Dell XPS 14 Ultrabook: Review

Dell XPS 14 inch ultrabook is consistent with various constraints defined by Intel’s low power processor, contained thick, quick start-up, etc. The model that we had a machine under test is almost final and is – a few details – the configuration called “Gold” on the website of the brand sold for 1,299 euros. We propose here an overview of the machine and our first impressions. We expect a final XPS 14 to deliver you a more comprehensive test.

Reality of this ultrabook:

With its brushed aluminium hood and black interior, soft touch rubbery, it is hard not to fall for the Dell XPS 14. This ultrabook contrasts sharply with the range XPS and premium z machines of a year ago. Equipped with a 14-inch glossy screen protected by a glass of Gorilla Glass, the XPS 14 contains all the ingredients of the ultrabook Dell XPS 13 in a larger size. The machine becomes thicker (2.2 against 2.1 cm) and heavier (2.1 against 1.4 kg) but gains in ease of use.

XPS 14

The keyboard is correctly proportioned, the buttons fall naturally under the fingers and backlighting (adjustable to two levels of intensity) facilitates typing in the dark. The touchpad offers a fully clickable area – and without physically delimited button – but seems a bit too wide. When typing on the keyboard, the thumb of the right hand tends to touch, causing an involuntary movement of the cursor. An adaptation phase will be necessary to control clicks “invisible” and finger movements associated with scrolling, image rotation, etc. Fortunately, great setting software is here to help.

A glossy screen with shadows

Comfort also means 14-inch screen, a definition of 1600 x 900 pixels. However, Dell is the choice of a glossy, sensitive to glare, but attempts to mitigate this effect by boosting the brightness. We measured 435 cd / m 2 and the rate of contrasts, meanwhile, is 960:1. The display quality is theoretically to go but, following the inclination of the screen, areas of “dark” and tarnish the image appear. At that price, it does not pass. Hopefully the final units will be more satisfactory on this point.

A capricious processor

Within this ultrabook, Dell has placed an Intel low power condition for a machine to pretend to be part of the family. This is a Core i7-3517U, with dual cores clocked at 1.9 GHz, supported by 8 GB of memory which is responsible for running the applications. In some test, frequency was lowered to 800 MHz alone to do more and move, despite a temperature quite reasonable. Dell told that this problem only affected machines and tested and that the final would be cleared.

Two graphics cards

The integrated graphics processor (Intel Graphics HD 4000) works in conjunction with the Nvidia GeForce GT 630M with Optimus technology from Nvidia. The graphics chip takes over when you start an application or game uses more power.

Although the laptop did not intend to turn into a machine player, the power of the Nvidia chip just for fun occasionally with Diablo III and other games too demanding. Conversely, if you try to play in native resolution with all the details up, the machine will cool quickly (between 30 and 42 fps identified by the some test).
Comfortable in holding and carrying

As it stands, the XPS 14 inches may well serve as a main machine at home and at the same time, travelling companion. A role that could not reasonably hold an ultrabook 13.3-inch screen with 128 or 256 GB SSD. The template of the Dell XPS 14 allows it to slip into a bag – the same attention when large AC adapter 470 g – and it takes 4 hours 30 minutes on battery.

Your data is stored on a hard drive 500 GB whose speed is boosted by a module mSata 32GB SSD. This association is working properly: the machine is reactive with Windows 7, wakes from sleep instantly but will not start in record time (about thirty seconds. In terms of connectivity, there are two USB 3.0 ports, two digital video outputs (HDMI and miniDisplayPort), a headphone / microphone jack and a combined high-speed network. 4.0/Wi-Fi n A Bluetooth module (compatible WiDi) and a memory card reader round out the equipment of the machine.


Our first impressions of this machine are quite mixed. Because of its size, this ultrabook straddles two worlds. That of mobility, thanks to its light weight, its relative subtlety and toughness acceptable, and that of a sedentary lifestyle. Indeed, the configuration equipped with a graphics chip, an Intel Core i7 tough with 8 GB of memory. These components seem badly proportioned nomadic aspirations of the machine. In addition, Dell enjoys a little too freedoms Intel leaves for manufacturers to release an ultrabook which is, in fact, an ultraportable 14-inch. It was all regarding the Dell XPS 14 ultrabook.

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