Laptops

Dell XPS vs. HP Spectre

HP and Dell are two of the top brands that constantly vie for the top spot of the best. Both brands adopt the latest technologies to adapt to the changing demands of different users. Products from these two manufacturers usually top the best laptop lists. Dell XPS and HP Spectre are two laptop families often set against each other due to their comparable specs. There’s a whole lot of similarities but also a bunch of differences between these two lines of laptops that often make it difficult to decide which one to get. The recent releases from the XPS and Spectre family of laptops showcase the different functionalities and powerful features that make them suitable for desktop replacements and/or gaming rigs. For the sake of comparison, we will be taking the most recent releases from these two versatile laptop families: Dell XPS 17 and HP Spectre x360 16.

Dell released the latest addition, the XPS 17 (9710), to the XPS family in May of 2021, boasting a more powerful performance, wider screen real estate, and a more impressive display quality than its predecessors. In the race to release its best, HP’s strong contender, the HP Spectre x360 16, set out in the market in October of 2021. Both laptops consist of robust hardware, appealing designs, and promising performances that make them ideal as business, mobile, and gaming laptops. If you want to know which laptop would best suit your needs, check out their comparison below:

Performance

HP’s new Windows 11 laptop features the 4-core H35-series processors from Intel. These 35W processors are much faster than the 15W that earlier releases from the same family used. The Intel Evo certification is another leap for HP Spectre x360 16, which can be configured with an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11390H with an integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics. Another first for Spectre x360 16 is the dedicated graphics card option with a GeForce RTX 3050 Ti, no less. The internals are the onboard 16 GB or 32 GB of RAM and 512 GB / 1 TB / 2 TB NVMe M.2 SSD.

The HP Spectre x360 16 is perfect for efficiently handling day-to-day content creation tasks and even gaming, but it dims out compared to the Dell XPS 17 laptop in terms of performance. Dell XPS 17 offers an array of configurations. The base model’s specs are slightly similar to HP’s latest Spectre base model with a 6-core Intel i5-11400H processor, integrated Intel UHD graphics, 8 GB of RAM, and a 512 GB SSD. The highest and priciest configuration has the stunning 8-core Intel i9-11980HK processor, 64 GB of RAM, 8 TB of PCIe NVMe SSD, and discrete graphics options of NVidia GeForce RTX 3050 or Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060. If you think this is overkill, you can go for lower configurations and still expect an excellent performance.

Display

When it comes to display, HP beats Dell. Spectre’s screen is an inch smaller than XPS. Spectre laptops are touchscreens by default. The base model features a 3K resolution with 400 nits, while that of Dell is a non-touch with FHD+ (1920×1200) resolution with 500 nits. Both offer 4K displays for high-end configuration. However, HP takes the spotlight by utilizing OLED technology, with superior image quality than LCD. Both brands boast a 16:10 aspect ratio which means more room on your screens. Dell, however, has a higher screen-to-body ratio of 93.7%, while HP settles at 91%. Overall, it’s still a win for HP in this category with its more vivid OLED display.

Ports and Connectivity

When it comes to ports, Spectre x360 16 has the edge over Dell XPS 17. Spectre x360 has two Thunderbolt 4 with USB4 Type-C ports, one SuperSpeed USB Type-A, an HDMI port, a 3.5 mm headphone/microphone combo, and a microSD card reader. On the other hand, the XPS 17 houses four Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 3.5 mm headphone/microphone combo, and one SD card slot. Dell ships with USB-C to USB-A v3.0 & HDMI v2.0 adapter, but not having the adapters dangling on the sides of your laptop is much neater, not to mention they’re more prone to loss. In addition, HDMI and USB-A are still very much in use, even in modern devices. HP’s inclusion of HDMI and USB-A ports on Spectre x360 16 is a nice touch making it a more versatile and more convenient choice over the XPS 17.

Similarly, the Spectre 2021 model has better connectivity features than Dell’s latest XPS. Spectre x360 16 is equipped with Intel Wi-Fi 6E, which provides more wireless channels and, therefore, lesser congestion than XPS 17’s Killer Wi-Fi 6. Likewise, Spectre x360 16 has the more advanced Bluetooth 5.2 combo onboard, while Dell carries the older Bluetooth 5.1.

Battery Life

This is another win for Spectre x360 16. Its 6-cell, 83 Wh battery lasts longer than XPS 17’s 6-cell, 97 Wh based on real-life tests. Running various day-to-day applications, Spectre’s x360 16 managed almost 13 hours [1] while Dell only lasted a little over 7 hours [2]. This is mostly due to Intel Evo’s platform pushing for longer battery life. Dell’s power-hungry hardware, specifically its CPU+GPU combo and is also partly a factor to consider.

Design

Both brands came up with excellent thin and lightweight designs for their wider 2021 models of premium laptops. The Spectre x360 16 looks similar to the previous versions with its unique gem-cut edges and also serves as a strategic location for one of the USB-C ports. Once you open the screen, though, you’ll notice that the keyboard and trackpad are much larger than those you can find in the previous versions. The number pad has been removed, giving more space for travel on the keyboard. You’ll also find quad speakers powered by Bang & Olufsen on both sides of the keyboard. The screen can be flipped back if you want to switch to tablet mode, although its size makes it a bit bulky and heavy for a tablet. The whole design is modern and sleek, especially with two elegant color options: Nightfall Black and Nocturne Blue.

The XPS 17 looks just as sleek and gorgeous as the new Spectre, but it’s not unique as it normally gives you the Apple’s Mac Pro impression on first look. The exterior is all silver with Dell’s logo behind the screen. Once you open the screen, you’ll find a classic black interior. The keyboard and trackpad are just as spacious as the Spectre, and quad speakers featuring Waves Nx 3D audio also surround the keyboard for similarly fantastic audio. Unlike the Spectre, though, it cannot be switched to tablet mode.

Conclusion

HP Spectre and Dell XPS are two great laptops for users, but they certainly come with their pros and cons. If you want a stylish touchscreen laptop with longer battery life, more port options, and better display quality that can also be used as a tablet, go for Spectre. If you want a sleek and lightweight desktop replacement, the XPS will not disappoint with its stellar performance and striking design. We hope you found the article helpful. Please check out more Linux Hint articles for tips and information.

Sources:

[1] HP Spectre x360 (2021) review. Hanson, Matt. October 23, 2021. https://www.techradar.com/reviews/hp-spectre-x360-2021 Accessed December 16, 2021.

[2] Dell XPS 17 (2021)  review. Thomas, Jackie. December 1, 2021. https://www.techradar.com/reviews/dell-xps-17-2021 Accessed December 16, 2021

About the author

Glynis Navarrete

A freelance blogger who loves to write about anything related to technology. Born and raised in the Philippines and worked in Singapore for eight years as Technical Support for a wide range of IT equipment. Took a dive into the world of freelancing and now enjoying doing what I’m passionate about while not losing touch with technology.