Dell and HP are two of the old dependable brands that most people consider when thinking about purchasing a computer or laptop. And as of 2021, they still offer some of the best options around.
Of course, with Apple becoming increasingly popular and Lenovo becoming the businessman’s laptop of choice, there are a lot more brands to consider than just these two.
However, many people have used these brands for years, and have become attached to them for several different reasons – customer service and lots of parts available being just a few.
But if you’re looking to purchase a Dell or a HP laptop, which is going to be the best option? Well, let’s take a look at the two brands to see how they compare.
Dell vs HP – Which brand is better?
Generally, Dell computers are some of the best available and are considered to be better than HP. Though HP have some great laptops, across their whole range there are many that can’t compete with other brands. Whereas Dell have a pretty great range of laptops across the board.
Both Dell and HP are two American companies, with HP being headquartered in California, whilst HP headquarters is in Texas. Although Dell is still relatively young (founded in the 80s), HP were formerly Hewlett-Packard, which was founded back around the time of the second world war.
Deciding which brand to opt for out of the two can be quite difficult. However, it’s not impossible. So, let’s take a look at the two brands and see what they are are made of.
Recommended Dell Model – The Dell XPS 13
The best Dell model for the majority of people is going to come from their XPS range – we’re treating Alienware as a completely separate company, even though they are owned by Dell.
The Dell XPS 13 is available in a variety of different models – you can purchase it in the standard model, but it’s also available as a convertible 2-in-1 laptop too.
The 13 refers to the screen size (13.4 inches), and it’s also available with a 15 inch and a 17 inch screen too for those that need something larger. Whilst it’s not actually a gaming laptop, it is powerful enough for casual gaming, which most laptops aren’t capable of.
The XPS isn’t new to the market by any means – it’s been improved and tweaked over the last few decades. In terms of design, it’s hard to find a laptop that can beat its lightweight and sleek look.
The standard model comes with an i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD for your files. However, you can upgrade this pretty easily to an i7 processor and 16GB of RAM for not much more – this would be a good choice for those looking for a more premium model.
For those looking for a Windows laptop for general use, then you’re going to find it pretty hard to beat the new XPS 13. It has pretty much everything that most people need, and it’s undeniably one of the top models in terms of design and appearance.
Although personally I’ve never found Dell laptops to be amazing visually, many people like their simplistic design. The XPS series follows the same sturdy and simple build that we’ve seen become successful with the Lenovo Thinkpad.
So it’s clear that nowadays users want a combination of design and power, with a greater emphasis on power. Dell does have some really nice alternative models too, like the Inspiron range, which is worth checking out if you want something nice to look at and easy to use.
Build Quality & Hardware
New Dell laptops are coming with at least 8GB of RAM combined with a quadcore processor. They generally offer pretty strong performance across the board.
In the newest models, it seems that most of the new Dell laptops come with Intel Core i7 processors as opposed to Core i5 processors. Most HP laptops come with an i5 processor at a base level, and even the Macbook Air came with an i3 processor until their upgrade to M1 this year.
So, it’s clear that this is another area where Dell are only dealing in top quality processors. It’s unlikely you’ll find a no dual core processor with your Dell laptop.
We can also consider Dell’s other brand, Alienware, in this argument too. They’re pretty much all high end laptops that come with premium prices. So, it’s fair to say that they have maybe the best build quality out of any laptop out there right now (but also probably the most expensive across the board too).
There’s a battle going on between Apple and Dell for the best display out of the big laptop brands. Whilst the Macbook is well known for having a high quality retina display, the new high end XPS series at least matches them in this regard.
When you combine the display with the integrated graphics card, then you’re going to get a great viewing experience. The fact that they specialise in monitors as well is likely a big factor in their focus on display quality.
You can pretty easily upgrade to a 4K display with Dell and their XPS range, or within their Inspiron range in certain models too. Honestly, this will probably be overkill for 95% of people, but designers may want to consider it.
Dell have some of the best performing laptops currently available, and they have done for a long time. Whilst they never quite reach the top for customer satisfaction, they’re always above average for performance.
This is because most Dell laptops use high quality fast processors and larger RAM than some of its cheaper competitors. Generally, they’re a bad choice when it comes to budget laptops, as many of their models are focussed on maximum performance at a higher cost.
For those looking for a laptop that will last, Dell isn’t a bad choice. Along with the good customer service most Dell laptops come with a comprehensive warranty, though this typically isn’t necessary for most people.
Dell laptops, on average, are very similar to that of most other premium brands. You’re probably going to get around 7-8 hours of battery life out of a full charge.
You might get more than this if you opt for a premium model like something from the Dell XPS series. But because many of their designs tend to have a high resolution and in some cases a touch screen, battery life can suffer.
Customer Service & Warranty
If customer service is important to you, then Dell is definitely going to be the best choice for you. Aside from probably Apple (who’s customer service blows everyone else out of the water completely), Dell are known for having extensive warranties that you can trust.
Customer support is definitely something you’ll want to think about. Generally, Dell have above average support not only in the US, but across the world.
The main issue that many people have with Dell and their subsidiary is the price. Although the laptops are good quality and they work well, you often end up paying more than you would with a cheaper brand.
However if price isn’t too much of an issue, then it would make sense to opt for a Dell laptop in terms of reliability. But for a bargain, honestly they’re probably the last brand that I would look at.
Dell Alienware Series
It’s also worth mentioning the Dell Alienware series. Some people aren’t aware, but Dell actually own the company Alienware too. This is a specialist company who are usually the first option people look for when hunting for a new gaming laptop.
They tend to deal in more expensive models, with full Nvidia Geforce GTX graphics cards and a good combination of Intel and AMD quad core processors too. They’re definitely worth investigating if you’re looking for a gaming laptop.
Best HP Model – The HP Spectre x360
Most people would agree that one of the best HP series to be released is the Spectre series. It’s very similar to the Envy series, however generally it has a larger trackpad and has slightly larger capabilities than the Envy equivalent. The Spectre is more for business use, whereas the Envy is a better choice for gamers.
One reason why the x360 has proved to be so popular is because of the battery life. You can easily get 10 hours of life out of a full battery with the x360, which is an improvement compared to most other laptops available.
If you want a laptop with high performance and capabilities, then the x360 might be a good choice for you. For those looking for a convertible laptop, it’s definitely one of the best choices currently available.
Whilst the base model has everything most will need, many will want to upgrade to the 16GB RAM option. It also has a 4K AMOLED Gorilla Glass screen, with an i7 Processor and up to 1TB of storage space. It’s another awesome laptop worth considering.
The design of HP laptops is pretty standard – they don’t offer anything different in comparison to what else is out there. They do have some attractive models, and it’s typically easy to use their trackpad with its large design.
They typically have a plain black or Chrome design, so whilst they’re plain, they are quite good if you’re looking for something professional.
It’s pretty easy to find laptops made by HP that are made across the entire market. So whether you’re looking for a 2-in-1 or a regular laptop, HP have a variety of different designs to choose from.
Build Quality & Hardware
If we’re talking in terms of build quality, then it’s fair to say that across the board that HP are a little bit behind Dell. Whilst they do have some really well made laptops, they’re not quite on the same level as Dell.
But, like Dell they tend to use Nvidia Geforce graphics card in their higher end models, and especially in their gaming line, the HP Omen. I’ve actually been really impressed with the HP Omen line in recent years, and it’s definitely one of the top options for those looking for lower priced gaming laptops.
The performance of higher range HP laptops is great – looking at the Envy line and then Spectre line, they are both going to perform well over a long period of time.
However, the issue with HP comes with their cheaper models, which are expensive for the specifications, and more likely to break. Whilst HP do make some of the top laptops, they also make up some of the worst ones as well.
Durability is one area where HP get a lot of complaints. There are many stories online of people purchasing a HP laptop and it degrading within the first year or two.
This is why a warranty is so important with any new laptop. Although you should be fine with a HP laptop, they aren’t quite on the same level as Dell.
In general, HP laptops have a decent enough battery life. It’s hard to say across the board, but any of their laptops should last you for at least a full 8 hours of use. Generally, HP state that their laptop batteries should be good for over a thousand full charges.
This means that for even daily uses, it should be pretty good for almost three years. However, there are those that have found their HP laptop battery to start getting weaker before then.
Customer Service & Warranty
Whilst the HP customer service isn’t as bad as some of the cheaper brands around, it’s definitely nowhere near the same quality as Dell. It can be cumbersome trying to get through to their support team, which no-one wants or needs when they have issues with their laptop.
So if customer service is of the utmost importance to you, then opt for Dell or Apple. They provide a better support for new laptops overall.
Probably the most common criticism you’ll hear people say about HP is that they are overpriced. Of course, this really depends what model of laptop that you opt for. As with any brand, you’re going to find good and bad options.
However with HP, it does seem like their cheapest options are still pretty expensive, and they’re not good value for money. If you want a cheaper option, opt for ASUS.
All in all, I think it’s fair to say that most people (including me) think that Dell make the better laptop. There are some models of HP that I like, like the Spectre series, however many of their laptops are overpriced for the specs that you’re getting. Another good HP series is the HP Pavilion, which I featured in my list of the best 14 inch laptops.
And although Dell is quite expensive too, you get a much more reliable machine with Dell. Plus, across the entire range of Dell models, there aren’t too many which haven’t proven to be a success. So, if you’re trying to decide between these two brands, then I’d undoubtedly opt for Dell.