HP Pavilion 14 vs Dell XPS 13 (2020): which student laptop is right for you?

Check out the specs, battery life and learning performance of the HP Pavilion 14 vs Dell XPS 13 (2020)

HP Pavilion 14 vs Dell XPS 13 2020
(Image credit: Dell)

Welcome to T3's HP Pavilion 14 vs Dell XPS 13 (2020) guide. Laptops come in all shapes, sizes and prices, but all that choice means it’s all too easy to invest in a portable computing machine that doesn’t quite meet your needs.

And, with so many of us having to take lessons and lectures remotely, having the right laptop is vital to keeping you connected to the right resources, applications and platforms.

So, we’ve picked two of the top-rated systems from our best student laptops guide, comparing the important stats, features and costings to ensure you can make an informed decision on whether the HP Pavilion 14 or the Dell XPS 13 (2020) is right for you.

HP PAVILION 14 VS DELL XPS 13 (2020): DESIGN AND USABILITY

HP Pavilion 14 vs Dell XPS 13 2020

(Image credit: Dell)

The XPS 13 is a premium powerhouse, so you can expect a slim and ultra-thin machine, with the thinnest bezels in the series yet, and a lightweight design of only 1.27kg. The textured carbon fibre material used for this model manages to be both sturdy and sleek, ensuring you’re not getting a cheap-feeling chassis.

The chassis of the Pavilion 14 is also sleek in design, with a silver-white aluminium finish that’s both low in price and light in weight at only 1.54kg. At only 12.8 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches, this is one of the slimmest laptops in this range, yet still manages to present a full-sized keyboard.

HP PAVILION 14 VS DELL XPS 13 (2020): DISPLAY

HP Pavilion 14 vs Dell XPS 13 2020

(Image credit: HP)

As its name suggests, the Pavilion 14 features a 14-inch 1920 x 1080 display that’s ideal for both accessing your favourite apps, video call software and video services for research. Even when you want to take a break for a little Disney Plus or Netflix, it's strong enough to balance brightness, colour reproduction and more.

The XPS 13 comes in a variety of options, ranging from a more affordable 1920 x 1200 version all the way up to an impressive 4K (3,840 x 2,400) version. The 16:10 ratio isn’t great for streaming movies, but it’s ideal for students as it gives you more screen real estate for having multiple apps and windows open at once.

HP PAVILION 14 VS DELL XPS 13 (2020): SPECS AND OPTIONS

HP Pavilion 14 vs Dell XPS 13 2020

(Image credit: Dell)

The XPS 13 sports several configurations, with some of the top tier versions featuring a 10th-gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of SSD storage. You can pick up versions with these specs dialled down, but even then, you’re getting an impressive package that’s geared less towards gaming performance and more towards your specific needs as a student.

The Pavilion 14 boasts a decent 8th generation Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, Intel UHD Graphics 620 GPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD making it ideal for web browsing, video calls, word processing and running basic applications. It won’t quite hold up to running more demanding graphic arts programs like other more expensive models, but it’ll do the job for everything else.

HP PAVILION 14 VS DELL XPS 13 (2020): FEATURES AND PORTS

HP Pavilion 14 vs Dell XPS 13 2020

(Image credit: HP)

In terms of connectivity, the Pavilion 14 comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 support, and boasts a USB Type-C, two USB 3.1 ports, a HDMI 1.4, a 3.5 mm jack and support for Miracast. It also comes with dual in-built speakers supports by B&O Play and HP Audio Boost.

The XPS 13 doesn’t boast quite so many connections, even at the higher end of the price scale, but it still sports a 3.5mm headphone jack, a microSD card reader, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports which also double-up as USB-C slots.

HP PAVILION 14 VS DELL XPS 13 (2020): PRICING AND VERDICT

HP Pavilion 14 vs Dell XPS 13 2020

(Image credit: Dell)

In terms of price, it’s very hard to argue with the Pavilion 14 as an all-round student laptop. Not only as it affordable (with some configurations going for less than £500), but you’re getting a machine that’s ideally suited to the demands and specific requirements of a student working remotely and from campus.

With an impressive selection of connectivity options, a strong processor, a decent amount of RAM and storage and a lovely 14-inch display, the Pavilion 14 sits atop our best student laptop list for a reason – it’s a solid offering that defies the expected limitations of its lower price point.

The XPS 13 serves up an impressive little package for students that want to invest a little more money in their portable computing tech. Its gorgeous screen will support graphic design apps, streaming, web browsing, video calls and gaming, although it is let down by a mostly average battery and a limited number of ports.

Still, if you’re willing to spend a little more on your new student laptop, the latest version of the XPS 13 delivers a sleek and powerful machine that makes for a decent gaming unit and a comfortable device for long periods of word processing and study.

Dom Reseigh-Lincoln

Dom Reseigh-Lincoln has been writing for T3 for over half a decade now, covering everything from mobile phones and laptops right through to video games and gaming peripherals. Purveyor of an excellent beard, as well as some perpetually cheeky offspring, Dom likes to wind down in his spare time by listening to heavy metal.