correct me if wrong but cantrip damage are actually lower. currently playing solasta, i have my wizard actually using crossbow. i have same DEX score as INT which makes range attack viable (not to mentioned +2DEX bonus for scalemail).
Cantrips (at low levels) CAN be lower damage, but that's usually offset by a higher chance to hit due to a higher spellcasting stat.
Your wizard probably has a 16 or 18 Int, apparently has a 14 Dex, and is using a light crossbow right? And is presumably level 1-4 so a proficiency bonus of +2.
A Light Crossbow attack will be +4 for 1d8+1 damage.
A Firebolt attack will be at +5 (or +6) for 1d10 damage. Higher chance to hit, with equivalent average damage.
A Ray of Frost will be at +5 (or +6) for 1d8 damage. Higher chance to hit, less damage, but also a slowing effect.
Edit: Saving Throw spells heavily depend on the enemy's Dex vs Wis vs Con ST bonuses.
Of course, at level 5 all cantrips get another damage dice (Firebolt->2d10). Which then happens again at levels 11 and 17. Also something to consider is damage resistance - many creatures resist poison and fire, but many creatures also resist non-magic damage.
i would have like shield having a duration like pathfinder. but now instead the shield block per attack. this is all good if there aren't many monsters around. but if you were to be swarmed, that shield isn't a good idea. also i kinda dislike concentration. most of cleric spells are concentration. after casting bless, you can't cast any other spells. it's so restrictive. also concentration broken if getting hit. man i kinda hate this concentration mechanic really deeply now.
Again, Shield lasts until the start of your next turn.
So it actually works better when you're surrounded by enemies, because it blocks more hits per use. But yes, 5e's decisions to heavily nerf spell durations and make so many of them require concentration are...interesting. Many people don't like these aspects, but it does succeed at the goal of preventing spellcasters from utterly dominating and the tedious pre-combat buffing.
I particularly don't like Mirror Image (3 images, lasts 1 minute). Because it only lasts 1 minute, you can't precast it before most fights. But then you have to spend your first turn's action casting it, which doesn't feel worth it due to the low # of images and the relatively short (~4-8 round) combat lengths.