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Dell XPS 14 (9440) review: Strong performance at a high price

Published Jun 18th, 2024 5:01PM EDT
Dell XPS 14 (9440)
Christian de Looper for BGR

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Dell XPS 14 (9440)

Rating: 4.5 Stars

The Dell XPS 14 (9440) may be expensive, but with excellent performance and a stunning display, it makes a serious case for itself.


  • Stunning design
  • Strong performance
  • Beautiful screen
  • Upgraded webcam


  • Expensive
Buy FromList PriceSale Price
Dell$1,499.99$1,499.99See It

The Dell XPS series is going through a multi-year rebirth. A few years ago, Dell unveiled an all-new, super-minimalistic design that made the keyboard flush and removed any indication as to the location of the touchpad. It looked stunning — but understandably, was a little controversial. Now, however, that design language is going mainstream. Gone are the days when you could get it if you wanted through the XPS 14 “Plus.” Now, Dell is all in — and if you want a Dell XPS laptop, you’re just going to have to deal with it.

I don’t mind that. I loved the design from the beginning, and after testing a few years of XPS models, I’ve gotten used to using a touchpad without having to look at where it is. In fact, the Dell XPS 14 (9440) is arguably the best laptop you can buy right now — though, at this point, it will have to contend with a new generation of so-called Copilot+ PCs.

How does the Dell XPS 14 (9440) compete? I’ve been using the laptop for a while now to find out.

Dell XPS 14 (9440) design

The design of the Dell XPS 14 is one of the most unique things about it. The laptop offers a similar minimalistic look to other modern Dell laptops, with no markings for the touchpad and a keyboard that’s flat with the keyboard bed.

I really like this look — and find that it looks very modern. That said, I get why others don’t. The lack of markings for the touchpad means that indeed you might find that you occasionally put your finger down in an area that’s not touch sensitive, but as I used the laptop, I found that I got used to the position of the touchpad and didn’t mind the lack of visual markings at all.

Dell XPS 14 (9440)Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

I also really like the flat keyboard look. We’ll get into the feel of the keyboard more a little later on, but the design of it is very nice, with backlit keys and a unique look. The display on the laptop is edge-to-edge, with very small bezels around it, and a webcam correctly placed in the top bezel.

The port selection on offer here is perhaps slightly controversial. On the left side of the laptop can be found two Thunderbolt 4 ports, while on the right side are another Thunderbolt 4 port, a headphone jack, and a MicroSD card slot. There are no USB-A ports, no HDMI ports, and no other ports to be seen. I actually don’t hate it — my accessories are all USB-C by now. And, Dell does include an adapter to add the two missing ports I mentioned — a HDMI and USB-A port. But some will miss having them on the laptop itself.

Dell XPS 14 (9440) keyboard and touchpad

I really quite like the keyboard on offer by the XPS 14 (9440). The keys are nice and big, and they offer plenty of travel — and while you’ll have to get used to the spacing like on any keyboard, I was able to relatively quickly. I don’t necessarily love the lack of function keys, but I got used to the capacitive buttons over the course of using the laptop.

Dell XPS 14 (9440) KeyboardImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The keyboard comes with a new Copilot button to let you quickly access Microsoft’s new digital assistant. I’m not going to review Copilot here, but it is nice to have access to that feature reasonably quickly, if you use it.

The touchpad is quite responsive and large, and I really liked the feel of it. Again, it will take some getting used to — and not everyone will love the minimalistic approach. But, I got used to just knowing where to place my fingers easily.

Dell XPS 14 (9440) speakers

The laptop comes with up-firing speakers that I found sounded quite good. The speakers got relatively loud and offered a decent amount of clarity and sparkle in the high-end, which is always nice to hear. They’re a little lacking in the bass department, though that’s not uncommon for laptop speakers.

Dell XPS 14 (9440) SpeakersImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

You’ll want to use a pair of headphones or nicer computer speakers with the laptop when you can, but in a pinch, the speakers on offer by the XPS 14 sound perfectly fine. They certainly don’t sound as nice as anything on offer by Apple right now, though.

Dell XPS 14 (9440) display and webcam

The XPS 14 (9440) comes with two display options — one 14.5-inch FHD+ LED display, and one 14.5-inch 3.2K OLED display. We’re reviewing the latter, which adds $300 to the configuration — and it looks stunning. Both options are touch displays.

I found the OLED option to offer those deep, inky black levels, and vibrant colors. OLED isn’t known for its high brightness, but I found that the display got easily bright enough for my needs, though some might find a little more brightness to be handy in outdoor environments. It’s definitely not the brightest screen out there, but I rarely needed to crank it to full brightness anyway. And, with a high resolution, it was very crisp, with sharp text.

Dell XPS 14 (9440) DisplayImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Dell has included a 1080p webcam in the laptop above the display, which is a very welcome addition. The webcam looks great, offering sharper details and more vibrant colors than was available on previous-generation versions of the XPS. It’s easily high-end enough for video calls.

Dell XPS 14 (9440) performance

The XPS 14 (9440) is a relatively high-performing laptop. The laptop comes with an Intel Core Ultra 7 chip, coupled with either 16, 32, or 64GB of RAM and an optional GeForce RTX 4050 GPU. Our review model does come with the RTX 4050, and has 32GB of RAM.

The high-end processor, coupled with the RTX 4050 GPU, makes for a relatively high-performing combination — and the laptop should be more than powerful enough for the vast majority of users. The laptop performed well in benchmarks, and the vast majority of users should find that it’s more than powerful enough for their needs. That includes users who have relatively demanding graphics needs. It won’t reach the graphics prowess offered by a high-end gaming laptop, for example, but for a thin-and-light device, it performs excellently.

Dell XPS 14 (9440) Ports RightImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Anecdotally, the laptop did very well, too. It rarely stuttered during even heavier multitasking and handled my productivity needs (many browser tabs, Slack, email, etc.) without issue. And, while it got warm, it didn’t get overly hot.

Dell XPS 14 (9440) battery

The Dell XPS 14 (9440) offers a 69.5Whr battery, and the battery life on offer here isn’t. That said, actual battery life will vary dramatically depending on how you use the laptop — especially if you have more demanding graphics needs. The Nvidia GPU is a little more power-hungry, so if you plan on using the laptop for gaming and video editing, you might find that the battery isn’t as long-lasting as those that only use the laptop for productivity. That, of course, is always the case.

Dell XPS 14 (9440) PortsImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Most productivity-focused users should find that the laptop can get at least the majority of the way through a full work day, depending on things like display brightness and how many Chrome tabs you keep open. This is fine, but it definitely makes me excited about the promise of better battery on Arm-powered PCs.


The Dell XPS 14 (9440) is an excellent laptop. I really like the design of the laptop, with the minimalistic look, and while I wish it had a larger port selection, I do think that most users will be able to get by with what’s there without any issue. The laptop performs well, has a stunning screen, and is easily one of the best thin-and-light laptops out there right now.

The competition

There’s plenty of competition in this space — like the Asus Zenbook 14 OLED. The Zenbook 14 OLED is a little higher-value, considering its lower price and higher port selection, plus availability of an OLED screen in the base model. However, the Asus laptop isn’t available with an Nvidia GPU, so if you need a GPU then the XPS 14 (9440) is the way to go.

Should I buy the Dell XPS 14 (9440)?

Yes, if you need a thin-and-light laptop with a discrete GPU.

Christian de Looper Senior Reviews Editor

Christian de Looper is based in sunny Santa Cruz, California. He has been expertly reviewing tech products for more than 8 years, and brings experience in deep technical analysis of consumer electronics devices to BGR's reviews channel.