Dell’s XPS 16 takes the minimalist design of the XPS 13 Plus and scales it up to a 16-inch system that’s far more powerful and functional. But just as with that earlier machine, which was Dell’s first attempt at implementing an “invisible” trackpad into its palm rest, there are some usability compromises. It’s hard not to be impressed by how sleek the XPS 16 looks—I personally think it’s one of the best-looking Windows laptops around—but power users who demand a wide variety of ports may find it lacking. (Even Apple can put a full-sized SD card slot and HDMI port on the MacBook Pro, why can’t Dell?)

It’s no surprise why Dell is betting so much on the design language of the XPS 13 Plus: this machine didn’t look like any other Windows PC when it debuted two years ago. Now instead of being a separate “Plus” variant, it speaks entirely on the mantle of the XPS 13. (Spill one for the traditional XPS 13 design we love so much.) Meanwhile, the XPS 14 and 16 are more powerful MacBook Pro competitors that decide some of the issues with the smaller model. Both have headphone jacks, for example, and offer a total of three USB-C ports (instead of just two) and a microSD card slot.

Dell XPS 16

Photo by Devindra Hardavar/Engadget

I’ll admit, even though I had issues with the XPS 13 Plus, I was still blown away by the XPS 16 the moment I opened it up. Its 16.3-inch OLED screen was gorgeous to look at, with the tiniest amount of bezel around the edges. Its all-glass wrist rest and touchpad looked like a crystal clear pond frozen with a sleek layer of frost. And the XPS 16’s elegant keyboard practically begged to be typed on. It’s so damn beautiful.

But will this beauty get in the way of its functionality, as it did with the XPS 13 Plus? The mere presence of more ports (and a headphone jack!) clearly shows that Dell is thinking more practically with the XPS 16. After all, it’s a potential successor to the XPS 15, a product we praised as one of the 15-inch notebook options with Windows.


The XPS 16 sets itself apart from most other large laptops by combining power and beauty. But you will have to suffer some usability compromises.


  • Elegant and minimalist design
  • Tons of power
  • A beautiful 16-inch screen
  • Wide and comfortable keyboard

  • The invisible trackpad is still annoying
  • It can use more ports
  • The capacitive function row is useless in bright light

$1899 at Dell

While Dell stuck with the invisible trackpad that I found disappointing on the XPS 13 Plus, it’s a bit less of an issue on the XPS 16. First, the actual trackpad area is much larger, stretching between the Windows key on the left and the Copilot button on the right , so there is much less chance of missing it. Dell also offers adjustable haptics for the touchpad, which you can set from absolutely no feedback (a setting for the criminally insane) to really deep and satisfying clicks. However, there’s still no real justification for hiding the trackpad entirely, and using it requires some tweaking.

I’m all for PC makers making wild design changes, but Dell’s invisible trackpad remains more of a party trick than a leap forward for PCs. Techies often criticize Apple for emphasizing aesthetics over functionality, but at least I can clearly see exactly where the MacBook’s trackpad is without looking down. There’s still a continued smooth feel to Apple’s palm rests, so the Dell doesn’t have much of an advantage either.

Dell XPS 16Dell XPS 16

The XPS 16’s capacitive top row of buttons, which can switch between function keys and multimedia controls, is another design conundrum. Sure, it looks a bit cleaner than a typical laptop keyboard and allows for better airflow because Dell can fit more cooling hardware underneath, but it’s impossible to touch any of those keys. Even after several days of testing, I couldn’t train my fingers to immediately reach a certain function key. This is bad for general usability as well as for users with accessibility needs.

Worst of all, the capacitive buttons on the top row completely disappear in direct sunlight (or even on a cloudy but still bright day (see below). You’ll have to put them in your hands or find some kind of shade, to change volume or screen brightness Is it really worth avoiding another standard row of keys?

Dell XPS 16Dell XPS 16

Do you see function keys here? (Photo by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget)

At least Dell did the keyboard, and it’s always been the highlight of the XPS lineup. The XPS 16’s keyboard is luxuriously wide, with large keycaps and a 0.3mm deep keycap. Dell was able to make more room for these features by reducing the space between the keys. I will admit that too it takes some getting used to as it feels different from most other laptops, but after a few hours of typos I found myself enjoying the typing experience overall. For once my arms had room to spread.

The keyboard and trackpad experience will likely feel similar on all new XPS models, but the gorgeous 16.3-inch screen is what sets the XPS 16 apart. You can choose between a 1080p+ LCD screen with a 120Hz refresh rate or a 4K+ OLED panel that maximum frequency is 90Hz. The OLED option (which came with our review unit) is the one to go for if you’re looking for true color accuracy, as it supports 100 percent of the DCI-P3 gamut (the LCD model covers 100 percent of the minimum sRGB specification). And of course, it also comes with all the benefits of OLED: high contrast levels and inky black levels.

Dell XPS 16Dell XPS 16
Photo by Devindra Hardavar/Engadget

The XPS 16’s massive display allowed me to easily multitask and allowed me to see an extensive timeline while working on an Audacity recording in full screen. With its high level of color accuracy, everything appeared on the XPS 16, from surfing the web to watching movies on Netflix. (It also supports Dolby Vision HDR, which adds more depth to dark scenes and higher peak brightness to highlights).

It’s worth noting that the OLED display is rated at 400 nits of brightness, 100 nits less than the LCD model, but I had no trouble reading the screen on our outdoor review unit in direct sunlight. (Annoyingly, the more expensive OLED can’t hit a 120Hz refresh rate, but it still looks decently smooth at 90Hz.)

In addition to a great display for creative tasks, the XPS 16 also has enough power to get you through a busy work day (and also enough to let you play a little when you need a break). Our XPS 16 review unit was equipped with Intel’s Core Ultra 7 155H, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and an NVIDIA RTX 4070 GPU, a configuration worth a hefty $3,399.


PCMark 10

3DMark (TimeSpy Extreme)

Geekbench 6

Cinebench R23

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





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





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





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





Although I saw the new Intel processor in action on the ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED, it was much more impressive on the XPS 16, where it scored almost 3,000 points higher than the ZenBook in the Geekbench 6 CPU benchmark. The XPS 16 was also almost twice as fast in the Cinebench 2024 benchmark when it came to multi-threading. (These results also make me wonder if the ASUS machine is just terribly under-optimized, since it was one of the first notebooks released with a Core Ultra chip.)

The XPS 16 also soundly outperformed the Framework Laptop 16, another big-screen notebook aimed at creative professionals (along with being almost entirely modular). It scored over 1,000 points higher than the Framework machine in the multi-threaded Geekbench 6 benchmark and was over twice as fast in the Cinebench 2024 GPU test.

Curiously, the XPS 16 only scored a few hundred points higher in PCMark 10 than the 2022 XPS 15 (which uses an Intel Core i7-12700H processor and an NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti), but the advantage this year is that Intel’s new chips also include NPUs for AI tasks. The XPS 16 scored 3,109 points on the Geekbench ML test, a cross-platform benchmark for comparing machine learning capabilities. That puts it on par with Apple’s M2-chip iPad Pro.

In Windows, NPUs mainly enable special features like Studio Effects, which can blur your background or optimize your lighting in video chats. But developers like Adobe and Audacity have committed to adding more AI-powered tools to their apps, so having a capable NPU could pay off in the future.

Dell XPS 16Dell XPS 16

Photo by Devindra Hardavar/Engadget

The XPS 16’s raw horsepower also makes it a capable (albeit overpriced) gaming machine. I was able to play Halo Infinite at 1440p+ (2560 by 1600 pixels) with maximum graphics settings at an average of 63 frames per second. Cyberpunk 2077 also averaged 63fps at 1440p as long as I enabled NVIDIA’s DLSS scaling and avoided ray tracing. These aren’t very impressive results compared to dedicated gaming systems, but they’re certainly better than what I saw on the XPS 15 a few years ago. The XPS 16’s keyboard is well-suited for shooters, thanks to its large keys and tactile feedback, but it’s a pain if you’re gaming on something that often uses function buttons. If you’re really looking forward to gaming on this system, you’re better off going with a 1080p LCD screen, as it can achieve a higher 120Hz refresh rate and requires less GPU power to render.

After living with the XPS 16 for a few weeks, I’m still genuinely impressed by its sheer beauty and power. But it’s not the lightest machine to travel with, weighing in at 4.8 pounds. That’s about the same weight as the most powerful 16-inch MacBook Pro, so it’s not excessive, but it’s still something to consider. By comparison, the latest XPS 15 weighs 4.5 pounds, while the new XPS 14 is much more portable at 3.7 pounds. If you need a ton of screen space, you’ve probably already settled for a big machine. But it’s still worth considering what your actual workflow looks like. Do you really need a 16-inch screen at all times, or would you rather have something lighter for travel to pair with a roomier monitor on your desk?

Dell XPS 16Dell XPS 16
Photo by Devindra Hardavar/Engadget

Another big advantage of a big machine? Tons of battery life. The XPS 16 lasted eight hours and 30 minutes in the PCMark 10 Modern Office benchmark, while the Framework Laptop 16 survived just four hours. The ZenBook 14 OLED is still our best performer for this test—it lasted 12 hours and 43 minutes—but you’ll still be able to get through a typical workday with the XPS 16 without looking for power.

As you can probably tell from the price of our review unit, the price of the XPS 16 is the biggest potential issue. It starts at $1,899 with Intel Core Ultra 7, Intel Arc graphics, 16GB LPDDR5X RAM, 512GB NVMe SSD, and a 1080p+ LCD screen. The latest XPS 15 starts at $1,099 with a 13th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and a similar build. At the very least, it’s nice to see that Dell doesn’t ship workstations with 8GB of RAM by default (like Apple and many other companies). Other upgrades for the XPS 16, unfortunately, will cost you dearly: It’s another $400 to get an NVIDIA RTX 4050 GPU ($600 for the 4060 and $1100 for the 4070), going OLED costs another $300, and going up to 32GB of RAM is a whopping $600 extra.

Good looks don’t come cheap. But the same goes for any other premium 16-inch laptop (the MacBook Pro 16 starts at $2,499!). This isn’t necessarily a category to find a good deal on unless you’re looking for older or refurbished models. The XPS 16 is designed for people with deep pockets who demand a huge screen, tons of power, and beautiful hardware. In that regard, it’s a complete success – as long as you don’t get too annoyed by its invisible trackpad.