Dell XPS 14 Laptop Review: Daring Greatly And Winning

Dell XPS 14 Provides A Performant And Premium Computing Experience For Power Users

dell xps 14 laptop review editors choice

Dell XPS 14 Laptop: Starts at $1499, $1599 as configured on sale now
Dell has continued to refine the sleek look of the XPS family, now offering a 14-inch XPS 14 variant for what we'd call the Goldilocks size of thin and light laptops. This machine's industrial design is quite fetching too.

hot flat
  • Refined, Clean Design
  • Solid, Balanced Performance
  • Quality Keyboard With Integrated Track Pad
  • Strong Battery Life
    not flat
    • No Webcam Privacy Cover
    • Potentially Divisive Invisible Track Pad
    • Price Premiumec hh

      If you are looking for a premium mobile computing experience, Dell's XPS family of laptops has historically scored high marks. In addition, the company continues to refine and flesh out the product line with more options and new trends in industrial design. In fact, we recently looked at the Dell XPS 16 and found that it was a beautiful, but perhaps polarizing, strong performer in the premium notebook category. Now, we have its little sibling in for testing, the thinner, lighter and more portable Dell XPS 14. And it is time to see whether this laptop stands out in its own category of more compact mobile powerhouses.

      Touting Dell's usual robust construction with machined aluminum and Gorilla Glass 3, a minimalistic design with either a light or dark aesthetic (called Platinum and Graphite, respectively), and balanced performance with a Core Ultra CPU and GeForce RTX 4050 powering it all, the Dell XPS 14 is quite the laptop and makes a good first impression. Dell calls it “the perfect balance of go-anywhere mobility and high performance,” and we would be hard-pressed to disagree to any appreciable extent. The 1920x1200 14” configuration may not be ideal for work that requires a lot of screen real estate, but Dell does provide a 3K (3200x2000 resolution) options as well. Regardless, this machine is great to toss into a backpack or laptop bag and would pare well to a docking station at home or in the office.

      Though this laptop may not be for everyone, with its uniquely clean design free of track pad demarcation, it's definitely a head-turner and a well-built, quality machine. There are of course plenty of upsides to Dell's design choices here, but let’s get into it starting with the brawn behind the beauty in the new Dell XPS 14.

      Dell XPS 14 Specifications

      It wouldn’t be a Dell if there were not a variety of flavors to choose from when it comes to customizing your laptop or other devices. In this case, sadly, our Dell XPS 14 came with the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H with 16 cores that can hit up to 4.8GHz. It may have been nice to see an upgrade option to bump up to the Core Ultra 7 165H to eke out just a little more performance, but we digress. This laptop was also paired with 16GB of LPDDR5x dual channel RAM at 7467MT/s, which you can bump up to a hearty 64GB of RAM, if you need that kind of memory footprint, or a more reasonable 32GB of RAM option as well.
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      Our configuration also came with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050 on board, which is the only dedicated graphics option that you can configure with this laptop, which puts it in an interesting position. This is not quite a gaming laptop, though it can game for sure. However, it also partially aligns with productivity and content notebooks around its similar weight same class, which will be evident in our benchmarking charts later down the line.

      Beyond the GPU, we have the SSD, which can go up to a 4TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, but our machine came with a 512GB drive. Then, rounding out the major configuration options, we have the display, which, in our case, is a 14.5” FHD+ 1920x1200p 120Hz InfinityEdge display. However, you can bump this up to a 14.5” 3.2K 3200x2000 120Hz OLED touch InfinityEdge display, which is very nice (and we've seen it). However, this upgrade might knock down the battery life a bit, which we found to be remarkably solid despite only being a 70Wh battery. More on this later. Regardless, let’s take a walk around the Dell XPS 14 to see what it offers in terms of features as well as design approach, which is indeed a sight to behold.

      Dell XPS 14 Build Quality, Design, and Features

      xps 14 blackbg

      The Dell XPS 14 continues the well-polished and premium appearance of XPS laptops past, with a CNC machined aluminum chassis coming in either Platinum or Graphite color options inside and out. As was the case prior, Dell has integrated a seamless touchpad and touch function row beneath a sleek and smooth Gorilla Glass 3 pane. These design choices contribute to a lightweight yet robust laptop that feels sleek and smooth to the touch and adds to the overall XPS experience of this machine.

      xps 14 keyboard

      As previously alluded, a notable feature of the XPS 14 is the touch function row, which replaces the standard F-keys for a backlit capacitive feedback touch experience. This not only allows for a sleek design but also performance benefits as there is more room for this laptop's thermal solution to do its thing. Below is the keyboard which was super easy to use thanks in part to its larger keycaps and deeper dish designed. We would be remiss if we did not mention the new Copilot button on the keyboard, which may take some time to get used to having. However, it does open the door to easier AI assistant access in Windows 11, which could prove useful if you have a need for it in your workflow.

      To the left and right of the keyboard is a combined 8W speaker system with tuning by “by multi-Grammy Award winning producer, Jack Joseph Puig.” Regardless of who tuned them, they are remarkably good-sounding speakers for a laptop, and will certainly do well whether you are enjoying some light music or sitting in a meeting. Speaking of, at the top of the display you will find a 1080p webcam that supports Windows Hello and presence detection for a snappy sign-on when you are late for that Zoom call. This camera is accompanied by a dual microphone array which can reduce background noise and optimize audio for clarity on voice chats.

      xps 14 display

      As for the display itself, this bright screen should serve you well in just about any environment. However, not seen here is Dell's 3200x1200 OLED touch display option, and as you would expect, it's a stunner. Though it might take back a bit of battery life, lighting up all those pixels, versus the 1080p option you see here. 

      dell xps 14 platium color
      Dell XPS 14 In Platinum Color With 3K OLED Display

      Closing us out we also have IO ports selection with this laptop, which includes three Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-CTM) with DisplayPort 2.1 and Power Delivery, one 3.5mm AUX port, and a microSDXC card reader v6.0 UHS-I/UHS-II. While some might miss legacy USB-A connectivity, Dell does include a dongle with the machine. Overall, this is a premium laptop experience accompanied by a year of premium support, should anything go wrong. However, with a laptop that looks and feels this nice, you should absolutely feel compelled to take good care of it.
      xps 14 ports

      Dell XPS 14 Software Experience

      xps 14 mydell

      Diving into the XPS 14's software setup, you’ll find it has a pretty barebones Windows 11 out-of-box experience, save for some Dell staple utilities. First and foremost, this includes the MyDell Console, where you can customize settings, configure software, and tweak things on the laptop, such as performance and power. This is a fairly easy utility to use that might net you a bit more performance or a higher network speed.

      xps 14 update

      Beyond that, the Dell Update utility, a one-button tool for checking for BIOS, driver, firmware, and Dell app updates for the system, is also onboard. We ran this before diving into our benchmarks that follow of course, and felt Dell struck the right balance of system maintenance functionality and features, without weighing down the system with bloat.

      With our guided tour out of the way, let's fire up this machine for our usual benchmark and testing gauntlet...

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