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MacBook Air M2 vs Dell XPS 13 Plus: Which laptop wins?

Dell XPS 13 Plus vs MacBook Air M2: Which 2022 laptop is best for you? It may be a tough choice since each are smooth, highly effective 13-inch ultraportables with nice screens, good audio system and comparable value tags.

However the similarities cease there. Now that we have printed our Dell XPS 13 Plus assessment and MacBook Air M2 assessment, we may give you a complete breakdown of how these two laptops evaluate to be able to aid you make your best option to your wants.

After all, a variety of it comes down as to if you like Home windows 11 or macOS Ventura. Each are competent working techniques with their very own strengths and weaknesses, and these two laptops present them off to nice impact. 

However for those who’re open to both and wish to know which of those flagship ultraportables is the most effective laptop for you, learn on for our blow-by-blow breakdown.

Dell XPS 13 Plus vs MacBook Air M2: Specs

MacBook Air 13-inch (M2, 2022)Dell XPS 13 Plus
Worth from $1,199from $1,399
Show13.6 inches (2560 x 1664)13.4 inches (full HD+, full HD+ contact, 3.5K OLED or 4K LCD)
CPU8 core M2 CPUtwelfth gen Intel Core i5, Core i7
GPU8-10 core M2 GPUIntel Iris Xe built-in graphics
RAM 8GB to 24GB8GB to 32 GB
Storage256GB to 2TB SSD256GB to 2TB SSD
PortsTwo Thunderbolt / USB-4, mic2 Thunderbolt 4 / USB-4
Measurement11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44 inches11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches
Weight2.7 kilos2.73 kilos

Dell XPS 13 Plus vs MacBook Air M2: Design

The Dell XPS 13 Plus takes some radical departures from the design of the venerable XPS 13, which we have lengthy thought of one of many finest 13-inch laptops you should purchase.

Most notably, it ditches the perform row for a row of capacitive keys that may be toggled between perform keys or shortcuts, a la the controversial MacBook Professional Contact Bar. It is a neat characteristic, however in our time with the XPS 13 Plus we weren’t a giant fan of the change as a result of the keys do not present suggestions whenever you hit them and look somewhat cheaper than the remainder of the laptop.

We had been extra excited in regards to the new glass touchpad that blends in seamlessly with the keyboard deck, which is remarkably straightforward to make use of given which you can’t look down and see its edges.

Dell XPS 13 Plus keyboard

The XPS 13 Plus is a pointy departure  (Picture credit score: Tom’s Information)

When closed, the XPS 13 Plus is a slick ultraportable that, at 11.63 x 7.84 x 0.6 inches and a pair of.71 kilos — or 2.77 kilos for those who splurge for the OLED mannequin — is definitely a bit lighter than the vanilla XPS 13 (primarily based on our comparability of modifications within the Dell XPS 13 Plus vs XPS 13). 

That implies that if you do not get the OLED mannequin, the XPS 13 Plus is definitely barely lighter than the MacBook Air M2, which weighs 2.7 kilos and measures 11.97 x 8.46 x 0.44 inches. Nonetheless, the Air has the sting in thinness right here, albeit by a matter of centimeters. It is an actual engineering marvel, as Apple has managed to make the MacBook Air M2 roughly 20% smaller than its predecessor whereas concurrently enlarging the display barely (do not miss our MacBook Air M2 vs MacBook Air M1 breakdown for extra particulars on the variations).

MacBook Air M2 2022

The MacBook Air M2 is a smidge thinner than the XPS 13 Plus, and that little indentation up entrance makes it simpler to open than Dell’s ultraportable. Nonetheless, the notch up high does take somewhat getting used to. (Picture credit score: Tom’s Information)

We additionally like how Apple’s ultraportable has an easy-to-grab lip on the entrance which makes it straightforward to open with one hand. The XPS 13 Plus has no such characteristic, and through our assessment we missed that little lip on the entrance of the MacBook Air M2. 

The MacBook Air M2 has an old school bodily perform row as an alternative of capacitive contact keys, which could be a plus given how unsatisfying we discovered the XPS 13 Plus’ capacitive keys. Nonetheless, chances are you’ll discover the notch that Apple’s added to the highest of the Air M2’s show to comprise its digital camera {hardware} rather less interesting — however take coronary heart, as a result of in our expertise the notch rapidly turns into straightforward to disregard.

Dell XPS 13 Plus vs MacBook Air M2: Show

The Dell XPS 13 Plus comes with a 13.4-inch WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200 decision) show by default. It is probably an excellent panel primarily based on our testing of earlier XPS 13 shows, however we won’t say for certain the way it compares to the Air M2’s show as a result of our assessment unit arrived with the three.5K OLED touchscreen improve. 

Dell XPS 13 Plus laptop streaming

The OLED panel on the XPS 13 Plus is a pleasant improve, for those who can swing it. (Picture credit score: Tom’s Information)

That stated, the OLED improve could possibly be price it for those who can afford the roughly $300 further it prices, as a result of it makes all the pieces you do on the laptop look higher. OLED panels usually have brighter brights, darker darks and higher contrasts than LED or LCD panels, and in our testing we discovered the XPS 13 Plus’ 3.5K OLED touchscreen does a terrific job of precisely reproducing colours.

Particularly, it displayed 118.9% of the sRGB coloration gamut (100% is most correct, larger tends to imply extra saturated, vivid colours) and 84.2% of the extra demanding DCI-P3 coloration house. It additionally registered a Delta-E coloration accuracy retailer of 0.21 (0 is ideal). 

These numbers are a bit higher than what the MacBook Air M2 was capable of ship in our assessments. Even so, it is a terrific show that achieved 107% of the sRGB coloration gamut and 75.9% of the DCI-P3 coloration house, with an equivalent Delta-E rating of 0.2.

MacBook Air M2 2022

The MacBook Air M2’s display will get brighter than the OLED panel on the XPS 13 Plus, however Dell’s laptop handles colours barely higher (and the OLED panel has good huge viewing angles). (Picture credit score: Tom’s Information)

The MacBook Air M2 additionally will get a bit brighter than the XPS 13 Plus, reaching a mean brightness of 489 nits. Dell’s ultraportable seems a bit boring by comparability, averaging 366 nits of brightness in our lab testing. 

I do not assume you will be sad with both show, particularly for those who go for the three.5K OLED improve on the XPS 13 Plus. Nonetheless, by way of sheer brightness Apple’s laptop has the sting right here.

Dell XPS 13 Plus vs MacBook Air M2: Ports

For those who care about accessing a wide range of ports, the Dell XPS 13 Plus is one thing of a disappointment. With only a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports this laptop cannot deal with a lot in the best way of equipment, particularly when a type of two ports is occupied by the charging cable. Sure, which means Dell ditched the headphone jack, one thing even Apple (with its penchant for axing headphone jacks within the identify of thinness) did not dare to do to the MacBook Air M2.

Dell XPS 13 Plus ports

(Picture credit score: Tom’s Information)

Dell tries that can assist you out right here by together with a USB-C to USB-A and USB-C to three.5mm adapters with the XPS 13 Plus, however it’s small consolation and extra dongles it’s a must to carry round and fear about dropping when you’re out and about.

Apple did barely higher with the MacBook Air M2, equipping it with the same pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports in addition to a headphone jack and a MagSafe charging port. 

Positive, that is nonetheless not a lot in the best way of a port array, however it’s much better than what you get on the XPS 13 Plus. For starters, having a separate headphone jack and charging port means you are free to make use of each these Thunderbolt 4 ports for peripherals like mice, displays, USB hubs and extra. And now that Apple’s introduced MagSafe charging again, you get somewhat extra safety in understanding that if somebody journeys over your Mac’s energy cable, the chances are higher that it will not yank the laptop off the desk.

There is no competitors right here: If ports matter to you, Apple’s laptop is the superior alternative. The draw back is that each Thunderbolt 4 ports are on the left aspect of the Air, which provides you fewer choices for routing cables.

Dell XPS 13 Plus vs MacBook Air M2: Efficiency

We put each laptops by our in-house efficiency testing routine, and located that each the XPS 13 Plus with its twelfth Gen Intel CPU and the MacBook Air with its M2 chip are a number of the quickest laptops we have ever examined. 

That stated, as we famous in our comparability of the MacBook Air M2 vs Dell XPS 13 Plus benchmarks, Dell’s laptop beats out the Air M2 by way of uncooked multicore CPU efficiency. As you possibly can see from the chart of our testing outcomes under, the XPS 13 Plus put up larger numbers in Geekbench 5.4’s multicore CPU take a look at. That is true even once we had it within the default energy state, and once we switched the XPS 13 Plus into its high-performance Extremely mode it carried out even higher in our assessments.

Dell XPS 13 PlusDell XPS 13 Plus (Extremely mode)MacBook Air M2
Geekbench Single core1,7971,7571,911
Geekbench Multicore10,62111,2178,965
Handbrake time8 minutes 31 seconds6 minutes 49 seconds7 minutes 52 seconds
Sid Meier’s Civ 6: Gathering Storm (in frames per second)40.3 fps @ 1470 x 95633 fps @ 1080p22.9 fps @ 1080p
Blackmagic Write Check280040583638
Blackmagic Learn Check210045294879
Pugetbench Photoshop take a look at821691670
Pugetbench Premiere Professional take a look at452325279

Once we ran each laptops by BlackMagic’s disk velocity assessments, which take a look at how rapidly an SSD can write and browse knowledge, we noticed some attention-grabbing outcomes. The MacBook Air M2’s SSD is slower than the one in Dell’s laptop, because it managed common write and browse scores of two,800 and a pair of,210 respectively. In the identical take a look at, Dell’s XPS 13 Plus delivered a mean write rating of 3638 and common learn rating of 4879. These numbers are an summary manner of quantifying and measuring how briskly a drive can learn and write knowledge, so they need to provide you with some indication of which laptop is faster to retailer and retrieve information. 

In our video encoding take a look at, which instances how lengthy it takes a pocket book to transcode a 4K video right down to 1080p utilizing Handbrake, the MacBook Air M2 did the work faster than the XPS 13 Plus — till we put the XPS 13 Plus into Extremely mode, at which level it as soon as once more sped previous the MacBook. The Air M2 accomplished the duty in a mean of seven minutes and 52 seconds, whereas the XPS 13 Plus took 6 minutes and 49 seconds in Extremely mode. 

Dell XPS 13 Plus laptop on table

(Picture credit score: Tom’s Information)

For those who care about efficiency in Adobe apps, although, chances are you’ll wish to go along with the MacBook Air M2. Once we ran each ultraportables by PugetBench’s Adobe Inventive Cloud suite benchmark assessments, utilizing a script which mechanically runs by assessments for various Adobe apps, Apple’s MacBook Air M2 took a mean of 4:49 to finish the Photoshop take a look at (working Photoshop 23.3.2 by way of Rosetta) and earned a mean rating of 821, whereas the XPS 13 Plus carried out worse (670) and took longer (6:28) to do it.

And once we ran these laptops by the same take a look at for Premiere Professional, the MacBook Air M2 earned a mean rating of 452, clearly outperforming the XPS 13 Plus with its common rating of 279. For those who plan to do a variety of work in Adobe’s suite of apps, the brand new MacBook Air has a transparent benefit over the XPS 13 Plus.

MacBook Air M2 2022

The MacBook Air M2 delivers excellent efficiency in Adobe apps, and has the potential to be a strong gaming machine — so long as you do not thoughts working throughout the limits of macOS. (Picture credit score: Tom’s Information)

Dell XPS 13 Plus vs MacBook Air M2: Gaming

Lastly, what if you wish to calm down and luxuriate in some video games in your new laptop? The Dell XPS 13 Plus and MacBook Air M2 are each first rate gaming machines, although neither will run the most recent and biggest video games the best way they had been meant to be performed. To present you an thought of how nicely these machines run video games we ran each by the graphical benchmark in Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm, an oldie however a goodie that we use in testing as a result of it runs on all kinds of each MacBooks and Home windows PCs. 

Sadly, it is arduous to get MacBooks to run Civ VI in a comparable decision to most Home windows laptops. The very best decision we may get the M2 Air to run Civ VI at was 1,470 x 956, which is considerably decrease than the Air’s 2,560 x 1,664 native decision. At that decision, the Air M2 achieved a mean of 40.3 frames per second (fps) within the graphical benchmark.

That is extra frames per second than the Dell XPS 13 Plus may handle to crank out, however that is at the least partially defined by the truth that the XPS 13 Plus was additionally working the sport at the next decision. At 1080p (1,920 x 1,080) decision the XPS 13 Plus achieved a mean of twenty-two.9 fps within the Civ VI benchmark, although at its native 3.5K (3,456 x 2,160) decision the XPS may solely handle 14.6 fps. 

(*13*)MacBook Air M2 with No Man's Sky on the screen

Apple has made a present of claiming macOS Ventura (and its help for Apple’s new Metallic 3 graphics tech) will make Macs extra succesful gaming machines — however nice efficiency in demanding 3D video games like No Man’s Sky (seen right here) continues to be hit-or-miss. (Picture credit score: Tom’s Information)

So is the MacBook Air M2 a greater laptop for gaming than the XPS 13 Plus? It is tough to say. The Air can clearly deal with some video games fairly nicely, however gaming on macOS is considerably completely different from gaming on Home windows. For starters, lots of the finest PC video games do not run natively on macOS, and even for those who get them up and working efficiency typically lags behind comparable Home windows PCs. Nonetheless, the Air M2 has entry to all of the video games on Apple’s App Retailer, which the XPS 13 Plus lacks. So for those who’re already invested in Apple’s video games ecosystem, the Air M2 will allow you to proceed enjoying these video games on an even bigger display.

So is the MacBook Air M2 a greater laptop for gaming than the XPS 13 Plus? Properly, it is sophisticated. By way of uncooked graphical efficiency, perhaps — however gaming on macOS is a unique beast than gaming on Home windows. For starters, lots of the finest PC video games do not run natively on macOS, and even for those who get them up and working efficiency typically lags behind comparable Home windows PCs.

Nonetheless, the Air M2 has entry to all of the video games on Apple’s App Retailer, which the XPS 13 Plus doesn’t. And with MacBooks doubtlessly about to turn into legit gaming laptops due to macOS Ventura, our personal Tony Polanco lastly has hope for the way forward for Mac gaming.

Dell XPS 13 Plus vs MacBook Air M2: Webcam

The Dell XPS 13 Plus nonetheless sports activities a 720p webcam, which is disappointing now that many individuals are working remotely extra typically and spending extra of their day in video calls. 

Dell XPS 13 Plus video conferencing

(Picture credit score: Tom’s Information)

Nonetheless, in our hands-on testing we discovered the XPS 13 Plus’ webcam to be greater than serviceable, and for those who add in an affordable ring mild you are able to do quite a bit to make your self look presentable. We additionally like how the laptop’s webcam helps Dell’s Specific Signal-in, which goals to allow you to rapidly log into the laptop by standing in entrance of it utilizing the facial recognition tech of Home windows Good day.

It will be good if Apple’s MacBooks supplied the same characteristic, given the corporate already has efficient facial recognition log-in tech for its cell gadgets within the type of FaceID. The MacBook Air M2 affords no such characteristic, however it does have a higher-res 1080p webcam constructed into the notch which delivers first rate image high quality. 

MacBook Air M2 webcam

Apple’s MacBook Air M2 has a 1080p webcam constructed into the notch that does an excellent job of capturing element, however the colours look somewhat yellow-green to us and a few particulars could possibly be sharper. (Picture credit score: Tom’s Information)

You may assume that the Air’s 1080p webcam clearly beats out the lower-res 720p digital camera on the XPS 13 Plus, however in our testing it isn’t fairly that straightforward. We preferred the XPS 13 Plus’ digital camera greater than we anticipated, although sharpness was missing. Conversely we preferred the Air’s 1080p webcam a bit lower than anticipated, appreciating the sharp particulars however disliking the colour copy. 

So which is healthier? I feel I want the 1080p digital camera on the MacBook Air M2, primarily based on the take a look at photographs captured above, however you possibly can search for your self to see which you like. Definitely neither can evaluate to the picture high quality delivered by the finest webcams, and Tom’s Information World Editor-in-Chief Mark Spoonauer (who seems in each take a look at photographs) discovered each laptop cameras inferior to his Logitech C920 webcam.

Dell XPS 13 Plus vs MacBook Air M2: Warmth

We have by no means identified the Dell XPS 13 line to be lap-scorchers, however the XPS 13 Plus might change that. Once we put it by our warmth take a look at, which entails tasking the laptop with enjoying an HD video for quarter-hour after which scanning it with a warmth gun, we discovered Dell’s newest laptop received as scorching as 102.6 levels on the underside. 

That is bearable, however it’s hotter than we might like. Nonetheless, the silver lining could also be that even below heavy load the XPS 13 Plus’ fan cooling system does not generate a variety of noise. You will hear it, however you should not be too put out by it.

Man holding Dell XPS 13 Plus laptop

The XPS 13 Plus can get fairly heat below heavy use. (Picture credit score: Tom’s Information)

Apple’s MacBook Air M2 is quieter by comparability, because it depends on passive cooling (that’s, no followers or transferring elements) and efficiency throttling to maintain the laptop cool below strain. In follow, it really works nicely; in our warmth take a look at we measured a peak temp 83.5 levels at Air M2’s hottest level, on the underside of the laptop close to the hinge. 

MacBook Air M2 2022

The MacBook Air M2 stays cool below strain, even with out followers. (Picture credit score: Tom’s Information)

That is fairly a bit extra snug than the XPS 13 Plus’ 100+ diploma underside, which suggests the MacBook Air M2 ought to really feel fairly a bit extra snug in your lap throughout prolonged work classes.

Dell XPS 13 Plus vs MacBook Air M2: Battery life

Dell’s XPS laptops have had a tough time lasting for much longer than 8 hours in our in-house battery take a look at, and the XPS 13 Plus is not any exception — for those who splurge for the OLED show improve. 

Once we put the OLED-equipped XPS 13 Plus by our battery take a look at, which duties the laptop with endlessly browsing the net by way of Wi-Fi with its display brightness set to 150 nits, Dell’s newest laptop lasted 7 hours and 34 minutes. That is not even sufficient to get by a full day on the workplace with out plugging in to cost, although Dell claims that the non-OLED XPS 13 Plus can final a bit longer, as much as 13 hours on a single cost.

13-inch MacBook Air M2 (2022)Dell XPS 13 Plus (2022)
Battery life (hours:minutes)14:067:34

The MacBook Air M2 lasts longer than that by a strong margin, although that is not an enormous shock; MacBooks have delivered stellar battery life ever since Apple began equipping them with its personal bespoke silicon. Apple’s M1 and M2 chips are each remarkably highly effective and power-efficient, which is why the  MacBook Professional M2 is the longest-lasting laptop we have ever examined, lasting over 18 hours in our battery take a look at.

The MacBook Air M2 cannot fairly match that, however it nonetheless lasted a powerful 14 hours and 6 minutes in our testing. That is rattling close to double the battery lifetime of the XPS 13 Plus OLED, so if battery life issues to you Apple’s laptop is the clearly superior alternative.

Dell XPS 13 Plus vs MacBook Air M2: Backside line

Selecting between the Dell XPS 13 Plus vs Apple’s MacBook Air M2 is hard as a result of, as you possibly can see, they’re practically equivalent 13-inch ultraportables with glorious efficiency and comparable costs. But when you recognize what you want your laptop for, the selection turns into quite a bit simpler. 

The Dell XPS 13 Plus OLED we examined outperformed the MacBook Air M2 by way of pure CPU and SSD velocity, plus it has a gorgeous OLED display with higher coloration copy than the Air. If you would like a Home windows ultraportable for work. leisure and a few mild gaming, the XPS 13 Plus is a superb alternative that appears as slick as an old-school MacBook Air, proper right down to the ultra-thin wedge design and dangerous port choice.

Nonetheless, Apple seems to have discovered from the design problems with MacBooks previous and outfitted the 2022 Air M2 with some glorious enhancements, together with a 1080p webcam, an ultra-thin rectangular design with rounded edges (plus a useful lip for simple opening) and MagSafe charging. Plus, it stays cool below strain and lasts far longer on a cost, making the Air M2 2022 a superb alternative for those who want a laptop to hold all day and use comfortably in your lap for hours at a time.

The Air additionally outperforms the XPS 13 Plus in terms of video transcoding and Adobe apps, making it the superior alternative for creatives who do this kind of work on the common. 

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