MacBook Pro vs. Surface Pro 7 vs. Dell XPS 13

MacBook Pro vs. Surface Pro 7 vs. Dell XPS 13

Looking to upgrade to a new model laptop but unsure which brand is right for you? Computer specs can be confusing, and you may often be left feeling unsure of what to spend on and what not to. In this article we’re breaking down the industry’s current top models of each big competing brand to help you make a more informed decision. 


We’re comparing the newest MacBook Pro, Surface Pro, and Dell XPS. 


Storage

MacBook Pro: 128, 256, 512

Surface Pro 7: 128, 256, 512, 1TB

XPS 13: 256

While the Surface Pro 7 has the most options for storage, 256GB is plenty of space for an average laptop user. If you’re someone looking to buy a laptop for gaming or creative work, we’d recommend going higher, which leaves the XPS 13 out of the question.

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Memory

MacBook Pro: 8GB, configurable to 16GB

Surface Pro 7: 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB

XPS 13: 8GB


If you’re just looking for a laptop for school or for work, then 8GB of memory will be fine, meaning the Surface Pro 7 comes in at the cheapest for 8GB models at only $899, while Apple and Dell are $1,299 and $1,099, respectively. 

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Display & Graphics

MacBook Pro: 13.3” display, 2560x1600 resolution at 227ppi

  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645/655

Surface Pro 7: 12.3” display, 2736x1824 resolution at 267ppi

  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics for i5 & i7
  • Intel UHD Graphics for i3

XPS 13: 13.3” display, 1920x1080 resolution, ppi not listed

  • Intel UHD Graphics 620

With all newer models of laptops, you’re likely not going to notice much difference between display qualities as they are all excellent quality. Dell’s XPS 13 model and Apple’s MacBook both have a slightly larger screen than the Surface Pro 7. The Surface Pro, however, does have the highest ppi, or pixels per inch, but the difference won’t be too noticeable as the human eye can’t distinguish anything past 300ppi. The XPS 13 lags behind slightly in resolution.

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Battery

MacBook Pro: 10 hours

Surface Pro 7: 10.5 hours

XPS 13: Unlisted, but reviews state 9-12 hours


Despite Dell’s XPS 13 not listing the battery life, it can be expected that all three laptops have around the same battery life. These estimates are based off standard usage, so if you tend to run a lot of programs at once or use a lot of high memory programs, then expect a smaller battery life.

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Processor

MacBook Pro: 9th gen Intel Core i5

Surface Pro 7: 10th gen Intel Core i3, i5, i7

XPS 13: 8th gen Intel Core i5, i7


When looking for the right processor for you, it’s important to think about what you intend to use the laptop for. Core i3 is the lowest end of the processors, while the Core i7 is higher end. If you’re using it only for school assignments and browsing the web, you may be able to save some money and get the Surface Pro 7 with a Core i3 Processor ($749). If you intend to use it for an average amount of gaming and web surfing, the i5 is a great choice that doesn’t break the bank, especially if you have a decent graphics card. You really only need to splurge on an i7 if you’re looking to do video editing, gaming, streaming, and more. This can be pricey, however, as the Surface Pro 7’s i7 models start at $1,499 and the XPS 13 model is $1,149. 

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Weight

MacBook Pro: 3.02 lbs

Surface Pro 7: 1.7 lbs

XPS 13: 2.7 lbs


For many people it won’t matter what the weight of the laptop is, but if you’re a college student lugging it around on your back all day or someone who travels with their laptop a lot, then weight might make a difference for you. The Surface Pro 7 is by far the lightest and thinnest of the three models due to its tablet-like design, and the MacBook Pro is the heaviest at almost double the Surface Pro 7 with 3.02 lbs. That being said, 3 pounds is still incredibly light and most consumers will have no issues. 

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Price

MacBook Pro: $1,299-$1,999

Surface Pro 7: $749-$2,299

XPS 13: $1,099-$1,449

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Longevity/Repairability/Upgradability

Whenever you’re thinking about spending about $1000 on a computer you should rightly ask how long this computer is expected to last. You should also ask how much it would cost if something breaks outside the manufacturer's warranty. Lastly you should also ask what your upgrade options are a few years down the road as technology continues to advance.

 

MacBook Pro

Longevity: Looking at history, Apple computers have lasted longer than average computers and held their value longer than other computers. Apple computers in the past tend to last 4-8 years depending on usage level and care. 

Repairability: Lately Apple has been putting all components on one Logic board with few options for repair other than total replacement. The only feasible repairs on the latest MacBook Pros are Top Panel/Display ($$$), Keyboard, and Battery.

Upgradability: The only upgradable component on this MacBook Pro is the internal flash storage. All other components are soldered onto the Logic Board. 

Surface Pro 7

Longevity: There is enough data on the Surface Pro line at this point to say that the length of life on these is about the same, if not a little greater than the average computer. This device also does seem to hold value better than the average computer with plenty of options to purchase older devices from resale websites. You should expect this computer to last 3-6 years.

Repairability: The downside of having everything in a lightweight tablet is that everything is on the same logic board inside the device. This means very few components are replaceable and those that are are very difficult. Don’t expect to be able to economically repair much if any part of this device.

Upgradability: The only upgradable component on the Surface Pro is the internal flash storage. All other components are soldered onto the Logic Board

Dell XPS

Longevity: Dell computers have a history of lasting longer than average for a PC as long as you take care of the device. Resale value of this device is right about average and you shouldn’t expect to get much from it even just a few years down the road. You should expect this computer to last 3-5 years.

Repairability: This device has several replaceable components and is easy to open. It is very easy to fix and any of a number of things that can go wrong or break are fixable, including but not limited to battery, top panel, keyboard, WiFi card, etc.

Upgradability: All the components you would hope to upgrade on a notebook computer are replaceable here: flash storage device, optional upgrade to standard 2.5” HDD/SSD, and RAM are all upgradable. 

 

The Takeaway

The Surface Pro 7 line is by far the most versatile in options. If you’re looking for a new notebook computer but don’t want to completely break the bank, then the Surface Pro 7 line may be a good fit for you due to the many options they provide with storage, memory, and processors, but only if you don’t intend to heavily use the computer. If you’re serious about video editing or streaming, then the higher end of the Surface Pro 7s may be a good option for you with a Core i7 processor, higher storage, and 16GB memory, but you’re going to be spending upwards of $1,499 and above. If you’re somewhere in between those two, then all three computers are great options. If you’re familiar and comfortable with Apple products, then the new MacBook Pro is a great choice as it has excellent specs and an operating system you’ll recognize. The Surface Pro 7 and the XPS 13 both run off Windows, making them both more PC friendly options. Overall, the XPS 13 lags behind in options and in specs, and for the price it just isn’t competitive.

 

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