Dell Thinks Your Next Laptop Should Have an Invisible Trackpad

It may take some getting used to with Dell's haptic touchpads.

Dell's XPS 13, XPS 14, and XPS 16 laptops

Dell’s revamped laptops don’t have a trackpad — or, at least not one that you can see.

Dell refreshed its XPS performance-oriented lineup of laptops with new 14- and 16-inch models, along with the existing entry-level 13-inch version. With the new sizes, Dell is ditching the 15- and 17-inch models and the traditional laptop look they had.

Instead, Dell is leaning heavily into a more minimalistic look that we first saw with the XPS 13 Plus. With that design, the refreshed lineup gets larger keycaps for easier typing, a “touch function row” that’s reminiscent of Apple’s experiment with the Touch Bar, and an invisible trackpad that uses haptic feedback. Sleek as the revamped laptops may look, whether people will quickly adapt to the touch-heavy design is another story.

Dell wants us to rethink trackpads with its latest XPS laptops.


Real Buttons, Please

With Dell’s “seamless glass touchpad,” you’ll instead rely on haptic feedback to give you the sensation of clicking. Not everyone was a fan of the XPS 13 Plus’ invisible trackpad, with some common complaints being that it was temperamental, hard to tell how far you can scroll with your fingers, and had a learning curve to get used to. However, this trackpad design fits Dell’s theme of making its XPS laptops as sleek and minimalistic as possible. Even LG has experimented with this idea by adding LED lights to the trackpad to denote where it starts and ends.

Dell is even committing to the “touch function row” at the top of the keyboard, where your function keys normally sit.

The Dell XPS 16 will start at $1,899.99.


As for specs, the XPS 16 will be the most powerful of the bunch thanks to it being equipped with up to Intel Core Ultra 9 Processor 185H, Nvidia’s GeForce RTXTM 4070 Laptop GPU, 64GB of memory, and 4TB of storage. You can choose between an FHD display or a 4K OLED touch display, both of which come in 16.3-inch sizing. For ports, Dell included three Thunderbolt 4 ports, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack. You’ll also get an FHD webcam and two microphones to handle any video call needs.

Finding the Right Model

The XPS 14 still gets up to 64GB of memory and up to 4GB of storage, but it will top out at an Intel Core Ultra 7 Processor 165H and Nvidia’s GeForce RTXTM 4050 Laptop GPU. As the name suggests, you’ll have a smaller display at 14.5 inches but you get the choice between the FHD and 3.2K OLED touch displays. The XPS 14 will get the same ports, webcam, and microphone setup as the XPS 16, but will come with a smaller battery.

At the lower end, the XPS 13 can be built with up to an Intel Core Ultra 7 Processor 165H but will come with Intel Arc graphics. You can still max out the lower-end laptop with 64GB of memory and 4TB of storage, but you only get two Thunderbolt 4 ports and the smallest battery of the bunch. You can choose between an FHD, QHD touch, or a 3K+ OLED touch display, all of which will be 13.4 inches.

The invisible touchpad does add to the sleekness of the XPS 13, but at what cost?


Plenty of XPS Options

Dell says the laptops are already available in platinum or graphite colors on its website. Dell’s most affordable XPS 13 model will come in at $1,299.99 but is expected to arrive later. Right now, the cheapest XPS 13 model starts at $1,399.99. If you’re looking for a laptop with a 14-inch display, the XPS 14 will be available in the U.S. and later in Canada starting at $1,699.99. At the top of the lineup, the XPS 16 will also be in the U.S. first and Canada after, starting at $1,899.99.

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