XPS-13 vs MAcbook Air 13" 2014
October 8, 2019 7:10 PM   Subscribe

hi all, I'm debating whether to buy an XPS-13 2017 and a 2014/2015 MAcbook Air 13" I prefer to buy second-hand laptops so I can reduce my environmental impact. They both SAY that they have a long battery life, but how long are they really? For me, battery life is the biggest criteria, and I'm hoping to have a PC with a very long battery. I've found Macbooks to be fairly reliable and long-lived, and easy to get repaired if need-be. My last XPS got a tad wet and died. Really bad experience. It had amazing battery life though. If battery life is the only / main criteria, which computer will last longer, daily, really?
posted by earthwalker7 to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
 
A 5 year old MacBook Air with its original battery is not going to be super impressive for battery life unless it has barely been used.

If your reasons for buying used are environmental only, Id suggest buying a newer refurbished MacBook Pro.
posted by spitbull at 7:24 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]


The environmental impact, from what I understand, is primarily in the battery. Refurb laptops from Apple have new batteries, and unreplaced batters of more than a year or two old are going to show significant degradation. That said, often eBay sellers, eg, will report or show batter health and cycle count statistics.
posted by supercres at 7:53 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]


Batteries degrade with both time and use, so cycle count statistics aren’t necessarily enough.

A five year old Air is going to have lost a significant chunk of battery capacity, there’s no way to avoid it. Replacing the battery yourself doesn’t seem to be particularly difficult.

I have a 2018 XPS & the battery life is very good indeed in my experience. That period is when the Windows/PC laptops really stepped up to near Apple levels of battery life. YMMV of course, depending on usage patterns, but the XPS was a huge improvement for me from the Thinkpad I was using previously.

Of the two devices, the XPS is going to have a much better screen (regardless of whether it’s the 1920p or 4k version - both are a step up from the Air’s screen) and more capable CPU. I would also be concerned about memory - if the Air only has 4Gb then that’s low by modern standards & you’re going to find just web browsing will hit memory issues. The XPS probably has 8Gb, although you’ll want to check it.

Both will be thermally limited in terms of performance - they’re not workstations.
posted by pharm at 1:42 AM on October 9


NB. Recent-era Macbooks have a bad reputation for keyboard reliability & replacing the keyboard is a very expensive proposition. Something to consider if you’re looking at more recent Mac laptops than that Air.
posted by pharm at 4:29 AM on October 9


I'd add an X1 into your mix - I have a work XPS and a work X1 and both have excellent battery life but have had absolutely terrible update/ firmware issues with the XPS.
posted by porpoise at 11:33 AM on October 9


FWIW, I have a 2014-era Air that I continue to use and that still has pretty good battery life. (As in, I can use it for 5 hours straight without bringing the battery below 40%.)

I also recently bought a beat up 2010 Air that (once I replaced the fan) worked fine and has decent battery life, although I have no idea when it was last replaced.
posted by suetanvil at 2:02 PM on October 9


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