Monday, 24 October 2011

Dell XPS 15z - [Review]

The Dell XPS 15z laptop is available for a starting price of Rs. 70,800—our review sample retails for a price of Rs. 81,800, since it’s a higher-end model. For that price, you get a sophisticated, premium 15-inch desktop replacement laptop for home entertainment. It’s very well built and feels elegant and premium on touch with a quality finish. And apart from most laptops that come with 1 year warranty, the XPS 15z comes with 3 year Complete Cover, making sure your hefty investment is insured for a long time.

  • Stylish, well built
  • Full-HD widescreen display
  • Very good features, performance
  • Free 2GB online backup
  • 3-year warranty
  • No dedicated number pad
 The new Dell XPS 15z is the company’s offering for customers interested in a high-quality, premium 15-inch laptop that looks great, feels elegant and doesn’t skimp on features and performance. The Dell XPS 15z has an Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia graphics, and a full-HD widescreen display. What’s more, it almost resembles the Apple MacBook Pro in terms of style and design. But if you think this is a poor man’s Apple notebook, you couldn’t be more wrong. Read on to see what the Dell XPS 15z has to offer.

Build & Design
The 15-inch Dell XPS 15z has a polished metal exterior that feels rich and premium on touch, its screen lid and bottom cover are made of anodized aluminium that resists sratch—also they have a lighter silvery hue like the unibody AppleMacBookPro. But the Dell XPS 15z has a darker deck in comparison, albeit one with a plush palmrest and touchpad. There’s little difference in the quality of finish between the Apple and Dell laptops, and both are equally premium and appealing—we especially like the XPS 15z’s steel accents running along the edges. At 0.97-inch thickness, the Dell XPS 15z is slightly slimmer than the Apple MacBook Pro which has a thickness of 1-inch, you can barely feel the difference though.

The Dell XPS 15z laptop’s shell is curved at the edges, the spine juts out a little where the screen meets the chassis hinge—just like on the DellVostroV130 and DellInspiron 15R. We like this prominent spine as it aids holding the laptop when it’s open. What we don’t like is the XPS 15z’s funky, tubular hinge design, which is out of tune and clashes with the speaker grille on the side of the keyboard. The whole unit’s magnesium alloy chassis is very well built—no creaky joints, no cheap plastics—all you feel is a fine aluminium block that encases a good looking, powerful PC.

The Dell XPS 15z finally breaks the mould of almost every other 15-inch laptop out there by housing a full-HD, 1920x1080 pixel resolution display. It has good brightness and contrast levels even at the corner edges. The screen’s LED-backlit and glossy in nature, making colours ‘pop’ and lending a better-than-usual movie-watching experience. Reading on the full-HD screen can be a problem, unless you roll up the native font’s DPI—also the constant reflections aren’t great for extensive reading. Viewing angles of the glossy screen, however, are much better than what we saw on the Inspiron 15R or Sony VAIO S, with acceptable colour shift—not a lot. We liked the Dell XPS 15z laptop screen’s multimedia performance.

The accompanying HD webcam has a proprietary software that lets you take pictures and record HD 720p videos. You can either upload the photos on Photobucket or videos on YouTube by the click of a button. Very useful. The Dell XPS 15z camera’s performance is good for videochats.

Keyboard and Touchpad
The Dell XPS 15z sports isolated silver keys that are different from the square MacBook Pro or VAIO S keys. They’re spaced out and have just a hint of inward curve on them—just barely, mind you. In any case, the laptop’s keyboard is pretty good for typing—the tactile feedback, zero flex from the keyboard deck and the plush, wide palmrest make typing on the XPS 15z extremely convenient. What’s more, the keyboard’s backlit—just hit the F6 key to toggle the backlighting on or off—but unlike the MacBook Pro, there’s no ambient light sensor.

The XPS 15z’s accompanying touchpad is nice and wide—wider than some of the laptops we’ve reviewed recently. It has a finely polished metal surface—not glossy, mind you—that makes manipulating the cursor and windows on screen that much effortless and easier. And the plush magnesium alloy palmrest is ample for parking your wrists while typing.


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