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  • lukarak - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    "In many ways the XPS 15z is a better laptop than the 15z,...." I might not be into Dell stuff, and there could be a Dell 15z as a separate model from XPS 15z, but i think you wanted to drop the Z the second time?

    Also, on topic, what's with the keyboard? If you copy the island design, don't mess with the shape of the keys, please.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Oops! Fixed, thanks. I actually call the MBP keyboard style "chiclet" and the Acer/Gateway stuff "floating island". Maybe others define "chiclet" differently? Anyway, typing on the 15z is actually quite nice, but like I mention I still prefer the XPS 15 keyboard layout. Reply
  • tbutler - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    For those of us who remember the original 'chiclet' keyboards - the original PCjr, the TRS-80 CoCo, ZX Spectrum, etc. - the current keyboards aren't even CLOSE. :)

    The origin of 'chiclet' as a keyboard description was a derogatory term for those early keyboards - where the keys not only looked like chiclets, but were nearly impossible to touch-type on, because of both layout and the keyswitch design. Aside from the superficial look, the current keyboards have nothing in common; the layouts are 'normal', as are the keyswitches, and key travel is well within normal boundaries. Touch-typing is eminently possible, and in fact some of my favorite keyboards of the last couple of years have been in this style.

    So yeah, I define 'chiclet' quite differently, and resist attempts to tar current keyboards with the same brush. :)

    On another note: "The quality of the MBP15 display is better, but it’s hard to argue with a higher resolution and the 15z panel at least has a decent contrast ratio and brightness." On the contrary; I find it trivially easy to argue against a higher resolution. The 1440x900 MBP15 panel already causes me some eyestrain issues from the size of text and other interface elements, even at the admitted better display quality. The 1680x1050 panel was unlivable for extended use, and I can't even begin to describe the hurt a 15" 1080p display would cause me - especially if the overall display quality is lower.
    Reply
  • iamezza - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    this is what 'dpi' is for

    Windows 7 handles increasing the dpi very well, it can work with ALL programs. It can also be disabled on a per program basis if required.
    Reply
  • Proph3T08 - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    DPI is Dots per Inch usually when talking about monitors people use PPI (Pixels per Inch). A screen cannot change its PPI so anything Windows 7 would be doing would be software based to fake it. Reply
  • seapeople - Saturday, September 03, 2011 - link

    You basically just agreed with him in a very strange way. DPI is how many pixels per inch the Windows interface renders certain UI elements such as window bars and text in. If you increase DPI, then Windows increases the resolution it uses to render text and other features, thereby making things bigger and easier to read without altering the actual pixel count being sent to your LCD screen, thereby preventing the blurriness you would otherwise get. Reply
  • neothe0ne - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    "Dell gives you a GT 525M, which should be at least comparable to the HD 6750M in performance"

    I'm sorry but this can't possibly be true. The Radeon HD 5650M is a faster card than the GeForce GT 525M. How the hell could the GT 525M hope to compete with the 6750M?
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Agreed, the 6750M is more on par with the GT 540M if anything. Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Actually, I'm incorrect. But either way, OP's point stands.

    I'm honestly really not impressed by the XPS 15z. 95C on the CPU cores is inexcusable, that keyboard sucks out loud, and the 1080p screen is among the worst we've tested in that class.

    Also, anyone who deliberately spends up on the 2GB GT 525M upgrade deserves what they get. ;)
    Reply
  • vol7ron - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    I got my first Apple, which happened to be the 15" Macbook Pro. Worth the price? Not really. Apple OS freezes more than anything. It's only got a 2.0GHz QC, but I put a OWC SSD, 8GB of RAM, and upgraded to the anti-glare HD screen.

    So why do I like it? For the OS? no. For the keyboard? definitely no. For the trackpad gestures? kind of. For the quality screen? most definitely. The experience difference is in the screen alone. Viewing www.steampowered.com's opening page is an oddly different experience than viewing it on my desktop (better graphics card and more expensive monitors) and that's just for a static page. HD videos make it better too. I just wish it had better speakers - oh well.

    XPS doesn't look bad, but the screen is where the user can really have that overwhelming sensation.
    Reply
  • vol7ron - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    http://store.steampowered.com/about/ This is the image that stands out. Reply
  • tag12171 - Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - link

    Really? The OS never freezez on me and never crashes. Maybe you have a bad one. I would return it or find out what is wrong with it. Reply
  • tipoo - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Yeah, its closer to the 6530M.

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards...

    And with a chip of this calibre, yeah, 2GB isn't going to help you much in games. 1GB should be fine for it.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Edited the statement. You're right that the 6750M is a fair bit faster than GT 525M -- it's around the GT 555M I'd guess. I was thinking of the 6570M when I wrote that, though with OSX you're still likely to get lower than GT 525M performance if you compare something like Portal 2 FPS between the two (unless something has significantly changes since the last we looked at it?) Reply
  • sean.crees - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    No Thunderbolt port? Sorry, not getting my money without at least one. External desktop grade graphics are just around the corner, and without thunderbolt your going to be stuck with your middle of the road non upgradable mobile graphics. Reply
  • tipoo - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    True, but it will still be some time before it takes off. The fact that all of its ports are USB 3 (minus the e-sata USB combo port I think) is a redeeming quality though. Reply
  • retrospooty - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Thunderbolt? I doubt we will ever see that on a lot of products. USB3 is plenty fast enough for anything out there for the next several years, is cheap and backwards compatible. The industry has absolutely zero reasons to pick up Thunderbolt, and likely never will. Reply
  • darwinosx - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Heh, Right. I suggest you take a look at what Thunderbolt offers and how it blows USB 3 out of the water. There is a flood of products coming as well. Reply
  • jabber - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Were we not supposed to get all those kind of exciting things for laptops over 5 years ago with PCI-E card slots on laptops?

    Nope didnt happen so I wont hold my breath.

    Plus those really pricey Thunderbolt cables...owwww!

    That'll be the $1 USB3.0 then.

    Thunderbolt is dead in the water.
    Reply
  • AssBall - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    What exactly are you using that is going to saturate your USB3?

    There are things that can, but ffs only 1 percent of people are going to use it on a consumer laptop.

    If you are doing huge commercial or industrial data transfer fine, but most people looking at a Dell or Mac consumer notebook aren't those folks.
    Reply
  • FlyBri - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    I'm looking for a new 15.6" laptop with a 1080p screen, and this fits the bill better than any other. Too bad the company is horrible -- every department -- support, customer service, executive customer service, etc. I won't bore everyone with my whole ordeal, but lets say that they refused to do the right thing numerous times, even with the BBB involved, and I had to take them to small claims court. I was a loyal Dell customer for years before that too. So be warned people -- the laptop might be pretty good, but if you run into any issues...watch out. Reply
  • tipoo - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Honestly I think the horror reports about Dell's customer service are mostly just repeated by people who have never experienced it in the last three-ish years. Their support has been fine to me. I had a Studio 15 with a flickering screen, and not only did they fix it in three days and ship it back in that time, they upgraded me to the 1080p screen two models up from mine for free, under standard support. Reply
  • jabber - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Yeah its been good to me too. I had a bit of the A key on my Dell laptop flake off after 10 months hard use.

    I just called up to chance my arm in getting a new keyboard.

    Less than 24 hours later I had an engineer sitting at my desk and 5 mins later a new keyboard fitted.

    Nice one!
    Reply
  • seapeople - Saturday, September 03, 2011 - link

    I think people expect too much of Dell support.

    If your Dell breaks or malfunctions in any way within warranty, you simply call Dell and tell them the problem without screaming bloody murder and they fix it for you.

    If your Dell breaks one week out of warranty then you're out of luck.

    If you call Dell to figure out which one of their 50 computer configurations will come with four RAM slots versus two RAM slots without you having to actually pay for an amount of RAM that requires four slots... then they'll probably tell you something like none of their computers have four RAM slots and their 12GB RAM offering comes with two 6GB sticks of RAM.

    You just have to have the right expectations.
    Reply
  • robinthakur - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    What is it with people simply lifting the design work of Jonathan Ives for Apple? First Samsung with its imitation products, then Asus in its Ultra thin MBA ripoffs, and now Dell. Does a company as big as Dell think it can get away with selling what might as well be a chinese MBP clone? Absolutely disgusting behaviour, they and their 'designers' should be ashamed. Whatever happened to originality? Reply
  • robinthakur - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Oh and having read to the end of the review, major shame on Anandtech for actually rewarding this artisitic fraud with an Editors Choice award. When I saw the photo on the homepage, I did a double take because I thought it was a MBP. If Apple don't sue over this they are crazy, it is far more similar to a MBP than a Galaxy S2 is to an iP4. Theft is theft however you slice it an yes all Laptops have screens keyboards etc. but the MBA and MBP did not end up looking the way they did by accident and neither did this sorry excuse for an original product. Reply
  • Uritziel - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    LOL, that's hilarious. Someone doesn't know how design patents work or what theft is. If the world worked that way, Apple (and so many other companies) wouldn't be around today. Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Apple was the first company to put the pointing device in front of the keyboard on a laptop, and today all laptops are made that way. The problem with obvious patents are that there is a very thin line bewteen an obvious idea and a patentable one. According to Forbes magazine Apple is the fifth most innovative company on the Planet. Microsoft is like 80 something. Fan boys like to hate, but the real world knows that Apple is at the forefront of techno-industrial design. People who say otherwise are simply wrong. I don't like design patents, but every company needs them to protect their design works. In the grand scheme, they are at least shorter that copyrights and trademarks.... Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    A good idea is a good idea, period, end of discussion. Ignoring the BS that Apple pulled on Samsung in European courts, some of the decisions these big companies make take cues from the smart design choices of Jonathan Ive (no "S"). Why reinvent the wheel when someone else already made a great wheel? You might as well accuse Intel of ripping Ive off with their ultrabook initiative.

    I think some of the differences designers make feel arbitrary instead of just authentically better for the end product. But if someone makes a good call, why shouldn't the industry follow suit?
    Reply
  • HMTK - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Bla, bla and more bla. Sorry, you're the typical Apple apologist. Guess why Apple is among the first with very thin laptops or a given design. Not because they're particularly good but because they can price their products high enough to make it worth their while. Others follow when technology and materials get cheaper so that the average Joe can buy it. For my needs I haven't seen a single Apple product with an acceptable price/performance/features/quality ratio. I'd choose affordable "imitation" over overpriced design any given day.

    Perhaps think the world should be held back because an overvalued company like Apple has designed something a certain way. I don't think so.
    Reply
  • MobiusStrip - Sunday, September 11, 2011 - link

    "What is it with people simply lifting the design work of Jonathan Ives for Apple"

    What is it with people who don't understand that a rectangle with buttons on it isn't the private domain of one company, especially a company that didn't invent the form in the first place?

    Do you bitch about every car that has four wheels ripping off the work of some ancient cart-builder?

    How about every camera maker that puts the lens of the camera ON THE FRONT, and the viewer on the back?

    Plus, your pathetic strawman here doesn't even hold up for superficial similarity. Show us the Apple laptop that has upward-sloping, curved bottom sides?
    Reply
  • zepi - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    You should just take all three Macbook Pro configurations trough your normal Windows-test to give people a measurement stick.

    A lot of people install Windows to a bootcamp partition to play games that are not released for OSX.

    Doing the same with iMac would not hurt either.
    Reply
  • Rob Sims - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    +1

    Considering how common the 6750m is (the default card in all base model iMacs and also high spec MBP15 and MBP17) there are surprisingly few reliable gaming benchmarks of it.

    I run my games through bootcamp on a MBP17 2011 and would be very interested to see how it stacks up to standard windows laptops.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    +2'ed. Reply
  • darunium - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Why the need for a discrete graphics card with intel HD3000 pulling its weight out there? Sure it is no replacement still for a solid discrete solution, so if you want a moderate gaming-capable laptop you still need to look for a separate card, but the GT525M doesn't significantly outperform Intel HD3000 at all, all it will do is add heat, cost, and reduce battery life. It's just another means to sell to an unknowing consumer who will be turned on by the presence of a useless (and now I imagine much-discounted anyway) discrete VGA solution. Reply
  • tipoo - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    What would be "significantly outperform" to you? If I recall correctly it offers about twice the performance of the HD3000. Besides, the laptop will automatically switch between them anyways, so if your not doing anything intensive it will use the lower power chip. Reply
  • Iketh - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    aside from what's already mentioned, it also frees up thermal limitations for the cpu and memory bandwidth Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Without the dGPU, gaming on the XPS 15z would be a no-go, especially at 1080p. There's a huge difference between 30-40 FPS at 1366x768 at minimum detail (what the HD 3000 can handle) and 30-40 FPS at 1080p and medium detail. Reply
  • seapeople - Saturday, September 03, 2011 - link

    As a corollary to the OP's point, I don't understand why they went with Sandy Bridge in this laptop instead of Core 2. Sandy Bridge doesn't significantly outperform Core 2 anyway, so it's just adding heat, cost, and reducing battery life. Reply
  • Brad4 - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Low quality monitor. Not good for productivity. I like Windows, but Apple is the only company these days making a 16:10 display laptop. All 16:9 laptops are inferior. Reply
  • Gazziza - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Agreed here. 16:9 is the worst thing to happen to laptops in the past 2 years and I'm not sure why all the Windows laptops makers have jumped shipped over to the "HD" resolution. The #1 reason I bought the new MBA was because of the 1440x900 resolution. Reply
  • lihtness - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    The keyboard layout of dell laptops sucks. With so much real estate available they can do a much better job. Reply
  • bji - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    I agree, that is the worst keyboard I have ever seen on a laptop. It doesn't even have dedicated page up/page down/home/end keys. Instead you get 2 inches of speaker grill on either side of the keyboard.

    Absolute, complete, and total design fail.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    And lifted directly from the Apple MBP keyboard that so many people apparently love. Funny, isn't it? Reply
  • bji - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    You know, I had never paid close attention to the Mac laptop keyboards, but now that you mention it, I have taken a closer look and I am really disappointed. I had been thinking about getting a 15 inch Macbook Air when they come out (and assuming that they have Ivy Bridge and are cooler/quieter than the current generation) but suddenly I am given pause. Reply
  • Spivonious - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Why the comment about wanting >400 nits? That seems like it would be way too bright unless you were using it in direct sunlight. I'd rather have lower black levels - 0.5 is pretty bad. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Turn the brightness down to 100 nits and the black level is .20. I want 400 nits on the top for when I'm using the laptop outside, on the road, etc. You can always turn a bright display down, but if a display maxes out at 200 or 300 nits there's no way to get 400+ nits out of it. Reply
  • tipoo - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/02/dell-teases-xps...

    Anyone thinking of buying, there is a 14 inch one coming out before 2012.
    Reply
  • ptuttle - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Do not buy this thing. I had bought one when it came out and had nothing but issues. The biggest issue is the touchpad. When you try to type anything it jumps the cursor to different locations on the screen and you have to move the cursor and reclick where you were typing. It may not sound that bad, but it does it almost every other word when typing. I was on the phone will Dell Tech Support many times and at first they tried to tell me it was a driver issue so they remotely took over my system and installed a different driver. When that didn't work they finally offered to replace the touchpad because they had a large amount of defective touchpads. I said ok, then they responded by saying they were out of the touchpads and i would have to wait over a month. At this point in time i had the laptop for about 3 months so i coulnd't get a normal refund. I demanded to speak to a supervisor and i explained my issues with them. After 3 weeks of dealing with them they finally let me return the laptop for a full refund, and i ordered a HP Envy 17, which ended up having a lot more in it for less money. (there is a 30% off coupon floating around) So buyer Beware.... Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    In the words of Jobs: you're holding it wrong! ;-)

    Actually, I've played around with the touchpad sensitivity, and I don't find it much worse than other touchpads I've used. It's a bit larger than most laptops, and if you brush it you can accidentally "click". Options you might consider are turning off "tap to click", decreasing the sensitivity, or just plugging in an external mouse if you have to and turn off the touchpad.
    Reply
  • ptuttle - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    The problem was even when i was using a mouse with it, it would still do the same thing while i was typing. I don't beleive it was from brushing up against the touchpad either. When i would be typing the cursor would move around almost like it was from the vibration. Dell finally admitted that it was a defect in the system so they know what the problem is, they just haven't fixed it. Reply
  • ptuttle - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    I will admit that performance wise the system was very nice, my main complaint was the touchpad. I mainly used it for business and while on a business trip i would play some games on it while stuck in a hotel room. I played some league of legends on it and got 60fps in medium settings. Rift would play in Medium/High settings at 30-40fps. So performance is nice they just need to fix some of the issues such as the touchpad. Reply
  • tipoo - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Its nice that you included the decibel reading for this laptop, I've wanted to know that in a few laptop reviews, thanks. It would be nice to have some reference points though, for instance you said the MBP gets louder at load but how loud is that? Did you test it with the decibel meter? And which is quieter during basic tasks like web browsing? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    I don't have dB results from the MBP, at least not for the same environment and equipment. I've heard the MPB15 in person under load, though, and it's pretty darn loud subjectively. At low loads, I think I hear the spinning HDD as much as the fan. 31dB is pretty close to the limit of my SPL meter, as well as my environment. Reply
  • tipoo - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    What about sound during mainstream tasks like web browsing, youtube, etc? My Dell is two years old and the fan becomes audible just with those tasks. In my experience with modern MBP's, during those things they are barely audible. I'd like to know how a more modern Dell system competes. Reply
  • darwinosx - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    I don't know why you are so obsessed with comparing this to a MacBook Pro but the fact is many of us want nothing to do with Windows.
    You also say nothing about service and support and Apple blows Dell away here.
    Reply
  • araczynski - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    but personally i find the speaker grill/mess by itself just completely making the thing look ugly. the rounded keys don't help, nor does the smaller keyboard. but hey, at least they got the body looking decent. Reply
  • bji - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    I guess you're the editor so you can choose what you want to give an award to, but I didn't see a single thing about this laptop that definitively puts it above any of the other similarly spec'd laptops you have reviewed recently. And the keyboard on this Dell is the most laughable one I have seen on any computer in quite a long time. That alone would send this laptop to the bottom of the pile in my book.

    Also the styling is butt ugly. There is no creativity or, well, style. Just a generic looking shell and some ugly rectangular speaker grills and fan grills placed in conspicuous locations.

    Others in this forum have mentioned poor Dell support; I can't speak to that, but I don't think that a laptop with a history of poor support should get an editor's choice award.

    Glossy screen, with only one resolution upgrade option? How is this better than other laptops with a much better choice of screen resolutions + matte options? Answer, it is not.

    Can you please explain why you decided to pull out the editor's choice award for this model as opposed to the other laptops you have reviewed lately? It looks very arbitrary, and with so much going against this crappy Dell laptop, really leaves one wondering what is going on.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Because ultimately, out of the dozens of laptops I've looked at in the past six months, I really enjoyed using the XPS 15z more than a lot of the others. Clevo? No thanks! Toshiba, Acer, MSI, ASUS... they all have areas I'm not happy about. Even if the design is similar to the MBP, that doesn't make it bad. It's a "poor man's MBP", and that's exactly what a lot of people would like to get. Good screen, good battery life, comfortable to use for every day tasks, and fast enough for anything beyond high quality gaming and serious number crunching. This is a laptop I'd like to hold onto and use as my "work laptop" if I could -- and I wouldn't say that about 90% of the laptops I test. Reply
  • bji - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Sorry to have to hound on this topic, but can you give some more specifics?

    The charts show that the Dell is middle-of-the-pack in performance; so that's not an advantage to the Dell. The Dell screen does seem to be good but the Clevo screen you reviewed recently was as good. In the article you lamented the thinness and flexiness of some of the enclosure and that would seem to be contrary to the position that the laptop is more pleasurable to use than others.

    Honestly, reading between the lines it really feels like you really just like the Macbook styling and design and are giving the Dell an editor's choice because it's "kind of like a Macbook".

    I believe you when you say that you like using the laptop more than 90% of others you have tested, and having myself bought a Clevo recently purely because of the specs and price, and then selling it at a loss two months later because it was just so unpleasant to use, I absolutely understand the value of that intangible quality of a laptop that makes it pleasurable to use. No matter how great a laptop performs or how good its specs are, if it's unenjoyable to use, it will sit on the shelf with other options taking preference wherever possible (I found myself constantly pulling out my 6 year old Panasonic Toughbook Y2 because I just couldn't stand to use the Clevo, and that convinced me that I needed to get rid of that Clevo ASAP, which I did).

    It feels like you've given the Dell an editor's choice based on personal preference, not a more objective conclusion based on the merits of the laptop itself. If someone was not enamored with Macbook design above all else, would they still prefer the Dell over another offering? Is there something about the Dell that makes it better than other PC laptops? If you had never seen a Macbook before and you were comparing this Dell to other PC laptops, would you still conclude that the Dell is better?

    I have nothing against Apple, or against PC laptops either; I'm not saying these things because I think that there is something inherently inferior (or superior) about a laptop that takes its styling cues from Apple. I just wonder what exactly there is about this Dell that earns it an editor's choice when I can't see anything in pictures or in the review that makes it obviously better than other PC laptops.

    BTW, the Samsung 7 series posted about recently really looks like a *much* better effort at imitating the Apple look and feel. I hope you get an opportunity to review one of those soon.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    The thinness of the casing is in comparison to the MBP. The MBP feels very solid and doesn't flex, but the covers on the 15z will. However, the covers on the vast majority of covers on notebooks flex -- some more, and some less. The 15z may not be MBP build quality, but it's actually better than a lot of laptops, including the XPS 15. Heck, just the fact that it *has* aluminum covers makes it a big step up from 95% of consumer laptops.

    Would I prefer the Clevo LCD (B156HW01 v4)? Yes, most definitely. If given the choice between this lesser LCD and its glossy finish but with the 15z chassis, or a Clevo chassis with the better screen and worse keyboard, I'll take the 15z.

    Unfortunately, I really can't compare a laptop with everything else out there, especially stuff I haven't had a chance to test in person. There are a LOT of upcoming Ultrabooks that look particularly interesting. Of course, if they ship with crappy LCDs like so many other laptops, I'd be back to the 15z as a good middle ground.

    That's pretty much it: the XPS 15z is a good middle-of-the-road laptop in every way. It's not the best built, it's not the fastest, it doesn't have the longest battery life, it's not the coolest running, and it's not the best display. However, it does rank better than average and even good/great in every one of those areas. The whole is often more than the sum of the individual parts, and when I use a laptop, I'm mostly interested in portability. I want something with a decent screen, a keyboard I can type on--and backlighting is a plus--it needs decent battery life (at least five hours for light use), and I don't want it to run loud and/or hot for general use. There are plenty of laptops that provide most of those things, but so many skimp on the display in particular.
    Reply
  • Iketh - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    never will i purchase a 15" laptop with a keyboard like that... even bottom-line acers have great keyboards nowadays... what the hell is that mess??? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    A MacBook Pro keyboard layout with slightly different key shape? I actually find typing on it quite comfortable to be honest. The missing dedicated Home/End/PgUp/PgDn is unfortunate, but that's my biggest gripe. Reply
  • robco - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    This thing is a definite rip-off of the MBP, but not the current one. It's more like the original MBP (which in turn looked a lot like the Al PowerBook) that Apple introduced about five years ago. Not quite as thin, but only available with dual-core chips and slower graphics. Guess Dell can copy the exterior, but the actual design and engineering are beyond them. But I suppose that's the point here and why it gets an award - it looks just enough like an Apple product but it's cheaper. It may not perform as well or be as durable, but for most people it's probably close enough.

    As for the OS, that's a personal preference. I'd be the first to say that OS X is far from a great gaming OS. Then again, if you're looking for a gaming machine, a laptop really isn't a good idea either...
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    2nd page, 4th paragraph:
    "The 15z also comes with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM without fleecing you, something Apple is wont to do."
    I'm not a native speaker, but last part is just plain weird. Typo? Copy and paste gone wrong? :D

    Otherwise, good review. I'm personally not going to bother with 15" anymore. Had a Samsung R560 (Core2Duo, 4GB RAM, 768p resolution, ~4 hours of surfing) which my wife now uses as a couch laptop for Facebook. But I need a laptop that's mobile, I don't need much computing power on the go. I currently have a 11.6" Acer Travelmate which works just fine, especially for its price.
    If that gets replaced in the future, it'll likely be either a low-power AMD (E-350 style) or a mid-power IB/Haswell, depending on price and other accessories. I'd also be willing to upgrade to 13" if the resolution is at least 1600x900 | 1680x1050.
    Reply
  • bji - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    "is wont to do" is a seldom-used and I agree, somewhat awkward English phrase.

    It has nothing to do with the word "won't" which is a contraction of "will not".

    "wont to do" means "has a tendency to do", and further has the connotation that the thing that they have a tendency to do, they do on purpose, and not by accident.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Thanks for that lesson :D and mea culpa for assuming a typo before taking a look at the online dictionary. But that word probably won't make it into my active vocabulary. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    And one last thing: Thanks for including international measurement units in the table on the first page. I have noticed that I complain when they aren't there, but I never say thanks when they are. So here's my thanks! Reply
  • colonelclaw - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Why does Apple seem to be the only company remotely interested in actually designing computers? Of course, they do a great job, but the world's a large place and there just has to be other talented designers, so why does everyone else give up and copy everything Apple does. God, it pisses me off, the laziness in the computer industry is just incredibly frustrating. Reply
  • heinsj24 - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    It seems that every business class laptop has the same design (portable brick), except for Lenovo (portable wedge).

    A business notebook is a business notebook is a business notebook. Not much room for change/innovation. The only market where a notebook manufacturer can show off it's creativity is in the consumer market.

    There are some good designs from everyone. They just tend to fail in execution; either with build materials, attention to build quality, or choice of components - things Apple is known for succeeding at. Even Dell, once had the XPS 1210, which was a design unlike any other of their machines at the time.
    Reply
  • Penti - Friday, September 02, 2011 - link

    Every product just has a different downside. So have Apple's products too. It's not like a 15" MBP with high-res anti-glare screen and 6750M GPU is in (anywhere normal) consumer price range. It adds up to about 2500 USD. Especially gaming is hard on most pre-built machines. Gaming on laptops is mostly horrible. It's one of the downsides that never really nails it and compromises that has to be made.

    If you take 2000 - 2500 USD to other manufacturers you can get decent chassis and GPU performance though. Although aimed at slightly different customers. All depends on ones needs and prioritizes. Consumer stuff won't be easily serviceable on the Win PC front, but the business side should. And XPS isn't up to business quality. At 1000 USD gaming laptop you get a complete different product with a worthless screen though. But they are not premium products.
    Reply
  • MobiusStrip - Monday, September 05, 2011 - link

    Another moronic glossy screen, without even the option for matte.

    Glossy screens are the biggest regression in computing ever. Unbelievable.
    Reply
  • akula57 - Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - link

    If the same price, it's no contest. The 15 inch MBP feels very high quality and although I don't love glossy screens it has a good screen (better than the 1600 x 900 matte on the Samsung 7 due to low contrast on the latter and most laptops).

    Moreover, the new MBPs have the 6750 in the lower end model now. So the price difference is somewhat less.

    Finally, customer service/ownership experience. Just walk into an Apple store for support or visit an Apple forum.

    Individual choice and my opinion but using a MBP 15 is a nice experience. (Yes, I do wish it were cheaper, but at least reslae is good.)

    P.S. I do own and like my Dell 8300 desktop. That's a different story for me. And desktops seem more durable (as well as cooler and quieter).
    Reply
  • tarunactivity - Friday, November 11, 2011 - link

    Anyone here using the XPS 15z / XPS 15 with the full HD display?

    I got my 15z recently, and noticed that Win 7 /apps are quite bad at handling the higher DPI settings . As a result, text is either too small , too big, or grainy (clear type does not work always!)

    Also, are individual pixels/pixel boundaries supposed to be visible ? I seem to be able to see the pixel boundaries when viewing text/images , and this is quite a setback. Not something to be expected from a Full HD screen . (Were there any of these issues in the test system, or is it a problem with all 15" high DPI displays? )
    Reply
  • jhl1989 - Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - link

    Hi! I'm planning to buy a better graphics card for the Dell XPS 15z. However I'm not sure whether there are any other graphic cards that fit inside the Dell XPS 15z. So basically is there any other graphic card that is better than the NVIDIA GeForce GT 525M 2GB that will fit indside the Dell XPS 15z??? Reply
  • tipoo - Saturday, February 25, 2012 - link

    Doesn't look like its on a replacable module. Reply

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