Anirudh RegidiOct 13, 2016 13:07:23 IST
Which ultrabook do you go for? A few years ago, the choice was blindingly obvious: You buy a MacBook Air. Today, the market is chock full of laptops claiming to be ultrabooks. These include offerings from Lenovo, Dell, HP, Acer and more.
So far, Dell has done a fairly good job of establishing its XPS 13 as the premium ultrabook to beat, but HP’s latest entrant in this space, the Spectre x360 is certainly shaking things up.
So how does it compare?
Form factor: 2-in-1 or laptop? You decide
For starters, the XPS 13 is laptop while the Spectre x360 is a 2-in-1. This means that the Spectre’s display can rotate a full 360 degrees and you can use it like a tablet. Incidentally, that’s where the 360 in Spectre x360 comes from.
The XPS 13 is just a regular ol’ laptop in this regard.
Build and design: A tie
Just like the MacBooks, both laptops are milled from a block of aluminium and thus, are quite solidly built. The XPS 13 changes things up by throwing in a carbon-fibre palm rest. To be perfectly honest, I like the change in tone that the carbon-fibre brings to the XPS 13, though some might prefer the simplicity and elegance of the pure aluminium finish on the Spextre x360.
Dell claims that the XPS 13, with its tiny bezels, is the smallest 13-inch laptop around, but the new Spectre x360 also trims the bezels and reduces the footprint of the x360.
Both laptops are impossibly thin, with HP claiming 13.79mm and Dell claiming 9-15mm depending on where you measure. The two devices also weigh about the same as well, with the Dell pipping the Spectre x360 by 100g.
Specs and features: HP takes a small lead
In terms of hardware, you get a sixth generation i5 or i7 CPU, up to 16GB RAM on the Dell. Storage options range from 128GB to 256GB, but HP claims that the Spectre can offer up to 1TB of storage. The Spectre will also launch with seventh generation Intel CPUs, which should offer improved battery life and vastly improved 4K performance.
Both devices use NVMe SSDs now (read: superfast SSDs), so there’s no issue here either. The screen options on both range from Full HD to UHD screens, so it’s a tie there as well. One place where the Spectre does have a lead is in the speaker department, packing in 4 speakers where Dell packs in 2.
Both laptops offer USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports for connectivity. The Dell XPS 13 is older than the Spectre x360 of course, but the x360 is launching next month, so it’s not available yet.
Looking at the specs, the Spectre takes a small lead with its extra pair of speakers and seventh generation CPU. That said, that lead is vanishingly small and Dell’s 2017 model is sure to come with seventh generation CPUs.
Battery Life: Dell takes a big win
Dell claims a battery life of 18 hours, HP claims 15. Neither of these are real world tests and we found the Dell struggling to get over the 8 hour mark, let alone 18.
Interestingly, HP claims that the new Spectre will change from 0-90 percent in 90 minutes, while our Dell XPS review unit went from 0-100 percent in one hour. Obviously, the Spectre hasn’t even gone on sale yet so we’re basing all of this on their claims.
Considering that claims are, well, claims, the Spectre’s running behind the Dell in this department.
Value: Again, a tie
This is another grey area that we can only speculate on. Officially, the Dell XPS 13 starts at Rs 90,000 in India. However, it goes for around Rs 54,000 in the US and the HP Spectre x360 is expected to start at around Rs 60,000 in the US.
The Dell is a cheaper option, but then the HP is newer and it’s also a 2-in-1.
And the winner is…
Ignoring service issues with both Dell and HP, I’d go for the Spectre x360 in a heartbeat. It’s not that the Dell XPS 13 isn’t a great device, it’s just that the Spectre x360 is offering that little bit more for around the same price. If you don't care for the hype, however, get a Yoga 900.
Why wouldn’t you want a 2-in-1 device at the same price as a laptop?
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