Head-To-Head: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 Vs. Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Battle Of The Convertibles

Microsoft has done well for itself with the Surface Pro, a series of Windows 10 tablets that connect to a detachable keyboard. But the interest from buyers is starting to wane, as Microsoft hasn't put out a new model since the Surface Pro 4 in the fall of 2015. This week, Microsoft announced plunging sales in its Surface line – a result both of the age of the Surface Pro line and also increased competition. But who are the competitors, exactly? One recent rival product comes from Dell, which released a 2-in-1 version of the XPS 13 notebook in January. To give a sense of which product might be the better fit for you, in the following slides we've compared the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 vs. the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 on specs and price.

First Things First

One major difference to mention upfront: the Surface Pro 4 keyboard attaches and detaches from the display, while the keyboard on the XPS 13 2-in-1 does not. What it does do is fold part or all of the way back, for using the notebook in a variety of modes, including "tent" mode or "tablet" mode (when the keyboard is folded all the way back and not operational).


The XPS 13 2-in-1 comes with the larger display, at 13.3 inches compared to 12.3 inches on the Surface Pro 4. In terms of display resolution, the XPS 13 2-in-1 has two variations – FHD (1,920 x 1,080) or QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800). Both are "InfinityEdge" displays with practically no bezel on the top and sides. The display on the Surface Pro 4 uses LCD (PixelSense) technology, and falls in between the two resolution options for the XPS 13 2-in-1, at 2,736 x 1,824.


The Surface Pro 4 is older and has a previous-generation processor, while the XPS 13 2-in-1 is newer and benefits from having the latest-generation Intel processor, known as Kaby Lake. However, the design of the XPS 13 2-in-1 calls for a low-power processor that doesn't require a fan, so it uses the seventh-gen Y-series processors (formerly known as Core M). The top-level option for this processor type is for the Core i7-7Y75 (clock speed of 1.3GHz). By contrast, while the Surface Pro 4 uses sixth-generation processors from Intel, the top-level option is for a faster processor, the Core i7-6600U (clock speed of 2.6GHz).

Battery Life

Dell's decision to use a low-power processor gets a big payoff in battery life. The company is touting 15 hours of battery life on a charge for the XPS 13 2-in-1, thanks in part to less battery drain from its system-on-a-chip. That blows past the nine hours of battery life promised by Microsoft for the Surface Pro 4.

Thickness & Weight

The XPS 13 2-in-1 also gains the benefit of having a slim body from going fanless in its design. The convertible notebook measures just 0.54 of an inch thick – which is impressive for being nearly identical to the Surface Pro 4 with keyboard, which is a total of 0.52 of an inch thick.

The Surface Pro 4 has the edge on lightness, though, weighing in at 2.35 pounds with the keyboard included. The XPS 13 2-in-1 has a weight of 2.7 pounds, by comparison.

Memory & Storage

There isn't much to contrast here. For RAM, both devices have configurations of 4GB, 8GB or 16GB available. And for storage, both come with options for 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB.

Ports & Pens

The devices diverge significantly on port options. Dell's XPS 13 2-in-1 relies on two USB-C ports (one with Thunderbolt 3 support) and microSD for its connectivity – though Dell says it packages a USB-C to USB-A adapter with the laptop. The Surface Pro 4 doesn't feature USB-C connectivity – but does have a USB-A port and Mini DisplayPort, plus microSD and Surface Connect ports (for power and docking).

Both devices are aimed at working well with digital pens. The Surface Pen is included with most models of the Surface Pro 4, while Dell's Active Pen is sold separately from the XPS 13 2-in-1.


One crucial thing to note is that the Surface Pro 4's keyboard, the Surface Pro 4 Type Cover, is sold separately from the tablet, for $130. Current pricing for the Surface Pro 4 with Core i5 and 4GB of RAM is $849, making it $979 with the keyboard. That is just about the same as the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, which has a starting price of $999.99 for the FHD model with 4GB of RAM and Core i5 (though, as mentioned, the Core i5 here is the low-power Kaby Lake version).

For FHD, Core i7 and 8GB of RAM, the XPS 13 2-in-1 is priced at $1,299.99. The Surface Pro 4 with 8GB RAM, Core i7 and Type Cover will run $1,479. Meanwhile, the starting price for the QHD+ model of the XPS 13 2-in-1 is $1,549.99, with Core i7 and 8GB of RAM.