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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 much more highly effective and practical. 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 onerous to not be impressed by how glossy the XPS 16 appears — personally, I take into account it one of the crucial 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 Pros, why cannot Dell?)

It is no shock why Dell is leaning so onerous on the XPS 13 Plus’s design language: That machine appeared not like another Home windows PC when it debuted two years in the past. Now as a substitute of being a separate “Plus” variant, it is speaking over the XPS 13 mantle fully. (Pour one out for the standard XPS 13 design we have cherished a lot.) The XPS 14 and 16, in the meantime, are extra highly effective MacBook Professional opponents that repair among the issues with the smaller mannequin. They each have headphone jacks, for one, they usually additionally provide a complete of three USB-C ports (as a substitute of simply two) and a microSD card slot.

Photograph 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 wonderful to behold, with the barest quantity of bezel across the edges. Its all-glass wrist relaxation and touchpad appeared like a crystal clear pond that was frozen over with a sublime 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 spite of everything, 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 need to undergo by some usability tradeoffs.

Execs

  • Elegant and minimalist design
  • Tons of energy
  • Attractive 16-inch display
  • Large and comfy keyboard
Cons

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

$1,899 at Dell

Whereas Dell is sticking with the invisible trackpad that I discovered irritating on the XPS 13 Plus, it’s kind of 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 appropriate, so there’s far much less probability you will miss it. Dell additionally gives adjustable haptics for the touchpad, which you’ll be able to tweak from completely no suggestions (a setting for the criminally insane) and to really deep and satisfying clicks. There’s nonetheless no actual justification for hiding the trackpad fully, 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 usually criticize Apple for emphasizing aesthetics over performance, however at the least 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 16

The XPS 16’s capacitive high row of buttons, which may change between operate keys and multimedia controls, is one other design conundrum. Positive, 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, nevertheless it’s not possible to the touch kind any of these keys. Even after a number of days of testing, I could not prepare my fingers to right away make their option to a selected operate key. That is unhealthy for basic usability, in addition to for customers with accessibility wants.

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

Dell XPS 16

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

At the very least Dell acquired the keyboard proper, and that is all the time 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 capable of 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 totally different than most different laptops, however as soon as I suffered by just a few hours of typos, I discovered myself having fun with the typing expertise total. For as soon as, my arms had room to unfold out.

The keyboard and trackpad expertise will doubtless really feel comparable throughout all the new XPS fashions, nevertheless it’s the wonderful 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 evaluation unit got here with) is the one to go for in the event you’re searching for true coloration accuracy, because it helps 100% of the DCI-P3 gamut (the LCD mannequin covers 100% 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 16
Photograph by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

The XPS 16’s large 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 coloration accuract, every part simply popped on the XPS 16, from shopping the net 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 bother studying off our evaluation unit’s display outside in direct daylight. (It is annoying that the pricier OLED cannot attain a 120Hz refresh fee, nevertheless it nonetheless appears decently easy at 90Hz.)

Along with having an incredible show for inventive 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 evaluation 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 much more spectacular on the XPS 16, the place it scored nearly 3,000 factors increased 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 surprise 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 huge display pocket book focused at inventive professionals (together with being nearly fully modular). It scored over 1,000 factors increased 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 increased 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 may 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 might repay down the road.

Dell XPS 16

Photograph by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

The XPS 16’s uncooked horsepower additionally makes it a succesful (if overpriced) gaming machine. I used to be capable of 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 techniques, nevertheless it’s actually higher than what I noticed on the XPS 15 just a few years in the past. The XPS 16’s keyboard is properly suited to shooters, due to its giant keys and tactile suggestions, nevertheless it’s a ache in the event you’re enjoying one thing that often makes use of operate buttons. In the event you’re actually wanting to sport on this method, you are higher off choosing the 1080p LCD display, since it will probably hit a better 120Hz refresh fee and requires much less GPU rendering energy.

After dwelling 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 essentially the most highly effective MacBook Professional 16-inch, so it is not overkill, however remains to be one thing to contemplate. Compared, the newest XPS 15 weighs 4.5 kilos, whereas the brand new XPS 14 is way extra transportable at 3.7 kilos. In the event you want a ton of display house, you have 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 really want a 16 inch display always, or would you relatively have one thing lighter for journey that you just pair with a roomier monitor at your desk?

Dell XPS 16
Photograph by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

One other huge profit of a big 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 high 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 looking for energy.

As you may most likely inform from our evaluation unit’s value, the XPS 16’s value is its greatest potential problem. 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 newest 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 transport workhorse machines with 8GB of RAM by default (like Apple and so many different firms are). Different upgrades for the XPS 16, sadly, will value 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 a great deal, until you’re trying by older or refurbished fashions. The XPS 16 is supposed for folks with deep pockets who demand an infinite 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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