming support.
If you like Microsoft's OS, go with Windows. Prefer Apple? Go macOS.
If you want to be smarter with your wallet and seek only the performance you require, the Dell XPS 15 line of notebooks is where you should look, especially if you have software that only runs on Windows. This notebook can be configured to handle everything from programming and design work to video editing. Just avoid using the oddly placed webcam.
Choosing the configuration that matches the MacBook Pro will save you money
The Dell XPS 15 has been praised here by us for being a great laptop for those wanting to do some more serious work than what the XPS 13 can comfortably crack on with. Rocking the latest in processor tech, as well as dedicated GPU and speedy RAM, it's a workhorse that can make mincemeat of even more demanding tasks.
There's only one Apple MacBook Pro
Those who simply enjoy using macOS and could see themselves taking advantage of the Touch Bar and other included features should consider the MacBook. You won't be getting the best internals for the price, but you will be getting a more feature-rich package as a result.
If you enjoy the macOS experience, you'll settle for nothing other than MacBook
Apple's MacBook Pro — at least the later revisions — isn't a slouch, but you'll be paying a premium for the badge, much like you would a new Mercedes-Benz. That said, it has everything you need for video editing and other power-hungry software, and you get to enjoy brick and mortar store support.
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