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Dell XPS 14 (Video Review)
What's hot: Attractive design, good quality materials, very long battery life.
What's not: The TN display panel has higher than average resolution but not very wide viewing angles.
Reviewed October 24, 2012 by Lisa Gade, Editor
in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)
The Dell XPS 14 is a bigger and badder Ultrabook. It has a 14" display that slightly outclasses the 13.3" Ultrabook standard and it weighs 4.6 pounds rather than the usual 3. That added weight gets you serious battery life thanks to the internal 8 cell, 69 wHr Lithium Ion battery. In our tests, the laptop averaged 8.5 hours of mixed use, which is 2 hours better than most Ultrabooks. The XPS 14 looks much like its little brother the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook and the full size Dell XPS 15, and that's a good thing. From the precisely machined edges to the aluminum casing with magnesium palm rest, this is a classy looking machine. It has that signature Dell soft touch black interior and silicone coated bottom and an excellent island style keyboard with backlighting.
Since this is an Ultrabook, it runs on third generation Intel Core i5 and i7 ULV (ultra low voltage) CPUs with Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics. Things get interesting if you opt for the upgrade to switchable dedicated NVidia GeForce GT630M graphics with 1 gig DDR5 VRAM. That's not a killer gaming GPU, but it gives enough umph to make some current 3D games like Skyrim playable at native resolution. The notebook now ships with Windows 8 if you order now, but we take a look at the Windows 7 version in our review (the hardware is the same).
The XPS 14 has a 1600 x 900 Gorilla Glass display. This is a TN panel, so viewing angles aren't stellar, but they are better than the 720p Dell XPS 13's and many competing Ultrabooks. That resolution also tops the standard 1366 x 768 resolution found on slightly smaller 13.3" Ultrabook displays. The 300 nit brightness display has good contrast, though blacks aren't wildly deep. Overall it's quite sharp with pleasing color saturation and movies look good, so we won't complain.