Dell's XPS 15z Ultra Slim Notebook Review

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Every so often, a company does something unexpected; something that sets the bar for its competition and really grabs the attention of potential consumers for one reason or another. Dell is a company that is capable of this and has done so in the past in both their desktop and notebook lines. While Dell has been known for pushing out a huge number of "beige boxes" years back, they're also the company that helped reinvigorate the ultraportable market thanks to the original Adamo, and with the help of Alienware, they're putting together some similarly interesting products lately, in the gaming space as well.


For some, Dell may historically have an undeserved reputation for producing run-of-the-mill products, but when you look at their recent smartphone offering like the Venue Pro, slates like the 5-inch Streak and computers like the Adamo XPS, it's hard to not give 'em credit where credit is due. Enter the XPS 15z. For all intents and purposes, this is yet another standout product from Dell, one that simply cannot be lumped into standard mainstream categories. There's something fundamentally different about the 15z that commands a second look, and in our case, an in-depth review of its features and capabilities.  First, here's a quick video walk-through we've put together, to give you a taste of what we're getting at here.



Dell's 15.6" XPS 15z
Specifications and Features (as tested)
  • Intel Core i7-2620M @ 2.70GHz
  • 8GB of DDR3 RAM
  • 15.6" LCD (1080p); LED backlight, matte
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 525M (2GB) + Optimus graphics
  • Seagate Momentus 750GB (7200RPM)  Hard Drive
  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • 8x CD/DVD Burner
  • 1.3MP webcam
  • HDMI 1.4 output
  • USB 3.0 x 2
  • eSATA / USB Combo Port
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • RJ-45 (Ethernet 10/100/1000)
  • Headphone / Mic Input Jacks
  • 9-in-1 Multimedia Card Reader
  • Backlit Keyboard
  • Stereo Speakers
  • Dell Stage software
  • 5.54 Pounds (with 8-cell battery installed)
  • Removable 8-Cell Li-ion Battery (up to 8 claimed hours)
  • 15.15" x 10.25" x 0.97" (Dimensions)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • Price (as tested): $1599.99
  • Price (starting): $999.99
  • 1-Year Warranty





As you can see from the specifications breakdown, the XPS 15z is no slouch. In fact, it's one of the better equipped laptops on the market today. But it's also shoved into an incredibly thin and striking chassis. And the $999 starting price is very competitive. The XPS 15z is hailed as the company's thinnest 15" PC, but is it cut out to be your next notebook? Join us in the pages ahead as we aim to find out.

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"Excellent review, awesome video, I have no questions, which is rare, but an opinion, with a laptop as beautiful as this, I surely would not have those stickers on the keypad."

-Optimus

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Great review this is a sharp looking laptop. I really like the shape of the keys. I agree with @Optimus those stickers would be the first thing to go!

"we doubt you'll find a superior 15.6" machine out there right now"

I hate to be the a-hole who takes this seriously but the digital storm xm15 level 2 should do the trick. Better processor(2630QM) and graphics card(555m) coming in at 1126 with 8gb and 750hd selected its 1192.

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Good review on a stylish laptop from Dell. Nice to see it do so well in the benchmarks and I wasn't too surprised from the Metro 2033 benchmarks since every test I have seen before that game just kills all but the highest end components. Too bad about the battery but all together a good laptop with some nice features.

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Thanks for another great review. This looks and sounds like a very nice laptop. Though looking at the side view it does not seem as thin as you would think for being less than 1"

@LBowen I have had a lot of trouble with Dell batteries and at least with the Dell machines I have at work currently which are all 1 and 2 years old. Out of 220 2 year old machines I have had to replace about 75% of the batteries because they simply failed and the machines won't stay on with battery power at all. and even the other 500ish 1 year old machines have had about 25% of the batteries replaced.

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i just want to change my notebook .that's why i am here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Great review of this gorgeous laptop I agree that aluminum just looks classy.

I hope Dell does not go the complete route of Apple locking users out from upgrading battery's to RAM and CPU.

Speaking of which Marco, is this unit upgradable as far as RAM and CPU and hard drive go?

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Im impressed with the quality of the notebook, i always thought of Dell as being sorta cheap, especially after fixing numerous Dell desktops. Its also nice to see that Dell decided to be a bit more artistic with the looks as opposed to HP who tried to copy the mac book pros straight up. Not that the Envy line isn't nice, its just good to see a different type of styling. Nice review Ray.

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Great Video and Review! I would have to say one of the best video reviews of the 15z I've seen and yeah, I've seen about all of them. This will be my next laptop for sure.

You say, "If we had to dig up some negatives, it's the three palm rest stickers, the excessive heat / noise produced when the machine is taxed, the non-replaceable battery and the omission of WiDi (or a similar wireless streaming technology)."

Does "Intel® Wireless Display ready" mean WiDi enabled?

I checked Dell's site and it does have WiDi.

Wireless

* Connectivity Options6

10/100/1000 Ethernet network standard, opt external USB Modem

Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N 6230 802.11 agn (2x2)

Bluetooth 3.0

Intel® Wireless Display ready6

Just thought I would clarify. :D

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Another great, thorough review as always.

I like that it performs admirably through every benchmark that was placed through it and I admit, I'm a sucker for the notebook's looks.

At least it's a far cry from the Dell of 2003 right?

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This is a great review and about as thorough a they get.and actually surprised as too all the sweetness that Dell but into this laptop.What I liked seeing in the video was Dave's hands-on to get a better idea of the keyboard /trackpad size.Liked the hinge design as well and more laptop chassis can do better with that like Dell did here .

It has a lot of features and performance I would consider for a powerful day in day out laptop that looks really great too.about the only deal breaker is the non-user replaceable battery & possibly some heat and fan issues .But overall its a laptop I pretty much like and surprisingly from Dell.Definitely going to share this some of my Friends to consider and sure they may be seriously looking into this one.In a way ir has a mac like look with out the high price and the minimal amount of pre-installed software is a plus.

heck it can be configured like the review model for some casual gaming with great rez on the screen and what's in the base models ain't too shabby.

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