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5 Laptops You Should Buy Instead of the Dell XPS 14

Luke Larsen / Digital trends

The Dell XPS 14 is an excellent 14-inch laptop with a very modern design and aesthetic, as well as some fast components. You can even configure it with an Nvidia RTX 4050.

But there is no doubt that it has been controversial. Between the invisible trackpad and the LED touch keys, there are plenty of reasons to consider another option. Here are the five alternatives to consider before pulling the trigger on the XPS 14.

Apple MacBook Pro 14

Apple MacBook Pro 14 Mark Coppock / Digital trends

The MacBook Pro 14 is the main competitor to the XPS 14. Many people looking for a faster 14-inch laptop will consider these two as natural alternatives to each other, and for good reason. Both laptops are incredibly well built, both have fast components, and both offer excellent displays.

However, they are not identical in any way. The MacBook Pro 14 is much more conservatively designed, but has a blocky, even more cohesive aesthetic that exudes solidity and elegance. On the inside, the MacBook has a more traditional keyboard and a haptic touchpad, but they’re both arguably more accurate and less fatiguing than the XPS 14. The MacBook Pro’s display is brighter and has better HDR performance, but the OLED panel of the XPS 14 has wider and more accurate colors.

In terms of performance, the MacBook Pro 14 starts with the base M3 being slightly slower than the Core Ultra 7 155H currently available in the XPS 14. And the XPS 14’s RTX 4050 is faster than the base M3’s integrated GPU . But the thing is, the MacBook Pro 14 can scale up to the incredibly fast M3 Max chipset with 16 CPU cores and 40 GPU cores. This iteration is significantly faster in highly demanding productivity and creative workflows. The MacBook doesn’t support that many games, but the games that run natively are faster.

Finally, the battery of the MacBook Pro 14 lasts much longer than that of the XPS 14: up to three times as long. Of course, all that power and efficiency comes at a price. The MacBook Pro 14 costs hundreds more than the equivalent XPS 14, and thousands more at the top end.

Apple MacBook Air 15

The most portable machine available. It’s one of the thinnest laptops available today, and it’s also significantly lighter. The screen isn’t as colorful as the XPS 14’s OLED panel, but it’s good enough for all but the most demanding creators.

Even though it doesn’t have a fan, the MacBook Air 15 is competitive with the XPS 14 for anyone who primarily runs productivity apps and does less demanding video and photo editing. It runs on the base M3 which is a bit slower on CPU-intensive tasks and games, but is competitive in apps that take advantage of the chipset’s encoding and decoding optimizations.

As with the MacBook Pro 14, the build quality is also excellent and it has a more minimalist and elegant design. The keyboard and haptic touchpad are also slightly better than the XPS 14, and the audio quality is a lot better.

Unlike the MacBook Pro 14, the MacBook Air 15 is also slightly cheaper than the XPS 14. It can’t be configured with as much RAM or storage, but for most users the highest model is more than enough.

Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 9

Mark Coppock / Digital trends

A convertible 2-in-1 offers plenty of flexibility with its clamshell, tent, media and tablet modes, while touchscreens and active pens add a new dimension to interacting with a laptop. One of the best modern examples is the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 9, one of the best that will come to us in 2024.

The Yoga 9i Gen 9 is, unsurprisingly given its place on this list, a very well-built laptop that’s just as stiff as the XPS 14, yet a lot thinner and lighter. This is despite the use of a 2-in-1 hinge that houses Lenovo’s Soundbar with two tweeters that, in combination with two side-firing woofers, provide excellent audio quality. The Yoga’s chassis edges are rounded for added comfort and a modern look, and the 2-in-1 aesthetic is breathtakingly beautiful.

The Yoga uses the same Core Ultra 7 CPU as the XPS 14, but is limited to Intel Arc graphics. That means it’s not as fast in games and creative apps, but just as fast for productivity uses. The excellent OLED display, Dolby Vision HDR and sound quality, combined with the media mode, provide a great media consumption experience.

To top it all off, the Yoga 9i Gen 9 is significantly cheaper than the XPS 14. It’s a great choice for anyone who feels limited by a clamshell-only form factor.

HP Specter x360 14

Mark Coppock / Digital trends

The Yoga isn’t the only excellent convertible 2-in-1 to take on the XPS 14. The HP Specter x360 14 is another – in fact, the Specter is one of the best 14-inch laptops ever. It all starts with the 2-in-1 format, which HP has honed over several generations. It’s not as thin or light as the Yoga, but more so than the XPS 14, and the Specter’s rounded chassis edges and notched corners with a USB-C and audio jack are comfortable and functional.

The build quality of the Specter x360 14 is exceptional, as are the aesthetics, which are both elegant and modern. As a 2-in-1, it handles well with four modes, and HP’s active pen ensures smooth and accurate digital writing and drawing.

While the Specter also doesn’t offer a discrete GPU, it is very fast for productivity use and offers better battery life. The OLED display delivers superior colors and the HDR performance is excellent.

HP often offers the Specter for sale for almost $1,000, and at that price it’s a bargain. Even fully configured, it’s significantly cheaper than the XPS 14.

Asus Zenbook 14 Q425

Mark Coppock / Digital trends

There are many good reasons why the Asus Zenbook 14 Q425 is on this list. For starters, it’s as well built as any other laptop here, with a solid, all-aluminum chassis and lid that can withstand bending, bending, and twisting. That is an Asus trademark and that also applies to this laptop.

It also uses an OLED display, which Asus has been instrumental in bringing to mid-range and near-budget machines. This version has a lower FHD+ resolution, but has the usual bright colors and inky blacks and helps the Zenbook 14 Q425 achieve the best battery life on this list, aside from the two MacBooks.

And the Zenbook is quite fast with its Core Ultra 7 155H. It’s great for productivity use and media consumption, but isn’t the best for creators due to the lack of a discrete GPU option.

Where the Zenbook 14 Q425 stands out, however, is the price. It costs $1,050 in the most powerful configuration with 16 GB of RAM and a 1 TB SSD, but can be found for $800 and less. That makes it by far the most affordable option here.

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