Dell XPS 15 vs. XPS 13 vs. XPS 12: Which XPS Laptop Best Fits Your Needs?


Dell wants the world to know that the success of its XPS line of laptop-tablet hybrids leaves no reason for the company to slow down just yet. With the addition of the XPS 12, consumers now have a wider opportunity to apply better discernment when it comes to choosing the model that best fits their needs.

Dell claims that it has designed all of the three laptops according to popular consumer demands. For instance, each model is given a certain level of battery boost, a feature that any serious laptop user deems as crucial to productivity. Dell said that the XPS 13 can provide 18 hours of battery life on a single charge. This is slightly longer than the 16 hours of battery life that users can get from the XPS 15.

In the meantime, the XPS 12 has a 30WHr battery which should be enough to last up to 10 hours on a single charge.

Dell also equipped all three models with a Thunderbolt 3 port which can support not only Thunderbolt but also 10 Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 devices.

So which XPS model would be best for you? Let’s take a closer look on what each model has to offer.


When it comes to display, Dell has an interesting way of balancing size with resolution quality. Consumers who prefer bigger displays in their laptops should opt for the XPS 15 which not only features a huge 15.6-inch display but also a higher resolution than the XPS 13’s which measures 13 inches in display size.

Likewise, the 12.5-inch XPS 12 has a configuration option that allows users to enjoy a 4K Ultra HD display with 3,840 x 2,160 resolution, something that is also achieved by the XPS 15 after it is configured to the same 4K Ultra HD option.

The XPS 13 deviates a little from the 4K display technology by offering two resolutions, namely the QHD+ and the fixed hardware configuration (FHC), with the former adding touchscreen functionality to the machine.


The XPS 15 may not be as flashy as the other XPS models but it still looks and feels nice. Perhaps the one thing that gives it a futuristic appeal is its very slim-surround display. It measures just a mere 0.20 inch between the end of the display and the end of the laptop. As a result, Dell was able to give the illusion of a 14-inch laptop on the outside but a 15.6-inch machine on the inside. How cool is that!

The XPS 13 features a metal build and boasts a dimension of 11.9 x 7.87 x 0.59 inches. Its sleek premium look makes it a good rival to Apple’s Macbook. It is also the world’s smallest laptop in the 13-inch range because of the screen’s reduced bezel size.

A Windows 10 hybrid, the XPS 12 has a tablet and keyboard that are both designed with a combination of metal and carbon fiber. Similar to its older siblings, the XPS 12 exudes a premium look and feel. The tablet part attaches securely to the keyboard dock using magnets. Simply tilt the tablet forward if you need to detach it after use.


The base model of the XPS 15 may not be a good fit for the most demanding users. While it packs an Intel HQ variant for the CPU, the laptop uses a quad-core i5-6300HQ 2.3 GHz instead of an i7. Still, it can be capable of fulfilling any significant tasks when it comes paired with 8 GB of RAM.

Packed with a dual-core, 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U and a Turbo Boost capability of up to 3.1 GHz using the right thermal conditions, the XPS 13 managed to meet a total score of 46 in application benchmark tests. If you want a laptop that is a processing powerhouse underneath yet keeps a svelte and ultra-portable appeal, the XPS 13 and its i7-6500U secret weapon should be more than enough to get most tasks done, satisfaction guaranteed.

The XPS 12 comes with a 1.9 GHz Core i7-4500U processor along with the latest 3 GB DDR3L-RS RAM and a 256 GB Liteon SSD which makes it a hybrid laptop that’s every inch the match of its rivals. However, it is really the SSD that makes quite a huge difference as far as speed is concerned. An AS SSD benchmark reveals that the XPS 12 can read and write files at an average of 476 MB per second and 399 MB per second respectively. In other words, the XPS 12 is your best bet yet if you’re keen on laptops with quick boot times and incredibly fast application load times.

Keyboard And Touchpad

The XPS 15’s keyboard exudes a similar feel with the XPS 13’s. With a 0.05 inch key travel against the standard 0.06 inch found in most average laptops, it may take a bit of getting used to, but it’s not difficult to become fully accustomed to the keyboard’s short-key travel.

The keys on the XPS 13’s keyboard are nicely spaced and don’t give a cramped effect when you type. If you need to use the laptop for long periods of typing, the XPS 13 not only has impressive tactility but also provides better accuracy while assuring that missed keystrokes are a minimal occurrence.

Dell said that they have focused on making the XPS 12’s keyboard one of the most solid keyboards that the market can have today. After learning that most consumers use hybrids as laptop replacements compared to using them as tablet replacements, the company has equipped the new XPS 12 with a full keyboard layout, 0.07 inch key travel and a Precision touchpad.

All three laptops have a backlighting mechanism on their keyboards, which makes them capable for use in dimly lit conditions.

As for the touchpad, Dell provides update support on the touchpad for its line of laptops which means that consumers are assured they’re getting the latest touchpad features on their devices.


Both the XPS 15 and XPS 13 will replace the older models that launched earlier this year. The XPS 15 starts at $999 while the XPS 13 has a starting price point of $799.

The XPS 12, which comes bundled with a keyboard and a protective case, has a starting price of $999 for the base model. The upgraded 4K version is priced slightly higher at $1,300.