Dell XPS 14 (9440): Premium design and quality display for the price tag

Dell’s XPS series has been among the most popular and acclaimed series of laptops in the market for quite a while. The company often chooses this to showcase their new features and capabilities for the consumer. The new XPS 14 (9440) comes with a newly designed function keyboard and touchpad along with some under-the-hood changes with a price tag of Rs 2,44,490. Let’s try and check what this Dell XPS really brings to the table:

The new XPS 14 isn’t the most ultraportable and slim laptop in the market today by any means. Having said that, its CNC-machined aluminium body is well made and has no flex or any weird creaky noises coming from anywhere. The keyboard now has touch key rows above it for the function keys – seen on a previous XPS 13 earlier, but still quite new for the laptop. These function keys seem as bright as the backlit keyboard. The keys on the keyboard are well spaced out and not noisy to type on. But the keys are a little stiff from most other laptops you would have used. It can take a little while before you get used to its feel. The haptic touchpad is another major change – it’s now a glass haptic-based touchpad that has a click that feels and sounds a little different than usual, too. There’s also no noticeable crease to mark the four sides of the touchpad.

The 14.5-inch touch-enabled display has narrow bezels with the 1080p webcam hidden quite neatly at the top but has no physical shutter. The hinge looks like a usual affair until you check the back where it leads to continue with the vents underneath the display for air. The laptop can get a bit hot even with not too many heavy tasks going around. The left side houses two USB type-C Thunderbolt 4 ports with DisplayPort 2.1 and power delivery. While the right side locates the microSD card slot, another USB type-C port and 3.5mm audio jack, the thermal intake vents are on both sides. There’s no USB type-A port (you get an HDMI and USB type-A to USB type-C converter in the box) or a charging indicator LED in place.

Talking about the 14.5-inch (3200×2000) OLED display, it’s a really sharp and smooth display that is also fairly usable outdoors in daylight. The display also has responsive touch and good viewing angles. It supports higher refresh rates of up to 120Hz variable refresh rates and Dolby Vision, though I couldn’t really try latter on it in some major way.

The laptop is powered by Intel’s Core Ultra 7 155H chip, Arc Graphic along with 32GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 1TB of PCIe 4 SSD along with NVidia’s GEForce RTX 4050 discrete GPU (30 watts). It runs on Windows 11 Home (23H2 version). The laptop can handle Office apps, multiple web browsers, plus, downloading a file in the background with some music in the background without any performance issues. Though it’s not exactly a gaming machine per se, you can expect to play games like Cyberpunk 2077 at high settings, at around 75FPS, and Civilization VI at high settings at about 90FPS, which is not bad at all. This can go further in terms of frames per second if you choose a different DLL upscaler from NVidia.

The XPS 14 sports quad speakers (8 watts) and these are really punchy and loud for your multimedia playback, giving a good experience for watching or playing something indoors. Powered by a 69.5Whr battery unit, the laptop lasted me about 8.5 hours or so give and take, and reliable for a full day of work with brightness set at about 40 per cent most of the time. It can be charged using the bundled 100watt USB type-C charger in about 90 minutes, which is not too long for a laptop.

All in all, the XPS 14 (9440) comes across as a premium offering from Dell that has a unique design, great display and good battery life. At the same time, its keyboard and especially trackpad might not be everybody’s cup of tea, and for that, you might first check it on your own before going ahead for your work (and some play) laptop.