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Dell XPS 14 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £1129
inc VAT

You get decent gaming performance and a high resolution screen, but it's heavy and comparatively expensive


14 in 1,600×900 display, 2.1kg, 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-3517U, 8.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

For its XPS 14 Dell has built an Ultrabook that’s capable of blasting through the latest games. It’s a slightly-larger model than other Ultrabooks, with a 14in screen, but it has built-in Nvidia graphics.

With its aluminium case, the XPS 14 has more than a passing resemblance to the Apple MacBook Pro. The silver colour scheme, rounded corners and minimal appearance look very sleek, although the black soft touch plastic underside and keyboard tray give it a unique appearance that sets it apart from Apple’s creation. It’s a little heavier than most Ultrabooks at 2.1kg, but it still falls within Intel’s specifications and it’s compact enough to take on the move.

Dell XPS 14

Despite having more than enough room around the edges for ports, Dell has been fairly stingy with the XPS 14. There are only two USB ports – they are at least USB3 – HDMI and Mini DisplayPort video outputs, an Ethernet port, multi-format card reader and 3.5mm headset jack. The lid hinge design prevents relocating any of these to the rear of the chassis, but considering some 13in Ultrabooks have three or even four USB ports, two feels a little limiting. You do at least get Bluetooth and Intel Wireless display technology built-in, which is a useful bonus if you have compatible hardware.

Dell XPS 14

Lifting the lid reveals a display panel covered by edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass that’s extra resistant to scratches, and although the glossy finish makes light reflections a little troublesome it also makes colours look extra vibrant. Viewing angles are fairly standard, with colour shift appearing beyond anything more than a face-on angle, but there’s plenty of screen tilt to make up for it. Colour temperature and image sharpness at the native 1,600×900 resolution are spot on, but the low contrast ratio limits black levels to the point that it’s difficult to pick out details in darker films.

Dell XPS 14

The full-size Chiclet keys are all reasonably spaced, with a sensible layout and helpful white backlight that makes working in poorly-lit rooms easier. There’s not a lot of travel, but each key is bouncy and responsive enough to make typing a breeze. The all-in-one touchpad is large and in proportion to the 16:9 display, so we had no trouble navigating around the Windows desktop, although the soft rubber finish isn’t as smooth to the touch as others we’ve used. The buttons themselves are shallow, but still responsive to light presses.

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Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Processor Intel Core i7-3517U
Processor clock speed 1.9GHz
Memory 8.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 16GB
Size 21x336x233mm
Weight 2.1kg
Sound Realtek HD Audio
Pointing device touchpad


Viewable size 14 in
Native resolution 1,600×900
Graphics Processor Nvidia GeForce GT 630M
Graphics/video ports HDMI
Graphics Memory 1,024MB


Total storage capacity 500GB
Optical drive type none

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 2
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11n
PC Card slots none
Supported memory cards SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo
Other ports 3.5mm audio output


Carrying case No
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore option restore partition
Software included Microsoft office 201 Starter Edition
Optional extras none

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £1,129