Dell XPS 15z review

Price when reviewed

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.

Dell XPS 15z

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.

Dell XPS 15z

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.


Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions384 x 260 x 26mm (WDH)
Travelling weight3.1kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i7-2620M
RAM capacity8.00GB
Memory typeDDR3

Screen and video

Screen size15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal1,920
Resolution screen vertical1,080
Resolution1920 x 1080
Graphics chipsetNvidia Optimus (Intel HD 3000 graphics/Nvidia GeForce GT525M)
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs1


Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


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

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)1
FireWire ports0
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Pointing device typeMultitouch touchpad
Speaker locationEither side of keyboard
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use6hr 13min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 16min
3D performance (crysis) low settings45fps
3D performance settingLow
Overall Real World Benchmark score0.73
Responsiveness score0.83
Media score0.76
Multitasking score0.60

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7

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