xps 14z 3 Dell announces the XPS 14z

We don't want to be rude, but it looks like Dell has borrowed ideas from most of its competitors in the notebook market when it comes to the design and features of its new XPS 14z, a notebook which the company claims is the thinnest "fully featured" 14-inch laptop with a built in optical drive. We don't know about you, but optical drives feel a bit last decade when it comes to notebooks, especially when we're talking thin and light models.

We don't want to be rude, but it looks like Dell has borrowed ideas from most of its competitors in the notebook market when it comes to the design and features of its new XPS 14z, a notebook which the company claims is the thinnest "fully featured" 14-inch laptop with a built in optical drive. We don't know about you, but optical drives feel a bit last decade when it comes to notebooks, especially when we're talking thin and light models.

The press release from Dell speaks about the thinness of the XPS 14z, yet at 23mm thick, it's hardly what we'd call a really thin notebook. So ok, the optical drive does take up some space and in all fairness, Dell has opted for a slot loading drive, but there are equally slim notebooks out there with an optical drive, least not Apple's MacBook Pro which is has to be said would be a competitor here, if by for no other reason the designs have something in common.

xps 14z 2 Dell announces the XPS 14z

Dell is also banging on about how the XPS 14z has a 14-inch screen in a 13-inch form factor, something Samsung announced a month or two ago. The big deal here is meant to be the near borderless display, but if you look closely at the picture below, you'll notice that a lot of the screen bezel is actually hidden behind the glass that has been put in front of the actual display. If we're not mistaken, this is what Lenovo calls an infinity display.

At 1.98kg the XPS 14z is lighter than most 14-inch notebooks, by a massive 100g, or less. That said, this includes an 8-cell battery which Dell rates at well over 6.5h of usage, although we wouldn't expect more than around 5h if you want to do any work on it and that roughly equates to the same as many other 6-cell battery packs.

xps 14z 1 Dell announces the XPS 14z

Maybe we're being a little bit unjust here, but overall the XPS 14z doesn't impress. We're all for the anodized aluminium alloy chassis, but it somehow looks a bit cheap and tacky, especially with the peculiar looking hinge. Sadly Dell only offers one type of display resolution for the XPS 14z, namely a bog standard 1366×768 screen. The choice of CPUs, at least in the US, starts with a Core i5-2430M and tops out with a Core i7-2640M, so no quad core action here. The graphics options are either Intel's integrated HD 3000 graphics or the not much faster GeForce 520M, but at least it comes with 1GB of dedicated graphics memory.

xps 14z 3 Dell announces the XPS 14z

Depending on the market and configuration options, Dell will also supply anything from 4 to 8GB of RAM, a 500 or 750GB 7,200rpm hard drive or alternatively a 256GB SSD, Gigabit Ethernet, Intel 802.11a/b/g/n W-Fi with Wi-Di support, Bluetooth 3.0, one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.0 port, one HDMI 1.4 port, one mini DisplayPort, a pair of audio jacks, a memory card reader and a 1.3Megapixel webcam. The specifications aren't bad, but considering that this is Dell's new high-end consumer notebook, we're not blown away. We do like the backlit, spill resistant chiclet keyboard and the side mounted battery status indicator though and with a starting price point of US$999 (S$1,265) we're sure Dell will sell them by the bucket load to users who can't afford a MacBook Pro, but still yearns for that silvery metal look. The XPS 14z should be available in the US from the 1st of November, with the rest of the world following on the 15th.

For a full rundown, we suggest you check out Anandtech's review of the XPS 14z.

Source: Dell