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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  • hormel - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - link

    Anandtech says Intel Core i5-3210M dual core processor or an Intel Core i7-3612QM 35W quad core for XPS 15

    Dell website shows:

    2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i5-2430M processor (2.40 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 2.90 GHz)
    2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-2640M processor (2.80 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 3.50 GHz)
    http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-15z/pd.aspx?~ck=mn

    Am I missing something? What gives?
    Reply
  • dragonsqrrl - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - link

    Ya, you're looking at the wrong notebook. Reply
  • BillatDell - Friday, July 06, 2012 - link

    Here are the product description pages you are looking for:
    http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-14-l421x/pd
    http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-15-l521x/pd
    Reply
  • Pirks - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - link

    Sony has
    1) IPS panel
    2) Black matte screen finish, NO glare at all, I'm looking at it right now
    3) Snap on sheet battery which makes total capacity 98 WHr, even new Retina MacBook doesn't have this large battery, it only has 95 WHr
    4) The whole XPS screams "I'm el cheapo MacBook knockoff!!!" with its lame POS grey Apple faggot design. Sony is all matte black, 100% matte black EVERYWHERE, no stinky chinese or Apple faggot glare or grey shit anywhere!
    5) Sony is MUCH lighter than XPS, and it's the SAME weight if you attach the sheet battery (but with almost double capacity compared to craplet XPS)
    6) Sony sells it's Vaio SE 15" with FREE included docking station for the same price, circa $1200 plus tax
    Well at least that's how I bought it a while ago, the second I read a rave review here on Anandtech. The link is http://www.anandtech.com/show/5722/sony-vaio-se-an...
    7) When you buy Sony online at sonystyle.com you can select clean Windows install and there's MUCH less crapware preinstalled compared to your typical Sony

    So say no to ugly Dell's MacBook knockoff. You compare this TN panel POS from Dell with that Sony and you imemdiately see who oozes quality and who screams "I'm el cheapo MacBook faggot clone!!!"

    Read Vaio SE 15 review above and think TWICE before buying Dell's crap

    Thanks for reading the rant :)
    Reply
  • andrewaggb - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - link

    Heh. So I read your rant and had a look... and you're right. The sony is better.

    http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Pr...
    Reply
  • karasaj - Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - link

    Sucks that you can't install fresh drivers from Sony.

    Dell's support is also miles better. Read up on the respective warranties, the premium support from Dell is amazing.

    I'm pretty sure the Sony had some build quality issues last time it was reviewed. The XPS 14 and 15 are pretty much immaculate, from the first few reviews that I have seen. I believe one site even said something along the lines of "it makes an apple macbook pro seem lacking"

    A couple quotes from that link: "That’s not really a problem for most laptops, but the hinge on the SE has the cover pivot down to actually obscure/block the vent, leading to potentially higher temperatures. I didn’t experience any stability issues caused by heat—or any stability problems at all for that matter—but I can see no reason for the current hinge design. It doesn’t feel particularly sturdy/stiff, it blocks the exhaust, and from an aesthetics point of view it doesn’t accomplish anything noteworthy. It’s not a complete deal breaker, but a slight retooling of the chassis to move the hinge up to the normal “top” location would easily solve this."

    " The build quality of the LCD/cover is also rather flimsy, and the hinge location and design left me scratching my head wondering what engineer thought it was a good idea. "

    " Anyway, I don’t mind the palm rest or body, but the display/cover/hinge feels loose and I’m not sure how well it will hold up after a few years of use. (Have you ever used a laptop where the hinge is so loose that the display just flops open/closed? I could see that happening in a year or two with the SE, as the hinge already moves quite easily.)"

    Yes there are positives, but Sony has plenty of things wrong with it as well.
    Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Saturday, July 07, 2012 - link

    +1

    Dell's support is light-years ahead of Sony.

    70% of the reason I just bought another Dell. (4th purchase)

    Other reason was dual-GPU in a notebook.
    Reply
  • hormel - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - link

    Just talked to a Dell sales Rep. I know they aren't very reliable but he says the are coming with the 2nd gen i5 and i7. Only the new XPS 14 comes with 3rd gen. What a shame. Brand new flagship dell XPS laptop comes with antiquated sandybridge:( Deal breaker Reply
  • hormel - Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - link

    Clarification: the XPS 15z only come 2nd gen processors Reply
  • Flunk - Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - link

    Right, all the outgoing models only support sandy bridge. The new XPS 15 supports ivy bridge (and is not available with anything else). Reply

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