Dell XPS 14 Notebook Review: Optimus Infused - HotHardware

Dell XPS 14 Notebook Review: Optimus Infused

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Break out your party hats and spike the punch, we're throwing a 'Welcome Back' party. The guest of honor is Dell's XPS brand, whose return is marked by a new family of laptops built around Intel's Calpella platform and featuring Nvidia's Optimus technology. At this point you're probably scratching your head and wondering if we've been drinking too much punch ourselves, because the XPS brand never went anywhere, right? That's both true and false. The XPS moniker never died off completely, but it was relegated to Dell's Studio line and XPS One all-in-one (AIO) desktops for a time.

Dell tells us they've listened to their customers and decided to simplify their brand structure. After deciding that the "XPS brand has a great heritage and strong association with performance," those three letters are making a comeback starting with the above mentioned laptop line. The model we're reviewing today is the Dell XPS 14 (L401x) with a 14-inch LED screen (1366x768), Intel Core i5 460M processor (2.53GHz), and Nvidia GeForce GT 420M graphics. It's the smallest of the new laptops, but sports many of the same features as the XPS 15 and XPS 17, including Nvidia's 3DTV Play software which allows users to tether their laptop to a 3D HDTV and view games, movies, and photos in stereoscopic 3D (provided you own a pair of 3D glasses).


Dell XPS 14
Specifications & Features
Model

XPS 14

Display

14.0" (1366 x 768)

CPU

Intel Core i5 460M 2.53GHz

Memory

4GB DDR3

Graphics

Intel HD integrated graphics
Nvidia GeForce GT 420M

Storage

500GB 7200RPM

Optical

DVD Burner

Operating System

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Wireless

Intel 802.11 A/G/N

Webcam

2.0 Megapixel

Wired Internet

10/100 Ethernet

Ports

2 USB 2.0, eSATA/USB Combo, 9-1 Media Card Reader, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort

Weight

5.35 lbs with battery

Dimensions

13.9" x 9.7" x 1.4" (WxDxH)

Warranty

1 Year

Price

$899



Measuring just shy of 14 inches wide, the Dell XPS 14 isn't much larger than a netbook, but the sum of its parts add up to a heck of a lot more machine. And at less than five and a half pounds, you don't need to be a gym rat to tote this sucker around. At a glance, the only thing we can really gripe about right off the bat is lack of USB 3.0 support, but even that's a bit of a stretch at this point.

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Great review. I ordered mine the other day (i7 740QM) so i'm looking forward to it. One thing you didn't mention - the speakers. What are they like?

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I would love to hear how that XPS 17 I assume with an I7 and some USB 3 goodness works for sure. As for this unit being the relative comparably size (or slightly larger I guess) as a netbook it seems dead on the money to me.

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Above average for a notebook. They're capable of getting comparatively loud, and while the bass isn't anything to brag about, the EQ settings are surprisingly effective.

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The xps core I5 is ok on the overall, sound good, rather hot....hot... when on 3d game, Only dislike is the flimsy key board, really bad quality...

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