Dell XPS 14 (9440) review: An outstanding Windows laptop, thanks to its minimalist design, superior display, and powerful graphics

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cameronbosch

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This has got to be one of the worst laptops I've ever seen. Here's my summary of the laptop:
Value2/5"It's one of the most iconic Windows laptops on the market with top-tier hardware", until you realize it's beaten by other laptops that cost less and are more "traditional" and yet are better for 90% of users.
Design3/5"Futuristic, minimalist, clean, and unique." I'll give you and Dell that some users may like this design, but I'm not one of them. To me, the 2024 XPS lineup feels like an unfinished prototype that was released as a final product. And that's not a compliment.
Display5/5"One of the best [the author] used." No argument there, I'll give you that too. Only the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14/G16 have better screens with 120 hz OLED and G-Sync support for the first time on an OLED screen. Still pretty good though.
Performance3/5"It's no gaming laptop, but it at 14 [inches] it's powerful." You're forgetting the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 and Razer Blade 14, which have more performance and can keep their components cool without making serious sacrifices, like with the keyboard, port selection, and trackpad.
Battery3/5"Average at best." (AMD Ryzen 7040/8040 would like a word with you!)
Keyboard (and Touchpad)1.5/5"You either love it or hate. [The author] love it." Great. Nobody else that isn't a reviewer loves it. In fact, many others I've talked to hate it. The touch row is borderline unusable for programmers, it lacks haptic feedback, and the touchpad I used on the 2023 was so bad (weak haptic feedback and me constantly missing the borders while using it) it makes cheap gaming laptops look good in that regard! Also, the CoPilot key removes the alt key on the right side, which I do use. So that's another reason to not buy the 2024 XPS laptops.

Not to mention if you have limited vision, the touch row and touchpad are going to be dealbreakers for you. This really shouldn't be glossed over.
Other hardware2.5/5The webcam is okay, but lagging behind the HP Spectre, which has moved to a 4K webcam. And the speakers are above average still don't touch a MacBook, which is to say, they're okay. (And I don't like MacBooks, but I'll give them props for the speakers.)

Unfortunately, the port selection is still worse than a MacBook Pro, which if Apple, the company who made the DongleBook "Pros" had to then reversed course, then Dell is clearly wrong here. Most professionals still use full-sized SD card slots and having just a microSD card slot and no HDMI or USB-A is still annoying for them (Apple has all of that except for USB-A).

Also, once you plug in, you're down to two Thunderbolt 4 ports while Apple uses MagSafe or USB-C, so you have options to keep the three Thunderbolt 4 ports open. Dell doesn't.
SoftwareN/A / 5I haven't used a Dell laptop for more than two weeks since 2020. Can't say much about it.
In short, I think Dell might actually have made the worst laptop line since Apple's 2016 - 2019 MacBook lineup. I'd give this laptop 2/5 stars (maybe 2.5/5 on a good day, which is not today) and that just shows you how out of touch Dell is to their consumers.

No offense to the author of the review, but I think you need to take into account that some users literally cannot use this laptop because of the keyboard and touchpad. And the fact that there are better options that cost less that give you a better experience for less, like this year's HP Spectre 14. And if you need more performance, try the Razer Blade 14.
 
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tennisfreak

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I really really really disagree with a 5 star review.
Heck I'd go as far to say 4 stars might be pushing it.

The battery life sux.
The cost is outrageous.
Ports SUCK.
Capacitive buttons and no function row SUCKS
$300 to upgrade to OLED screen SUCKS

What going on with your score Daniel?
 

cameronbosch

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I really really really disagree with a 5 star review.
Heck I'd go as far to say 4 stars might be pushing it.

The battery life sux.
The cost is outrageous.
Ports SUCK.
Capacitive buttons and no function row SUCKS
$300 to upgrade to OLED screen SUCKS

What going on with your score Daniel?
Exactly. This "review" screams a bias towards Dell; it makes Daniel seem like a Dell ******. That would not be a review in that case.

That being said, I still don't understand how any normal person would think "yeah. this laptop is perfect" (which is what a 5/5 review would imply) when there are so many drawbacks to this laptop which aren't even mentioned or are glossed over.
 
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HelloNNNewman

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Interesting thing is that if you search other reviews for this laptop, most every in-depth review I've read is basically giving this a 'don't buy' rating.
 

Daniel Rubino

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Interesting thing is that if you search other reviews for this laptop, most every in-depth review I've read is basically giving this a 'don't buy' rating.
Which reviews? Only a few sites had an XPS 14 review sample. I see Digital Trends gave it 3.5 out of 5, but in the video review, it said, "Better than you think," and gushed about it. Tom's Guide and TechRadar have a "hands-on review but not a full one with a score.

Are you confusing this with XPS 16 reviews (although that one also got overall positive scores)? If not, drop me the links to the ones you refer to.
 

Daniel Rubino

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"I haven't used a Dell laptop for more than two weeks since 2020. Can't say much about it."

Is this a joke?

With all due respect, you haven't even tried the laptop, by your own admission, so I'm not sure why I am supposed to value your review/feedback on it.

"The touch row is borderline unusable for programmers" I literally do not care about the 2% of PC users who are programmers. I'm not sure why Dell needs to cater to them. Explain.

"You're forgetting the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 and Razer Blade 14,"

Bro, I literally called out the Blade 14 as an alternative, so you clearly didn't read what I wrote. Just like how I mentioned having haptics on the LED row would be better.

"The webcam is okay, but lagging behind the HP Spectre, which has moved to a 4K webcam. " We have the review for the laptop coming out next week. Its webcam is nothing to brag about. Specs aren't everything, especially with webcams.
 

tennisfreak

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"I haven't used a Dell laptop for more than two weeks since 2020. Can't say much about it."

Is this a joke?

With all due respect, you haven't even tried the laptop, by your own admission, so I'm not sure why I am supposed to value your review/feedback on it.

"The touch row is borderline unusable for programmers" I literally do not care about the 2% of PC users who are programmers. I'm not sure why Dell needs to cater to them. Explain.

"You're forgetting the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 and Razer Blade 14,"

Bro, I literally called out the Blade 14 as an alternative, so you clearly didn't read what I wrote. Just like how I mentioned having haptics on the LED row would be better.

"The webcam is okay, but lagging behind the HP Spectre, which has moved to a 4K webcam. " We have the review for the laptop coming out next week. Its webcam is nothing to brag about. Specs aren't everything, especially with webcams.
@Daniel Rubino I read your review and I dont disagree with everything wrote, and I do acknowedge you did point out the downsides.

I think the issue is giving the laptop 5 stars when it clearly has too many downsides to warrant that score in many peoples opinions.
 

Daniel Rubino

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I really really really disagree with a 5 star review.
Heck I'd go as far to say 4 stars might be pushing it.

The battery life sux.
The cost is outrageous.
Ports SUCK.
Capacitive buttons and no function row SUCKS
$300 to upgrade to OLED screen SUCKS

What going on with your score Daniel?
I stand by my score.

"The cost is outrageous."

Something being expensive, which I noted in the cons, doesn't mean it's not a good laptop, which is what my review is about. What is cost prohibitive to one person is not to another.

And, as we frequently post about, Dell runs many sales. Lenovo's ThinkPad laptops are also outrageously expensive up until they get magical 30% discounts a month after launch.

I also disagree that the battery "sux;" it's actually quite good.

"Ports suck." For you. For me it's fine.

"Capacitive buttons and no function row SUCKS"

I think it's awesome. And please don't mention "buh programmers..." People can agree to disagree on this. Clearly, Dell got customer feedback on last year's XPS 13 Plus, and if people hated it, I'm not sure why Dell would triple down on it this year with XPS 13, XPS 14, and XPS 16.

There is also a function row. You can switch between Function and Media and lock whichever one you want in place.

"$300 to upgrade to OLED screen SUCKS"

You're glossing over quite a bit. Here's why:

1. You're going from full HD to 3200x2000
2. You're going from non-touch to a touchscreen
3. You're going from LCD to OLED with 100% DCI-P3 (LCD version is only 100% sRGB)
4. You're going from non-HDR to VESA DisplayHDR 500
5. You're going from glass to Corning Gorilla Glass Victus

So it's not just OLED.
 
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Daniel Rubino

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@Daniel Rubino I read your review and I dont disagree with everything wrote, and I do acknowedge you did point out the downsides.

I think the issue is giving the laptop 5 stars when it clearly has too many downsides to warrant that score in many peoples opinions.
Technically, the score is 4.6 out of 5 stars, which is what you get when you add up my individual scores and divide by 8. Our CMS, however, doesn't make that distinction and rounds up the stars. That said, I can force it down to 4.5.
 

HelloNNNewman

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Which reviews? Only a few sites had an XPS 14 review sample. I see Digital Trends gave it 3.5 out of 5, but in the video review, it said, "Better than you think," and gushed about it. Tom's Guide and TechRadar have a "hands-on review but not a full one with a score.

Are you confusing this with XPS 16 reviews (although that one also got overall positive scores)? If not, drop me the links to the ones you refer to.
I don't think so. I was actually looking at this to replace an outdated Dell laptop I have and the reviews I came across were as I stated. I'll have a look again (never know, I'll admit if I was looking at a wrong model though!)
 

cameronbosch

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"I haven't used a Dell laptop for more than two weeks since 2020. Can't say much about it."

"Is this a joke?"

No. The laptop you're attempting to defend is a joke. When even APPLE, a consumer screwing over company, makes a u-turn over something and THEN Dell thinks that one of those unpopular decisions should not only be implemented, but implemented across the ENTIRE XPS lineup, well, that IS a joke.

"With all due respect, you haven't even tried the laptop, by your own admission, so I'm not sure why I am supposed to value your review/feedback on it."

Because I've used Dell laptops from 2004 to 2016, as well as an Alienware 15 R3 laptop. Dell literally has nothing left from those early days. Even their customer support seems to have dropped to the worst I've ever dealt with, when just a few years ago (2014 or so), they were great with great customer support.

"The touch row is borderline unusable for programmers" I literally do not care about the 2% of PC users who are programmers. I'm not sure why Dell needs to cater to them. Explain.

Okay, I will, because you're such a rude person to not care about the "2%" (it's probably way more) of people who are programmers when these people could have been prime users of the XPS line with its formerly good keyboards and screens.

Programmers use something called an Escape key to do various tasks, like close GUI windows that spawn when debugging code, or simply to leave a full screen video on YouTube. Having that be something that literally doesn't have any haptic feedback and something you can't feel without looking down at the keyboard is a huge mistake. Dell needs to cater to some audience, and by targeting reviewers over actual users (over 90% I've talked to do not like this laptop, and some of them actually previously had XPS laptops like I did), it hurts both Dell and reviewers like you, because now it hurts your credibility as a reviewer.

"You're forgetting the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 and Razer Blade 14,"

"Bro, I literally called out the Blade 14 as an alternative, so you clearly didn't read what I wrote. Just like how I mentioned having haptics on the LED row would be better."

Fair enough. Maybe I did miss it, or maybe this review was edited, because it wasn't a 4.5/5 review when I left my original comment. It was 5/5, which should stand for a flawless, no serious compromise product, except for maybe price. Neither 4.5 or 5 stars excuse so many flaws for such an expensive product.

"The webcam is okay, but lagging behind the HP Spectre, which has moved to a 4K webcam. " We have the review for the laptop coming out next week. Its webcam is nothing to brag about. Specs aren't everything, especially with webcams.

True, but Dell literally put 720p cameras on their XPS laptops until literally this year. And they were horrible. The fact it took THIS long for them to do it is also ridiculous.

Also, I can quote reviews by Just Josh, who also did not like this laptop or the XPS 16 because they were thicker than the competition, had less performance for more money, still got hot and had loud fan noise, and he also couldn't stand the lack of an escape key. Not to mention, for the money, there are so many other laptops that can do more for less or similar price points.

Another problem? His XPS 16 also had a broken touchpad. Even if that was just his unit, the fact that the 2020/2021 XPS laptops also had similar poor QC on the touchpads is not very confidence inspiring.

Finally, to say that this is the "BeSt LaPtOp Of ThE yEaR" makes me worry for reviewers who legitimately do their job but then to get "reviewers" like you who gloss over serious problems with this laptop, like accessibility issues with the touchpad and touch row, the countless QC issues Dell's XPS line has faced since 2015 (I had a 2017 Dell XPS laptop that literally went through three replacements before they gave me a 2019 model becuase of voltage issues), and the fact that Dell has been very hostile to actually implementing anything that could help these laptops compete with devices from Asus, Lenovo, and HP is very sad to see.

I hope you take this feedback seriously, becuase it sure seems like you don't care about your audience when you try to defend boneheaded reviews like this one.
 

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