HP Spectre x360 15 vs Dell XPS 15: which should you choose?

HP Spectre x360 15 vs Dell XPS 15: which should you choose?

If you look up the most popular PC brands in the world, you’ll find HP and Dell near the top spots. It’s easy to understand why. Many of the best laptops you can buy today are made by either HP or Dell, so there’s a good reason to keep buying them. And if you’re in the market for a new 15 inch laptop, the Dell XPS 15 and the HP Spectre x360 15 are two fantastic contenders.

Despite the similar screen size, these two laptops are very different in more ways than one. From the specs inside to the display and the design, there’s quite a bit to distinguish these two laptops from each other.

Dell XPS 15 vs HP Spectre x360 15: Specs

We’ll start by taking a look at the specs for these laptops, which brings up a lot of relevant differences already.

Dell XPS 15HP Spectre x360 15
Processor
  • Intel Core i5-11400H (up to 4.5GHz, 6-core)
  • Intel Core i7-11800H (up to 4.8GHz, 8-core)
  • Intel Core i9-11900H (up to 4.9GHz, 8-core)
  • Intel Core i7-1165G7 (up to 4.7GHz, 4-core)
Graphics
  • Intel UHD Graphics
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 4GB GDDR6 (45W)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti 4GB GDDR6 (45W)
  • Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM
  • 8GB
  • 16GB
  • 32GB
  • 64GB
  • 16GB
Storage (SSD)
  • 512GB
  • 1TB
  • 2TB
  • 4TB
  • 256GB
  • 512GB
  • 512GB +32GB Intel Optane
  • 1TB
  • 1TB + 32GB Intel Optane
  • 2TB
Display
  • 15.6 inch, Full HD+ (1920 x 1200), InfinityEdge, anti-glare, non-touch, 500 nits
  • 15.6 inch, 3.5K (3456 x 2160) OLED, IndinityEdge, anti-glare, touch, 400 nits, 100% DCI-P3
  • 15.6 inch, Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400), InfinityEdge, anti-glare, touchscreen, 100% Adobe RGB, 94% DCI-P3, 500 nits
  • 15.6 inch, Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) AMOLED, micro-edge touch, 400 nits, 100% sRGB
Audio
  • Quad stereo speakers (two 2.5W woofers, two 1.5W tweeters)
  • Quad stereo speakers
Webcam
  • 2.25mm, 720p HD 30fps camera
  • 720p HD webcam
Biometric authentication
  • Windows Hello IR camera
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Windows Hello IR camera
  • Fingerprint reader
Battery
  • 3-cell 56Whr battery
  • 6-cell 86Whr battery
    • Up to 13 hours and 20 minutes with Full HD+ display
    • Up to 9 hours and 13 minutes with OLED display
    • Up to 8 hours and 42 minutes with Ultra HD+ display
  • 6-cell 72.9Whr battery
    • Up to 10 hours and 30 minutes of streaming (14 hours and 15 minutes of mixed usage)
Ports
  • 2 Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C) ports
  • 1 USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port
  • SD card reader
  • 3,5mm headphone jack
  • USB Type-C to Type-A and HDMI 2.0 adapter included
  • 2 Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C ports)
  • 1 USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port
  • HDMI 2.0b
  • microSD card reader
  • 3.5mm headphone hack
Connectivity
  • Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2×2), Bluetooth 5.1
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 (2×2) + Bluetooth 5.0
Colors
  • Platinum Silver exterior + black interior
  • Frost exterior + Arctic White interior
  • Nightfall Black (copper accents)
  • Poseidon Blue (gold accents)
Size (WxDxH)13.57 x 9.06 x 0.71 in (344.72 x 230.14 x 18 mm)
  • 14.17 x 8.91 x 0.79 in (359.92 x 226.31 x 20.07 mm)
WeightStarting at:

  • 3.99 lbs (1.81 kg) (non-touch, 56Whr battery)
  • 4.22 lbs (1.91 kg) (non-touch, 86Whr battery)
  • 4.31 lbs (1.96 kg) (OLED, 86Whr battery)
  • 4.42 lbs (2.01 kg) (UHD+, 86Whr battery)
  • Starting at 4.23 lbs (1.92kg)
Starting price$1,299.99$1,629.99

Right off the bat, you can see some big differences, with the Dell XPS 15 using more powerful hardware and more customization options at that. It’s worth noting that HP mentions different display options on some pages, but those options seem to be unavailable, even looking at out-of-stock models. This is pretty much all you can find right now.

Performance: 45W processors and dedicated graphics on the Dell XPS 15

As you might have guessed just from the specs list, the Dell XPS 15 is easily the faster of the two laptops. That’s because it has Intel’s 11th-generation 45W processors, as opposed to the 15W CPU in the HP Spectre x360. The Intel Core i7-1165G7 is still a powerful processor for everyday tasks, but it’s only natural that using more power results in more performance.

Here’s how the processors compare running the GeekBench benchmark.

Intel Core i7-1165G7Intel Core i5-11400HIntel Core i7-11800H
GeekBench (single-core/multi-core)1,393 / 4,558 1,367 / 5,8311,493 / 8,082

You’re still going to be able to use the HP Spectre x360 for everyday tasks just fine, but for intensive work like video editing, the Dell XPS 15 is better. That’s reinforced by the fact that Dell’s laptop comes with discrete graphics. You can get the Dell XPS 15 with either an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 or a 3050 Ti, meaning it can also be your gaming PC. It’s not meant for gaming, but with those GPUs, you can handle most modern titles at playable settings, and it’s certainly much better than the Spectre x360 15. HP actually used to make a version of the Spectre x360 15 with discrete graphics, but it hasn’t been updated with the latest hardware from NVIDIA or Intel.

You can get the Dell XPS 15 with either an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 or a 3050 Ti, meaning it can also be your gaming PC.

As for other performance aspects, the XPS 15 continues to reign supreme. It can be configured with up to 64GB of RAM and a 4TB SSD, which is probably more than you’ll ever need. On the other hand, the Spectre x360 15 comes with 16GB of onboard RAM and up to 2TB of storage. That’s still more than enough for most people, but some workloads can benefit from more RAM, especially working with large coding projects, for example.

Dell XPS 17 9510 angled view

Finally, there’s the matter of battery, and that’s where the HP Spectre x360 pulls a victory. Thanks to the low-power processor and no dedicated graphics, HP promises up to 10 hours and 30 minutes of battery life when streaming video on Netflix. That’s frankly not the best, but considering it’s using a 4K AMOLED display, it’s still ahead of the OLED and UHD+ models of the Dell XPS 15. However, if you get the Full HD version of the XPS 15, you can get up to 13 hours and 20 minutes.

Display: The Dell XPS 15 is taller

Since we mentioned the display, let’s switch focus to that. Both of these laptops can give you a fantastic viewing experience, but there are some factors to consider. The HP Spectre x360 is only available with a 4K AMOLED panel, which means you’re always going to get a great panel. AMOLED means you get true blacks, vivid colors, and a high contrast ratio. And of course, being 4K means it’s incredibly sharp, too.

HP Spectre x360 15t

You get this by default, which is a big deal because this laptop starts at $1,629.99. On the Dell XPS 15, you need to spend at least $2,299.99 to get the 3.5K OLED display or the Ultra HD+ LCD. It’s also worth noting that the HP Spectre x360 is a convertible and touch support is also included by default. The base configuration of the Dell XPS 15 is a Full HD+ panel without touch support.

That’s not to say Dell doesn’t have a few tricks up its sleeve though. The Dell XPS 15 has a taller 16:10 display, and that’s a big deal to some users too. A taller screen means you get more space for reading or writing text, or you can fit more UI elements on the screen. This is a feature that’s increasingly popular in productivity laptops, and it can make a big difference.

The Dell XPS 15 has a taller 16:10 display, and that’s a big deal to some users (…)

Plus, while the base configuration of the Dell XPS 15 is a bit lackluster, the upgrade options are phenomenal. The 3.5K OLED panel covers 100% of the DCI-P3 color space, and the Ultra HD+ model covers 100% of Adobe RGB. This makes them capable of accurately displaying more colors than the HP Spectre x360, which is only rated for 100% coverage of sRGB — a smaller color gamut than the other two.

Dell XPS 15 9510 front view

Both laptops have 720p HD cameras with an IR camera for facial recognition above the display. Both laptops have tiny webcams that don’t offer the best image quality, but they’re serviceable in a pinch. You may find yourself wanting an external webcam anyway, though.

Finally, in regards to sound, both laptops have quad stereo speakers, which isn’t that common on Windows laptops. You should get a fantastic sound experience on both, although HP doesn’t provide additional details about the audio setup. The Dell XPS 15 has two 2.5W woofers and two 1.5W tweeters.

Design: The HP Spectre x360 15 is a convertible

Finally, we come to the design, and truthfully, this might be the biggest deciding factor. These two laptops are fundamentally different. The Dell XPS 15 is a clamshell laptop — you can open it or close it, and that’s it. The HP Spectre x360 15 is a convertible, meaning you can fully rotate the display around to use it as a tablet. It’s a bit unwieldy to hold in your hands, but having the option is great, and if you want to draw or jot down notes by hand, you can do that with the Spectre. In addition to touch support, it supports active pens, with one included in the box so you can get right into it.

HP Spectre x360 15

For some people, that alone can determine which one to get. Personally, I would always buy a convertible over a clamshell laptop, even considering the difference in specs. However, being a convertible does make the HP Spectre x360 a bit heavy considering its specs. Still, it’s lighter than the OLED or UHD+ models of the Dell XPS 15. It’s also slightly wider and thicker, but not as tall as the XPS 15. Overall, both laptops are similarly portable.

There’s also the matter of ports, and the HP Spectre x360 is also a bit better here. Both laptops have two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and they’re both on the same side. However, the Spectre x360 15 has one of them at an angle, because of this cut-off corner design HP uses. This can make the port a bit more accessible if you have an outlet on the opposite side of the laptop, or if you just want fewer cables coming off the sides.

HP Spectre x360 15 emi open rear view

The HP Spectre x360 also includes a USB Type-A port and HDMI 2.0b built right in, along with a headphone jack and a microSD card reader. The Dell XPS 15 has a USB Type-C port, a full-size SD card reader, and a headphone jack. There’s an adapter for USB Type-A and HDMI in the box, but without any dongles, the HP Spectre x360 is a bit more versatile. Both laptops also have a fingerprint reader for Windows Hello. Rounding things out, HP also includes a physical kill switch for the webcam to protect your privacy, as well as a microphone mute button on the keyboard.

Finally, there’s the matter of looks, and both laptops do a great job of standing out. The Dell XPS 15 is very unique thanks to its interior, which can be either made from black carbon fiber or white woven glass fiber composite. However, the exterior just uses different shades of silver aluminum. The HP Spectre x360 15 however has this beautiful dual-tone design that’s visible inside and out.

The Nightfall Black model is mostly black and uses copper accents around the edges and the HP logo. The Poseidon Blue model is a dark blue and replaces the copper color with a faint gold sheen. It will definitely turn more heads since not many people will see the interior of your laptop.

Bottom line

If there’s one thing that can be gleaned from this comparison, it’s that these laptops are meant for very different types of users. The Dell XPS 15 is more of a powerhouse. with 45W Intel processors and dedicated graphics. While it’s portable, it’s more suited for a stationary workstation where you can do video editing or even some gaming. Its battery won’t last as long, but that’s not the point. A laptop like this can handle almost anything you throw at it. It also has a more color-accurate display if you’re willing to pay extra for it.

The HP Spectre x360 15, on the other hand, is a bit more versatile. It uses a low-power process, but it’s still powerful enough for most everyday tasks like browsing the web, watching videos, writing documents, and so on. The battery will last a bit longer (compared to the models with similar displays), too. It’s only slightly lighter (again, compared to models of the XPS 15 with similar displays), but it’s also a convertible, so you can use it as a typical laptop or spin it around and use it as a tablet and draw on it.

No matter which of these two you end up buying, you’re going to get a fantastic laptop.

Aside from that, the laptops are very similar, with both having fantastic displays and speaker setups, as well as a decent amount of ports. The HP Spectre x360 is a bit more versatile out of the box because it has more varied ports built right in, whereas the Dell XPS 15 requires a dongle (which is included).

No matter which of these two you end up buying, you’re going to get a fantastic laptop. It’s all about choosing the one that fits your needs the best. The Dell XPS 15 is best for demanding tasks like video editing, but the HP Spectre x360 has a more versatile form factor and better battery life.

If you’ve made your choice, you can buy either laptop using the links below. You can also configure the Dell XPS 15 on Dell’s website if you want a bit more freedom. Otherwise, you can check our lists of the best HP laptops and the best Dell laptops. Both companies have a strong lineup with fantastic devices, so you have a lot to choose from.

    Dell XPS 15
    The Dell XPS 15 is a powerful laptop, featuring high-end specs such as 11th-generation 45W Intel processors and NVIDIA RTX graphics. It also comes with a stunning 3.5K OLED display, plus user-upgradeable RAM and storage.
    HP Spectre x360 15
    The HP Spectre x360 is a fantastic 15 inch convertible with high-end Intel processors and a stunning 4K AMOLED display. It also has a premium dual-tone design that's rarely seen on laptops.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Writer at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.