Dell XPS 13 vs MacBook Pro 13: Which flagship ultraportable laptop reigns supreme?

Apple MacBook Pro 13 vs Dell XPS 13: Connectivity

Any professional laptop needs serious connectivity. These laptops are deployed on desks as much as they are used out on the road, and the ability to hook up to external storage and displays quickly and easily is essential.

Dell XPS 13 vs MacBook Pro 13: Which flagship ultraportable laptop reigns supreme?

Both are well equipped for laptops of their size. The MacBook Pro 13 has two USB 3 ports on either edge, a pair of Thunderbolt 2 ports (20Gbits/sec throughput on each), a full-sized SD slot, full-sized HDMI video output and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The Dell XPS 13 is a touch more minimalist but still impressive, with a pair of USB 3 ports, a single Thunderbolt 3 port (40Gbits/sec throughput, plus USB 3.1 and DisplayPort 1.2 compatibility), SD slot and headphone jack.

As for wireless, the Dell sports a 2×2 MIMO stream own-brand 802.11ac adapter while the MacBook has a slightly faster 3×3 MIMO stream Broadcom chip. Across the board, this should mean faster, more stable connections on the MacBook.

Dell XPS 13 (late 2015)

Apple MacBook Pro 13 (2015)

USB 3 ports



Thunderbolt ports

1 (Thunderbolt 3, 40Gbits/sec, via USB Type-C)

2 (Thunderbolt 2, 20Gbits/sec)

SD card slot



HDMI output




802.11ac, 2×2 stream

802.11ac, 3×3 stream




Determining an overall winner here is difficult. Although the MacBook has the greater number and range of ports and sockets, the Dell is more advanced, supporting Thunderbolt 3 via its single USB-Type C socket.

I’m going to award the win in this section to the MacBook, however, because it has a more rounded selection of ports, and tops this off with more advanced Wi-Fi chip.

Winner: MacBook Pro 13

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