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Dell XPS 14z review

Verdict

A powerful, portable and handsome-looking system that won’t break the bank

Review Date: 4 Nov 2011

Reviewed By: Dave Stevenson

Price when reviewed: £708 (£850 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £1062
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

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.

Dell XPS 14z - front shot

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.

Dell XPS 14z - keyboard

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.

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User comments

Glossy screen

I was interested until that point.

By 959ARN on 4 Nov 2011

Looks quite good, bit pricey compared the the XPS 15 though.

I can't find this on the Dell site, do you have a link or offer code?

By Deano on 4 Nov 2011

Please elucidate

"Flip it over and the minimalist approach to Windows’ licensing stickers makes the 14z feel very Apple."

What does this mean? Don't they get placed in the battery compartment now? Is this what was meant?

By JohnGray7581 on 4 Nov 2011

The stickers are the of the smaller variety, as seen in the photos above.

By Ex_Sailor on 4 Nov 2011

Not launched

I was about to purchase the Dell Inspiron 14z when I spotted this review and decided to check out the price/spec on the Dell website, however this laptop is not there.

Asked the question via Dell Chat and a helpful Nagaswaroop_YV said "I'm sorry we haven't launched that machine in the UK Yet and we don't even know if that would launched here." I pointed out that Pc Pro had reviewed it and it was on pcpro.co.uk, he then replied "Well, it might be launched but we can't confirm anything until the launch as per the Company Policy."

Zero help there then!

By clmfsh on 6 Nov 2011

No Security

With a fingerprint reader I'd have bought one 10 minutes ago. SME's and/or self-employed and/or those who like a bit of style in the office need a machine that can be both a business and a home machine. Oh well I must keep looking - maybe a sony if I can get all the crapware off it to make it work at an acceptable speed.

By trevorellis on 7 Nov 2011

Try this if crapware is an issue, however be very careful, it does show everything and you could end up in a bad place if you delete something that you later find that you need, but I don't see how else you could do this. Usual disclaimer nothing to do with these people just found the program very useful.
http://www.pcdecrapifier.com/home .

By stokegabriel on 8 Nov 2011

Wrong!, £850 would break my bank, by a lot.

By stokegabriel on 8 Nov 2011

Shame about the resolution!

If they'd had an option for 1600x800 I'd have had one like a shot :-(

By wow400 on 9 Nov 2011

Keyboard is unreadable

Beware! None of the reviews state this - but when the keyboard is backlit during the daytime i cant make out the letters. its going back unless i can turn off backlit feature

By LynneB on 19 Mar 2012

Keyboard

Yes you can turn off backlit feature. i still dont like the keyboard though

By LynneB on 19 Mar 2012

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