If you couldn't tell already, it's definitely refresh season around here and Dell has been sure to keep news about their comprehensive refreshes coming through in a steady trickle. On the docket today are the well-received XPS 14 and XPS 15, and the revisions are a little broader than you might expect. We reviewed the XPS 14z, XPS 15, and XPS 15z, and the message came in loud and clear: "z" is in, and that's "z" as in "z-height."

Well, the letter "z" itself is being eschewed, but that's due largely to Dell pushing both of these new entries as ultrathin notebooks, with the new XPS 14 qualifying as an ultrabook. Styling cues are now taken from the XPS 13 ultrabook, a system we reviewed and found to be generally solid aesthetically but suffering from some thermal issues.

The XPS 14 will come in two basic flavors distinguished by the material used on the lid. The mainstream model will be constructed primarily of machined silver aluminum with a magnesium soft touch palm rest (just like the XPS 13), while a model with integrated mobile broadband trades the aluminum lid for a black leather display back. You also get a 1600x900, 400-nit display covered in edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass and a backlit chiclet keyboard, and Dell has dispensed with the optical drive from the XPS 14z. CPU duties are handled by Ivy Bridge ultra low voltage i5 and i7 processors, but there's only one SO-DIMM slot so memory maxes out at just 8GB of slow DDR3-1333 in a single-channel configuration. On the plus side, though, it's also configurable with an mSATA slot for SSD caching, and even better: optional NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M graphics with 1GB of fast GDDR5 that should help it push that 900p display. Given the slim form factor of the XPS 14 (20.7mm thick), it's reasonable to expect they're using the 28nm GF117 instead of the 40nm GF108 for the GPU.

Not to be left out, the XPS 15 will also be enjoying the same chassis styling as the XPS 14 and its progenitor, the XPS 13, with the same aluminum and magnesium construction, backlit keyboard, and glass clickpad. The XPS 15 bumps the 900p display up to a full 1080p, 350-nit display with the same Gorilla Glass finish, but CPUs get a big boost to either an Intel Core i5-3210M dual core processor or an Intel Core i7-3612QM 35W quad core. We get the same combination of mSATA SSD and 2.5" mechanical hard disk option as the XPS 14, too, although we now have two SO-DIMM slots capable of supporting up to 16GB of DDR3-1600. The XPS 15 also benefits from an integrated slot-loading optical drive, offering either a standard DVD-RW or a blu-ray reader. Graphics get a boost with the XPS 14's GeForce GT 630M with 1GB of GDDR5 now coming standard, with a potential upgrade to the Kepler-based GeForce GT 640M with 2GB of GDDR5, an upgrade that should actually give the XPS 15 enough horsepower to do some light gaming at 1080p (at least if our review of the same GPU in the XPS One 27 is anything to go by).

In an unfortunate sign of the times, while both notebooks will supposedly offer an impressive amount of battery life (up to 11 hours on the XPS 14 and 8 hours on the XPS 15), they also feature integrated batteries that are not user-replaceable.

Both notebooks are available today, starting at $1,099 for the XPS 14 and $1,299 for the XPS 15.

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  • retrospooty - Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - link

    "So your argument sucks. Seriously dude, get a clue. The world isn't that black and white"

    Clearly you arent in IT because you have no idea what you are talking about. And talk about not black and white, you use one job in one company as an example? I am talking overall in general, Mac isnt made for work, its not anywhere near ready for the enterprise sector and anyone that thinks it is has no clue about the enterprise sector, period. If that offends you, you seriously need to evaluate your life.
    Reply
  • Spoony - Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - link

    Funnily enough, my background is heavily IT. I don't do that anymore, but I have many friends in that industry still (SAP, HP, Google, Oracle, to name the major ones). I also have many enemies. For some reason a disproportionally large number of IT people are so single-minded you wonder about their sanity. I must confess that this attitude greatly sped my departure from the field.

    Since leaving IT and doing RF engineering, I've had a much better relationship with technology. My coworkers use whatever platform they feel most comfortable with. The CTO has an iMac on his desk. My boss is hardcore Windows Phone/Windows. Several of my friends run Linux and emulate whatever they need to.

    Okay my experience in one (admittedly large global company) is anecdotal, I accept that. Lets expand. Optus, Vodafone, and Telstra are all companies I work with on a daily basis. Macs are up and down their ranks, in fact Optus has standardised on Macs. SAP and Oracle? Tons of Macs and iPads and iPhones... alongside tons of Windows and some Linux machines. If that isn't representative of the corporate world in your eyes... you're really weird.

    Everybody uses what they enjoy, nobody is finding they they cannot get work done on their chosen platform. In fact, because I can use a Mac I am more productive, because Mark can use Linux he is more productive.

    Your pointless focused hatred is not constructive, is not helpful, and most importantly. Is not true.
    Reply
  • retrospooty - Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - link

    If you used to work in IT then you know exactly what I mean. I am not smacking the platform, it just doesn't have the enterprise app support that most companies use. Some sure, but not most.

    I really don't get why people get so upset. It's certainly not a personal insult, and it's really not even an insult to the platform, its more of a result of the billions and billions of dollars and 2 decades of work MS has spent cultivating the enterprise sector. Lets all calm down FFS.
    Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, June 28, 2012 - link

    Well just stream the app using Citrix or whatever. I've used business apps on terminal servers/RDS/remoteapp as a user on Windows desktop and it definitively works just as fine to stream those to a Mac using Citrix receiver or whatever tech you prefer. Running apps locally aren't all the rage today. Stuff like SAP is largely web-based on top of that. That stuff needs Windows is fine but you don't always need a Windows workstation. You can run plenty of your tools natively on a Mac too, it all depends on how the environment is set up, not how much it is invested in Microsoft tech. Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Saturday, July 07, 2012 - link

    I'm a contractor, and have worked in Foxconn on a number of occasions, though I shouldn't say where.

    Not a Mac in sight.

    Only interesting Appple-esq thing I see, is when the are using the lines to produce another product, whereby they guard the lines, draw curtains, and put security at all entrances.

    Everybody uses Windows as far as I can see.
    Reply
  • crownswe - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - link

    You do know that all macs do run windows to? My Air boots windows 7 when needed, but mostly I work in OS X with Globus CRM (with parallells), Office and our HR software.

    Guess what? My company gets products out the door anyway. But come autum, we´ll go Citrix all the way so then you can use any platform you want. Local applications seems a bit old fashioned. A relic from the time you needed VPN to work from home...

    Seriously, even Ericsson have gone with Citrix so anybody can use Macs, PCs or whatever. How far behind can Foxconn be?
    Reply
  • retrospooty - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - link

    True things are moving toward Citrix and/or cloud based solutions, as well as web accessible apps, but its a long long way off. Especially for the major manufacturing app types I listed above. Reply
  • moshj - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - link

    Citrix is an even better reason NOT to use a Mac PC. If all the workload is moving to virtual desktop infrastructure, all the more reason to buy cheaper, more cost efficient workstation hardware. Why pay a premium for a glorified terminal, be it a Mac PC or a Win PC.

    The previous commenter is till right. You don't see VDI running on macOS or even providing virtual macOS desktops, the vast majority of enterprise VDI is to provide users with Windows. So if you're using a Mac PC only to then use Citrified Windows, that seems like a aste of money on workstation hardware.

    The only justification for local compute power is to be able to run local software, perhaps because the software requires a high performance GPU which VDI typically doesn't provide.
    Reply
  • xype - Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - link

    If you're too inept to install Windows on a Mac you don't deserve (and likely can't afford one) anyway. Reply
  • retrospooty - Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - link

    I know this can be done, but it seems pointless to me. It's like buying an expensive computer with an OS that cant do what you need it to do, so you have to buy and install another OS to get the job done and make is a fully functional computer. - Whatever though, that's just me. Reply

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