2015 MacBook Air 11″ vs Dell XPS 11″ 2-in-1

Although I’ve absolutely loved my experience with Chrome OS on my Acer C720, I needed a more powerful, portable machine to meet my objectives as a resident physician. I spent the last 36 hours dabbling around the aisles of Microcenter trying to make this crucial decision.

The following post is not intended to be a thorough review. Instead, I wanted to summarize my initial impressions of two devices.

The Dell XPS 11″ 2-in-1 ultrabook caught my eye right off the bat. It’s super thin form factor coupled with a beautiful 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution QHD touch screen display, 128 GB SSD, 4 GB RAM, and premium, carbon-fiber-esque feel was extremely appealing. I tinkered with the device and loved its “tablet” mode as well. During my evaluation of its functionality, I began to question how much difficulty I would have with the flat keyboard.

And when I say flat, I mean flat. Zero tactile feedback. I would often have to look at my fingers to ensure the positioning of my intended keystroke. While the aesthetic appeal of the XPS is undeniable, from a functional standpoint, I had significant difficulty with the keyboard (even after having purchased it and “broken it in.”). My typing speed went from 130 wpm (99% accuracy) to 90 wpm (89% accuracy), and after a while, I was basically stabbing the keyboard with my finger tips. Ouch. 😐

Dell XPS 11″ 2-in-1 ultrabook

After 6+ hours of rigorous use, I simply couldn’t justify owning such a beautiful product if the keyboard, an essential input device, gave me so much trouble. So then I turned to an oldie but a goodie.

Apple just refreshed its MacBook Air line with Intel’s Broadwell chipset. For an extra $50, I could get a laptop which I’ve previously owned, had no troubles with, and was extremely comfortable using. In fact, I still fire up my 2008 MacBook from time-to-time without any software/hardware issues. The hardware is just extremely outdated.

Apple MacBook Air 11″ (Broadwell chipset)

Enter the 2015 MacBook Air. I’m back to a state of computing nirvana. And before the naysayers label me as an Apple fanboy, I honestly would never purchase any Apple-branded product outside of a notebook. Their desktops are way overpriced (especially with the thriving Hackintosh scene), but their notebooks are reliable, premium, powerful, and beautiful. Plus Mac-only applications like Coda make me happy. 🙂

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