Friday, September 9, 2011

Dell XPS 15z Notebook Review

The Dell XPS 15z has an ultra-slim metal frame, 1080p display and a backlit keyboard. Add to that an Intel Core i7 processors and dedicated Nvidia GeForce graphics for multimedia presentations serious. It is a worthy competitor for the Apple MacBook Pro?

Our test unit is about two times more than the starting configuration of this laptop. Compared to the basic configuration, we have a 1080p resolution screen, faster processor, more than 2 GB of RAM, two year warranty, and of course the 256GB SSD, which adds more than $ 500 for single price. Without the SSD comes to $ 1499.99 with a 750 GB hard drive.

Specifications Dell XPS 15z :
  • 15.6-inch glossy 1080p display (1920x1080 resolution, 300 nits)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Intel Core i7-2620M dual-core processor (2.7GHz, up to 3.4GHz Turbo Boost, 4MB cache, 35W TDP)
  • Intel HM67 chipset
  • Nvidia GeForce GT 525M 2GB dedicated graphics card
  • Automatically switchable to integrated Intel HD graphics via Nvidia Optimus graphics-switching technology
  • 8GB DDR3-1333 RAM (2x 4GB; max supported)
  • 256GB Samsung 470 Series Solid State Drive (SSD)
  • Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6230 wireless card
  • Integrated Bluetooth 3.0
  • Integrated 1.3MP webcam
  • Built-in slot-load DVD burner (HL-DT-ST DVD+-RW GS30N)
  • Two-year in-home service after remote diagnosis
  • 8-cell Li-ion battery (64WHh)
  • Weight: 5.5 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 15.15 x 10.25 x 0.97 inches
  • Starting price: $999.99
  • Price as configured: $2,059.99

Building and Design
XPS 15z looks like a MacBook Pro, especially when the lid is closed, the palm rest and the dark hinge design is very differentiators. This notebook is mainly built from high quality metal, the shiny silver exterior is machined aluminum and the palm rest is dark gray magnesium alloy.

Even part of the screen is metal. XPS 15z feels very solid to the touch, and it is unlikely to bend the chassis when the lid is curved aluminum support which prevents it from turning too.

The display hinge is strong and does not allow the oscillation of the screen when you let go suddenly. In addition, the display can be opened with one hand, which is at hand. I am not a fan of the hinge physical, not synchronized with other base color or texture. Overall, the 15z XPS is one of the strongest sense of notebooks I have tested some time.

Those who want to upgrade to 15z are a big problem. It is not available for the panels on the platform at the bottom of the user to add RAM or a new hard drive is probably a complex, most of the platform must be dismantled.

Ports and Features
The XPS 15z has an impressive array of ports. Are two Super Speed ​​USB 3.0 ports, eSATA, mini DisplayPort, HDMI, and despite being so thin, it also has an integrated optical drive.

Screen and speakers
XPS 15z has a 15.6 inch screen with a glossy surface / reflective. The laptop is available with two screens: a basic model 720p (1366x768 pixels) and a full HD 1080p (1920x1080) with the model of color rendering and brightness (300 nits), our review unit has the last.

The 1080p display is positively beautiful and worth every penny on the standard screen. The colors are warm and pop off the screen, cheaper, such as portable computer screens that consume the most boring and cold in comparison.

In addition to 1080p is much brighter than the screen run-of-the-mill, 300 nits to be exact. In addition to quality, excellent resolution - 1920x1080 is the highest available in a 15.6-inch laptop. There are enough pixels on the screen to comfortably allow two windows side by side.

Resolution 1080 has 40% more pixels than 720p display basic vertically, which means the displacement of 40% required less than half. The only drawback to this screen is the glossy surface, which is a double-edged sword, which improves contrast and clarity, but it adds shine and is difficult to clean.

Two stereo speakers are located on either side of the keyboard. They have sufficient volume, but it has a metallic sound "fine" or something with almost no bass.

Keyboard and touchpad
15z The XPS has a full-size keyboard with white backlight. Unlike other Dell 15.6-inch laptop that does not have a separate numeric keypad. Flat-topped keys are soft to the touch. Unfortunately, this keyboard offers little information and is not pleasant to write. The key travel is so short that it just feels like the movement of the keys, making it a bit difficult to write quickly. The print is blurry and lacking in general.

There are also problems with the layout. Dell failed to do the homework, End, Page Up and Page Down keys dedicated, but they must be integrated with the arrow keys as secondary functions ([Fn] key is pressed together). How often the user of these keys, I found it difficult at best. In the end, it seems that Dell is focused on function over form in the design of this keyboard.

The touchpad Cypress, on the other hand, is excellent. It has a large smooth surface that is easy to trace, even with wet fingers. The two buttons are separated (not one piece) and give good feedback padding. Their most important aspect is the silence, I test too many laptops touchpad buttons high.

Performance and benchmarks
15z XPS performance as configured is exceptional for daily use. I timed the boot system from pressing the power button to load the desktop of just 15 seconds, and close to 4 seconds. Moreover i7-2620m is the fastest dual-core processor found in laptops.

Nvidia 525 GT dedicated graphics card is more than capable of playing the latest games, but not at the highest visual quality settings. Like all the latest Nvidia graphics card comes with Nvidia GT 525 Optimus to extend the battery life of laptops with compatible processors and integrated graphics.

Heat and Noise
XPS 15z has only one fan exhausting heat at the back of the laptop. Off the bat I like the location of the fan, it is out of the way and not interfere with the right or left-handed mouse users. The fan is visible when you are on a groan and a small.

Overall, I think the fan is higher than it needs to be at high rpm. Despite the fact that a thin XPS 15z remains relatively cold throughout, even a load of complete reference.

Battery Life
I measured 6 hours, 20 minutes during the life of our standard battery rundown tests (Windows 7, the balanced power profile, the screen brightness to 70%, wireless, and updating a web page every 60 seconds) . This is an excellent time of 15.6-inch laptop. SSD and Nvidia graphics, Optimus switching technology certainly helped with dual-core processor (as opposed to quad-core).

Potential buyers should note that the battery is integrated XPS 15z and not user-swappable. This may not be a problem for most people, but some frequent travelers like to buy an extra battery and the switch when a battery dies. it is not possible with the XPS 15z.

15z XPS effect in most areas and a lot of development but a few. The thin metal case is of excellent quality and a 1080p display is top notch. The performance has been stellar for most applications such as games, and some of them still manages more than six hours of battery life.

The main disadvantage of this is a portable keyboard with no life, not only is it fun to write. In addition, the speakers could be better, glossy screen creates a lot of reflection and this laptop is very strong.

Then there is a question of price, the XPS starts at $ 999 15z, but ours left a mark more than $ 2,000 stocked with the finest components available. The slab is almost certainly the best value, just make sure you have a 1080p display. The 15z XPS is definitely a recommended book, if the keyboard is better, would be almost perfect.

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