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Category: Hardware Published on Wednesday, 21 March 2012

New Dell XPS 15z Tops Our 'I've Gotta Have It' List 


It may be something in the water, or possibly a new diet. Whatever the reason, the folks at Dell have -- again -- blown our socks off with a new computer.

This time it's their new XPS 15z laptop ($999 - $1,599), which tops our Gotta Have It list.

The first thing you notice is how slim it is. In fact many other reviewers have compared it to the MacBook Pro (at half the price) in style and functionality. Not having played with a MacBook, I'll take their word for it.

This baby oozes class, ranging from its silver anodized aluminum case to its backlit keyboard and 15.6-inch WLED screen.

It was also able to efficiently handle everything we threw at it, ranging from basic spreadsheets to graphics-intensive games, although I suggest upgrading to the two gigabyte video card if games are your passion. Truthfully, this is more of a business-type computer than a multimedia powerhouse. For the best game-playing experience, we suggest you check out the Alienware M17X Sandy Bridge (which is also a Dell company).

The one we played with also has a dual core 2.4 GHz Intel i5 processor (3.1 GHz with TurboBoost), eight gigabytes of memory, a 750GB hard drive and an NVIDIA GeForce GT 525M 2 GB video card with Optimus. It also came with a slot-loading DVD burner, a 9-in-1 media card reader, two USB 3,0 ports, a combo SATA and USB 2.0 port, and an HDMI port (for HD video and audio up to 1080p -- depending on the resolution of the screen).

The keyboard was one of the best we've used on a laptop. It wasn't "mushy" and was a so-called "full-size" keyboard rather than the three-quarter boards we see on a lot of laptops.

We also found that the touchpad was more responsive than many we've played with, which can be a good -- or bad -- feature. We had to be careful not to hit it with our sleeves or a stray palm, especially when using a word processor or spreadsheet.

The 15z weighs in at 5.6 pounds, basically due to the 15.6-inch screen and rather large speakers. If weight is a problem, you may want to take a look at the smaller and lighter XPS 14Z.

Other features include:

  • Bluetooth 3.0 and 802.11 agn WiFi connectivity.
  • A 1.3 megapixel HD webcam with dual array microphones.
  • Up to eight hours and 22 minutes of battery life (we were able to get eight hours before needing to charge the battery of our test computer).
  • High definition audio with 5.1 surround sound available using and HDMI cable.

Of course you can customize the 15z by adding an i7 processor, a 1 TB hard drive and selecting from other options. Unfortunately you can't upgrade the DVD burner to Blu-Ray, because the 15z is too thin to accommodate a Blu-Ray drive.

Check out for more information and to see other options available.

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Attention Facebook users: Check out Michael Berman's Jocgeek fan page at, or follow him on Twitter @jocgeek.  You can also contact him via email at  Mike's blog can also be found on the Huffington Post website at