Dell finally announced the new XPS notebook lineup to India last week. The company’s premium laptop range has been regarded as one of the highest recommended products in the past few years, and not without good reason. They really pushed the benchmark for laptops in the Windows 10 ecosystem, across pretty much all metrics. Be it design, slimness, the use of premium materials, performance, slimming bezels and more. Much of that remains as is. Judging by the looks and specifications of the latest Dell XPS 2020 series, the company might continue its streak. But remember, the competition is now tougher than it probably has ever been for XPS series, not just in the Windows 10 laptop space but also with the Apple MacBook Pro line-up proving to be just the alternative many users may prefer.
Having laid out the landscape for the 2020 updates of the Dell XPS series of laptops, there are a few things I want to talk about. First of all, the XPS range is quintessentially the perfect rival for the Apple MacBook Pro. Dell never openly says that, but it seems pretty obvious. The XPS 13 takes on the MacBook Pro 13 while the XPS 15 tries to take on the MacBook Pro 15 and now the MacBook Pro 16. For that, the company has the XPS 17 which makes a comeback after 10 long years. Of course, the particular model from the series hasn’t been launched in India just yet for some reason, but let's leave that for a separate rant.
Now in comparison, the new XPS 2020 range seems to be at par with the latest Apple MacBook Pro range as far as the specs are concerned. Of course, Apple has some extra tricks up its sleeve and in hindsight offers superior packaging in many ways. Dell has done its best and offers one of the best displays on any Windows laptop and an original design that it has been perfecting over the years. I really appreciate Dell as they seem to surprise me almost every year with their refreshed models. This year, however, I couldn’t appreciate one big factor, the price.
The new XPS 13 is priced at Rs 1,44,807 for the Intel 10th-Gen Core i5 model with a Full HD+ display and a whopping Rs 2,10,990 for the Core i7 model with the QHD+ screen. That is some admittedly some crazy pricing, for the 13-inch variant, especially for a machine that has no discrete graphics card. At this time, you can get the MacBook Pro 13 for upwards of Rs 1,15,000 depending on the deals and offers that you can snare, which makes the price difference even bigger. Spec for spec, give or take.
The XPS 15 range on the other hand starts at Rs 1,86,072 for the Core i7, fullHD+ display, and Rs 2,13,990 for the same Core i7, but more RAM, storage and a QHD+ display. There is no Core i5 option nor the top of the line Core i9, which is yet again quite disappointing. If this was designed to be a proper powerhouse, at least the Core i9 option could have been made available. The XPS 17, which was probably the most exciting product of the lineup, hasn’t been introduced in the country. This was yet again quite upsetting as I was looking forward to it, although Dell says ‘wait for it’ hinting a possible launch in the latter half of the year.
I completely understand that the Rupee vs Dollar conversion rates hasn't been kind to tech companies, but the kind of pricing that Dell has slapped on the latest XPS laptops makes it difficult for me to not suggest an Apple MacBook Pro to someone looking for a premium and powerful notebook. And it is not just the MacBooks, because there are many worthy gaming notebooks as well as premium laptops at this price point that would eat the XPS range for breakfast. Particularly the entry spec variants of the Dell XPS 13, which will see competition from the likes of the HP Spectre series and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon.
Having said that, I think that the new XPS range is still THE best looking, premium Windows notebook that you can buy today in India. The aluminum metal chassis, the carbon fiber weave on the deck, and that gorgeous display with those super-slim bezels are just something that you cannot ignore. But remember, Dell aren't the only ones doing this on laptops now. I am currently reviewing the new XPS 15 and honestly, I absolutely love the machine. Stay tuned for the full review on News18.