ByAdan Flannigan 2019-06-21 2457
On specification, the specifications list suggests you get much more for your money with the XPS 15, such as twice the memory capacity, a higher resolution display with touchscreen and a slightly faster RAM. There's also talk of the Core i9 processor in the XPS being better than the same chip in the MacBook Pro, but that's only partially true, and something we'll come back to later.
So why would anyone pay more for a MacBook Pro? There are many reasons, including security, the Apple ecosystem, reliability, resale value, design, macOS, and the Apple brand itself, but in this case we are concerned about the notebook offering the best overall experience.
Both notebooks are similar in size and weight, but the MacBook is noticeably thinner. Most people would agree that the XPS design is not as beautiful as the MacBook's all aluminum construction, but it still looks and feels great.
Perhaps the worst part about the XPS design is that it is extremely difficult to open the notebook with one hand. On the MacBook Pro, you can lift the lid off your body just with the help of your little finger.
The XPS format offers much more variety in terms of ports, such as an SD card slot, a few USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI 2.0 port and a Thunderbolt 3 port, with support for up to 40Gbps speeds. The MacBook Pro simply has 4 full-speed Thunderbolt 3 ports, all four carrying any device you'll ever need, but only with the right cable or dongle. This may be a deal breaker for many, but USB C cables have lowered prices recently, making it less of a problem.
There's no doubt that the XPS has the better display, with thinner bezels and 4K resolution, that beat the MacBook Pro 2.8K display in almost every way. the drawbacks for the Dell is that the screen isn't so bright, it's a bit more reflective, and it forces the webcam down on the screen for an unsightly angle of the camera.
Displays with higher resolution tend to use more battery power than good, but the XPS has a larger 97 watt hour battery compared to 83.6 on the MacBook Pro, so battery life should be the balance.
Charging is also better on the XPS, as it ships with a 130-watt power supply compared to the 87-watt version for the MacBook, so it should technically recharge faster than good.
The touchpad is probably one of the best for Windows laptops, but it's still behind Apple's force-touch touchpad, which is about twice as big and has a perfect feel even no matter where you press it. It can even be set to change the user's preference, making it hard to produce a competing version that meets sufficient challenges.
The keys of the XPS are pretty quiet, with good travel and a quality that feel what's in a keyboard that we think most will prefer, compared to Apple's minimal travel, butterfly keys. Apple still have a silicone barrier underneath the keys to fix dust and dirt problem, possibly making durability problems a thing of the past.
The volume of the speakers for installation in the XPS is good enough for most situations, but the sound quality is below average and the speakers fire on the floor, which is fine if it's on the desk, but will be muted if a lap-ora soft surface. The MacBook speakers face the user with much more bass, cleaner midrange and clearer highs.
The MacBook Pro comes with the Touch Bar, and we honestly think it's mainly a gimmick. The exception is Touch ID, the fingerprint reading security feature that also works on the XPS.
However, the touch bar model comes with the Apple T2 chip, which takes care of a number of system controllers on behalf of the processor. This includes providing the automatic SSD encryption that does not noticeably slow down the main memory, something that will be used to the greatest detriment of encrypting your main hard drive.
The T2 chip also allows the "Hey Siri" to also come on the MacBook, and with macOS Mojave soon to come, you'll be able to use it to control your HomeKit devices.
One of our favorite features of the XPS 13 was the Windows Hello authentication for logging in at, a feature that is similar in concept to Face ID, but unfortunately the XPS 15 is not equipped with this feature. It's still just the fingerprint sensor for biometric security
The MacBook Pro is the fingerprint sensor that has the upper hand because it is supported by the hardware encryption so that you can use your fingerprint for things like Apple Pay purchases.
As mentioned earlier, both notebooks have exactly the same processor, but the XPS is loaded with Nvidia Geforce 1050TI graphics card, which is slightly faster than the Radeon Pro 560X, which is included in the MacBook Pro.
Straight out of the box, the XPS 15 won't deliver full performance, requiring a change in battery performance settings to allow you to run at maximum capacity.
From the Geekbench 4, we noticed that the MacBook Pro scored much higher in multi-core test despite scoring lower in single-core. This seemed a little odd when you both used the same chip, but then it was discovered that the i9 in the XPS 15 didn't run at full power unless the charger was connected.
A retest with the power adapter connected showed the XPS as running at about the same performance as the MacBook Pro. As with the battery, we also had to turn the performance controls on the XPS for connected in mode as well.
Plugging into the MacBook Pro absolutely no difference at all, it offers the same results regardless of whether it was running from its battery or from mains.
The Cinebench R15 stress test, which was performed four times back-to-back, first connected with the power adapter. After starting in the first run, we noticed that the wattage for the XPS hits a peak of 77 watts, and once the temperature hits 97 degrees, the processor dropped to an average of 55 watts and 85 degrees Celsius.
We also found that the clock frequency was very stable, remaining above 3.2 GHz most of the time with a one-time spike down to a low of 2.6 GHz.
The XPS scored 1183 on the first run, then 1104, then 1081, and finally 1061, for an average of 1107 points. The gradual decline in scores shows that it suffer from thermal throttling in later test series.
A repetition in battery operation showed the processor beat a maximum of 46 watts, far lower than the 77 we saw during charging. Temperatures hit only a maximum of 85 degrees, and only for a fraction of a second after the start of the second run. Overall, the temperatures remained at an average of 80 degrees, which proves that the thermals did not lag behind the enormous decline in performance.
This means that the battery is not putting enough power to bring the i9 to its full potential without the AC adapter being connected, possibly bypassing the battery altogether. It is unclear whether this is due to a hidden battery saving measure, or the battery itself is unable to put out that much voltage.
It was also noted clock rates were all over the place, while on battery, the collision with a frighteningly low 1.2 GHz occurred several times. Battery powered alone, the XPS scored 969 on the first run, 955 on the second, then 959, and finally 968, for an average of 962. This is relatively low compared to when connected to the charger.
For the MacBook Pro on the battery, the peak was 83 watts on the first run before averaging up to 45 watts. Temperatures shot near 100 degrees Celsius shortly after the start of each race, but quickly cooled down to around 93 degrees before slowing heating by up to 95 degrees before each run was finished.
The average clock rate hovered 3.15 GHz, but did not fall below 3.0 GHz at any time during the test.
The MacBook Pro scored 1053 on the first edition, 979 in the second, then 1009, and finally 1029, for an average of 1017 points. The reason the second run scored so low is because the fan was a bit late to ramp up the speed, but the temperatures drop as soon as you step on it, allowing for higher clock rates and an increase achieved.
The MacBook Pro was 5 percent faster than the XPS in battery mode, but while plugged in, the XPS 15 is 9% faster than the i9 MacBook Pro.
In the graphics tests, the XPS significantly outperforms the MacBook Pro, even in battery mode, although the Geekbench 4 score has drop of 10,000 points.
Runs Unigine Heaven's gaming benchmark, the XPS achieved 48 frames per second, more than double what the MacBook Pro has brought. After unplugging the chargers, the XPS dropped down by a few FPS, and the MacBook Pro got exactly the same score as the plugged-in run.
Now let's see if these drops translate into performance to the real world by testing photo and video editing performance.
Using Lightroom Classic to edit 42MP RAW images, the MacBook Pro was perfectly smooth when using the sliders in the Develop module, whereas the XPS had a slight delay. Exporting 100 RAW images to JPEG, the MacBook was only 3 percent faster on-wall makes, under 5 minutes and 57 seconds compared to the XPS with 6 minutes 7 seconds.
That the results don't change when on battery, but it's important to note that the MacBook Pro fan runs quieter, even with the machine's task somewhat faster.
The lag setting of the controller is likely to be due to software optimization differences between operating systems since the XPS technically has the same or better specifications.
Moving on to video editing, we exported a 5 min 4K h.264 project with effects using Premiere Pro on both computers, along with Final Cut Pro X on the Mac software comparison.
The XPS 15 was much faster at rendering and exporting test project, especially when connected, under 9:06 compared to 22:38. On battery it does slow down, 12:22, but was still about twice as fast as our Mac.
Monitoring system utilization, the XPS-i9 processor was used at around 35 percent, while the MacBook's was higher at around 50 percent. The graphics is another story, with the Dell 9570 at around 90 percent GPU utilization while the 2018 15-inch i9 was only at around 20 percent.
The XPS 15 is a higher GPU load not only did the rendering times drop, but also meant the CPU could run at higher clock speeds, averaging around 3.5 GHz compared to the 2.8 GHz average on the Mac. With Apple's proprietary software showing how to optimize software and hardware, make much better use of the processor and GPU and only 3 minutes ad 44 seconds to complete the task.
4K H. 264 Rendering and Exporting
i9 MacBook Pro (Premiere)23:38
i9 XPS 15 Battery (Premiere)12:22
i9 XPS-15 - Connector (Premiere)9:06
i9 MacBook Pro (Final Cut Pro X3:44
A look at a similar project, but with 4K HEVC files export to HEVC, here the MacBook Pro is superior, occupies in 5:39 compared to the Dell at 7:36 on the wall makes, and 10:13 on battery. Try this with Final Cut Pro X, the result is a frighteningly fast 46 seconds. As with all other tests that reached a high speed, with background rendering disabled, making it even more impressive.
HEVC to HEVC.R3D to H. 264
i9 MacBook Pro (Premiere)5:397:23
i9 XPS 15 Battery (Premiere)10134:14
i9 XPS-15 - Connector (Premiere)7:362:12
i9 MacBook Pro (Final Cut Pro X0:462:22
Finishing off with 4.5 K RED R3D RAW files, which Dell dominates here, with a time of 2:12 when plugged into the wall, beating the MacBook Pro lightly in Final Cut at 2:22. Switching to battery operation, which almost doubles XPS' time, 4:14, and the Mac in Premiere takes much longer, 7:34.
That's impressive for a laptop editing RAW files, especially with Premiere, and that's because the CPU and GPU are used to close to your maximum capacity, and that's also why when we pull the power plug from the wall, the time slows down dramatically.
During the processing of the XPS constantly ramps fans up and down, and it gets disturbingly loud. The MacBook Pro can lose power because it throttles more, because it runs its fan slower and more consistently, but it's more fun to use. In Final Cut, the timeline is very smooth while editing, while in "Premiere", the XPS has an advantage due to its more powerful graphics, but both machines have some stuttering once you add color correction, titles and effects.
In 2018 Dell XPS 9570 is a good choice for anyone who is not currently tied to the Apple ecosystem, and needs the extra graphics performance, especially those using Premiere Pro. It slows down significantly under battery performance, but it's still quite a bit faster than with Premiere on our top of the line MacBook Pro.
Gamers and the cost-conscious will probably have a better experience with the XPS-9570. They also get twice the SSD capacity for a cheaper price and a wide selection of ports, including an SD card reader.
However, in 2018 MacBook Pro is more refined, with a much better trackpad, better speakers, the camera, the dedicated T2 chip and all added, features and of course MacOS, which we strongly prefer.
On top of that, to make changes between 2017 models and 2018, Apple seems to have fixed the biggest problem around the MacBook Pro: the butterfly keyboard. Add in the fact that you won't get any speed loss on the go-compared to the XPS and MacBook Pro continues to be an attractive offer.
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