Dell XPS 14z: Thoroughly Reviewedby Jarred Walton on October 24, 2011 9:00 AM EST
Given the lack of discrete graphics in our test sample, we’re going to skip any gaming benchmarks for now. We hope to have the 14z with GeForce GT 520M in for testing in the near future, and we’ll revisit the topic of graphics performance then, but for now we’ll simply refer to the ASUS K53E review as a look at how HD 3000 handles gaming. The i5-2430M GPU is clocked slightly lower than the i5-2520M, but either way you’re going to want to stick with low detail settings for most titles. Application performance is also pretty much known; the i5-2430M should outperform the i5-2410M by a small margin, but without an SSD general performance won’t be as snappy as something like the ASUS UX21.
There’s not much to point out here that we haven’t covered numerous times already. The XPS 14z performs right where you’d expect, given the components. An SSD in place of the HDD would certainly boost the PCMark scores, but otherwise general performance is fine. 3DMark gives us a quick look at what we can expect from the HD 3000 graphics, and the scores are slightly lower than the higher clocked IGP in the K53E.
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name99 - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link"Dell does deserve credit for cramming a full slot-load DVD-RW into a reasonably thin chassis, although the need for optical drives seems to be diminishing with each passing year."
I honestly do not understand the mind of Dell.
They have a chance to deliver a DIFFERENT type of computer --- an ultrabook that doesn't make the compromises of a MacBook Air, but also is not burdened with useless crap like an optical drive. But no, rather than deliver something innovative, they go all in copying the MacBook Pro. Really pathetic.
(And yeah, having a USB3 port rather than a Thunderbolt port doesn't change the fact that this is a MacBook Pro clone.)
ramvalleru - Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - linkApple copied the chick-let style keybord from Sony.
AnnonymousCoward - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - link1. 1366x768 glossy TN is complete crap. Use 16:10, and offer matte IPS for a reasonable cost.
2. I doubt this "space age looking keyboard" types as well as a Latitude keyboard.
3. The arrow keys aren't full size.
4. An i5 laptop deserves >2 USB ports.
5. How about offering a 120GB SSD for a reasonable +$150?
TheYeti - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - linkWe got one of these in the office a few weeks ago. The thing that we were most astounded by was the small size of the display in comparison to the size of the bottom case. The laptop was a tight fit in the same case as my 17 inch macbook pro had a roomy fit. It wouldn't fit in any of the 15 inch laptop cases that anyone in the office had.
The display has a black border, the black border has a chrome border, the hinge is not set in the back of the bottom case, but at the top the bottom case has a plastic border, the plastic border has a chrome border. all in all the exterior of all the plastics protrudes about an inch and a half from the screen edge, and it isn't a nice screen either.
When you hold it in your hands it feels like someone took a thin 17 inch laptop, stuck a 13 inch screen on it, and tried to hide the fact. Like putting those "don't drive over 45mph" spare wheels on a 4x4 so that it will fit in the garage. It has muscle and will move, but it is crippled by the screen.
JarredWalton - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - linkI'm confused... what laptop are you talking about? Certainly not the XPS 14z, and I can't recall any laptop I've seen with a 13" display that is anywhere near the size of a 17" chassis. The worst I've seen in the "small screen, large chassis" department is the Alienware M11x, which is nearly a 13" chassis.
Brad4 - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - linkI would not even accept one of these for free. The first thing I looked for was the resolution, and quickly determined that I am not interested in this sorry little laptop. A 16:9 ratio is disgusting. I'm a windows user and buy Apple because they offer a 16:10 resolution.
Fanfoot - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - linkSorry, but you don't talk about the trackpad and keyboard. I had a 15z for a while, and had to return it. In general I think it was a very nice laptop, HOWEVER the trackpad constantly reacted to bits of my palms touching it, causing the mouse pointer to jump randomly about. Plugging in an external mouse and setting it up to disable the trackpad once one is plugged in fixed that. However, as a programmer the keyboard remained an unfixable problem. The lack of unshifted home and end keys was something I simply couldn't get past. Lots of people might never notice this problem, but for a programmer I don't think the omission is acceptable.
JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - linkYou're right, I neglected to cover this much. I've added a paragraph specifically about the touchpad, as you're right: the 15z was more prone to errant clicks. The 15z (at least initially -- perhaps it has changed?) used a Cypress touchpad, while the 14z uses a Synaptics touchpad. There are a few extra settings on the Synaptics that help reduce the amount of errant clicks/brushes, particularly while typing. The keyboard I referenced in passing, but I've clarified a bit more why I prefer the XPS 15 layout to the 15z/14z.
Thanks for the comment!
mashimaroo - Monday, October 31, 2011 - linkive had my fair share of dell laptops but this new line looks pretty good. the main problem ive had with my laptop is fan control and heating issues
tipoo - Saturday, February 25, 2012 - linkYeah, I hate Dells default fan control and no applications that I know of can controll it in new Dells. It only picks from 4 or 5 speeds rather than a gradual ramp up so it can go from silent to audible on and off, its annoying.