Why would anyone buy a Retina Macbook Pro vs Dell XPS 15?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Starfyre, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. Starfyre, Oct 23, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013

    Starfyre macrumors 68030


    Nov 7, 2010
    Dell XPS 15, launched earlier than Apple on October 18th and has a build quality that is not "cheap" like other computers, and is priced pretty high compared to everyone but Apple.

    Besides the Operating System....

    Dell XPS 15 Pros - Ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Rq0BTkgF-k
    - Machined aluminum (like rMBP) with Carbon Fiber
    - Battery Saving HiRes IGZO 3200 x 1800 display, which the rMBPs do not have
    - 11 hour battery life, which rMBPs have only 7 at 15 inch
    - Touch Screen
    (Windows 8, 8.1 can be fail... but if future OS supports better functionality with Touchscreens, XPS 15's got it. Apple will most likely one day succeed in their goal of fusing more of the iOS experience with OSX... but rMBP has no touchscreen, will have to replace someday if this ever happens)
    - Upgradable RAM and SSD
    (rMBP only can upgrade SSD, which for Apple is proprietary)
    - Brighter screen and display than rMBP at about 400 nits
    (rMBP can only go up to 300%, Anandtech studies have determined the screen to be around 20% dimmer,why its not 25%, don't ask me ask anandtech, but the point is.. its dimmer)
    - Lighter than rMBP at 4.44 pounds versus 4.46 (rMBP is heavier)
    - Thinner than rMBP at 0.70'' versus 0.71'' (rMBP is a smidge negligibly thicker, and the Dell XPS is upgradable and the rMBP is not?)
    - Cheaper SSDs for the future!
    (even though they are slightly slower than the PCIe SSDs of the rMBP... no manufacturer has made an Apple compatible SSD yet, while there are plenty of options to choose from with the Dell... Dell can even use a Hard Drive and SSD Hybrid! Unlike rMBP..stuck with Apple proprietary.. even the ~500GB OWC drives made to be compatible with the non-Haswell rMBPs are no longer compatible... unless you used it as an external drive with a $150 enclosure? come on... really)

    Retina Macbook Pro Pros - 2012 Ad (sans 2013): www.youtube.com/watch?v=kq-ZwegiRIU
    - You get to pay the Apple premium?
    (as opposed to Dell, which is priced like a non-retina macbook pro. as an aside, i used to think how the Apple premium for the 2012 rMBPs definitely supported Apple exclusivity... but with this new release, theres no classic 15, the rMBP becomes the standard. this means practically every Apple user with a Pro in the near future is going to be a retina. Not only that, as some forum users have pointed out, the pricing is "cheaper", but forces you to pay more for a dedicated card, which is okay, but then again, the XPS 15's got a premium too, less of a premium... but better than rMBP in certain areas... especially the retina part of its name)
    - Iris Pro
    (best integrated card, supposed to save battery, but funny enough, Dell did a better job in optimizing the battery life with discrete card only compared to Apple with both of them in the system. Your probably going to game or use 750m anyway more than Iris Pro as 750m beats out Iris Pro anyday, just "less power", which is meaningless based on the aforementioned)
    - PCIe SSD (but Dell does have SSD)

    The rMBP might put less strain on the graphics card because of its lower resolution than the XPS 15, but really, all signs point to the XPS 15 as the best value, build quality, and more.

    People may say the Dell XPS 15 used to suck, and it did, being grossly overweight (5+ pounds... ouch) and just a poor attempt to rip off parts of Apple design, but through multiple iterations, it looks like Dell's one, no, multi-upped Apple this time around and made a machine that is definitely made to compete and beat.

    I am struggling to determine why I should get the Haswell Retina Macbook Pro, as much as I want to, but the research and the specs seems to want me to get the Dell XPS 15 instead... please help!
  2. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    I would never entertain the idea of buying a Dell XPS 15. Not for a second. Why? It doesn't run OS X. And why else? Because the rMBP appeals to me more in the other aspects.
  3. Jason HB macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2013
    Hanging in for the arguments here. I am in this situation now. Wondering if I should cancel my MBP and get the XPS.
  4. LostJohn macrumors member

    Jul 21, 2011
    Yeah, the obvious answer is the operating system. That's why we've been seeing price reductions in the latest iterations until Mavericks was finally declared "free" of charge. And since no product or commodity is ever truly free, you're making up the cost in buying the hardware.
  5. sonicrobby macrumors 68020


    Apr 24, 2013
    New Orleans
    OSX, I will never again buy a windows laptop :x I can maybe see myself building another desktop in the distant future, but no more windows laptops for me... ever...
  6. AllergyDoc macrumors 65816


    Mar 17, 2013
    Utah, USA
    Specs aside, after using, first, an MSDOS machine, then Windows for 27 years, then a Mac, I'd rather not go back. OS isn't perfect but it's better than Windows.
  7. Quu macrumors 68030


    Apr 2, 2007
    For me, Mac OS X is the main reason but the fact that the Dell XPS uses Windows is another. It has a lovely 3200 x 1800 screen but it uses Windows which doesn't use these ultra high resolution screens very well in desktop mode. It works great in Metro where I would spend 0% of my time.

    So no mater how high res that screen is, it's useless if everything looks like junk and according to Anandtechs review of a 4K Asus display in Windows 8, most of the applications they used simply do not detect that the screen is ultra high resolution and the scaling built in to Windows only really works on Microsoft created UI elements like the task bar and the included Windows 8 apps. Not on 3rd party software because the developers have not done their part to update their software.

    Another concern I have with the Dell is its power brick and power cord, the silicone palm rests wearing over time etc

    I'm not an Apple elitist I know they don't make the best everything there are a lot of products I would never buy from Apple like a Desktop or a HTPC (AppleTV) or even a Router (Seriously Apple, still no MAC Address Cloning? or Bandwidth graphs?) but their Notebooks are top notch I've yet to find a Windows notebook that has the complete package that Apples do.

    Yes we compromise on certain aspects like removable RAM, user replaceable batteries but the whole package when you consider everything like the power cord and power brick it's just built better and we cannot underestimate that operating system. OS X is a joy to use, Windows 8 is a chore to use.
  8. JSalig macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2010
    I chased the specs and bought a high-end Dell XPS laptop a three years ago. Got one year of decent use out of it. Never again.

    I have no bias against laptops running Windows but there are so many machines out there that throw in a ton of spectacular specs but fail to deliver on overall performance and ergonomics. The MBP isn't perfect but for me it's as close as any other laptop has ever got.
  9. Djlild7hina macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2009
    OS and relability for me are the main reasons. I have no problem with running windows in a VM which is what I do all the time but can't get used to using windows as my main OS. I'm too used to the multitouch gestures and mission control to switch back to windows. Now, if they can make it a hackintosh with 100% compatibility... I may consider one but for now I'm going with the Haswell rMBP
  10. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    Truer words have never been spoken.
  11. foxkoneko macrumors 6502

    Sep 5, 2011
    How about thinner?
    probably negligable but you included the joke of dell being "lighter" ;)
  12. Benjamin99 macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2012
    The Woodlands, TX
    For me, OSX and build quality. I've never picked up another laptop that felt as solid of build quality as my rMBP. And I've had nothing but poor experience with all windows machines in the past... I have to use a Dell for work, but would not if I had a choice. Only OSX at home..
  13. raybies macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2013
    Fixed in 8.1, that's why Dell had to wait.

    You're getting confused with OSX, sw doesn't need updating in Windows when the resolution changes... specially .net apps.


    Are you seriously expecting an unbiased opinion?

    Bottom line; you're paying $400 for OSX, nothing for Win8.

    I was going to get the M3800, or XPS15 with the 32GB mSATA + 1TB... swap out the 32GB for a Samsung 512GB mSATA and the 1TD HDD for a 512GB SSD.

    With my Dell discounts it was ~$400 cheaper than the MBPr 15" I've ordered.
    I doubt there will ever be any 16GB DDR3 modules.

    So I would have got 1TB SSD (+ spare 1TB HDD) for $400 less than the MBPr with 512SSD.


    $1000 cheaper than MBPr with 1TB SSD.

    All in Australian $.
  14. MICHAELSD macrumors 68040


    Jul 13, 2008
    Similar price without Mac OS. Plus every Dell I've owned has had issues; they're unreliable...
  15. FrozenDarkness macrumors 65816

    Mar 21, 2009
  16. Starfyre, Oct 23, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013

    Starfyre thread starter macrumors 68030


    Nov 7, 2010
    Not expecting an unbiased opinion, in fact, I am biased towards the Retina Macbook Pro. I am hoping that biased opinions (or unbiased, facts, etc.) can help people like me justify paying the premium for the new Retina Macbook Pro without a second thought for the Dell XPS 15.


  17. Macalway, Oct 23, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013

    Macalway macrumors 68020

    Aug 7, 2013
    This laptop looks very nice

    But like others say, it's an ecosystem

    I'm happy with the OSX iOS fusion, and although MS may have something like this, if you dig deep enough, you tend to stick with what you know, as long as it doesn't give you too much trouble. In short: brand loyalty


    (Bad things about MS and Dell went here, but I edited them out, as it's a family forum :) )
  18. mofunk macrumors 68020


    Aug 26, 2009
    Apple's OS X has a lot to offer. Apple Support is more reliable than Dell. Specs are nice on paper, but the real deal is under the hood. If you just want to surf the web then go with Dell and in two years or less buy another computer.
  19. Quu macrumors 68030


    Apr 2, 2007
    8.1 doesn't fix it. Nothing will fix it apart from developers. No operating system can magically make images inside software 4x their normal resolution without quality loss. That is not how it works.

    .net apps get free text and UI element rendering at the higher res but beyond that the apps look like ass. Most Windows software is not written for .net even on Windows. C and C++ with common libraries are still dominant.

    btw I'm a Windows software developer.
  20. tonie macrumors 6502

    Mar 29, 2008
    I'm actually thinking of selling my rMBP next spring if the trackpad on the XPS is on par or close to MBP trackpad.
  21. cybergibbons macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2013
    I'm a long-term Thinkpad (with Windows and Linux) user who has just ordered a Macbook Pro 13. I've been looking at a lot of different machines.

    Firstly, I love my Thinkpad and Thinkpads in general. What I like about them:

    1. Coherent design and range. I don't feel like I need to get used to new machines when swapping to another. If my X220 breaks it can be replaced by an X230 which is similar enough to satisfy my needs.
    2. Robust and well made.
    3. Customer service is great - onsite technician sometimes on the same day. Customer replaceable parts.
    4. Committed to support hardware for 3-5 years. Continuous BIOS updates, drivers kept live and up-to-date, new OS supported. Windows 8 is fully supported on my X220.

    I do however want a HD (or above) screen in a 12/13" laptop, along with 16GB of RAM. It doesn't look like they are going to be able to deliver this until next year.

    The Macbook Pro 13 can deliver now.

    Macs have the same pros:
    1. Coherent design and range. They couldn't be more similar in design. But again, there is nearly always going to be a small, fast laptop available.
    2. Very well made. I'm not sure about robustness. I don't think the Macbook Pro will take the same abuse but we'll see.
    3. Customer services is great. No onsite technician, no accidental damage cover. But I do know that most of the time, I can go to a retail store to sort a problem. And when dealing with friends/family with broken Macs, they don't question or try to worm their way out of broken hardware.
    4. I regularly see older hardware being updated to new OS X, and it seems to work on the whole

    I've looked at a lot of other machines, including Dells.

    I'm not going with the Lenovo X240 because it only has one DIMM slot. I need 16GB of RAM (VMs, development - X220 has 16GB and going back to 8GB is painful). They also can't tell be when the HD screen will be available, or how much it will be. I think it will be too expensive.

    I'm not going with Dell. Why?
    1. I've had horrendous customer service over the last two years. We have had over 15 replacement power supplies over 6 machines. The centre pin that communicates information about the power of the power supply stops working. Dell seem a long way behind in batteries - they all seem to become useless after about 18 months. But above all I often have to argue with them to get replacement parts.
    2. No coherent design or range. They don't always have a 13" ultrabook machine in their range. If I lose or break it, I might have to look elsewhere. We had a massive 19" mobile workstation machine that broke within it's 3 year warranty and they couldn't replace the main board when it broke. Alternative was a consumer laptop or partial refund.
    3. BIOS and drivers are only kept up to date for ~12 months tops. They even sometimes don't fix serious BIOS issues in that period.

    HP largely suffer from the same issues, though they do tend to have a coherent range of laptops. You can't look at a lot of their high-end machines before ordering though, and sometimes they really miss the mark.

    Currently I also have an Acer Aspire S7 which I got very cheap. This has a lovely high-res screen. It's fast, and the build quality and design easily rivals a Macbook Pro. But... the battery life is 3 hours. I'm selling it to fund the Macbook Pro


    Yeah, 8.1 on my Aspire S7 has a lot of problems with scaling. My eyesight is good, so I don't care. But the laptop is virtually unusable from my mum's perspective.

    Some software doesn't just scale badly, it totally screws up when scaled.
  22. laurihoefs, Oct 23, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013

    laurihoefs macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2013
    You've been all excited about the XPS 15 for a while now. Why on earth do you want people to convince you to get something else instead? Get the Dell already.

    If I had to purchase a laptop right now I would still get the rMBP though. You know, the usual arguments.

    No reviews available yet:
    -we only know what Dell claims of battery life
    -we only know what Sharp claims of the displays performance
    So currently it's marketing buff vs. proven hardware. If possible, I'd wait a little while for reviews to come out.

    Different ecosystem:
    -got Time Capsule? Extra MagSafe chargers? A huge amount of files created in iWork, thousands of photos in Aperture? Too bad.
    -all files and backups on HFS+ formatted drives? Have jolly good time migrating, and prepare to purchase a few extra drives to do that.
    -invested heavily in Final Cut Pro or logic Pro licenses and plugins? Bummer.
    -have other Apple computers in the house? Say good bye to convinient festures like AirDrop.
    If you haven't invested in hardware or software that is dependent on one platform, these are of course not problems you'd face.

    Included software:
    -rMBP: OS X Mavericks, Numbers, Pages, Keynote, iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand
    -Dell: Windows 8.1
    If you don't find any of those Apple apps useful, then no incentive to get the rMBP there.

    Dell offers what appears to be a fairly competitively priced product. But that's it. If you ignore the marketing speech, you are left with a very similar device. And then it's up to reliability and customer service. Where I live, Dell has an appalling reputation, and for a good reason. YMMV.

    So once again, if you find the Dell suits your needs and you are not dependent on one platform, why do you need to be convinced? According to the title of this thread the decision should be easy, right? If the only factor you need to consider is the ~$200 savings in initial purchase prize then what is there to think about? Get the Dell.
  23. Steve121178 macrumors 601


    Apr 13, 2010
    Bedfordshire, UK
    Because it's a Dell.
  24. ElderBrE macrumors regular


    Apr 14, 2004
    First, putting better specs together in a machine and calling it better can have terrible consequences. Apple laptops last, and they're well made to work with the chosen specs. Others simply put the parts together and hope for the best.

    But the. Defining factor, and the one that makes these machines be in completely different categories is the OS. You cannot be serious about having people choose one or the other, because one thing has nothing to do with the other. People on a Mac moving to a PC and vice versa have to by more than just the laptop, not to mention most people using this forum will not even bother with windows for nothing other than maybe, gaming.

    Apples and oranges, it's the OS man, that's why they make it free now and have never bothered with cd keys or whatever, Apple has made this money from the hardware, not selling the OS, there's your Apple premium, and now you get OS major updates for free to balance that premium even more over the years.
  25. zI INFINITY Iz macrumors regular

    Sep 25, 2013
    I can understand your dilemma Starfyre. On paper, the XPS 15 is a better deal then the rMBP. But for me it's clear: if I buy a new notebook, it's going to be the rMBP. Why? It's hard to pun into words, but I will try. Warning: these are going to be more feelings then facts or something.

    - First of all, Apple makes only a few devices that run OS X and so their focus is much higher. OS X is really made, optimized, to run on these few devices/product lines that Apple makes. In the end the software makes or breaks the entire experience. I think OS X "feels" better, because it is really optimized for just a few devices. It feels more modern. Remember that Apple knows on what hardware the software will run, Microsoft doesn't know on what kind of device Windows might end up. I really think this matters in the end.

    - Third party support, or "attention/popularity". The MacBook's are populair, there are only a few. Since they don't change the design every year of the, there is a much larger market of accessorizes etc. If you would buy the XPS 15, no way that you would find as much stuff for it as for the rMBP (not to mention the MBA). I value this.

    - Design. I'm going to make it short. There is not another laptop I find as beautiful as the rMBP. The XPS 15 is basically a larger version of my XPS 13 ultrabook, so I know how it looks and feels in real life. It just doesn't feel the same. You can see it's not as well made as a rMBP. It feels more like separate parts put together (put together well though), instead of one solid, premium thing. Small things, like light leaking from the LED on the front. The XPS metal cover on the bottom that hides the product info. Good idea, but in the end it just sits there as a separate part. The XPS 15 doesn't seem to have the LED on the front from what I see in the screenshots, neither do I know if it still has that metal cover on the bottom. But it's more about Dell's "building" skills and attention to detail. The XPS 15 is probably not going to be made/assembled with the same precision and therefor not going to have the same premium feel like the rMBP.

    (lol, I didn't make it short)

    In the end I'm just tired of Windows, I've heard so many good things about OS X and I think it looks much more beautiful then Windows. There is just an "old feeling" that still hangs on to Windows, even 8.1. If you could run OS X as easy on a Windows device, as Windows on an OS X device, it might have been different. Even then, the things I mentioned above would probably still have made me go for the RMBP.

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