Review - Dell XPS 14


Review - Dell XPS 14
Folks I'm not gonna lie, I experienced a minor heartache when I had to give back the Dell XPS 14 after reviewing it. She is a beautiful machine, a smart machine and I like beautiful smart things, you may even say I had somewhat of a girl crush on this graceful creature. You may also say I'm taking this too far but that's only because you haven't experienced the simplistic style and elegance of Dell's latest Ultrabook. And that's ok, I forgive you for it.

we love the Dell XPS 14, just not the hefty price tag.

Released just recently in June the XPS 14 is (no points for guessing) a 14 inch screen Ultrabook with Intel core i5-3317U running at 1.70GHz, 8GB RAM and 500GBHD. Boasting discrete NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M graphics and encased in the svelte milled aluminium exterior, the XPS 14 is beautiful to look at on the inside and out. Weighing in at 4.7 pounds, the XPS 14 is fitted with edge to edge Corning Gorilla Glass screen while stylised keys, widely spaced and backlit fit neatly into the very chic soft touch plastic keyboard making typing a thoroughly pleasurable and slightly obsessive experience. One minor quibble being that the soft touch makes for a grease magnet.

The trackpad unfortunately generates quite the opposite experience, not only does it have a slightly sticky feel to it but it can be difficult to consistently find the zones for the left and right click without having to really think about it or do a double take. Screen resolution comes in at 1600 x 900 on LCD which makes for a lot of pixels in the small space presenting us with bright and colourful images. One major annoyance and something to bear in mind, however, is that if you have anything bright and shiny lurking behind you, you can be sure it'll pop up in front of you in the screen reflection.

There is a very simplistic rubber underside to the XPS 14 with a glossy embossed Dell logo stuck square in the middle. The speaker slots are located to the front of this which will prove to be a muffley nightmare should you put the ultrabook down on a blanket or equally soft surface. For a laptop of this size, output levels on the speakers were impressive but overall audio got shaky the higher you turned it up. The aluminum continues around the sides of the XPS 14 and along the left you’ll find ports for the AC adapter, Ethernet, HDMI, Mini Display Port and a pair of USB 3.0 ports. The right hand side is more minimalistic with just a Kensington Security Slot and SD card slot and combination headphone/ microphone jack.

Battery life is rather excellent for a machine of this speed, and while not exactly meeting the 11.5 hours advertised by Dell, it makes a good effort at 5-7 hours real life depending on heavy/light usage. Windows 7 64-bit edition is just fine on the XPS 14 but it almost seems a shame to not have the new more design conscious Windows 8 running on it.

If you can afford to wait for the new OS and see what fancy new shinies it will be backing then do. But if you're mad to buy an Ultrabook then the XPS 14 is a solid design at a fair price so you can be safe in the knowledge of a respectable buy. It is effectively the XPS 13 but faster, better and more powerful, worth the bucks if you don't mind the equally added heft.
The Dell XPS 14 is available with up to Intel Core i7 processor and starting at around €1,279.

9 Stars: Recommended
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