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DELL XPS 15Z

Look at the new Dell XPS15z from a distance, and you would be forgiven to mistake it for a MacBook Pro. Claiming to be the “thinnest 15-inch PC on the planet", the Dell XPS 15z takes lot of inspiration from Apple’s flagship product, but is also a well-built solid-looking machine.

tech reviews Updated: Sep 21, 2011 14:00 IST

Look at the new Dell XPS15z from a distance, and you would be forgiven to mistake it for a MacBook Pro. Claiming to be the “thinnest 15-inch PC on the planet", the Dell XPS 15z takes lot of inspiration from Apple’s flagship product, but is also a well-built solid-looking machine.

Dell’s is clever to use the standard nomenclature of PC (personal computer) to imply a non-Macintosh machine. This is because although the Dell XPS 15z, at 0.97 inch, is very thin, it is still thicker than the 0.95 inch 15-inch MacBook Pro. Dell XPS 15z boasts of a solid metal, monochrome construction, except for some chrome borders around the edge. The anodized aluminium in elemental silver looks good, but doesn’t measure up to a unibody frame of MacBook Pro.

The interior is well thought out with a backlit, well laid-out, chiclet keyboard and a pair of large speaker grilles on either side of the keyboard. However, the speakers take up a large area of the chassis and lead to a compromise in the size of the keyboard and absence of a numeric pad. While the multi-touch touchpad is generously sized with two large mouse buttons beneath it, some multi-touch gestures fail often, like a two-finger scroll interpreted as pinch-to-zoom. Also, the metallic palm-rest made of magnesium alloy gets uncomfortably hot during intensive computing.

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While the base model has only 1366x768-pixel display, the top-of-the-line review device that was sent to me had a 1920x1080 resolution (more impressive than the maximum resolution of 1680x1050 of MacBook Pro). The stunning, bright, widescreen display allows for high definition movies and games. The glossy display, although, provides limited viewing angle. The included software from Dell automatically adjusts the backlight to give you the best out of blacks and whites. However, unlike other laptops in the market that let you control the level of backlight on the laptop, the XPS 15z has only the option to turn it off or on.

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The XPS 15z is one of the first laptops to go all USB 3.0 (two, in number), with no standalone USB 2.0 ports. It also includes Intel's Wireless Display technology, which can beam onscreen video to a TV with the help ofreceiver (sold separately). In terms of connectivity, the device houses an HDMI out, mini display port, e-SATA cum USB 2.0 along with a 7-in-1 card reader. With very strong specifications sheet, it is a pity that XPS 15z doesn’t include a Blu-ray drive even with the higher-end model. Although, the slot-loading dual-DVD drive adds to aesthetics. The Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit edition machine comes with Dell's Stage – a nice-looking launcher bar with shortcuts to quickly launch your favourite multimedia.

With top-of-the-line specifications, Dell XPS 15z packs much power under the hood. Watching HD videos and intensive multitasking is smooth. However, the average battery life, much less than the claimed over 7 hours, hurts. While pushing the machine to its fullest potential, the battery doesn’t even last for 2 hours while using it sparingly makes it last for about 4 hours.

Dell XPS 15z is an attractive and powerful Windows machine and matches the aesthetics of a MacBook Pro. The pricing is very competitive and backed by Dell’s popular customer support options.

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