Dell XPS 14z review

Price when reviewed

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.


Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions353 x 247 x 35mm (WDH)

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i5-2430M
RAM capacity6.00GB
Memory typeDDR3

Screen and video

Screen size14.1in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetNvidia GeForce GT 520M
Graphics card RAM1,000MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs1


Spindle speed7,200RPM
Hard diskWestern Digital
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno

Other Features

ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)1
FireWire ports0
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
SD card readeryes
Pointing device typetouchpad
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use6hr 14min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 31min
Overall Real World Benchmark score0.67
Responsiveness score0.80
Media score0.70
Multitasking score0.52

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodPartition

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