With the desire to beat the MacBook Pro as the best 15-inch notebook in the market, Dell released yet another powerful beauty into its XPS family named Dell XPS 15z; which is just under an inch thick and weighs 2.04 kgs, while still packing an Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia graphics and impressive speakers. The slim 15.6-inch notebook constructed of aluminum and magnesium alloy, running Windows amused our entire team. So, is Dell trying to lure the MacBook Pro Fans to buy the latest XPS beauty and set a new bar for the notebook “PC” market? Let us find out as we review the Dell XPS 15z in detail…
The Z series in the XPS family is sleeker than its cousins and thus very attractive. The 15z is no exception; the first thing which anyone would notice is its sleek design which is just under an inch thick.
The XPS 15z resembles a MacBook Pro especially when the lid is closed; But the 15z isn’t an exact clone, the darker-colored palm rest and hinge design are major differentiators. This notebook is mostly constructed out of high-quality low in weight metal; the bright silver outside is milled aluminum and the dark gray palm rest is magnesium alloy. Even the screen bezel is metal. The XPS 15z feels very solid to the touch and it is; the chassis hardly bends when flexed and the lid’s aluminum backing keeps it from twisting too much. The silvery hues of 15z and MacBook Pro are almost an exact match which gives a distinct royal class to the notebook. Of course, there are some non-subtle design differences for all the non-apple fans. For instance, the XPS 15z leaves a bit of lip in the back and isn’t as streamlined as the MacBook Pro (the lid doesn’t close completely flushed against the base, for example). It also has little black feet (or shock absorbers) on its underside, so it stands noticeably taller than the MacBook Pro 15-inch.
The two speaker grills located on the either side of the keyboard, having a diagonal pattern reminds us that the XPS 15z is indeed one of the cousins of the huge Dell family. The shinny chrome platting which runs along its edges sparkles with all the super cool looks. The whole design is extremely classy and we give a thumps up.
Display / Speakers / Keyboard / Trackpad
The XPS 15z has a very thin widescreen display which is still a force to be reckoned, running full HD 1080p (native resolution of 1920×1080) display. This super strong display gives a wonderful experience watching high-res movies, playing games, and running split-screen multitasking. The auto adjusting backlight gives a very bright, beautiful picture on the screen. The screen is glossy and doesn’t have better viewing angles. The XPS 15z’s screen can be tilted to almost 130 degrees backward – helping you to a certain extent in choosing the ideal viewing position relative to the screen. The whole surface you interact with is smooth, durable, and dirt-resistant too. But for a sleek laptop, the bright full HD displays covers all other smaller cons.
The Dell luxury in the XPS 15z is showcased through the elegant island-style keyboard whish has round bordered square and rectangular keys. Its scalloped keys are worthy of the highest praise, in part because of the backlights that turn on and off by an ambient sensor that detects lighting conditions, a feature that’s present in the XPS family. The typing experience is awesome and gives a true feeling of a luxurious laptop.
The 3.9 x 2.3-inch touchpad is not only spacious, but friction-free and highly responsive as well. We were able to execute multitouch functions such as pinch-to-zoom, rotate, and scroll with ease on this huge touchpad. The dedicated mouse buttons are softest and quietest ones in the business.
Speaker grilles can be found on either side of the keyboard, and they face upwards so that sound blasts directly at your face. The speakers sound crisp and clear and watching high-definition videos on the screen is quite impressive with good color accuracies.
If its XPS its has to have awesome features and advanced technologies. Taking about USB ports, all three USB ports support advanced technologies: two of them USB 3.0, the other eSATA as well as USB 2.0. The XPS 15z has jacks for both HDMI and Mini DisplayPort (for a dual-monitor hookup) Taking about Webcam and microphone, while it’s not Skype HD-certified, a caller during a video chat said that the XPS 15z’s 1.3-megapixel webcam was able to render finer details in our face and clothes, and the dual embedded microphones picked up our voice clearly and cleanly. The XPS is equipped with spacious 750GB hard-drive which offers plenty of storage for the typical user.
The Dell XPS 15z features a dual core Intel 2nd generation Core i7-2640M 2.50-GHz processor, 8GB DDR3 RAM, Intel HD graphics and Nvidia GeForce GT 525M 2GB graphics card, and a 750GB (7200 RPM) hard drive. (Of course, it can be customized as per your requirements) The Dell laptop also features Wi-Fi 802.11 n and Bluetooth 3.0 wireless connectivity. With the packed bottom, the XPS 15z is a tough one to upgrade. Just don’t think of upgrades, the Dell XPS 15z is already super loaded.
Performance and Graphics
The XPS 15z comes with an integrated Intel HD GPU and a discrete Nvidia GeForce GT525M processor with 2GB of video memory. Using Nvidia’s Optimus technology, the XPS 15z switches between the two based on need. Using the Nvidia GPU, the XPS 15z notched a score of 7,420 in 3DMark06.
When benchmarking games at 1366×768, DirectX 10 mode, AA 2x, and ‘Ultra High’ settings, the average frame rate recorded stood at 36 FPS. Running games shouldn’t be that tricky a task for this machine – do keep in mind that playing the most recent titles should be done whilst keeping details and resolution slightly pulled to the lower-to-medium spectrum of settings, so as to enjoy an optimum gaming experience. Moreover, do keep in mind that prolonged gaming can heat up the system.
With average of 26 fps at its native resolution and graphics at Very High, the 15z is an ideal PC in the gaming world. In World of Warcraft, the XPS 15z averaged 35 fps with effects at Ultra. We tried running World Of Warcraft, GTA 4 simultaneously burning a DVD, we were quite amused that the performance didn’t drop down. What more you need if you are a hobby gamer, XPS 15z is a total bliss.
The 15z comes with Windows 7 Home Premium edition. There are lot of softwares including a trial subscription to Norton Antivirus, the token copies of Microsoft Office Starter and Roxio for your disc burning needs; But there is one thing out of the ordinary, and that’s Dell’s Stage UI! Dell-branded apps include Webcam Central and Dell Stage, which provides shortcuts to programs, multimedia files, support, etc; But takes up a lot of room on the desktop. The XPS 15z comes with 3-year XPS Premier Service with 3-year Complete Cover and 24/7 tech support.
The laptop’s eight-cell battery lasted for about a 100 minutes through one of our battery tests, at high performance mode. Though it gets heated up after a prolonged gaming session, the sleek aluminum cools down quickly. Running conservative power scheme and average internet use, XPS 15z lasts just more than 3-4 hours.
It is priced an all inclusive Rs. 74,900 for the lowest model and can go higher as per your desired hardware configuration. But, the looks, feel and the power of the laptop just make it worth that!
The XPS 15z is for professional people who care about the looks of their laptop along with the processing power it offers. The premium look and the features make it a good competition for the MacBook pro, which is priced higher. We would suggest this Laptop for a consumer who doesn’t mind carrying a power-packed notebook in this age!