Saturday, 14 July 2012

Dell XPS 14z review


Dell XPS 14z review



It is build from anodized aluminum and magnesium alloy body has a sophisticated matte finish, the notebook's Elemental Silver chassis is both durable and stylish and a slightly larger display and a better keyboard than the macbook Air. 

It comes with  an Intel Core i7-2640M clocked at 2.8GHz (up to 3.5GHz in Turbo Boost mode), and a generous 8GB of RAM. Also included was an Nvidia GeForce GT 520M discrete GPU with 1GB of dedicated frame-buffer memory. Dell supports Nvidia’s Optimus technology, which allows the integrated Intel HD Graphics to handle all the mainstream graphics chores, with the GeForce GT 520M kicking in when better 3D chops are necessary
Though the Nvidia GPU surpasses the Intel HD Graphics in performance, you’ll still need to dial down the graphics detail significantly if you want to run games in DirectX 10 or DirectX 11 mode. The Nvidia GPU does make the XPS 14z quite a nice mobile machine for some games. 48 CUDA cores with a 64-bit DDR3-1600 memory interface (12.8GB/s) is nothing to write home about, and DX11 support is almost meaningless on low end hardware. However, NVIDIA (and AMD) still have better graphics driver support than Intel, so it’s something to consider.

The display offers fairly accurate color rendition when showing photographs or video. The horizontal viewing angle is better than average, but the vertical viewing angle is quite shallow. Video playback quality is robust, with fairly light motion smearing. DVD playback upscale to the full panel resolution appears just a touch soft, but lacks the "mosquito noise" visible in some competing laptop screens. HD content scaled down also looks very nice indeed.

The XPS 14z has the same native resolution as most Windows laptops of 1366 x 768 pixels. Among the competitors 13-inch MacBook Pro offers much longer battery life than the XPS 14z and a firmer keyboard. The HP Envy 14 boasts more robust Beats Audio along with better gaming performance, but at the expense of endurance. After all, Sony now ships a 13.3-inch unit with a 1600 X 900-pixel display, and MacBook Airs offer 1440 by 900 pixels. Dell could have distinguished the XPS 14z's display from the pack by upping the resolution a bit.

Audio playback quality is thumbs-up. A pair of large speaker grilles on either side of the keyboard, with a unique cross-hatched pattern (which is repeated on the bottom surface for venting). But the Waves Maxx Audio software processing that fills out the sound also makes vocals in music sound a little artificial. Without Waves Maxx, volume levels are quite low--and even with the processing software enabled volume levels never get particularly loud.

The keyboard is excellent. The keys are sculpted, and feel quite good under the fingers. If you’re not a touch typist, you'll appreciate the fact that the letters on the keys are in a large, easy-to-read font, and that the keyboard itself has two backlight levels. The touchpad is large and fully supports multitouch gestures.

Performance is a cut above average for this category. At 5 hours, 29 minutes is decent endurance, and about 4 minutes shy of the 5:28 average. The HP Envy 14 (4:57) trailed the Dell, but the Sony VAIO S (5:27) lasted a little bit longer. The 13-inch MacBook Pro (8:33) and Gateway ID47 (7:08) lasted considerably longer. The XPS 14z lasts a good hour longer than the average laptop in its class.

Networking includes Bluetooth 3.0, plus 802.11n Wi-Fi and gigabit Ethernet. The XPS 14z falls short is ports: It offers only two rear-mounted USB ports. One of the ports does support USB 3.0 (SuperSpeed), though. Also on the rear are a mini-DisplayPort connector, an HDMI port, and an ethernet jack (plus, of course, the power plug). A pair of audio jacks and an SD Card slot grace the left side; the SD Card slot supports the latest SDXC high-capacity cards. On the right side are the DVD drive and the battery-life indicator LEDs--but you won't find any additional USB ports there. 

Image was taken at 1280 x 1024p still and video with the 1.3-megapixel webcam in Dell Webcam Central. Images were clear and bright with a high amount of detail.

Hence Dell XPS 14z is a good to feel about laptop, weighing just 4 pounds, 7 ounces. With light weight, pretty good display, and a wonderful keyboard. Every buddy would be happy with this machine but at some instance of time you would ask of two more USB ports.

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