How does the the Dell XPS 13 9310 and the 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro stack up as of summer 2021? Read on.
I use both a Dell XPS 13 9310 and a 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro interchangeably, here’s my take.
Battery life: M1 MBP goes and goes
—M1 MacBook Pro: full day: With on and off use throughout the day, I can get a full day of battery life on the M1 MacBook Pro. That’s 9-10 hours. If I don’t do any heavy lifting, more than a day. The only other laptop I have that comes close to the endurance of the M1 MBP 13 is my Google Pixelbook Go Chromebook.
—Dell XPS 13 9310 (4K+ display): half-day+ or 6+ hours. I’m using the 4K+ (aka UHD+) model for this review. I can stretch it a bit more if I stay away from things like long video conferencing (Zoom) sessions, excessive active Chrome tabs, and keep screen brightness down.
Note that the Dell XPS 13 9310 with a lower-resolution FHD+ display has longer battery life than the 4K XPS 13. More on that at bottom.
Notebookcheck shows the Cinebench R23 multicore CPU benchmark favoring the M1 over Dell’s i7-1185G7 with a median score of 7,762 vs 5,661, respectively.
Cinebench R23 single-core CPU scores are a lot closer for the M1 and i7: 1,514 vs 1,457, respectively.
Synthetic benchmarks are useful to a point. For me, performance on widely-used applications (like the Chrome browser where I spend a lot of time) is what counts the most.
On testing of real-world* workloads, Dell’s XPS 13 9310 with Intel’s 11th Gen Core i7 is no slouch. I’ve noticed no significant performance gap using the two systems day in and day out. Both laptops are fast and neither had any thermal issues — though the M1 MacBook Pro does stay cooler than the XPS 13.
*For me, “real world” is based on my usage scenario which includes running Google Chrome with 20+ tabs (the single biggest power drain), Firefox browser, Microsoft Office, Google Docs, social media, YouTube videos (in background playing music), CMS, video conferencing (e.g., Zoom, Microsoft Teams), Apple Music, benchmarking applications, and photo editing. Display brightness is typically set at over 70 percent. Laptop is run until it loses power.
After using the M1 MacBook Pro for 6 months, it’s obvious that Apple made the right decision to move macOS to its own silicon. The M1 MacBook is a far cry from the Intel-based MacBooks I used for years.
Pretty much all of the Intel-based 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models I’ve used/owned over the years suffered (based on my usage patterns) from heat problems. Battery life was underwhelming too, i.e., I never saw the battery life that many reviews claimed in their testing.
That all changed with the M1 MacBook.
Intel will have to work harder than usual to maintain parity as we get closer to MacBooks using the second generation of Apple’s M series processors later this year.
Why the difference in battery life between the Dell XPS 13 9310 FHD+ and UHD+? The XPS 13’s 4K display has 4x the number of pixels to push than the FHD+ (1,920-by-1,200) so it will always draw more power, according to Dell.
For the record, here’s what Dell’s product page says about battery life:
“Up to 14 hours, 11 minutes on a Full HD+ model when streaming …or up to 8 hours and 12 minutes of streaming on a 4K+ model.”
Comments or suggestions can be sent to me via a direct twitter message at twitter.com/mbrookec.