Since the day the chunky XPS M1210 notebook morphed into the XPS M1330's sleek frame, Dell has almost always had a stylish laptop lineup to its name. Back in 2007, they were defined by brushed aluminum surfaces and ultra-thin LED backlit screens, and in 2010, they went to a black-and-silver design with distinctive port-filled corners and magnesium alloy decks. In 2011, the XPS 15z took a page from Apple's playbook before that was cool, and this year's XPS 13 could practically have sprung from a MacBook Air mold.

The new XPS 14, however, is not Dell's new MacBook Pro.

Looking at the expanses of black soft-touch rubber in the picture above and the carefully finished aluminum ring, you might easily infer that the XPS 14 is the powerful, heavyweight Pro to the XPS 13's Air. The truth is far more interesting, though. While the larger XPS 15 adds the standard-voltage processors, graphics, 1080p screen and slot-loading optical drive to take it into that territory, the XPS 14 is a different beast: it uses the ultra low voltage processors of a much smaller laptop, but also sports the hard drive, optional discrete graphics, full-size ports, and a bigger battery that just wouldn't fit into the tiny XPS 13.

In other words, it's an ultrabook, just like its little brother, but you can bring more and do more on the go. Does it deliver that dream? Read on.