Razer Blade 14 (2022) vs Dell XPS 13 Plus: Should you choose play or work?
As is often the case, CES 2022 was host to a ton of laptop and PC announcements from all kinds of companies. This time around, Intel launched its mobile processors at the same time, so we saw even more laptops than we usually would. One of the standout announcements was the Dell XPS 13 Plus, but Razer also brought something to the table with its refreshed Blade laptops, including the Blade 14.
These two are fundamentally different devices. The Dell XPS 13 Plus is a brand-new take on one of Dell’s best laptops with a fresh design and upgraded specs, and the Blade 14 is essentially a hardware refresh of last year’s model. They compete in different leagues, too: the Dell XPS 13 Plus is mostly meant for work and productivity, while the Razer Blade 14 is unapologetically a gaming laptop.
That doesn’t mean you won’t be deciding between them, though. These are two brand-new laptops with a lot to offer, so it’s understandable if you don’t know which one to pick. We’re here to help, though, and we’ll show you how the XPS 13 Plus and Razer Blade 14 differ so you know what’s right for you.
|Razer Blade 14||Dell XPS 13 Plus (9320)|
|Dimensions||Starts at 1.78kg (3.92 lbs)||Starts at 1.24kg (2.73 lbs)|
|Price||Starting at $1,999||Starting at $1,199|
Right away, it’s obvious that there are major differences between these two laptops in terms of performance, design, and display. But we’ll dive deeper into those differences so you understand why you might prefer one over the other.
Performance: The Razer Blade 14 is meant for gaming
Let’s start with the obvious differences: The Razer Blade 14 and the Dell XPS 13 are powered by completely different specs on the inside. It’s not just because one uses AMD processors and the other uses Intel, but the power consumption and thermal output of each laptop is very different. First off, the Razer Blade 14 comes with the latest AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX processor, which has a 45W TDP, 8 cores, and 16 threads. The new AMD processors aren’t a major architectural shift, but they bring some improvements over the previous generation. More importantly, this is a top-tier processor, and it has a 45W TDP, meaning it uses more power, resulting in more performance.
Meanwhile, the Dell XPS 13 Plus is using Intel’s 12th-generation P-series processors. These are brand new processors with a 28W TDP, and that’s much higher than a typical ultrabook processor would have, but it’s still a ways off from a 45W processor. Instead, you get a more power-efficient processor with a mix of high-performance and efficient cores, which should get you better battery life. Performance-wise, it should be great for web browsing and productivity, but it will fall behind significantly for gaming and content creation. We don’t yet have numbers to compare these processors directly, but 45W processors being faster than 28W models is a matter of logic.
The Razer Blade 14 has dedicated NVIDIA graphics up to a GeForce RTX 3080 Ti.
Adding to this, the Razer Blade 14 has dedicated NVIDIA graphics up to a GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, making it a very powerful laptop for gaming and other GPU-focused workloads. The XPS 13 Plus doesn’t try to compete with this, as it only includes integrated graphics, and that’s perfectly natural. This only reinforced that the Razer Blade 14 is meant for gaming and the Dell XPS 13 Plus is meant for work and portability.
Between the more power-hungry processor and dedicated graphics, the Blade 14 will perform much better across the board, but battery life will be much worse. Even though they have similar battery sizes, it’s pretty much guaranteed that the Del XPS 13 Plus will last longer on a charge.
Aside from this, both laptops benefit from added support for DDR5 RAM, though the Dell XPS 13 Plus actually pulls ahead with slightly faster RAM and more of it at that. The Blade 14 only comes with 16GB of RAM and it can’t be upgraded, which is unfortunate for a gaming laptop. For storage, both laptops feature PCIe Gen 4 SSDs, and while the Dell XPS 13 Plus gives you more options, the 1TB inside the Blade 14 should be good enough. Otherwise, you can always upgrade the SSD in the Blade 14 if you need more space.
Display: The Dell XPS 13 Plus has an OLED panel
The differences between these laptops are also very apparent in the display. Keeping up with its gaming focus, the Razer Blade 14 comes with a 14-inch 16:9 panel that can have up to Quad HD (2560 x 1440) resolution and a 165Hz refresh rate, a pretty good balance of sharpness and smoothness so you can get a great gaming experience. There’s also an entry-level model with Full HD resolution and a 144Hz refresh rate that’s less impressive. Still, these are clearly gaming displays, and they’re far better for that than Dell’s offerings.
On the other hand, the Dell XPS 13 Plus comes with a 13.4-inch display and it has a taller 16:10 aspect ratio, which is great for productivity. Taller screens give you more vertical space, which helps with everything from writing and reading to using media apps like photo and video editors. The entry-level model has Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) resolution, so it’s not far off from the Blade 14, though it lacks the high refresh rate of that laptop.
However, with the XPS 13 Plus, you get the option to add a touchscreen and two big display upgrades: A 3.5K OLED (3456 x 2160) panel or an Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400) IPS display, both with touch support. Not only are these super-sharp displays, but OLED also gets you benefits like true blacks, higher contrast, and punchy colors like you wouldn’t get on an IPS panel. If you’re interested in media consumption or productivity, the Dell XPS 13 Plus has a stunning display that you’ll probably like more.
The Dell XPS 13 Plus also has a very promising sound system, touting quad stereo speakers with up to 8W of total output. Dell’s XPS laptops are usually known for having something of the best speakers on a Windows laptop, and this seems to keep that up. Razer isn’t very specific and only says the Blade 14 has stereo speakers, which suggests it might only have two.
The Dell XPS 13 Plus is still using a 720p webcam.
Where the Blade 14 does have the edge is the webcam department. Last year’s model had a 720p webcam, but Razer learned its lesson and is now including a 1080p webcam by default in all the new Blade laptops, complete with Windows Hello facial recognition. Dell, however, didn’t learn that lesson, and instead it’s still using a 720p webcam. Dell separated the main webcam sensor from the IR sensor, though, so quality should be better now. It’s just likely to be even better on the Blade 14.
Design and ports: The Dell XPS 13 Plus is sleek and modern
Design is one area where the Dell XPS 13 Plus dominates this match-up, though this is naturally a subjective topic. There’s a lot that makes this laptop fascinating, though. Dell completely redesigned the XPS lineup and now, there’s no visible touchpad – it’s completely seamless with the chassis of the laptop, and instead of clicking down, it uses haptic feedback to simulate clicks.
There are also no physical function/media keys, and they’re all digital now. This actually helps because the labels change depending on whether the keys are set to be a typical function row or media controls. You can immediately see what the key will do, which you don’t get with a typical function row. On that note, the keyboard also has larger keys with no spacing, and it pushes all the way to the edges of the chassis, which helps with this modern, minimalistic look that’s bound to turn some heads. The laptop comes in Platinum and Graphite colorways, too.
On the other hand, the Razer Blade 14 looks exactly the same as last year’s model. It’s an all-black laptop with a green Razer logo on the lid, and it looks quite sleek for being a gaming laptop. There is RGB lighting on the keyboard, but it’s executed in a way that makes it subdued so it doesn’t feel obnoxious at all. It could pass for a work laptop in many ways, but the XPS 13 Plus just feels so much more futuristic in comparison.
The Dell XPS 13 Plus is also lighter than the Razer Blade 14, and that’s to be expected when you look at the different processors and specs. The powerful CPU and GPU of the Blade 14 requires more cooling, so it’s not only thicker (though 16.9mm isn’t overly thick), it’s much heavier, weighing 3.92lbs. By comparison, the Dell XPS 13 Plus starts at 2.73lbs, and it’s 15.28mm thick, so it’s much more portable overall.
The Dell XPS 13 Plus hsa two Thunderbolt 4 ports and not much more.
That larger size of the Blade 14 also makes room for far more ports, though. It comes with two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, HDMI, and a headphone jack, in addition to a proprietary charging port. Meanwhile, the Dell XPS 13 Plus has two Thunderbolt 4/USB Type-C ports and a Type-C to Type-A dongle included in the box. Granted, Thunderbolt support means you can connect docks, external GPUs, and so on to this laptop, but the Blade 14 is far more versatile out of the box.
Bottom line: Blade 14 for gaming, XPS 13 Plus for work
From the get-go, it should be obvious that these are devices geared towards different types of users. Ultimately, which laptop is better depends on what you want to do with it. If you’re a gamer, the Razer Blade 14 is definitely your best option. It has a more powerful processor and dedicated graphics, which you basically need if you plan to run modern high-end games. To match that, you also have a high-refresh-rate display, which is also great for gaming.
The Blade 14 also has a wide range of ports, and it’s very capable for a 14-inch laptop that already has so much power packed inside. However, this comes at the cost of a somewhat heavy laptop that’s not as easy to carry around. Plus, its battery life won’t be great, either.
On the other hand, the Dell XPS 13 Plus excels at productivity. Its processor is more than fast enough for day-to-day tasks like web browsing, writing up documents, and even some light photo editing, but it’s also much more efficient and should last you longer on battery power. It comes with the benefit of a taller display that’s great for getting work done, and you can configure it with ultra-sharp and stunning display options, including an OLED panel, so it’s also great for media consumption.
The XPS 13 Plus also shines in its design, which feels modern and futuristic in a way that we haven’t seen in any laptop we’ve seen in recent years. It looks stunning, but also professional and classy, so you can truly use it anywhere. It’s thinner and lighter than the Blade 14, too, so it’s easy to take with you wherever you want to go. However, that comes at the cost of ports, and you might find yourself in need of a Thunderbolt dock to connect your peripherals. It’s a laptop meant for mobility and it assumes you don’t need a lot of peripherals, or that you have wireless accessories.
One last thing to note is that the XPS 13 Plus starts at a much lower price ($1,199) than the Blade 14 ($1,999). If you don’t need the highest-end configuration, you may be able to save some money by choosing Dell. It depends on your configuration, though. You still have some time to think it over, considering these laptops aren’t available just yet. The Blade 14 will be available for pre-order on February 10th and be available later this quarter. Dell has only said the XPS 13 Plus will be available this spring. If you don’t want to wait, check out the best laptops you can buy right now to find some great alternatives.