I was in the market to buy a new laptop earlier this year and I came down to comparing to machines: the Dell XPS M1530 and the Apple MacBook Pro. I compared both of them to every aspect I could possibly come up with. Anyways both machines recently have received some upgrades so I thought I should update both comparison lists for those of you who might be looking for a new 15-inch notebook.
Update 4/20/08: Dell is now offering a 1440×900 LED and 1920×1080 Full HD displays.
I gave Apple a point for the Screen since they offer a non-glossy option which I truly prefer due to glare. Dell was expected to push out a LED screen over a month ago, however it hasn’t happened yet. The body of the MacBook Pro is cleaner, simpler, and lighter compared to the XPS 1530. In terms of Operating Systems, if you want OS X Leopard, chances are you won’t be able to get it working on a XPS; however it should a breeze to install Vista/XP on a MacBook Pro with Boot Camp. Leopard can use 4GB of RAM; however you’ll need 64-bit editions of Vista or XP to utilize all of it. Dell offers many more options for HDDs including a 64GB SSD which would be unusual for a 15-inch laptop. Dell also lets you turn your XPS into a Blu-ray player with an optional Blu-ray read/write drive which is great for watching high definition movies. I was irritated to find out that the XPS didn’t have gigabit Ethernet, which is great for transferring large files on a local network, especially when most new laptops have it. Apple won the keyboard war with its beautiful backlit keyboard with an ambient light sensor. However the XPS makes up with a Finger Print Sensor, which is great for bypassing typing passwords when people are around, and a better Web Camera. The XPS comes with a media remote control which tucks away into the express card slot while Apple now charges an additional $20 for their Front Row remote. The XPS M1530 can also be configured with a Sprint or Verizon mobile broadband card which will utilize the laptop’s antennas for better signal gain. I choose the 6-cell battery for the XPS since it was the best one which didn’t stick out. It offered only 2.5 hours of work time while the MacBook Pro gets about 3 hours.
If you didn’t already notice, there’s one major factor I left out on the chart: price. This part is what made me make my final decision which was to go with the Dell M1530. Dell offered a pretty good student discount in addition to their constant promotions. Apple also offers such discounts, but are incomparable to what Dell offers. With both configured to the highest similar specifications, the MacBook Pro was getting very close to $3000 while the Dell XPS was about $500 cheaper costing about $2500. In addition for those of you on a strict budget like I was, there’s more flexibility to remove unneeded components with the Dell to bring the price down. Anyways, that’s my two cents so please feel free to make comments.