Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (9315) vs. Surface Pro 9: Which premium Windows tablet is for you?

If you’re in the market for a fantastic, premium Windows tablet, two devices that are practically guaranteed to make the list are the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (9315) and Microsoft Surface Pro 9. While both aforementioned devices share a form factor, there are plenty of differences between them to help inform any buying decision.

With both the XPS 13 2-in-1 and Surface Pro 9 counting among the best Windows tablets you can buy, here’s what you need to know before making a decision.

XPS 13 2-in-1 vs. Surface Pro 9: Quick specs overview

The latest Surface Pro 9, complete with a red Type Cover. (Image credit: Windows Central)

On paper, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (9315) and Microsoft Surface Pro 9 appear pretty similar, but the specs alone scarcely begin to tell the whole story. Experience-wise, these devices are quite different. Still, here’s a quick overview of the key specifications for each device, so you can get a quick rundown of their capabilities.

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Category XPS 13 2-in-1 Surface Pro 9
Processor Intel Core i5-1230U / Core i7-1250U Intel Core i5-1235U / Core i7-1255U / Microsoft SQ3
Graphics Intel Iris Xe Intel Iris Xe / Microsoft SQ3 Adreno 8CX Gen 3
Memory 8GB / 16GB LPDDR4x 8GB / 16GB / 32GB LPDDR5 (8GB / 16GB LPDDR4x w/ SQ3)
Storage 512GB / 1TB 128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB (Intel only)
Display 13-inch, 3:2, 60Hz, 2880 x 1920 13-inch, 3:2, 120Hz, 2880 x 1920
Cameras 1080p, 30FPS IR front-facing / 4K, 30FPS rear-facing 1080p IR front-facing / 10MP, 4K rear-facing
Audio Dual 2W speakers / dual-array microphones Dual 2W speakers / dual far-field microphones
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6E / Bluetooth 5.2 / 5G (optional) Wi-Fi 6E / Bluetooth 5.1 / 5G (SQ3 only)
Ports 2x USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4 2x USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4 / Surface Connect (2x USB Type-C Gen 3.2 / Surface Connect / nanoSIM w/ SQ3)
Accessories XPS Folio / XPS Stylus Type Cover / Surface Slim Pen 2
Dimensions 292.5mm x 201.2mm x 7.4mm 287mm x 208.3mm x 9.4mm
Weight 736G 879G (Intel) / 878G (SQ3 w/ Sub-6) / 883G (SQ3 w/ mmWave)

XPS 13 2-in-1 vs. Surface Pro 9: Form or function

The XPS 13 2-in-1’s squared edges and symmetrical design are beautiful. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

One of the easiest ways to differentiate the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (9315) from the Surface Pro 9 is with the age-old argument of form over function. The Surface Pro 9 may not have the perfectly symmetrical, beautifully squared chassis of the XPS 13 2-in-1, but it does feature an integrated kickstand and subtly hidden vents for superior thermal performance in its busier design. It may not have the slim, even bezels all around the display, but its chunkier top and bottom bezels do make space to magnetically prop up the Type Cover keyboard, securely stash away and charge the Surface Slim Pen 2 and include a higher quality front-facing camera.

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 may be slimmer and lighter, but sacrifices performance, battery life, and features to deliver that industry leading design. I personally prefer the look and feel of the XPS 13 2-in-1, but that alone isn’t worth the compromises you’d have to accept. The spec sheets may appear similar, but there’s basically only one area in which the XPS 13 2-in-1 is actually better than the Surface Pro 9, and that’s with the inclusion of a fingerprint sensor in the power button in addition to the Windows Hello-equipped front-facing camera.

Both the Surface Pro 9 and XPS 13 2-in-1 are equipped with dual USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4 ports. (Image credit: Windows Central)

In all other areas, the Surface Pro 9 is either just as capable, is objectively superior, or includes an extra feature that the XPS 13 2-in-1 lacks. In two areas the Surface Pro 9 is dramatically better, with a far higher quality 120Hz display and significantly longer lasting battery life (in both Intel and ARM variants). The Surface Type Cover and Slim Pen 2 also hold some key advantages over Dell’s comparable XPS Folio and Pen, like a more comfortable all-around typing experience and better stylus integration.


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