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Dell XPS 13 Vs. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4: Which Is Best For You?

Kyle Alspach

CRN compares the new XPS 13, featuring 11th-gen Intel processors, with the Surface Laptop 4, offering a choice of Intel or AMD processors.

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If the time has come to get a new laptop that’s going to be able to run Windows 11, two of your best Windows laptop choices in 2021 are Dell’s XPS 13 and Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4. Both offer strong performance and battery life, an appealing design and a portable form factor. And both run Windows 10, and will meet the CPU requirements for installing Windows 11 when it debuts later this year.

But there are some major differences to note in this XPS 13 vs Surface Laptop 4 comparison. For one thing, on the CPU, Dell’s XPS 13 for 2021 comes with 11th-gen Intel Core processors, while Microsoft offers a choice of Intel or AMD Ryzen processors for the Surface Laptop 4 (which has some big implications for price, as you’ll see). Additionally, the XPS 13 stands out by offering one model with an OLED display and another with 4K resolution, while the Surface Laptop 4 actually has two different options for display size.

Which of these two Windows laptops is the best fit for you? In the following slides, the CRN Test Center compares the new Dell XPS 13 vs Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4 (with Intel or AMD Ryzen CPUs) on price, features and specs.


Besides considering the Intel vs AMD Ryzen CPU differences, buyers looking for a new Windows 10 (and soon to be Windows 11) laptop should take a close look at the differences on display with the Dell XPS 13 and Microsoft Surface Laptop 4. As mentioned, only the new XPS 13 offers an option for vibrant OLED display technology on its 13.4-inch screen. A second key difference is that the Surface Laptop 4 is actually offered in two display sizes—at 13.5 inches or 15 inches. In addition, both Surface Laptop 4 models come with touch screens, while not all of the XPS 13 display options feature a touch screen.

Speaking of display options for the new XPS 13, this laptop has a total of four to choose from. The top-of-the-line OLED XPS 13 features resolution of 3,456 x 2,160 and a touch screen, while there’s also an even higher-resolution model of the new XPS 13 that features 3,840 x 2,400 pixels on an LCD touch screen. The new XPS 13 can also come with a 1,920 x 1,200 display, available as a touch or non-touch screen. While not offered with OLED, the Surface Laptop 4 is still vivid and colorful thanks to its use of Microsoft’s PixelSense display technology. The Surface Laptop 4 falls in the middle of the XPS 13 options in terms of resolution, with resolution of 2,256 x 1,504 for the 13.5-model model’s display and 2,496 x 1,664 for the 15-inch model.

The XPS 13 also comes out ahead in terms of display brightness, with Dell reporting up to 500 nits of brightness for the laptop. Microsoft doesn’t disclose the brightness for the Surface Laptop 4 display, but it reportedly averages about 350 nits.

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