Dell XPS 13 Plus vs. Apple MacBook Pro 14

If you’re looking for a 13-inch laptop or a 14-inch laptop and want a truly premium deal, then Dell’s XPS 13 Plus and Apple’s MacBook Pro 14 will likely be on your list. Arguably, the MacBook is in a different class as a powerful creator machine compared to the XPS 13 Plus which is aimed at demanding productivity workers.

Even so, the MacBook Pro 14 has elements that make it a stronger competitor to the XPS 13 Plus than the cheaper MacBook Air M1 and MacBook Air M2. Therefore, it’s important to evaluate both and see if the more expensive MacBook is worth the extra money.


Dell XPS 13 Plus Apple MacBook Pro 14
Dimensions 11.63 inches by 7.84 inches by 0.60 inches 12.31 inches by 8.71 inches by 0.61 inches
lester 2.71 pounds 3.5 pounds
Processor Intel Core i5-1240P
Intel Core i7-1260P
Intel Core i7-1280P
Apple M1 Pro
Apple M1 Max
Chart Intel Iris Xe graphics card Integrated
16 GB
32 GB
16 GB
32 GB
64 GB
Display 13.4 inch 16:10 IPS Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) non-touch
13.4 inch 16:10 IPS Full HD+ Touchscreen
13.4 inch 16:10 OLED 3.5K (3456 x 2160) touchscreen
13.4 inch 16:10 IPS UHD+ (3840 x 2400) touchscreen
14.2 inch 16:10 Liquid Retina XDR 3024 x 1964
Storage 512 GB SSD
512 GB SSD
To touch Optional Nope
Ports 2 USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 3 USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4
1 HDMI 2.0 port
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
SD card reader
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0
webcam 720p, Windows Hello IR webcam 1080p
Operating system Windows 11 Home or Pro macOS Monterey
Battery 55 watt hours 70 watt hour
Price $1,299+ $1,999+
Evaluation 4 out of 5 stars 5 out of 5 stars

Price and configuration

Both are high-end laptops, but the MacBook Pro 14 is by far the most expensive of the high-end. It starts at $1,999 for an 8-core/14-core M1 Pro GPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. That’s a whopping $5,899 when fully loaded with a 10-core/ 32 M1 Max cores, 64 GB of RAM and an 8 TB SSD.

The XPS 13 Plus starts at $1,299 for a Core i5-1240P processor, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a Full HD+ non-touch IPS display. Its most expensive configuration is $2,399 for a Core i7-1280P, 32GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, and a 3.5K OLED or UHD+ IPS panel.

The top-of-the-line MacBook Pro 14 models are aimed directly at the most demanding creative professionals. There is some overlap at the bottom end, however, with the MacBook costing $2,199 for an M1 Pro, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD and the XPS 13 Plus priced at $2,099 for a Core. i7, 16 GB of RAM, a 1 TB SSD and the 3.5K OLED screen. These configurations would be ideal for those with the most demanding productivity workflows, and this is where these two laptops compete directly.


The XPS 13 Plus is an incredibly well built and designed laptop. Its aluminum lid and chassis are rigid, the hinge opens smoothly with one hand, and the fit and finish are exquisite. The MacBook Pro 14 meets the same standard but somehow transcends it at the same time. It’s a bigger laptop with its 14.2-inch screen compared to 13.4-inch, and the XPS 13 Plus is even smaller thanks to tiny display bezels. The MacBook is heavier at 3.5 pounds versus 2.71 pounds while being almost identically thin, giving the MacBook a dense feel that exudes quality. And its hinge is even more refined than Dell’s excellent version.

I dig into some fine detail in making this distinction. You’ll have to manage both laptops yourself to see if the MacBook Pro 14 provides a build that you find superior enough to choose over the XPS 13 Plus. You’ll feel like you’re getting what you pay for with both machines, and they’re both great looking laptops with minimalist designs and conservative colors, though the XPS 13 Plus’ glass palm rest with touchpad hidden is more futuristic. The working time is a real boon to choose between them when it comes to design and build quality.

The MacBook has a notch at the top of the screen that some people find annoying, and it’s there to house a 1080p webcam. The XPS 13 Plus is limited to a 720p camera given its incredibly thin bezels. So the MacBook makes for a better video conferencing tool, especially considering the software that does a great job of optimizing video quality. Dell includes an infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello passwordless login via facial recognition, as well as a fingerprint reader in the power button, while the MacBook uses a Touch ID power button.

The XPS 13 Plus changed the traditional XPS 13 keyboard and mouse. Dell has moved to an edge-to-edge keyboard with large keys and virtually no spacing between keys. Switches are shallow yet crisp and precise, with confident bottom-out action. Dell has implemented a set of LED touch function buttons which are decent but not much of an advantage over the physical keys on the MacBook. The MacBook Pro 14 benefits from Apple’s Magic Keyboard, which is a more traditional design and also shallow. But it has the best switches of a laptop keyboard, delivering a consistently precise feel on all the right-sized keys. The XPS 13 Plus’ keyboard is great, but the MacBook’s keyboard is better.

Apple MacBook Pro 14 top down view showing keyboard and trackpad.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Dell has also implemented a haptic touchpad on the XPS 13 Plus, and it works quite well. But Apple’s Force Touch trackpad remains standard, and it’s more responsive and realistic. The XPS 13 Plus has the advantage of an optional touchscreen that the MacBook Pro 14 doesn’t offer.

Finally, connectivity favors the MacBook. It has an additional Thunderbolt 4 port and adds an HDMI port, a full-size SD card reader, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a MagSafe 3 jack that leaves both Thunderbolt 4 ports available while charging. The XPS 13 Plus doesn’t even have an audio jack, and although Dell includes a dongle in the box, that’s a problem. Dell’s wireless connectivity is more up-to-date though, with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 compared to the MacBook’s older Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 standard.


A Dell XPS 13 Plus seen from the side.

When configured with the 8-core processor/14-core M1 Pro GPU, the MacBook Pro 14 outperforms the XPS 13 Plus with its 14-core/20-thread Core i7-1280P. But, the differences in our CPU-intensive benchmarks aren’t so great that they put the MacBook in another class. Where it shines, however, is in creative GPU-dependent applications where Apple’s optimizations make the M1 Pro faster than Windows laptops with integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics.

For this comparison, however, we’re looking specifically at how well each laptop meets demanding productivity needs. And in this case, the XPS 13 Plus is more than fast enough when it switches to performance mode using Dell’s thermal management utility. Note that the Dell also runs much hotter and louder when fully engaged, while the MacBook Pro 14 stays quieter and cooler. And the MacBook has some serious headroom with a faster M1 Pro and M1 Max available.

Dell XPS 13 Plus
(Core i7-1280P)
Apple MacBook Pro 14
(M1 Pro 8/14)
Geek Bench 5
(single / multiple)
Balance: 1,316 / 8,207
Performance: N/A
Balance: 1,728 / 9,955
Performance: N/A
Hand brake
Ball: 170
Performance: 94
Ball: 123
Performance: N/A
Cinebench R23
(single / multiple)
Balance: 1,311/ 6,308
Performance: 1,650 / 7,530
Balance: 1,531 / 9,519
Performance: N/A


A MacBook Pro 14 screen.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

We reviewed the XPS 13 Plus with its 13.4-inch 16:10 3.5K (3456 x 2160) OLED touchscreen display, which offers abundant brightness, extremely wide and accurate colors and incredibly deep contrast with blacks. ‘ink. It’s slightly sharper than the MacBook Pro 14’s 16:10 mini-LED at 14.2-inches and 3024 x 1964. The MacBook’s panel is considerably brighter and enjoys equally deep contrast while its colors aren’t not as wide and precise as Dell’s.

Where the MacBook Pro 14 shines (no pun intended) is in the quality of its playback of high dynamic range (HDR) video, which Apple calls extended dynamic range (XDR). The XPS 13 Plus also has impressive HDR, but side-by-side Apple’s implementation is brighter and more vibrant.

Both are great displays for productivity, creativity, and media consumption. Dell gets a nod to offer Full HD+ and UHD+ IPS panel alternatives.


A Dell XPS 13 Plus is closed.

The XPS 13 Plus is a small laptop. It’s smaller and lighter than the MacBook Pro 14. However, both are reasonably portable and slip into a backpack with no problem. If you want the smallest laptop you can find, the XPS 13 Plus wins, but Apple’s laptop is small enough.

At the same time, the MacBook Pro 14 is built around Apple’s ARM processor which isn’t just powerful, it’s also incredibly efficient. The MacBook’s larger 70-watt-hour battery is larger than the Dell’s (55-watt-hours) and it benefits from a processor that can sip power when it’s not running at full speed. This gives it significantly longer battery life, promising multi-day battery longevity where the XPS 13 Plus will need its charger to get through a full day.

The MacBook Pro 14 has more headroom

If you are looking for a laptop with excellent productivity, the Dell XPS 13 Plus or the Apple MacBook Pro 14 will qualify. They’re both more than fast enough for demanding workflows, they have solid build qualities and excellent displays, and their keyboard and trackpads are comfortable to use.

The MacBook Pro 14, however, is faster and has significantly better battery life. You can spend roughly the same price on both laptops, but the MacBook has a higher cap. Ultimately, it’s a better overall laptop for anyone not looking for the smallest machine around.

Editors’ Recommendations

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