News MacBook Air M1 vs. Dell XPS 13: Which laptop is best?

Nov 21, 2020
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Corrections:
  1. the XPS can be configured with 32 GB of DRAM; the Apple cannot
  2. value? You can get the XPS with 32 GB of memory and a 1 TB SSD FOR $1599 or that plus a 4K+ screen for $1999 from Costco with a 4-year warranty. That smashes a similarly configured MacBook.
The Apple’s battery life is enviable. Can’t wait to see some non-synthetic performance reviews comparing performance with common, non-Apple apps and beyond ‘look at how many tabs of Chrome I can open at once’ tests.
 
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Nov 21, 2020
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This comparison gave both the new macbook air (which I own) and dell xps 13 (which I also own) a score of 4 for software...... even after noting m1's software limitations and compatibility issues and mentioning dell xps is fully compatible with everything. the xps should have gotten a 9 at least, vs 4 for macbook.
 
Nov 21, 2020
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Corrections:
  1. the XPS can be configured with 32 GB of DRAM; the Apple cannot
  2. value? You can get the XPS with 32 GB of memory and a 1 TB SSD FOR $1599 or that plus a 4K+ screen for $1999 from Costco with a 4-year warranty. That smashes a similarly configured MacBook.
The Apple’s battery life is enviable. Can’t wait to see some non-synthetic performance reviews comparing performance with common, non-Apple apps and beyond ‘look at how many tabs of Chrome I can open at once’ tests.
For me it was the reverse. I waited to hear about Chrome on M1 before I ordered. Happy Chrome, happy wife.
 
Nov 22, 2020
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Corrections:
  1. the XPS can be configured with 32 GB of DRAM; the Apple cannot
  2. value? You can get the XPS with 32 GB of memory and a 1 TB SSD FOR $1599 or that plus a 4K+ screen for $1999 from Costco with a 4-year warranty. That smashes a similarly configured MacBook.
The Apple’s battery life is enviable. Can’t wait to see some non-synthetic performance reviews comparing performance with common, non-Apple apps and beyond ‘look at how many tabs of Chrome I can open at once’ tests.
  1. macOS is much more optimized than Windows, just like how iOS beats Android with its much less RAM.
  2. MacBook Air with 1TB SSD and 16 GB RAM costs $1599. Considering how well macOS is optimized on ARM architecture, in terms of real-world performances, it is basically equivalent to 32GB RAM on Windows. That said, the prices are identical.
 
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Nov 21, 2020
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I just realized you weighted software with 5 points... convenient. The biggest drawback of the M1 is software compatibility, however you shrank the weight of software on this to 5 points. Terrible comparison.
 
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varase

Estimable
Oct 29, 2016
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I just realized you weighted software with 5 points... convenient. The biggest drawback of the M1 is software compatibility, however you shrank the weight of software on this to 5 points. Terrible comparison.
Here's the thing - most everything that is incompatible now will be updated to compatibility in the near future ... and a lot of the software tested here was probably transcompiled from x64 to Apple Silicon's AArch64 (involving a 30-35% or so performance hit) - so the blistering performance exhibited here will only get faster as Universal 2 versions become available.

Chances are the M1 MacBook Air will never really get slow despite feature creep within the ownership window due to its outstanding performance, whereas you can't really say the same for the Dell - even with the strongest CPU available (which pushes up the price).

The Air comes with one CPU - and that CPU beats the pants of the strongest one you can get in the Dell. You can get CPUs which will beat the M1, but they won't fit into the Dell and would burn up with the Dell's cooling system. Add to that the fact that the Air is an all day sucker and you're drawn to the inevitable conclusion that if you're OS and architecture agnostic, the Air does a much better job of being a small portable highly performance and efficient laptop.

Expect to see a lot more of this in the future as Apple Silicon expands its presence throughout all the performance classes of consumer computers.
 
Jan 1, 2021
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With its blazing new M1 processor, the new MacBook Air is a serious challenger to the Dell XPS 13’s throne.

MacBook Air M1 vs. Dell XPS 13: Which laptop is best? : Read more
If the rating was really done fair, it would be a Tie or XPS would win,
XPS consistently can get get 11 to 12 hours battery life and the M1 can get 12 to 14 hours and the M1 gets a 20 while the Dell loses 5 point despite its one of the best windows battery life? Please difference should have been 3 points at most.
How can price and value not be the same? Lost me on the display rating too, Dell has a 4k option this is the best in industry I have one and its beautiful a 15 for sure, performance? The 11th gen i5 and i7 are amazing yet I would give the M1 a higher rating but more like M1 20 EVO 18, by my recalculation XPS WINS
 
Nov 15, 2020
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Fair comparison, but there's one big problem with the MB Air, and that's the inability to run x86(64) Windows in a VM for those of us that need an occasional Windows program. I wanted my MBA to be my traveling computer, but it can't until it can do that. I have Windows laptops available so I took a chance on buying the MBA, but there's no way I'm going to buy another one until I can run what I need.

Yes, I know it's a different CPU, but there's always emulation and translation. QEMU via UTM can almost do the job already, but no networking, and it really needs drivers to run in the VM to get decent speed. (Like the VPC additions, vmware tools, ...)

Windows on Arm in a VM isn't an option until 2 things happen -- first being that Microsoft has to decide to sell it as individual licenses, and 2nd, it's got to get a whole lot better!
 
Aug 14, 2021
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You need to address the large lifetime cost advantage of Macbook Air over XPS. For Dell, you have to pay at least $70 a year for Office. MBA has Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for free. Giving them equal score for software VERY misleading.
 
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