MBP TB 2016 screen uniformity pushed me to XPS 13...and I like the Dell: long comparison inc display

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jonnyr78, Jan 29, 2017.

  1. jonnyr78, Jan 29, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017

    jonnyr78 macrumors member

    Feb 18, 2008
    I've used Mac laptops for 14 years, but I'm frustrated at the screen uniformity and price of the current touchbar models (tried two 13" and one 15"). Each one I tried had pinker screens on the left, yellow on the right, and IMHO something with the anti glare made them have relatively limited off axis viewing angles (on white it went purple/pink). Generally I understand the limitations of IPS, but even so I found the new Pro screens on the low end of IPS quality. it's annoying to scroll through websites like this and see coudly white/gray.

    SO, I have for the last two days been using a new XPS 13 (Kaby Lake, 512gb ssd, 15gb ram). Here are my plusses and minues...

    - If you can live with Windows 10 it runs just as smooth to me as OSX. Usual windows plusses and minuses. I am a heavy onedrive user (I have a gaming PC) and I play a lot of music, so the onedrive integration and an application like Musicbee (iTunes is a mess on Mac and PC) balances out the loss of IOS integration (notifications, etc). There is stuff OSX does much better (Safari, notifications, messages, force touch / touchpad integration)...stuff windows does better (onedrive, file handling; photos being easier to find in the simple default photos browser, etc). I still prefer OSX...but I think it's stagnating a little. Also, dunno why, but I really like the windows 10 lock screen! :/

    I should also add, it didn't take me any longer to get the XPS registered/ready for first use than a Mac. Took five minutes to get rid of McAfee, it takes just as long to change the obvious OSX settings, and new OSC updates are as annoying as new windows ones.

    - Oveall fit an finish / build is better on the MBP. My XPS 13 has a couple of niggles that would drive Mac users crazy; slightly larger hinge gap on the left than right, trackpad not perfectly level and my trackpad is one with a slight movement when you tap it (but my wife laughed at me when I pointed this out!).
    -The fingerpirnt reader is a killer feature on the touchbar macs.
    - MBP is quieter; fans come on less on the Mac, it's a bit cooler (though windows has been doing a lot of installing / synching). - The XPS 13 does supper from a slight coil whine, but disabling C-State has got rid of it. This is the main thing I wish the XPS didnt have, but it is not loud and not noticable before I disable C-State and not happening since I disabled C-State in the bios.
    - It goes without saying that MBP trackpad is better. Thouhg the XPS 13 is not nearly as bad as people say in comparison.
    - Intel Iris on the MBP 13, Kaby Lake i7 HD 620 on the XPS 13 (though I don't game on a laptop!).
    - Better Apple support (but in the UK getting a Genius Bar appointment means about a two week wait).

    - The MBP keyboard is technically better, but in use it felt no better to me. MBP 'crisper' feel, XPS keyboard is quieter.
    - 15" speakers blow away the XPS 13, but the 13" speakers are only a little better (but, it annoyed me that the 13 MBP sound quality was worse if typing; hands blocked the speakers!). Plus, problem with the MBP is friggin iTunes (I now think it's a real drag on having a Mac for music; browsing albums is so slow).
    - Battery life MIGHT be better but hard to tell due to so many fluctuations. At least windows doesn't hide the run time ;). And, this is after disabling C-State (and even then I think it's equal between the two).

    - The Touchbar material, soft touch carbon fibre, is MUCH comfier than the Macbook Pro.
    - I DO miss the fingerprint sensor, but I do not miss the touchbar. Within a day of having the XPS I can adjust the volume and brightness, etc, with a small glance / perepheral vision...the touchbar seemed slower to me, after ten days of use I still had to conciously look for the button to touch. My ideal would be ususal keys with a fingerprint sensor. I do think the touchbar is a solution looking for a problem (though it looks cool).
    - The ports are overall, better for the next year or so. SD card, two USB 3, one thunderbolt/USB-C. Now, the USB-C IS only 2x which is annoying, but because I have my gaming PC the USB C is really just for transfering pics from my camera (it has USB-c) and connecting to a monitor or adaptors/charger in the future. Maybe three years down the line this will be a problem, but I don't see it being a problem so far.
    - The USB-C can be used for charging, yet the laptop also has a charger with a seperate port (and now there is no magsafe I actually prefer the easier to use dell charger; it's cheaper to replace, better built and lighter than the mac one).
    - Potential to upgrade the SSD. Also, whilst the Apple as much better support, the Dell seems easier to repair (hey, they let you download the service manual!).


    - Much better display resolution. People complain about Windows 10 scaling but a/ I have never had a real problem with it and b/ the deafult 2x 'hdpi' XPS 13 resolution gives you 1600x900, better than the lower '2x' resolutoin on the MBP's (I KNOW by default they are now set higher but proper 2x scaling looks so much clearer).
    - The size difference, fitting the 13" in a smaller bezel is to me noticeable. The XPS is thicker but I prefer the smaller footprint.
    - In the UK, a massive difference in price. If I used academic discount for a Mac, the 13" Macbook Pro with 16gb Ram and 512gb SSD and comparable processor is FIVE HUNDRED pounds / GBP more (!!) than this XPS 13 cost me (£600 without discount!). £500 is not justified by an Iris igp and touchbar (the dell IS touchscreen).

    The display. Oh my. I think I might be a bit lucky, but the display on the XPS 13 is incredible. No, the gamut is not as wide, but the uniformity is perfect; the best I have ever seen from IPS. Obviously if I tried too hard I'd find some blotchyness, but I haven't spotted anything; reading documents gtives a lovely even white/gray.

    Everyone has different priorites, and nothing is perfect, but for £500 less I will take the XPS 13 screen over the MBP anyday.

    (p.s. I never use a webcam...so no comment! And I don't like Siri/Cortana).
  2. badsimian macrumors member

    Aug 23, 2015
  3. jonnyr78 thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 18, 2008
    No standard XPS 13 with Kaby Lake core i7. The 2 in 1 is the same price for the slower processor and half memory and ssd size. Plus, I like 'normal' laptops!
  4. RichardC300 macrumors 65816


    Sep 27, 2012
    Chapel Hill, NC
    I also really enjoy my XPS 13. The touch screen is really useful when you're just lying on you're back scrolling through forums. But macOS, battery life, keyboard/trackpad, and the build quality of the nTB MBP just makes it the clear winner for me.
  5. jonnyr78 thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 18, 2008
    I can see that for sure, but for £500 LESS, the MBP display quality on the MBP's I tried was not close to the XPS 13 I have. That is included in build quality to me. It's a shame because Apple could easily fit a better display (or, less of a lottery display!) in the MBP's. There is nothing you do more with a laptop than use the display ;)

    (p.s. I did could not be conclusively sure the MBP battery life is better now).
  6. RichardC300 macrumors 65816


    Sep 27, 2012
    Chapel Hill, NC
    I haven't had the chance to try the QHD screen on the XPS 13 since mine is FHD. I still like the FHD display. XPS 13 is definitely the best windows laptop I've every used, and W10 is almost perfect.
  7. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    The XPS is an outstanding machine IMO, and you are making me want to buy one. In many ways I feel it accomplishes what the old Vaio Z series attempted but never fully realized. I'm really glad to hear others like it, because computers like the XPS are eventually going to force Apple to innovate more and sell for less. Further, they may force Apple to reconsider the progressive trend of merging iOS and OS X. Yes, Apple still makes an outstanding product, but there are outstanding high-end Windows 10 machines that present a formidable challenge in terms of quality, value, and longevity. As Apple moves to eliminate the MacBook Air, they are going to have to lower the price on the entry level 13-inch MacBook Pro in order to better compete with products like the XPS, IMO.

    For years I despised Windows, but a year ago I chose the SP3 over the iPad Pro and don't regret it one bit. Apple would have gotten my business if they used OS X instead of turning such outstanding hardware into a giant iPhone. But it goes to show that other Makers of high-end products offer some impressive packages that do a great job meeting User needs, and it's all the more reason for Apple to never stop pushing the envelope.
  8. WhiteWhaleHolyGrail, Jan 29, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017

    WhiteWhaleHolyGrail macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2016
    I really don't understand these threads. It's like a journal entry justifying a purchase without any objectivity. The XPS line has many manufacturing related flaws - dodgy screens, chasis, keyboards and overheating/fan issues to name but a few. Don't believe me? Check out the Dell forums for a few minutes.

    The OP has a decent model and yet he contrasts it against MBPs with flaws because it justifies his purchase. An overwhelming number of people have problem free MBPs and and so they would have very different stories to tell.

    Pitting defect free models against each other, I consider that the XPS is laughably antiquated in comparison - dated design, relatively slow touch pads and spongey KBs with a reliance on an update frantic OS. Yes the XPS has newer chipsets but that's just timing and Apple will catch up this year.

    By way of anecdotal evidence, I saw an XPS in a coffee shop recently and it looked shabby - the aluminium casing looked plastic and the keys were mirror like they were so shiny.

    Just preference and experience and I note how odd it is for XPS converts to express their new found faith in Dell on MR...
  9. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000


    Oct 17, 2016
    Do you reckon the Dell forums are full of threads entitled stuff like "Why I chose a MBP 13" over the XPS"?

    OP, it's great that you've found a laptop that you like and we're all very happy for you.

    For my I think you get what you paid for, if a (£600?) machine fits your needs then great! I'm happy to pay a little more for the MBs as I prefer the build quality and how they hold up over the years. It's difficult to find like for like on these things but the nearest equivalent Windows machines are often only a few hundred cheaper.

    Anywho congrats!
  10. CaptRB macrumors 6502a


    Oct 11, 2016
    LA, California
    I like the Dell and it's fine, but for me...

    1) Dell keyboard and overall feel is inferior.
    2) The color of the Mac display is more accurate, especially in the reds. As a photographer, this made the Dell a no-go for me. The extra resolution has no value at all because either is fine for 50 MP sensor cameras.
    3) The Mac feels like the more integrated product, but that may be because I'm come to despise Windows.

  11. jerryk macrumors 68040

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    When you say the color is more accurate, do you calibrate your displays with an external calibrator. And if so, which one.
  12. Queen6 macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2008
    Putting out the fire with gasoline...
    Nice summary irrespective of the outcome, good to hear another users perspective on a competing product, don't be put of by some comment is best ignored really for obvious reason.

  13. fedecape macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2011
    Miami, FL
    I'm gonna have to agree with this.

    I have the 9350 (check my signature) and it really is no MacBook Pro. Like you mentioned, keyboard/carbon fiber gets extremely sweaty and greasy, and the outside aluminum is good but nothing to be crazy about.

    I recently started having power-on issues (the machine turns itself on) and I've been in contact with Dell for the last two weeks trying to reach a solution. So far they have sent me 3 units, and they all had some sort of issue. From touchpad skipping to severe coil whine.

    It could've been the perfect machine, but Dell does not seem to care this time.
  14. happyslayer macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2008
    Glendale, AZ
    I'm a computer consultant and for myself choose Mac laptops--I love this new 13" TB Pro--but if I were to buy a Windows laptop the XPS 13 would have been on the top of my list. However, I said "would have" because just in the last four weeks, I have dealt with two XPS 13s suffering similar power-on issues. After a shut down, they do not turn back on--just a black screen with some flashing white power LEDs. One was 10 months old, the other just 6 days old. One required a new logic (mother) board and one required a logic board and a screen. Dell did fix them under warranty, but it required sending one away for two weeks and the other took 6 days for the tech (a really competent and friendly person) to get the two parts and get them installed. Needless to say, my customers were less than thrilled. I was especially annoyed that the 6-day old model wasn't just replaced outright, especially since the customer paid almost $1900.00 for it! Surfing the Dell forums, this seems to be a a pretty common issue with XPS 13s. So I am now pretty hard pressed to recommend them to customers, much less consider owning one myself. Good luck to the OP with his.
  15. Queen6 macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2008
    Putting out the fire with gasoline...
    Seen a lot of the display models the same, Am sure fresh out the box the soft touch CF looks fabulous, equally seems to be a huge grease magnet. By far I prefer a metal or hard finished keyboard deck/interior that is far less likely to attract dust & grime etc. Much may also depend on the environment, from my observation in the tropics, such soft touch coatings don't tend to fare to well to prolonged exposure to high humidity.

  16. MrX8503 macrumors 68020

    Sep 19, 2010
    Other than resolution, I don't see how the XPS monitor blows away the MBP. The MBP has a DCI-P3 screen at 500 nits of brightness. Wider color and much brighter than the XPS.
  17. drydiddy macrumors newbie

    Sep 18, 2016
    Alright, I sure am glad that you found your machine but I am here to help out anyone who is reading this and is considering going Dell.

    Let me just give a fair bit of warning.

    I am a tech loving engineer, coming from an old Dell precision m4800 workstation I decided to upgrade and get myself a sexy ultrabook. Please note that I have been against apple all the way up to this point. So I decide to outfit myself with the new 9360! This was back in feb 2016.

    I'll even admit I cheaped out and got a refurb one.

    The nightmare begins...
    I get the machine and it has a lot of bugs, the system freezes up and crashes or I get some weird sounds from the speakers quite often (not coil whine). I decided to just reinstall fresh windows and give it no more thought; still had the issues...
    So I chat up dell support who first try useless maneuvers that I myself have already tried, obviously it does not work so they decide to have me send it over to ARC, which is their repair depot. Please note that ARC is actually a company hired by Dell and no dell themselves. To keep the story short, they told me it would take 2-3 days, it took 3 weeks and now my machine had the coil whine issue and trackpad skipping issue on top of not having anything fixed. We're at march right now by the way.

    So they send me a new machine, they didn't realise I had purchased a refurb one. Oops! they sent me a machine with windows 10 home on it; I demand they send me windows 10 pro as it what I had purchased. Either way the machine was riddled with issues as well.

    Machine Count: 2 as of march 2016

    At this point I will skip to the end as the issues are always the same or one of the many infamous bugs the XPS brand is known for.

    Machine Count: 11 as of January 2017
    (you thought it was an old story huh? it just ended actually)

    I was sent 11 machines, 8 of which were brand spanking new, the last one being with kaby lake upgrade for all the trouble caused by me. But let me tell you all something, not one of them worked out of the box, they always had an issue. Be it touchpad, speakers, system crashing, you name it!

    The XPS has been a pure nightmare!
    And the support team has been as helpful as a newborn child playing with my computer.

    ARC - brings back computers broken
    On Site Tech - always scratches the computer by being careless and also aggravates the issue
    REC (Dell's top support team) - incompetent and rude


    I only recently purchased my MBP 2016 /no touch, but let me tell you the dream it has been. I hear people complaining about the price point but let me tell you that the price is there for a reason; we need to pay for quality nowadays.
    I paid extra for a machine that is much weaker than my speced out XPS 13 but that's on paper; in reality: One machine works, the other doesn't.

    I do not recommend anyone to get this horrible, disgusting, and vile machine from Dell. And do not think I am alone in this; I know many close friends afflicted with this disease and the forums rage about it.

    Do NOT buy dell at any cost. Avoid them like the plague.

    Excuse any typos, thanks.
  18. richpjr macrumors 68030


    May 9, 2006
    I can say that we use both Dell and Apple laptops at work and we have had zero issues like drydiddy has had. The XPS is a great laptop and we have had good luck with them. I am using a 15MBPtb and it's been a good laptop, but certainly nothing "magical".
  19. jonnyr78, Jan 30, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017

    jonnyr78 thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 18, 2008
    Two big problems with this.

    1. This is spoilt because of the display lottery the wonderful gamut and 500 nits is undermined by pink/yellow hue shifts across the screen. For Photos the MBP display was amazing, for documents it was poor.

    2. DCI-P3 is not necessarily that marvellous. If you make movies, great, but for photos it complicates workflow. Cameras mostly have the choice between Adobe RGB or SRGB Raw output for a reason, for consistency. Apple going to another display colour standard makes it harder to ensure colour consistency between outputs. If everyone goes with them in a couple of years (and they might) then problem solved: http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/another-new-color-space.html

    It's a shame, because I do think technically the displays could be great, but all the ones I saw were as bad as you would expect IPS consistency to be.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 30, 2017 ---
    few extra things...

    1. The point of my post was really about he display. If the current MBP displays were less of a lottery I would never have considered the Dell.
    2. I see nowhere in the MBP's that Apple can justify the cost differential. In the past when I have had Macs they are not been more expensive spec for spec. Now they are £500 more expensive in the UK (for the £500 more you get faster TB3, wider colour gamut, Iris...but poor display consistency and HALF the memory)
    3. The MBP (bar the display) is better built...
    4. I think the touchbar is a gadget rather than a real benefit (what makes it better than a touchscreen? And I am not a fan of touchscreen anyway)
    5. The fingerprint sensor on the MBP is great!

    No big deal, not to bash the MBP, but I do think the displays are massively overrated on the current MBP's.
  20. MrX8503 macrumors 68020

    Sep 19, 2010
    1. Keep returning the MBP until you get a screen that doesn't have pink/yellow hues? My MBP display doesn't exhibit the color tints you're describing.

    2. Non DCI-P3 content will display as normal. Not sure what the problem is here.

    I don't think the displays are massively overratted. I think it's one of the best features of the laptop.

  21. Sanpete, Jan 30, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017

    Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Nov 17, 2016
    Is there some reason beyond your very limited sample to believe this is more common with the MBP than the Dell? There are complaints about both in regard to uneven screens. In reviewer tests of screen evenness and accuracy the Mac screens have done better than the Dell UHD screens. (I note we're no longer talking about 13" screens here.)

    P3 includes sRGB, so there's no issue using that. Photographers who work in Adobe RGB might still prefer the Dell, though, once they've calibrated it.

    You mention build quality. There's also OS, speakers, SSD speed, more powerful ports, smaller footprint and weight (for the 15", haven't compared the 13") and other points that some people find worth paying for. Not everyone does, of course, and that's fine. The XPS is a great bargain for those with certain preferences.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 30, 2017 ---
    The sRGB content will look normal. Adobe RGB material with certain extreme color saturations may not display as fully on the MBP as on the Dell screen, since P3 doesn't entirely contain Adobe RGB. (The reverse is also true, Adobe RGB doesn't include all of P3.)

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