An attractive design, above-average performance and good battery life make the Dell XPS 14z laptop one of the better notebooks available in the market now. Had Dell packed in a better display, the Dell XPS 14z would have been a serious competitor to the likes of MacBook Pro 13-inch. Having said that, the Dell XPS 14z will have no problems handling your day to day tasks and with discrete graphics it has enough grunt for light gamers.
Design and Build
The design and finish of the Dell XPS 14z laptops bears a stark resemblance to the Apple MacBook Pro – its smooth aluminium outer shell, small arrow keys and keyboard flanking speakers are all reminiscent of the Apple MacBook Pro. Nevertheless, the Dell XPS 14z really feels quite elegant and premium in hand. The spiral metal hinge however is a bit of an eye sore to the otherwise uber elegant design of the Dell XPS 14z.
Not just looks, the 14-inch Dell laptop has a pretty study build thanks to its aluminium and magnesium body. The Dell XPS 14z’s chiclet styled keyboard is a treat to type on. Keys have just the right amount of feedback you expect and being well spaced just adds to the brisk typing experience. What truly takes the typing experience a step ahead is the added backlight. The backlight isn’t only along the edges of the keys but the letters are backlit as well, this makes it extremely easy to find the keys in the dark; we love it. If you look closely, you can notice that Dell has made some subtle changes like the font on the keyboard sees a comeback of the Adamo font, it’s easy to read and looks extremely elegant. The keyboard deck has absolutely zero flex and the wide palm rest ensures a comfortable typing experience. The large trackpad is quite sensitive and ensures easy pointer navigation. The mouse buttons too are discrete and give good tactile feedback. Dell has managed to nail the typing and navigating experience on the Dell XPS 14z, no complaints whatsoever.
The Dell XPS 14z laptop is packed with a Core i7 Intel Sandy bridge processor running at 2.8 GHz, 8 GB of RAM and 750 GB HDD. The Dell XPS 14z further offers switchable graphics option with 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M. The Dell XPS 14z laptop sports an LG Shuriken display which is edge to edge resulting in a very thin black bezel. However, the resolution on the Dell XPS 14z is a let down at a disappointing 1366 x 768; Dell could have taken the Dell XPS 14z a step ahead of others by packing in more pixels. As for the connectivity options, most of the ports on the Dell XPS 14z have been placed on the rear side of the laptop — very thoughtful, less cable clutter on the side. The Dell XPS 14z gets one USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port, an HDMI slot, a mini Display port and an Ethernet port, all of which are placed on the rear of the laptop. A slot-loading DVD writer, SDXC card reader and headphone plus microphone jacks can be found on the laptop’s sides. A USB eSATA hybrid port and an extra USB 2.0 would have been a great addition to the offerings of Dell XPS 14z, but sadly this wasn’t to be. Wi-Fi 802.11n and Bluetooth 3.0 take care of wireless connectivity on the 14-inch Dell laptop. Apart from these regular connectivity ports, the Dell XPS 14z also sees the inclusion of Battery indicator exactly similar to the one found on the Apple MacBook Pro. The laptop comes bundled with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit operating system. Overall, pretty standard fare in terms of features, nothing outstanding to distinguish the Dell XPS 14z from its competitors.
As usual we ran our standard benchmark tests on the Dell XPS 14z. In the PC Mark Vantage test, the Dell XPS 14z scored a pretty good total of 7675. Having a 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M discrete graphics, the Dell XPS 14z manages to score a 5394 on 3D Mark 06, enough to run light games. We also tried running Doom and Far Cry 2 at medium settings and we got an average frame rate of 36.95 on Far Cry 2 and Doom gave us an average frame rate of 138.66. This proves that the Dell XPs 14z laptop can handle some light gaming action. Transferring 4 GB Assorted files took us 223 secs while a 4GB Sequential file took us 141secs. The Dell XPS 14z managed to play HD videos flawlessly, but its screen could’ve definitely benefited by a higher-resolution display. What was exciting is that the speakers were actually quite loud, we’re sure they would be audible and good enough for personal entertainment confined to a small room.
The Dell XPS 14z’s does have a respectable battery life. At high-performance preset and max brightness level our test video looped for 1 hour and 43 minutes, which means on a more considerate usage and the switchable graphics technology, the battery should last you over 3 hours, pretty good if you ask us.
With the Dell XPS 14z, Dell has almost manged to make one of the perfect laptops. It has an elegant design, it is light-weight, it has latest hardware to get you through most tasks not to forget light gaming, excellent keyboard and trackpad and good battery life. The only two spots on the otherwise perfect laptop is the lack of high resolution display and the lack of customisation option, unlike other Dell laptops on their website. The deal clincher for us here is the 3 year warranty that you get with the Dell XPS 14z. For an asking price of Rs. 66,900, the Dell XPS 14z is definitely a home entertainment laptop you should consider.
Test Scores Log Sheet
|Model name||XPS 14z|
|Processor Model No||Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2640M CPU @ 2.80GHz|
|Number of cores||2|
|Processor Speed (MHz)||2800|
|Memory Speed (MHz)||1333|
|Chipset||Intel Cougar Point HM67, Intel Sandy Bridge|
|Graphics Solution||NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M|
|Dedicated Video Memory (Y / N)||Y|
|Dedicated Video Memory Size (in MB)||1024|
|Audio chipset||Intel Cougar Point HDMI @ Intel Cougar Point PCH – High Definition Audio Controller [B-2]|
|SSD/HDD Size (GB)||750|
|Bundled OS||Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate|
|Screen Size (Inches)||14|
|Screen Resolution (Pixels)||3|
|No of Ports (USB/Firewire)||Y(1)/N|
|No of USB 3.0 (Y/N)||Y(1)|
|Connectivity (LAN / Bluetooth / Wi-Fi)||Y/Y/Y|
|E-Sata / Thunderbolt (Y/Y)||N|
|Display output (VGA/DVI/HDMI/Display Port)||N/N/Y/Y|
|Built-in TV Tuner?||N|
|Wireless Keyboard & Mouse?||N|
|Memory Card Reader (Y/N)||Y|
|Optical Drive (Y/N)||Y|
|Inbuilt Webcam (Y/N)||Y|
|Webcamera resolution (in megapixels)||1.3|
|PC Mark Vantage|
|TV and Movies Score||2995|
|3D Mark Overall Score||5394|
|Maxxon Cinebench R11.5 (CPU Score)||2.8|
|Battery Meter (in mins)||103|
|Real world tests|
|Speaker volume (at 50%)||7|
|Speaker clarity (at 100%)||6|
|HD video playback test (So 10)||7|
|WinRAR 3.9 (Compression / Decompression)||1790|
|4GB single file copy (secs)||101|
|4GB folder files copy (sec)||143|
|100 MB File Conversion (VOB-to-DivX) (secs)||28.88|
Pricing: Rs. 66,900
Features: 3.5 out of 5
Build: 3.5 out of 5
Performance: 4 out of 5
Value: 3 out of 5