Dell XPS 14z review

Price when reviewed

You can choose from a wide range of core specs, with the cheapest Dell 14z costing £416 (£499 inc VAT) and coming with a Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard disk. Our system had a 2.40GHz Core i5 2430M and 6GB of RAM, powering the 14z to a respectable overall score of 0.67 in our Real World Benchmarks.

There’s even enough power for a bit of gaming thanks to the Nvidia GeForce GT 520M GPU. Running at 740MHz, there’s 1GB of video RAM onboard, and the chip will tap up to another 2,789MB of RAM from the system’s stores.

The battery – as is becoming par for the course for systems hoping to take on Apple’s range – is sealed in, with a row of five LEDs on the right-hand edge giving you an at-a-glance overview of how charged it is.

Dell XPS 14z - rear shot

Practically speaking it’s possible to get the battery out, but eight screws and a series of rather stern plastic catches stand between you and it, so it’s a job best left to either professionals or emergencies.

Given the amount of space available on the body, Dell hasn’t exactly seized the moment in terms of ports. That means the edges of the machine look nice and clean; the drawback is that the back of the machine has only two USB ports, one of which is USB 3.

That could end up being rather limiting if you want to use the 14z as a machine for travelling that connects to a monitor and a desktop keyboard and mouse when it’s at home. The back of the machine is also home to a wired Gigabit Ethernet port, an HDMI output and a mini-DisplayPort socket, but aside from an SD card slot on the left-hand edge that’s all there is.

Dell XPS 14z

Our review unit came with a 500GB Western Digital hard disk spinning at 7,200rpm. Optical disks are handled by the slot-loading DVD rewriter on the side, which has a dedicated eject button in the line of function keys. The lack of a Blu-ray player is worth noting, but with the screen only capable of displaying 720p content, it’s not a critical omission.

Dell’s XPS range goes from strength to strength. This is a good-looking, solid system with plenty of appeal for those who need a machine that will travel well and provide enough computational muscle to get through most tasks.

The price – under £900 for our review model, and even less for slightly slower systems – seals the deal. The Lenovo IdeaPad Z570 remains on the A-List because it has more USB ports and a Blu-ray drive, but this handsome, frugal machine should nonetheless be on your shortlist.


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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