Dell XPS 15z ushers in style and affordability, we go hands-on

The latest XPS model from Dell is the Dell XPS 15z, teased last week in a short video which showed off some of its interesting design points. 

Design is certainly the focus for the new XPS model, picking up on some of the design features that we saw on the Adamo. We got the chance to sit down with Dell and the new laptop to get all the details, and get our hands on the new machine.

Our first question was how Dell would respond to questions likening the XPS 15z to the MacBook. Peter Winkle, director EMEA Marketing, responded that the contribution Apple have made to computer design shouldn’t be ignored. He emphasised that design was now a much more important factor for customers.

The Dell XPS 15z’s proposition then is power and affordability without forsaking design. Encased in aluminium, it is a smart looking machine, with attention to detail, such as the push-button battery indicator and the speaker grills beside the keyboard that make it stand out. 

It has a nice look, the display is thin, although its position on top of the base is a little unusual these days, with many displays dropping down behind when opened. This does at least mean that some connections can move to the rear and the display is slightly higher, which might make it better for desk working, and perhaps less practical for those wanting a compact machine for using on aircraft or trains.

Internally the Dell XPS 15x comes equipped with second-gen Core i5 and i7 processors, partnered with Nvidia graphics (1GB or 2GB GT 525M) and up to 8GB RAM; up to 750GB HDD is offered. The 15.6-inch LED display can be upgraded to full HD. 

The battery is housed internally so cannot be accessed by the user. It promises 8-hours of life on the go, with Nvidia’s Optimus technology looking to reduce battery drain by better managing the graphics hardware.

The backlit keyboard is chiclet style and from the time we had with the XPS 15z, it seems to have a nice action. The gentle rake of the body of the notebook and the size on offer makes it a good size for typing, with plenty of convenient shortcuts across the top row. 

You are well served for ports, with HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort, 2x USB 3.0, eSATA and audio connections. The Ethernet port sits on the rear and wireless connectivity is supplied by Wi-Fi a/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0. The XPS 15z also supports Intel Wireless Display. There is a slot-loading DVD writer.

The Dell XPS 15z measures 24.68 x 384.85 x 260.37mm and weighs 2.51kg. It is the first in a line of products, although Dell hasn’t confirmed exactly what and when more will follow. 

The Dell XPS 15z is available now with starting prices of £899 and topping out at £1199.



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