Innovative Gadgets

Magnificence and energy comes at a price


Dell’s XPS 16 takes the minimalist design of the XPS 13 Plus and scales it as much as a 16-inch system that is way more highly effective and purposeful. However identical to with that earlier machine, which was Dell’s first try at implementing an “invisible” trackpad in its palm relaxation, there are some usability tradeoffs. It is exhausting to not be impressed by how smooth the XPS 16 appears — personally, I think about it one of the engaging Home windows laptops round — however energy customers who demand all kinds of ports could discover it missing. (Even Apple can match a full-sized SD card slot and HDMI port on the MacBook Execs, why cannot Dell?)

It is no shock why Dell is leaning so exhausting on the XPS 13 Plus’s design language: That machine seemed in contrast to another Home windows PC when it debuted two years in the past. Now as an alternative of being a separate “Plus” variant, it is speaking over the XPS 13 mantle completely. (Pour one out for the normal XPS 13 design we have cherished a lot.) The XPS 14 and 16, in the meantime, are extra highly effective MacBook Professional rivals that repair a number of the issues with the smaller mannequin. They each have headphone jacks, for one, they usually additionally supply a complete of three USB-C ports (as an alternative of simply two) and a microSD card slot.

Dell XPS 16Dell XPS 16

Picture by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

I am going to admit, although I had points with the XPS 13 Plus, I used to be nonetheless wowed by the XPS 16 the moment I opened it up. Its 16.3-inch OLED display was superb to behold, with the barest quantity of bezel across the edges. Its all-glass wrist relaxation and touchpad seemed like a crystal clear pond that was frozen over with a chic layer of frost. And the XPS 16’s elegant keyboard was virtually begging to be typed on. It is simply so rattling fairly.

However will that magnificence get in the way in which of its performance, because it did for the XPS 13 Plus? The mere presence of extra ports (and a headphone jack!) makes it clear that Dell is pondering extra virtually with the XPS 16. It’s, in any case, a possible successor to the XPS 15, a product that we have praised as one of many go-to choices for 15-inch Home windows notebooks.

Dell

The XPS 16 stands out from most different giant laptops by combining energy and sweetness. However you’ll should undergo via some usability tradeoffs.

Execs

  • Elegant and minimalist design
  • Tons of energy
  • Attractive 16-inch display
  • Huge and cozy keyboard
Cons

  • Invisible trackpad remains to be annoying
  • May use extra ports
  • Capacitive operate row is ineffective beneath brilliant mild

$1,899 at Dell

Whereas Dell is sticking with the invisible trackpad that I discovered irritating on the XPS 13 Plus, it is a bit much less of an issue on the XPS 16. For one, the precise trackpad space is way bigger, stretching between the Home windows key on the left and Copilot button on the precise, so there’s far much less likelihood you will miss it. Dell additionally gives adjustable haptics for the touchpad, which you’ll tweak from completely no suggestions (a setting for the criminally insane) and to actually deep and satisfying clicks. There’s nonetheless no actual justification for hiding the trackpad completely, although, and utilizing it takes some adjustment.

I am all for PC makers taking wild design swings, however Dell’s invisible trackpad stays extra of a celebration trick than a leap ahead for computing. Techies typically criticize Apple for emphasizing aesthetics over performance, however no less than I can clearly inform precisely the place a MacBook’s trackpad is with out trying down. There’s nonetheless a steady feeling of smoothness throughout Apple’s palm rests, so Dell does not have a significant benefit both.

Dell XPS 16Dell XPS 16

The XPS 16’s capacitive prime row of buttons, which might swap between operate keys and multimedia controls, is one other design conundrum. Certain, it appears a bit cleaner than a typical laptop computer keyboard, and it permits for higher airflow since Dell can match in additional cooling {hardware} beneath it, but it surely’s unattainable to the touch kind any of these keys. Even after a number of days of testing, I could not practice my fingers to instantly make their approach to a selected operate key. That is unhealthy for normal usability, in addition to for customers with accessibility wants.

Most damning of all, the capacitive prime row buttons fully disappear in direct daylight (and even on a cloudy-yet-bright day (see under). You will must cup your fingers over them or discover some kind of shade to alter your quantity or display brightness. Is that actually value avoiding one other commonplace row of keys?

Dell XPS 16Dell XPS 16

Are you able to see any operate keys right here? (Picture by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget)

At the least Dell obtained the keyboard proper, and that is at all times been a spotlight of the XPS lineup. The XPS 16’s keyboard is luxuriously huge, with giant key caps and a deep 0.3mm dish. Dell was in a position to make extra room for these options by shaving away the house between the keys. I am going to admit, it additionally takes some getting used to because it feels completely different than most different laptops, however as soon as I suffered via just a few hours of typos, I discovered myself having fun with the typing expertise total. For as soon as, my fingers had room to unfold out.

The keyboard and trackpad expertise will probably really feel related throughout all the new XPS fashions, but it surely’s the fantastic 16.3-inch display that units the XPS 16 aside. You’ll be able to select between a 1080p+ LCD display with a 120Hz refresh fee, or a 4K+ OLED panel that tops out at 90Hz. The OLED possibility (which our assessment unit got here with) is the one to go for for those who’re searching for true shade accuracy, because it helps one hundred pc of the DCI-P3 gamut (the LCD mannequin covers one hundred pc of the sRGB minimal spec). And naturally, it additionally comes with all the benefits of OLED: Excessive ranges of distinction and inky darkish black ranges.

Dell XPS 16Dell XPS 16
Picture by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

The XPS 16’s huge show allowed me to multitask simply, and it allowed me to see an expansive timeline whereas engaged on an Audacity recording in full display. With its excessive stage of shade accuract, every part simply popped on the XPS 16, from searching the online to watching films on Netflix. (It additionally helps Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR, which provides extra depth to darkish scenes and better peak brightness highlights).

It is value noting that the OLED show is rated at 400 nits of brightness, 100 nits lower than the LCD mannequin, however I did not have any hassle studying off our assessment unit’s display outdoor in direct daylight. (It is annoying that the pricier OLED cannot attain a 120Hz refresh fee, but it surely nonetheless appears decently clean at 90Hz.)

Along with having an amazing show for artistic duties, the XPS 16 additionally packs in sufficient energy to get you thru an amazing work day (and in addition sufficient to allow you to sport a bit once you want a break). Our XPS 16 assessment unit was outfitted with Intel’s Core Extremely 7 155H, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and an NVIDIA RTX 4070 GPU, a configuration value a hefty $3,399.

None

PCMark 10

3DMark (TimeSpy Excessive)

Geekbench 6

Cinebench R23

Dell XPS 16 (Intel Core Extremely 7 155H, NVIDIA RTX 4070)

7,436

4,087

2,298/13,117

1,676/14,755

Framework Laptop computer 16 (AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS, Radeon RX 7700S)

8,129

4,770

2,557/11,961

1,675/14,448

Razer Blade 18 (Intel i9-13950HX, NVIDIA RTX 4060)

7,326

5,009

2,708/12,874

1,900/15,442

ASUS Zephyrus G14 (2022, AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS, Radeon RX 6800S)

7,170

3,821

N/A

1,521/12,212

Whereas I’ve seen Intel’s new CPU in motion on the ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED, it was way more spectacular on the XPS 16, the place it scored nearly 3,000 factors greater than the ZenBook within the Geekbench 6 CPU benchmark. The XPS 16 was additionally practically twice as quick within the Cinebench 2024 benchmark when it got here to multi-threaded CPU work. (These scores additionally make me marvel if the ASUS machine was simply terribly unoptimized, because it was one of many first notebooks launched with a Core Extremely chip.)

The XPS 16 additionally soundly bested the Framework Laptop computer 16, one other massive display pocket book focused at artistic professionals (together with being nearly completely modular). It scored over 1,000 factors greater than the Framework machine within the Geekbench 6 multithreaded CPU benchmark, and it was over twice as quick within the Cinebench 2024 GPU take a look at.

Curiously, the XPS 16 solely scored just a few hundred factors greater in PCMark 10 in comparison with the 2022 XPS 15 (which used an Intel Core i7-12700H CPU and NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti), however the benefit this 12 months is that Intel’s new chips additionally characteristic an NPU for AI duties. The XPS 16 scored 3,109 factors within the Geekbench ML take a look at, a cross-platform benchmark for evaluating machine studying capabilities. That places it on par with an iPad Professional with Apple’s M2 chips.

In Home windows, NPUs primarily allow particular options like Studio Results, which might blur your background or optimize your lighting in video chats. However builders like Adobe and Audacity have dedicated to including extra AI-powered instruments of their apps, so having a succesful NPU may repay down the road.

Dell XPS 16Dell XPS 16

Picture by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

The XPS 16’s uncooked horsepower additionally makes it a succesful (if overpriced) gaming machine. I used to be in a position to play Halo Infinite in 1440p+ (2,560 by 1,600 pixels) with maxed out graphics settings at a median of 63fps. Cyberpunk 2077 additionally reached 63fps on common in 1440p, as long as I enabled NVIDIA’s DLSS upscaling and prevented ray tracing. These aren’t very spectacular scores when in comparison with devoted gaming methods, but it surely’s definitely higher than what I noticed on the XPS 15 just a few years in the past. The XPS 16’s keyboard is effectively suited to shooters, because of its giant keys and tactile suggestions, but it surely’s a ache for those who’re enjoying one thing that incessantly makes use of operate buttons. In case you’re actually desirous to sport on this method, you are higher off choosing the 1080p LCD display, since it may well hit a better 120Hz refresh fee and requires much less GPU rendering energy.

After residing with the XPS 16 for just a few weeks, I am nonetheless genuinely impressed by its sheer magnificence and energy. But it surely’s not the best machine to journey with, because it clocks in at 4.8 kilos. That is about the identical weight as probably the most highly effective MacBook Professional 16-inch, so it isn’t overkill, however remains to be one thing to think about. Compared, the newest XPS 15 weighs 4.5 kilos, whereas the brand new XPS 14 is way extra moveable at 3.7 kilos. In case you want a ton of display house, you’ve got most likely already resigned your self to having a big machine. But it surely’s nonetheless value contemplating what your precise workflow appears like. Do you actually want a 16 inch display always, or would you quite have one thing lighter for journey that you simply pair with a roomier monitor at your desk?

Dell XPS 16Dell XPS 16
Picture by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

One other massive profit of a giant machine? Tons of battery life. The XPS 16 lasted eight hours and half-hour within the PCMark 10 Fashionable Workplace benchmark, whereas the Framework Laptop computer 16 survived for under 4 hours. The ZenBook 14 OLED remains to be our prime performer for that take a look at — it went for 12 hours and 43 minutes — however you will nonetheless be capable to final a typical workday with the XPS 16 with out trying to find energy.

As you’ll be able to most likely inform from our assessment unit’s price, the XPS 16’s worth is its largest potential subject. It begins at $1,899 with the Intel Core Extremely 7, Intel Arc graphics, 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM, a 512GB NVMe SSD and a 1080p+ LCD display. The most recent XPS 15 begins at $1,099 with a Thirteenth-gen Intel Core i7 CPU and an identical construct. On the very least, it’s good to see that Dell isn’t delivery workhorse machines with 8GB of RAM by default (like Apple and so many different corporations are). Different upgrades for the XPS 16, sadly, will price you dearly: It’s one other $400 to get an NVIDIA RTX 4050 GPU ($600 for the 4060 and $1,100 for the 4070), bumping as much as OLED prices one other $300 and stepping as much as 32GB of RAM is an astounding $600 further.

Beauty don’t come low cost. However the identical is true for each different premium 16-inch laptop computer (the MacBook Professional 16 begins at $2,499!). This isn’t essentially a class for locating deal, until you’re trying via older or refurbished fashions. The XPS 16 is supposed for folks with deep pockets who demand an unlimited display, tons of energy and exquisite {hardware}. In that respect, it’s a complete success — so long as you’re not too aggravated by its invisible trackpad.



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