Dell XPS 14 Review: 10 Impressive Upgrades and 5 Disappointing Drawbacks

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The latest addition to Dell’s XPS lineup, the 14-inch XPS, has arrived with several promising enhancements that build on the design overhaul introduced with the XPS 13 Plus in 2022. While the XPS 14 incorporates a strikingly modern look, complete with an invisible trackpad and capacitive touch function row, it ultimately leaves a mixed impression.

Design and Build

The new XPS 14 shares its chassis design with the 2022 XPS 13 Plus, featuring a flush chiclet keyboard and a trackpad that blends seamlessly into the body. The touch function row replaces traditional function keys, adding to the laptop’s sleek aesthetic. Despite these futuristic elements, the laptop addresses previous thermal issues, boasting improved cooling and extended battery life.

Dell XPS 14 Review
Source: Dell

Performance and Battery Life

Under the hood, the XPS 14 comes equipped with a Meteor Lake Intel Core Ultra 7 155H processor, offering a 21% performance boost over the Core i7-1280P in the XPS 13 Plus. This enhancement, combined with the optional RTX 4050 GPU, ensures that the laptop handles graphics-intensive tasks efficiently. The battery life is particularly noteworthy, lasting up to 12 hours with an OLED display, which is double the endurance of the 13 Plus model.

Connectivity and Configuration

Dell has also upped the ante on connectivity options. The XPS 14 includes three Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, a combo audio jack, and a microSD slot. Users can customize the laptop with up to 64GB of RAM and 4TB of storage, making it a robust choice for power users. However, the laptop is heavier than its 13-inch counterpart, which may affect portability.

User Experience

Despite the numerous upgrades, the user experience falls short in some areas. The keyboard, while visually appealing, suffers from shallow and overly springy key travel. This makes typing less satisfying, as the keys lack the sturdy feel expected in a high-end device. The capacitive touch function row, while innovative, disrupts muscle memory and lacks tactile feedback, leading to frequent typing errors.

The trackpad, although large and integrated seamlessly, sometimes requires a switch to the touchscreen for precise navigation. Additionally, the power button’s indistinct design can cause confusion, as it blends into the keyboard without any distinguishing marks.

Gaming and Alternatives

While the XPS 14 can handle some gaming, it’s not optimized for it. Titles like Baldur’s Gate 3 can run on this machine, but dedicated gaming laptops like the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 offer better performance and features tailored for gamers at a lower price point. The XPS 14 also struggles to compete with the MacBook Pro, particularly with Apple’s base M3 chip outperforming it in several benchmarks.

Conclusion

The Dell XPS 14 brings significant improvements over the 13 Plus, especially in terms of performance and battery life. However, it remains underwhelming due to its typing experience and some design choices. It’s a visually striking machine with robust capabilities, but those looking for a seamless user experience might find it lacking. Potential buyers may want to consider waiting for the Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered XPS 13 reviews before making a decision.

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