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Dell XPS 13 Plus with i7 thrashes Apple MacBook Pro 13 with M1 in unfair comparison of premium 13-inch laptops

A video review of the new Dell XPS 13 Plus laptop has revealed how much more performance can be expected over the previous-generation XPS 13 and the Apple MacBook Pro 13 from 2020. Pitting the Intel Core i7-1280P against the M1 SoC is clearly an unfair fight, but it is interesting to see Dell take notes from Apple’s playbook.

The popular YouTuber Dave Lee (Dave2D) has posted a brief review of the Dell XPS 13 Plus (9320), entitling his video with the dramatic phrase “cleaner and faster than a MacBook”. A screenshot from the clip has been doing the rounds on social media, with a cursory glance showing that the XPS 13 Plus is simply much faster than a MacBook Pro 13. However, it’s worth taking a deeper look into the benchmark results so that a transparent and fair conclusion can be made.

So, on the surface, the eye-catching Dell XPS 13 Plus with Intel Core i7-1280P absolutely thrashes the M1 MacBook Pro 13 in the Cinebench R23 test. The XPS 13 Plus racks up a whopping 11,480 points, thus leaving it a huge +48.26% ahead of the MBP 13 (7,743 points) and an astonishing +104.20% ahead of 2021’s Dell XPS 13 with i7-1165G7 (5,622 points). Doubling performance over the previous-generation model is certainly a creditable accomplishment for Dell and shouldn’t be overlooked, while the lead over the Apple device looks superficially impressive.

However, it is a completely unfair fight. The Dell XPS 13 Plus has just been launched whereas the Apple MacBook Pro 13 with M1 dates back to the end of 2020. In addition, the Intel Core i7-1280P and M1 silicon are simply not playing on an even field: The Alder Lake-P part has a boost clock advantage (4.8 GHz vs. 3.2 GHz), a much higher core/thread count (14/20 vs. 8/8), and it can rely on more power use (base 28 W vs. 10 W). A 2022 Dell XPS 13 Plus with a high-end chip should easily be able to defeat an M1 MacBook Pro 13 from 2020.

But it’s also clear to see that there are some definite Apple influences over the new Dell XPS 13 Plus, with Dave Lee stating that it is an “XPS 13 but with some heavy Apple vibes”. There is no visible trackpad, the function key row has been turned into a bar featuring capacitive keys, and the laptop is astonishingly thin and light considering the power it wields. That power does leave the XPS 13 Plus emitting higher temperatures and noise levels than the MBP 13 (99 °C vs. 85 °C; 38 dB vs. 30 dB) and, of course, results in significantly lower battery life, depending on the display type. The base model of the Dell XPS 13 Plus currently starts at a price of US$1,299.