Dell XPS 15z review
As if Dell’s XPS 15 weren’t desirable enough already, it’s now joined by the sporty 15z. As well as upgraded internals, the whole design has received a bit of spit and polish to bring it up to luxury standards.
Dell has done a fantastic job sprucing up the curves of the 15in frame, with a lovely silver coating on the lid, a neat spiral-finished hinge cover and a muted grey inside. Add some neat flourishes, such as the large speaker grilles either side of the keyboard, and a silver trim around the edges, and you have a laptop that’s unusually stylish for its size. The Full HD screen makes it necessarily wide, but at only 26mm it’s not too thick either.
The keyboard adds to the luxury feel. First, there’s the shape of the keys, all rounded edges with a slightly concave surface. Then there’s the letters and symbols adorning them, which have a cool futuristic look. Finally there’s the size: although this isn’t a full-width keyboard, large gaps between rows mean it’s well suited to large hands.
The touchpad is huge too, and thankfully Dell has decided not to roughen it up, instead choosing a nice smooth finish that doesn’t get clammy too quickly. The deep-travel buttons could perhaps give a little more click feedback than they do, but on the whole it adds up to a very comfortable laptop to use on a desk. It’s just a shame that its size and 2.56kg weight make it rather less comfortable to use on a lap.
The 15z isn’t only about design: it also offers a great deal of computing power. It comes with a dual-core 2.7GHz Core i7-2620M and 8GB of DDR3 RAM, which pushed it to an overall score of 0.73 in our application benchmarks – not far off the sort of score you’d expect from a top-end quad-core laptop. Graphics are handled by a switchable Nvidia GeForce GT 525M GPU. This isn’t a powerhouse, but it’s perfectly capable of a little gaming: the XPS 15z managed a respectable 45fps in our Low quality Crysis test and 23fps at Medium. Lower a few settings and you might just about squeeze a playable frame rate at the screen’s native Full HD resolution.
|Warranty||1 yr return to base|
|Dimensions||384 x 260 x 26mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i7-2620M|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,920|
|Resolution screen vertical||1,080|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Graphics chipset||Nvidia Optimus (Intel HD 3000 graphics/Nvidia GeForce GT525M)|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||0|
|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|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||no|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||1|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||2|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Pointing device type||Multitouch touchpad|
|Speaker location||Either side of keyboard|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||6hr 13min|
|Battery life, heavy use||1hr 16min|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||45fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||0.73|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|OS family||Windows 7|