The MacBook Pro 16 (2023) and Dell XPS 17 (2023) are great laptops for creative work, content creation, and video editing.
If you want a very powerful laptop, there are several options available, but two options are popular among manufacturers. On the Windows side of things, there’s the Dell XPS 17 (2023), while if you want a device that uses Apple’s MacOS operating system, there’s the MacBook Pro 16 (2023). The Dell XPS 17 sports the latest and greatest CPU from Intel and the latest Nvidia RTX 40-series GPUs. On Apple’s side, there are additional devices for the M2 Pro and M2 Max, which are ARM-based processors.
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We have already touched on the differences in surgical procedures. But since both of these laptops cost more than $2,000, you’ll also want to consider all the connectivity, functionality, and features like displays. This guide will help you decide which laptop is right for you.
Price, availability, and specifications
The Dell XPS 17 (2023) and MacBook Pro 16 (2023) are both available for purchase. The XPS 17 (2023) comes in limited configurations through Dell.com, but you’ll also find it at Best Buy. Prices start at $2,199. The Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2023) is widely available at the Apple store, Amazon, Best Buy, and other retailers. It starts at $2,499. The specs for both laptops can be seen below, but keep in mind that the Dell laptop will have cheaper upgrades coming soon, with an Intel Core i5 CPU, for example.
Windows versus macOS
We need to overcome the obvious differences between these systems, and it is the operating system that can give you power. The MacBook Pro 16 (2023) is powered by macOS, and on the Dell XPS 17 (2023), it’s Windows 11. You may want to choose the device that best suits your needs based on the operating system itself.
Many creative people prefer to use Apple’s MacOS operating system because of programs like iMovie and Final Cut Pro. Those who are more productive, meanwhile, feel right at home with Windows, thanks to features like Snap Layouts and programs like Microsoft PowerToys.
Furthermore, there is also a need to consider how your device will play with the phone in your pocket. For example, if you have another Apple device like an iPhone or iPad, you’ll get integrated synergies like being able to send text messages from your Mac and send photos to your Mac with AirDrop. Windows does this for Android phones and iPhones with software like Intel Unison and Microsoft Phone Link, too, but it requires software, and it’s not very intuitive.
Creative people may prefer to use Apple’s MacOS operating system, and creative people feel at home with Windows.
If you’re wondering about the operating system difference, I explained why I hate macOS so much that I don’t like using my Mac Mini. An old friend at XDA also wrote why owning a Mac is difficult. You can explain, and our experience can influence your decision.
Clamshells of different sizes and weights
Case-wise, the MacBook Pro 16 (2023) and XPS 17 (2023) share the same clamshell design. All sizes, colors, and port selections are different, however, and the MacBook Pro 16 is the better machine in all of these areas. Dimensions have the MacBook Pro coming in at 14.01 inches in length and about 0.66 inches in thickness. It’s smaller than the XPS 17 (2023), which comes in at 14.74 inches in length and 0.77 inches in thickness. Although the weights are different, that makes the MacBook a machine that can be taken with you on the go. The MacBook is 4.8 pounds, and the XPS 17 is about one pound at 5.37 pounds.
All sizes, colors, and port options are different for these laptops
Of course, we can’t forget colors, either. The XPS 17 is very light. It comes in one Platinum color with black interior. The MacBook Pro 16, meanwhile, comes in Silver or Space Gray. And while we’re at it, the MacBook Pro has great speakers. It has a six-speaker sound system with powerful canceling woofers. On the XPS 17 (2023), it’s a quad-speaker setup with two 2.5W woofers and two 1.5W tweeters. The MacBook Pro can provide a better experience considering the additional speakers.
Port selection is part of the design, too, and the MacBook excels here as well. It has an HDMI port, plus three Thunderbolt 4 ports and a MagSafe port, making connecting to monitors easy. The XPS 17 only has four Thunderbolt 4 ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack, but Dell includes a dongle for easy connectivity.
Do you need a photo editor?
The main thing that separates the XPS 17 (2023) from the MacBook Pro 16 (2023) is the display. Both of these are high-quality displays that will work well for most productions, but there are differences, and that you can get a screen on the XPS 17.
The XPS 17 (2023) has a 16:10 “Infinity Edge” display. This means that the screen has no bezels on all four sides. It helps to fit more on the screen at once, and comes with two options. The base model has a 17-inch 1920×1200 display that can hit 500 nits of brightness and a 60 Hz refresh rate. The most advanced version, meanwhile, has a 17-inch 3840 × 2400 display with a brightness equivalent to 500-nit and is supportive. The top-of-the-line XPS 17 is the closest competitor to what the MacBook Pro 16 (2023) has to offer and is the one we’d recommend upgrading to.
The MacBook Pro 16 (2023) has an annoying notch that might bother you
Apple’s MacBook Pro has a 16.2-inch 3456×2234 Liquid Retina XDR display. That choice is because the display is a bit long because of the notch, which not everyone likes because of the lack of housing. Liquid Retina XDR, meanwhile, refers to Apple’s display technology, with OLED contrast levels and accurate color levels. There is no touch support, however; if you want to add touch support to your Mac, you have to buy an iPad and use it with Sidecar.
The webcams at the top of these displays are also different. Dell is still using 720p cameras in the XPS line, which won’t make the cut in 2023. The standard we’re looking at is 1080p since it’s a higher resolution sensor. The MacBook Pro has a better 1080p webcam and an advanced image processor, which helps with brightness, contrast, and other aspects of your videos.
You can’t beat the Apple M2 Pro and M2 Max
There is no argument about it here. If you need a laptop for performance, the Dell XPS 17 (2023) can’t beat the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2023). Apple’s Arm-based SoC outperforms the 13th generation Intel CPUs and Nvidia RTX graphics you’ll find on the XPS 17 (2023) models.
Going deeper into the details, you can configure the MacBook Pro 16 (2023) with an M2 Pro chip with a 12-core CPU and a 19-core GPU. There is also an M2 Max chip option, which has a 12-core CPU and a 30-core GPU. Then, for even more power, you have the option of the M2 Max with a 12-core CPU and a crazy 38-core GPU. RAM options range from 16GB to 32GB on the M2 Pro models and a crazy 96GB on the M2 Max models with a 38-core GPU. Storage, meanwhile, goes up to 8TB on all models.
On the other side of the story, the XPS 17 (2023) is a different machine. Like other laptops in its class, it has Intel’s 13th-generation H-class 45W CPUs and Nvidia’s 40-series graphics. At the moment, there are two options for the Intel Core i7-13700H, with 14 cores, or the Intel Core i9-13900H, which also has 14 cores. Both CPUs are hybrids with a combination of performance and performance for optimal performance . You can also choose Nvidia GPUs with the current RTX 4050, RTX 4060, RTX 4070, and RTX 4080. All of these GPUs are based on Nvidia’s new Lovelace architecture and DLSS 3.
If you need a laptop for work, the Dell XPS 17 (2023) can’t beat the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2023)
So, how do things work in the real world? Well, in our review of the XPS 17 (2023), we found that it has no competition when it comes to performance in the Windows space, especially when it comes to photo editing, video editing, and other heavy duty tasks. But, as you know, Apple’s MacBook is about 1,000 points ahead in terms of performance compared to what Intel processors can do. This just shows you how powerful it is for tasks that require raw CPU power. Therefore, it is the best video editing machine.
Dell XPS 17 (2023)
MacBook Pro 16 (M2 Max)
Cinebench R23 (single/multi-core)
There is a caveat to be said with XPS, however. Most tests are performed when the system is connected to power. That’s because the XPS 17 is a very power-hungry system, with only four to six hours left. Thanks to what Apple has done with its own silicon, the MacBook works just as well on battery as it does on power. In fact, when we reviewed the MacBook Pro 16, we had eight to ten hours, with time to spare. To get the most out of the CPU and GPU in the XPS 17, you’ll need to connect the power supply.
The MacBook Pro 16 (2023) is perfect for most people
The MacBook Pro 16 (2023) is a better device than the XPS 17 (2023) for most people. It has a very efficient SoC under the hood that works well on battery power, meaning you can edit videos and use Photoshop with full raw power, no matter where you’re going. Don’t forget, it has a better selection of ports, despite the notch on the screen and the lack of support for interference.
MacBook Pro 16 (2023) Editor’s Pick
Good for most people
MacBook Pro 16 (2023) is an amazing laptop for creators and video editors. It features traditional Apple silicon power and features a wide range of connectivity options, including HDMI, SD card slots, and Thunderbolt ports. It also has a brilliant Liquid Retina XDR display.
$2499 at Apple $2499 at Best Buy
For those who really despise macOS and prefer Windows systems, the XPS 17 (2023) is one of the best Windows laptops you can buy. It has the latest Intel CPUs and Nvidia GPUs. In addition, it has an excellent display with ultra-thin bezels that will give you a boost in productivity.
Dell XPS 17 (2023) Close the last
Best for Windows lovers
$1699 $2199 Save $500
Dell XPS 17 is back in 2023 with a new model. It doesn’t make a difference; it’s what’s under the hood that matters, like switching to 13th generation Intel CPUs and RTX 40 graphics. This makes Dell’s most powerful laptop even more powerful.
$1699 at Dell $2800 at Best Buy $2299 at B&H