2 weeks on the road: The Dell XPS 13 vs. the MacBook Air
This trip is off to a rocky start, I remember thinking as I walked off the plane through the same gate I'd boarded it 30 minutes earlier
Published 15:20, 03 October 12
- With a little conservation of screen brightness, shutting off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on the plane, and making sure I close down resource-intensive apps, I can usually get 7+ hours' use on the MacBook Air before I have to find an outlet. That's fantastic for international travel days.
- The best I've been able to do on the Dell so far is a little under 5 hours. To be fair though, I haven't had much time with it yet to find out how best to optimise power. One problem though is that the Dell seems to chew through its battery in 24 hours on standby.
- The MacBook Air has a better screen. It has higher resolution at 1440x900 vs. 1366x768 for the Dell. It makes a big difference for me because I use mind mapping software and edit documents a lot. The extra pixels make a huge difference.
- The Dell has a great illuminated keyboard. The action is very similar to the Air's, and the wrist rest is beveled slightly to keep the edge from cutting into my wrists. It's also comfortable to rest my hands on the soft surface, but there are drawbacks to using rubberized plastic (see picture below).
- The Dell looks a lot like the MacBook Air from the cover (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery), and it really is a high quality case design. It doesn't feel cheesy at all.
- The Dell's performance has been very good. The SSD drive is fast, the machine sleeps when the lid is closed and wakes up reliably when it's opened again.
- The power supply tip is different (thinner) than other Dells, presumably due to the slim case design. That's fine except I've already tripped over the cord once and tweaked the tip. The Magsafe design on the Mac disconnects itself when I trip and protects the socket and the tip.
- DropBox, Evernote and GMail, along with Salesforce.com and a secure proxy to Peoplesoft mean I don't need to get on the corporate network from either machine, and I can keep all of my files in sync, working on either computer at any time.