And the winner is … Quickly compare and evaluate

The new Dell XPS 15 9500 and the 16-inch MacBook Pro are probably the two best laptops on the big screen by 2020. Is there a winner? Read on.

Review Background: This is intended as a brief, quick comparison and review that touches on highlights. I have had the 16-inch MacBook Pro for about eight months and the Dell XPS 15 9500 for only a few days, but have been using it constantly for the last 48+ hours.


Let me first address the elephant in the room. Both of these laptops are heavy. If you are a lot (like me), these will not be your first choice.

Let me put it another way …

My backpack with the 13-inch Dell XPS 13 9300 or HP Elite Dragonfly is light enough for longer distances (for example, long treks through airports).

My backpack with the Dell XPS 15 9500 or 16-inch MacBook Pro is perfect net light enough for often long hauls or road trips. Not backbreaking, but again, too heavy to turn around a lot and too heavy to pull out of your bag several times when you are mobile.


Besides large screens, this is the reason why customers and professionals buy laptops for big screen. For example, the XPS 15 9500 has the latest high-end 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10875H (8-core), paired with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti. For someone who almost exclusively tests and uses 13-inch laptops, the 9500 is extremely (and refreshingly) fast, making you waste every task you throw at it. That can be addictive.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is the same. After using the MBP 16 I could never go back to the MacBook Air. Too painful.


Both monitors are beautiful and bright (see table above). With that out of the way, let’s talk about screen real estate. The simple fact is, large displays are better than small displays. Hence the ever-larger smartphones with large screens of Apple and Samsung and the general boom in large-screen phones.

Bottom line is, large displays make an enormous difference in productivity and gaming.

Battery life:

Both laptops have stellar battery life, but both the MBP 16 and Dell XPS 9500 last long enough. If I’m careful about viewing brightness and watching movies to a minimum (I’m not a gamer), they can make it through a flight from Los Angeles to New York – and beyond. So, if you keep a close eye on what you do, you can probably spend a whole day on each laptop.

Summary – a winner?

If Dell had released the redesigned XPS 15 before the 16-inch MacBook Pro arrived in November of 2019, Dell would have been the clear winner in the previous 15.4-inch MBP. The problem is, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is probably Apple’s best laptop at the moment.

Also, despite a larger display, the MBP 16 is lighter than the XPS 9500 model I have with the larger 86 watt-hour battery.

Where Dell beats Apple is afraid of money. Dell packs a faster Intel processor, faster graphics and a higher resolution display than the MBP 16 (see table above).

That said, overall I favor the MBP 16, because Apple delivers a larger screen and wider chassis than the Dell, but at a lower weight. And that means better weight distribution – which also makes the MBP 16 lighter.

Both laptops are a technological tour de force with beautiful aesthetics and thought designs and I can recommend both without breathing. And some users may prefer the Dell because of the extra horsepower at a lower price.



* About weight: Apple and Dell have the technology and materials to build lighter 15-inch laptops.

A hypothetical 14.9-inch laptop that weighs 3.5 pounds (give a tenth of a pound give or take) would be the perfect fighter. Yes, certainly heavier than, let’s say, HP’s 2.4-pound Elite Dragonfly (13-inch), but it would be tolerable and worth the extra weight load due to the extra screen real estate and processing power.

I still have a good laptop with large screen that I can take on long road trips. That’s something for these companies to think about, because I, like smartphones, believe many consumers on larger screens on laptops.

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