Gorgeous laptops with usability quirks

Weight is the most obvious difference between the XPS 13 and 14: the smaller model weighs 2.6 pounds (slightly less than the MacBook Air), while the XPS 14 is noticeably heavier at 3.7 pounds. (Dell follows Apple’s product strategy a bit, as the 13-inch MacBook Air weighs 2.7 pounds, while the 14-inch MacBook Pro sits between 3.4 and 3.6 pounds.) The XPS 13 and 14 are easy to carry around all day, but light if you’re trying to travel, a pound difference can make a large model more annoying.

Still, the XPS 14 justifies its extra weight by cramming in more hardware. It can be equipped with NVIDIA’s RTX 4050 GPU (at 30 watts) and also has more powerful cooling, which allows it to reach a higher maximum thermal envelope of 47 watts. The XPS 13, on the other hand, can only reach 28 watts of continuous performance. Although both machines use the same Intel Core Ultra CPUs, you’ll see better performance from the XPS 14 for long-term workloads like video encoding or 3D rendering. (Still, it’s similar to the difference between a MacBook Air and a base configuration MacBook Pro.)

Dell XPS 13 and 14Dell XPS 13 and 14

The XPS 13 (2024) sits above the XPS 14. (Photo by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget)

The XPS 14’s 14.5-inch screen is an inch larger than the XPS 13, which makes it more comfortable for multitasking with multiple apps or working on media graphics. No matter which model you choose, you’ll get a bright and impressive display with thin bezels that Apple still can’t touch. Both computers offer different viewing options: the XPS 13 can be equipped with Full HD+ (1920×1200 pixels, non-touch), Quad HD+ (2560×1600) or 3K+ OLED (2880×1800). Full HD+ (non-touch) and 3.2K+ OLED (3200×2000) screens..

Dolby Vision is standard across the board, but you’ll only get 100 percent DCI-P3 color gamut with more expensive displays. You’ll also get up to 120Hz refresh rates on all screens, With the exception of For the XPS 13’s OLED, which reaches 60Hz. (I would recommend avoiding this option altogether and switching to a higher refresh rate LCD, which will result in a smoother image.)


PCMark 10

3DMark (TimeSpy Extreme)

Geekbench 6

Cinebench R23

Dell XPS 13 (2024, Intel Core Ultra 5 135U, Intel Graphics)





Dell XPS 14 (Intel Core Ultra 7 165H, Intel Arc)





Dell XPS 16 (Intel Core Ultra 7 155H, NVIDIA RTX 4070)





Frame Laptop 16 (AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS, Radeon RX 7700S)





The XPS 13 and XPS 14 I reviewed were both equipped with an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. The XPS 14 also featured NVIDIA’s RTX 4050 GPU, while the smaller laptop relied on Intel’s built-in Arc graphics. As I expected, when it comes to CPU benchmarks like Geekbench 6, they didn’t differ much. But the XPS 14 was twice as fast as the XPS 13 on the GPU-based Geekbench 6 Compute test for more intensive work. That NVIDIA hardware helped make the XPS 14 more than three times faster than the 13 on the Geekbench Machine Learning GPU test.

While the XPS 14 is far from what I’d call a gaming laptop, its NVIDIA GPU also lets me play Halo Infinite At 1080p with average graphics at 40fps. This is not my ideal Hello experience, but hey, it’s playable. By comparison, the XPS 13’s Intel Arc graphics could barely sustain 25 frames per second. The RTX 4050 GPU is mostly useful for creating media on the XPS 14: I was able to use Handbrake to convert a 4K clip to 1080p in 26 seconds, while the same task on the XPS 13 took 36 seconds.

Dell XPS 14 from the frontDell XPS 14 from the front

I didn’t have any problems with my day-to-day work with either machine, but I liked lugging the XPS 13 around town more than the XPS 14 because it’s lighter and easier to maneuver. Without a second thought, I could throw it in a bag, bring it to Starbucks, and easily get up. Due to its added bulk and weight, the II sometimes struggled to stuff the XPS 14 into the same bag between parenting opportunities. If you’re using a backpack (and not trying to fit in the kids’ toys and snacks), this won’t be too much of a problem, but it was a reminder of how useful a three-pound notebook can be.

Like the XPS 16, I enjoyed typing on Dell’s deliciously wide keyboards. Large keycaps are easy to hit and they have plenty of key travel. The keyboard is visually more impressive on the XPS 13, as it extends completely from edge to edge, while it is surrounded by speakers on the XPS 14. Capacitive function keys good most of the time, but they still disappear in direct sunlight and other bright lighting.

And then there’s the trackpad. By now, I’m used to Dell’s invisible design, and I’ve also appreciated the increased size of the XPS 14’s trackpad. However, some adjustments are still required, especially for newcomers. I also noticed that the line separating left and right clicks was sometimes difficult to find, leading to several frustrating attempts to copy and paste links from Chrome.

Dell XPS 14 keyboard viewDell XPS 14 keyboard view

Now that I’ve experienced Dell’s invisible trackpad and capacitive feature array on four machines, I’m even more convinced they were wrong. Sure, they look nice and help Dell stand out in the boring world of Windows laptops, but that doesn’t justify the usability issues. I also noticed split second delays when scrolling around Windows on the XPS 13 and 14. The problem went away when I forced both machines to run at 120Hz, but that drains more battery life than 60Hz. It’s almost as if I’m trying to slide off the extra layer of glass. I’ve noticed the same issue with multiple XPS 13 and 14 units, but Dell told me it couldn’t reproduce any slowdowns in its labs. The company will conduct further research on our research units and I will report back on its findings later.

As for the rest of the hardware, both the XPS 13 and XPS 14 have solid 1080p webcams with support for Windows Hello for facial recognition. You can also use Windows Studio Effects during video chats to blur backgrounds and adjust your views, thanks to the NPUs on Intel’s new Core Ultra chips. Their 8-watt speaker units sound good for watching YouTube videos or playing some background music, but they’re not as impressive as Apple’s laptops. There was also a surprising battery life gap between the two machines: The XPS 13 lasted 13 hours and 15 minutes on PCMark 10’s Modern Office test, while the XPS 14 lasted just four and a half hours. You can chalk this up to a more powerful GPU and a bigger screen.

Another downside to the sleek looks of the XPS 13 and 14? Higher prices. The XPS 13 starts at $1,399 in the configuration we’re currently testing, and the XPS 16 starts at $1,699. (Thanks to the NVIDIA GPU and OLED screen, our review unit will cost $2,399.) I’ll give Dell credit for making 16GB of RAM standard instead of 8GB like previous models, but for the most part, you’re paying. for a more beautiful trackpad. Is it really worth it? Dell’s prices are especially wild when you consider you can get an M3 MacBook Air for $1,099 and a 14-inch MacBook Pro for $1,599. Sure, you’ll need to add $200 to get 16GB of RAM, but even the base configurations are faster than Dell laptops.

While there’s a lot to like about the new XPS 13 and XPS 14, we can’t recommend them as readily as Dell’s previous XPS generations. They look attractive and perform well, but it comes down to usability, battery life, and well, actual cost. You simply pay more for nicer cars.

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