Dell XPS 14z review
A powerful, portable and handsome-looking system that won’t break the bank
Tracking the progression of Dell’s XPS brand through the years reveals an interesting trend. Initially a set of all-singing, all-dancing gaming desktops and laptops, the range is now far more interesting, as the handsome, consumer-focussed XPS 14z demonstrates.
The styling is heavily influenced by Apple’s MacBook Pro range. The 14z’s design isn’t quite unibody, with the top slice of plastic surrounding the keyboard a separate component, but the almost all-in-one construction looks good and means the 14z feels convincingly well made.
Flip it over and the minimalist approach to Windows’ licensing stickers makes the 14z feel very Apple. It might not be terribly original but it’s hard to deny the machine’s visual appeal.
The screen is covered by edge-to-edge glass, which looks extremely smart. For one thing, it makes the bezel look thinner – at the side it’s 1cm thick, but with the glass covering most of that and melding seamlessly into the panel it looks like a lot less.
The only drawback is that the glass itself is very reflective. Those working under bright fluorescent lights will need to find a decent angle that doesn’t reflect too much of the background.
The 1,366 x 768 resolution is par for the course on a 14in laptop, but there’s adequate space for working, and on the plus side the panel’s incredibly bright – almost enough to overcome the reflective finish.
Aside from the screen, the rest of the machine follows its larger sibling, the Dell XPS 15z very closely. The chiclet keyboard has keys with rounded edges and indents, and it’s backlit to aid typing in the dark.
The action of the keys is a little shallow for our liking, particularly compared to the luxurious keyboards of Lenovo’s business laptops, but touch-typists will have no hassle getting up to speed.
As with a few laptops we’ve seen recently, the trackpad is multitouch. And, as with many of those other laptops, gestures such as pinch-to-zoom don’t work terribly well. Others, such as a four-fingered flick to the right, which produces the Alt-Tab screen, work reasonably.
|Price ex VAT||£708|
|Price inc VAT||£850|
|Features & Design||5|
|Value for Money||5|
|Warranty||1yr collect and return|
|Dimensions||353 x 247 x 35mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i5-2430M|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Graphics chipset||Nvidia GeForce GT 520M|
|Graphics card RAM||1,000MB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||0|
|Hard disk||Western Digital|
|Optical disc technology||DVD writer|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||1|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Pointing device type||touchpad|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||6hr 14min|
|Battery life, heavy use||1hr 31min|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||0.67|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|OS family||Windows 7|