Dell XPS 14z review
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.
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.
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.
|Warranty||1yr collect and return|
|Dimensions||353 x 247 x 35mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i5-2430M|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Graphics chipset||Nvidia GeForce GT 520M|
|Graphics card RAM||1,000MB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||0|
|Hard disk||Western Digital|
|Optical disc technology||DVD writer|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||1|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Pointing device type||touchpad|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||6hr 14min|
|Battery life, heavy use||1hr 31min|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||0.67|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|OS family||Windows 7|