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I tested Dell's 2024 XPS 14 laptop and can't recommend it enough

The Dell XPS 14 is a design-forward machine with a premium aesthetic and all the latest AI upgrades.
Written by Kyle Kucharski, Editor
Dell XPS 14 Laptop
Kyle Kucharski/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The Dell XPS 14 laptop starts at $1,499, but many users will want to pay for upgrades.
  • This is a sleek, powerful laptop that has a premium feel and unique minimalist aesthetic.
  • Upgrading components from the base model quickly raises the laptop's price point into a whole new bracket.

Dell's newest XPS 14 laptop features a sleek, minimalist style that makes a design statement with an "invisible" trackpad, a unique keyboard and LED light strip, and a strikingly impressive display. However, many of its best features don't come with the base model, which means you'll be paying for the upgrades. 

The XPS 14 is a very compact laptop that feels sturdy and is in no way bulky. However, this is not a particularly light laptop, either. With the OLED screen, it weighs 3.8 pounds, making it heavier than most other 14-inch competitors, including the MacBook Pro 14, Zephyrus G14, and Spectre x360 14.

Also: LG's 17-inch Gram Pro laptop's best feature isn't its extreme portability

Armed with the Intel Core Ultra "Meteor Lake" processor, Dell's XPS line is ready for AI with a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU) that handles machine-learning tasks at the local level. This frees up processing power for the rest of the CPU and GPU for better performance and less power consumption.

View at Dell

The display on the Dell XPS 14 is one of its best features. However, the base model of the laptop only comes with a 1900 x 1200 display, which is a little disappointing. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an upgraded model and ran the 3200 x 2000 OLED display at 120Hz, which looked fantastic, but it does make me pause to wonder why this machine doesn't come with this level of display in the first place, especially at this price point.

It is, however, quite bright (up to 500 nits) and vibrant, with extremely thin bezels around the screen, maximizing the visible field to within centimeters of the physical edge. The Dolby Vision and 120Hz variable refresh rate make for smooth and color-vibrant image quality.

As far as the GPU goes, the integrated Intel Arc card that comes with the base machine is not particularly inspiring, so for more performance-based tasks and gaming, you'll want to pay the extra $300 to upgrade to a GeForce RTX 4050, 6GB card, which again, is unfortunate that it's not included. 

Even with this upgraded card, this is not a gaming laptop per se, and it will struggle to run anything particularly demanding. The Dell XPS 14 should, however, be able to tackle workloads in video editing, animation, or graphic design reasonably well. That said, the laptop doesn't come with a full-sized SD card reader and HDMI, but instead: three USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports, a microSD port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Also: I tested Dell's $3,000 gaming laptop and it spoiled me with unconventional features

The lack of an HDMI port and full-sized SD card reader is a strange design choice as both would further carve out an identity as a premium-looking laptop for visual creatives. Luckily, the XPS 14 does come with a USB-C dongle that helps get most creative jobs done.

Specifications comparison


Starting Price



Dell XPS 14 Laptop


Intel Core Ultra 7 155H, Intel Arc graphics card or Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050

16GB up to 64GB, 512GB up to 2TB

MacBook Pro (M3)



Up to 24GB, 512GB up to 2TB

Lenovo Slim 7


Intel Core i7-12700H, Intel Arc A370

16GB, up to 2TB SSD

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14


AMD Zen 4 Ryzen 9, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060

16GB, 2TB

Moving to the exterior of this laptop, the "invisible" trackpad is, much like the year before, very well done. I'm surprised this design hasn't made it into other laptops, as I'm a fan of the sharp and clean minimalist aesthetic Dell's going for here. Additionally, the material used on this part of the laptop feels high-end and premium. This is not a laptop you want to touch with grubby fingers.

The first thing you notice about the keyboard is that it's all one single unit with the keys flush against each other -- there is no spacing between them. The individual keys are large enough, however, to feature a subtle indentation and shallow -- if satisfying -- keypress depth. This keyboard is also incredibly quiet, with almost no sound coming from the keys even when typing rapidly.  

Dell XPS 14
Kyle Kucharski/ZDNET

Pressing down the fn key instantly switches the lights on the function row between their "media" modes (volume control, brightness, etc.) and "function" modes (F1-F12). Esc and delete remain in the same positions in both modes.

I've talked a little about messing around with the function keys in other machines' reviews, and it's still something I'm on the fence about. Manufacturers like to experiment with these keys since they're the least used on the keyboard, but when the functionality doesn't land, it can be a bad user experience.

Also: Dell XPS 16 (2024) review: Best Windows laptop I've tested so far this year

On the Dell XPS 14, the function row is so minimal that it doesn't even have physical keys at all; there is no haptic feedback or physical indication of a key being pressed, you're just interacting with a little LED icon, and that is a design choice that certainly won't be for everyone. While working with the XPS 14, I never really got used to having the Home, End, and Delete keys associated with these "lights" and found myself preferring simply having these attached to physical inputs.

ZDNET's buying advice

The Dell XPS 14 is a quiet, sleek, and minimalistic laptop with a bold aesthetic. It's one of the best-looking laptops on the market and can be decked out with some pretty powerful hardware. However, these upgrades come at a cost.

This is not a scrappy, unpretentious workhorse, but rather a premium, ultra-modern device. It all comes down to personal preference, but for many users, competitors like the MacBook Pro 14 or Zephyrus G14 might be a more practical choice. However, if you want to make a statement, there is nothing that looks quite like the Dell XPS 14.

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