Dell XPS 14 vs. HP Spectre x360 14: which should you buy?

HP Spectre x360 14 2023 top down view showing speaker.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The HP Spectre x360 14 and Dell XPS 14 are two of the biggest new laptops announced at CES 2024.

Deliberately or not, HP and Dell rolled out significant upgrades of their premier laptops to coincide with the arrival of Intel’s Core Ultra Meteor Lake chipset. The latter introduced a new manufacturing process and design, as well as several features that promise improvements in performance, battery life, and AI performance.

Dell’s XPS and HP’s Spectre x360 lines have been on and off our list of best laptops for years, so the new XPS 14 and Spectre x360 14 are welcome upgrades. Which one of these new laptops reigns supreme? Well, that’s a much tougher call to make.

Specs and configurations

  Dell XPS 14 HP Spectre x360 14
Dimensions 12.6 inches x 8.5 inches x 0.71 inches 12.35 inches x 8.68 inches x 0.67 inches
Weight 3.8 pounds 3.19 pounds
Processor Intel Core Ultra 7 155H
Intel Core Ultra 7 165H
Intel Core Ultra 5 125H
Intel Core Ultra 7 155H
Graphics Intel Arc
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050
Intel Arc graphics
RAM 16GB
32GB
64GB
16GB
32GB
Display 14.5-inch FHD+ (1,920 x 1,200) IPS non-touch, 120Hz
14.5-inch 3.2K (3,200 x 2,000) OLED touch, 120Hz
14.0-inch 16:10 2.8K (2,880 x 1,800) OLED, 120Hz
Storage 512GB SSD
1TB SSD
2TB SSD
4TB SSD
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
2TB SSD
Touch Optional Yes
Ports 3 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
MicroSD card reader
2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x USB-A
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3
Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4
Webcam 1080p with infrared camera for Windows Hello 9MP with infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello
Operating system Windows 11 Windows 11
Battery 69.5 watt-hour 68 watt-hour
Price $1,700+ $1,650+
Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Spectre x360 14 starts at $1,450 (currently on sale for $1,150) with an Intel Core Ultra 5 125H chipset, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 14.0-inch 2.8K OLED display (the only option). You can upgrade to a Core Ultra 7 155H for an additional $100, and a fully-configured Spectre costs $$1,870 ($1,570 on sale) for the faster chipset, 32GB of RAM, and a 2TB SSD. All configs use Intel’s integrated Intel Arc graphics.

The XPS 14 is a considerably more expensive laptop. It starts at $1,499 for a Core Ultra 7, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, Intel Arc graphics, and a 14.5-inch FHD+ IPS display. a 3.2K OLED display is an additional $300, as is an upgrade to the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 entry-level discrete GPU. The RAM can be upgraded to 64GB of RAM for $900 and storage to a 4TB SSD for $700. That makes the high-end XPS 14 an extremely expensive laptop at $3,399.

Design

The Dell XPS 14 on a table.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

The XPS 14 is a new model, slotting between a 13-inch model that was previously branded as the XPS 13 Plus and a brand-new 16-inch machine. It incorporates the design scheme that debuted on the XPS 13 Plus and replaces the aging 15-inch model that’s now defunct. Available in light and dark color schemes, the XPS 14 is a truly modern laptop with clean lines on the outside, anodized chrome along the edges, an edge-to-edge keyboard, a hidden haptic touchpad on a glass-covered palm rest, and LED function keys that give it a futuristic look with the lid opened. As usual, the XPS 14 sports the thinnest bezels on a 14-inch laptop.

The Spectre x360 14 builds on its predecessor, the Spectre x360 13.5, with a display that’s half an inch larger and a chassis that’s just a bit wider. It takes its predecessor’s attractive convertible 2-in-1 chassis and smooths the edges, dropping the colored chrome accents for a simpler and more elegant look. It’s available in three colors — Nightfall black, Slate blue, or Sahara silver — and it retains the dual notches on the bottom of the display that house a Thunderbolt 4 port and 3.5mm audio jack. The Spectre’s bezels aren’t nearly as small as the XPS 14’s, primarily to accommodate the 2-in-1 hinge mechanism and tablet format, so from that perspective, the Spectre doesn’t look quite as modern. But it’s nevertheless a gorgeous laptop.

The Spectre x360 14 is slightly narrower, a little deeper, and thinner and lighter than the XPS 14. Like the XPS 14, it’s constructed from CNC-machined aluminum, and it feels solid in hand. The XPS 14 is just as good. so both laptops are very well-built machines.

The XPS 14 inherits the edge-to-edge keyboard design from the XPS 13 Plus, with its zero-lattice design with large keycaps. It takes some getting used to, but it is comfortable once past that learning curve. Also present is a hidden haptic touchpad and a row of LED function keys replacing physical versions (and without any haptic feedback, which is a bummer). The Spectre x360 14 has a more traditional island keyboard with large keycaps, tons of key spacing, and good, but not great, switches. Its haptic touchpad is excellent, providing natural feeling clicks and a responsive surface. A touch display is an option with the XPS 14 and the default with the Spectre, which also supports an active pen.

Dell finally upgraded to a 1080p webcam on the new XPS line, while HP has upped the game with a 9MP version sporting hardware-enabled lowlight adjustments. Both have infrared cameras for Windows 11 Hello facial recognition and both have fingerprint readers embedded in the power buttons. Both also have user presence-sensing technology to lock them and put them to sleep when a user leaves and wake them up and log back in when the user returns.

Both laptops support various AI-enabled features supported by Meteor Lake’s Neural Processing Unit (NPU).

Performance

HP Spectre x360 14 2023 side view showing lid and ports.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Both laptops are built around new Intel Meteor Lake chipsets, which introduce several new designs to enhance performance and efficiency. The XPS 14 uses either the 28-watt Core Ultra 7 155H or 165H, both of which are 16-core (six Performance, eight Efficient, and two Low Power Efficient), 22-thread CPUs running at either 4.8GHz or 5.0GHz. The Spectre x360 14 offers the Core Ultra 7 155H or the Core Ultra 5 125H with 14 cores (four Performance, eight Efficient, and two LP Efficient) and 18 threads running at up to 4.5GHz.

That will make each laptop a similar performer when configured with the Core Ultra 7 and the Spectre x360 14 a slower performer with the Core Ultra 5. Both also use the new Intel Arc integrated graphics, while the XPS 14 also offers the entry-level Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 discrete GPU. That will make the XPS 14 the faster performer in games and in creative applications that can utilize the GPU.

In our testing, the Spectre x360 14 with the Core Ultra 7 155H provided a slight bump in performance over Intel’s previous-gen 28-watt CPUs. Graphics performance was midway between the older Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics and the RTX 4050. We tested the XPS 14 with the slightly faster Core Ultra 7 165H and the RTX 4050. It was just slightly faster in our benchmarks, and the RTX 4050 would be a meaningful boost to gamers and creators.

Geekbench 6 single/multi
Cinebench R24
(Single/Multi)
Handbrake (seconds) PCMark 10
Complete
Dell XPS 14
(Core Ultra 7 165H / RTX 4050)
Bal: 2,334/13,070
Perf: 2,344/12,818
Bal: 101/681
Perf: 100/772
Bal: 84
Perf: 72
5,992
HP Spectre x360 14
(Core Ultra 7 155H / Intel Arc)
Bal: 2,234/11,878
Perf: 2,246/11,821
Bal: 104/577
Perf: 104/591
Bal: 131
Perf: 93
5,812

Display

HP Spectre x360 14 2023 front view showing display.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The XPS 14 can be configured with one of two displays: a 14.5-inch 16:10 Full HD+ IPS display running up to 120Hz and a 3.2K OLED 120Hz display. The Spectre x360 14 has a single display option, a 2.8K OLED display at up to 120Hz.

Both OLED displays were spectacular, as usual. The XPS 14’s display had more accurate but narrower colors, so the Spectre display is better for creators. But Dell’s display is sharper, and its lower-power IPS display offers potential battery life savings for those who don’t care about the higher resolution or OLED’s dynamic colors and inky blacks.

Both laptops have quad-speaker audio systems, with upward-firing speakers flanking each keyboard and two woofers. The Spectre’s audio was clearer and more bassy than the XPS 14’s, coming a lot closer to competing with the best audio on a 14-inch laptop, the MacBook Pro 14’s six-speaker setup.

Portability

The ports seen on the side of the XPS 14.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

The Spectre x360 14 is slightly smaller, thinner, and lighter, with the most significant difference being in weight, as it’s more than half a pound lighter. Both laptops will be comfortably portable while offering more screen real estate than 13-inch laptops.

The Spectre x360 14 offered average to above-average battery life in our tests, and the XPS 14 closely matched it in our web browsing test. The Spectre lasted almost twice as long in our video looping test, making it the more efficient overall. The Spectre would likely benefit from its presumably more efficient Core Ultra 5 option, while the IPS version of the XPS 14 will certainly get better battery life.

The Spectre x360 14 is more traditional, and the XPS 14 is more modern

The keyboard and touchpad of the XPS 14.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

The Spectre x360 14 sports a more traditional design than the XPS 14, albeit in the more flexible convertible 2-in-1 form factor. Purists will appreciate the Spectre’s hardware function keys and a haptic touchpad that’s easier to locate. Those who like a futuristic laptop will appreciate the XPS 14.

Overall, the Spectre x360 14 wins out thanks to its better battery life and more colorful display. It’s also considerably more affordable than the XPS 14.

Editors’ Recommendations