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Dell XPS 15z  (Source: Dell)
XPS 15z is thicker than 15-inch MacBook Pro

Dell pulled the wraps off a new notebook officially today called the XPS 15z. This machine is aimed right at the Apple MacBook Air and is going after the users wanting high style and a very thin profile in their notebook. The 15z features GeForce graphics and a slot-loading optical drive. An optical drive is something that some machines give up in an effort to be thin.

The XPS 15z notebook starts at $999 and can be ordered today. The notebook has Core i5 and Core i7 processors from the second generation of the Core line available. The computer weighs in at 5.54 pounds and is under an inch thick. Dell claims the 15z is the thinnest 15-inch PC on the planet -- it has a resolution of 1366 x 768 standard with a 1920 x 1080 resolution screen as an option. 

The notebook can be had with up to 8GB of RAM and uses the Intel HM67 chipset. Two GPUs are offered on the 15z with the GeForce GT 525M with Optimus technology and 1GB of RAM -- the same GPU is also offered with 2GB of RAM. Power comes from an 8-cell 64WHr polymer battery.

The notebook has a 1.3MP HD resolution webcam with digital array mic for video chat and recording. Wi-Fi 802.11 a/g/n is integrated along with Bluetooth 3.0 and Intel Wireless Display tech. The XPS 15z has HDMI 1.4, Mini DisplayPort, and Ethernet ports. It has three USB 3.0 ports and an eSATA port. A 9-in-1 memory card reader is integrated as well. The chiclet keyboard is backlit and spill resistant. The trackpad supports multi-touch with gestures.

The dimensions of the notebook are 0.97" x 15.15" x 10.25".

Engadget got hands on the new XPS 15z for a review. The first thing Engadget reports is that the 15z is actually a bit thicker than the 15-inch MacBook Pro (remember Dell said thinnest PC). Engadget thinks the machine is decent enough and will win some shoppers, but it's not a game changer and corners were cut to get the low price.

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so it's thinner by 0.01 of an inch?
By Gnarr on 5/24/2011 11:43:12 AM , Rating: 2
wow.. I'm seriously not impressed:

The MSI X600 is two year old and is much sleeker. Although not mad from aluminum, but you would think that two years of innovation would result in something smaller. It is only 0.01 inch thinner than the MSI notebook, and that is at the thickest point of the X600, but the XPS15z has much more total volume.

And why not the quad I7? Impressive batterylife though if it is something you will get in real life scenarios.

RE: so it's thinner by 0.01 of an inch?
By finbarqs on 5/24/2011 12:00:59 PM , Rating: 2
it's not thinner than a mbp 15", it's thicker actually! But people would actually like an internal optical as well.. I'm just peeved at the fact that the screen is not flush!

RE: so it's thinner by 0.01 of an inch?
By avxo on 5/24/2011 12:49:30 PM , Rating: 2
But people would actually like an internal optical as well [...]

They would?

I, personally, see very little use for an optical drive in a laptop and would prefer that space be used for batteries.

Granted, that doesn't mean that others don't use and need an optical drive.

By MeesterNid on 5/24/2011 1:18:45 PM , Rating: 2
I actually took the optical drive out of my MBP and replaced it with a second hard drive. I'd much rather not have an optical drive at all and have the space split into that for more battery and an extra HD.

By PrezWeezy on 5/25/2011 6:49:56 PM , Rating: 2
I won't buy a laptop without an optical drive. I use it too often.

By FITCamaro on 5/24/2011 12:52:35 PM , Rating: 1
15" MacBook Pros have an internal optical drive....

RE: so it's thinner by 0.01 of an inch?
By randomly on 5/24/2011 2:46:36 PM , Rating: 1
I think you are over estimating people's desire for a built in optical drive. Neither my wife or I ever use the optical drive in our laptops, it's just dead weight, and we have very broad and different usage patterns.

With networking, the large capacity of internal storage, thumb drives, and USB harddrives there is very little use for optical drives anymore. They are outclassed in speed, capacity, and convenience.

As for 16:9 displays, I really loathe them. I do a lot of reading, especially side by side pages and the 16:9 aspect ratio is just constantly annoying compared to 16:10, even though on paper it seems like a minor difference. I've found when I'm reading a lot of web pages, PDFs, and documents I end up using a clunky old Dell laptop that is still running XP, rather than my newer laptop solely because of the better 16:10 display.

I'm willing to pay a considerable premium for a 16:10 display.

RE: so it's thinner by 0.01 of an inch?
By Sazar on 5/24/2011 4:44:25 PM , Rating: 2
And for your needs, Dell and other companies offer thinner devices without an Optical drive and meeting many of the other bullet-points you mentioned. I am glad you and yours are discerning users. I know I am :)

This appears to be a media device with functionality for all types of uses. It is not a gaming machine and it is not a thin and light, although it is fairly thin for what it possesses.

We all have different needs but the way this product is positioned, it checks off many items on the majority of user request lists at a decent price point.

It is certainly not a bad option. Let me rephrase, it is not as bad an option as many are making it out to be.

By randomly on 5/24/2011 11:02:00 PM , Rating: 2
yes it's not bad for the money. I seriously started looking at it as an upgrade for myself.

However I find it quite disturbing that hardware upgrades can no longer be selected A la carte, but are only available in pre-bundled systems. They force you into buying extended warranties and McAfee crap if you want some of the hardware upgrades.

I find that extremely manipulative and off-putting. That kind of marketing manipulation has killed any kind of sale they might have had with me.

It's a very disturbing trend for Dell who I used to like quite well in the past.

RE: so it's thinner by 0.01 of an inch?
By Gnarr on 5/24/2011 12:16:57 PM , Rating: 2
Well... the Engadget review shows a rather crappy batterylife:
we weren't able to get much more than three and a half hours of regular use out of our review unit. Turning to our standard battery drain test (where we loop a standard-definition video with the screen at roughly 65 percent brightness, and with WiFi on), we saw much the same thing -- 3 hours, 41 minutes of use from the sealed 8-cell, 2.6Ah battery.

By jiffylube1000 on 5/25/2011 10:06:19 AM , Rating: 2
3 hours, 41 minutes is prety good while playing video!! Presumably that means the system would give about 5-6 hours while surfing the web.

In Anandtech's 2010 test of the Macbook Pro (13" version), running Windows 7, while viewing 720p video they got 228 minutes of battery life' ie. 3 hours, 48 minutes . Granted, 720p is a bit more CPU taxing than SD video, but new CPU's handle 720p with ease. The results for that test are here:

The thing that you have to realize is that Windows 7 is a lot worse for battery life than Mac OS X. Anandtech did a good comparison in 2009 comparing a Macbook Air loaded with OS X to a Windows Vista laptop (and if you scroll down, Windows 7 RC1):

Basically, you're looking at a 25-50% battery reduction going from Mac OS X to Vista/W7.

Similarly in 2010, Anand got about 10 hours of battery life on the MacBook Pro 13" on OSX (idle at the desktop), whereas the same laptop gets 337 minutes -- 5 hours 37 minutes -- sitting at the Windows 7 desktop.

By jiffylube1000 on 5/25/2011 9:55:51 AM , Rating: 2
You cannot compare an MSI X600 to this or the Macbook pro. The MSI is a nice looking laptop; however it uses a 1.4 GHz Core 2 Duo ULV (ultra low voltage) processor, and a low power, low performance ATI 4330 GPU. The MSI gives you a fantastic design, but lethargic, 2008-level performance.

This Dell uses a brand new, Sandy Bridge Core i3/5/7 processor and an Nvidia GT 525 GPU - comparable to what's in the regular Dell XPS and faster than the ATI 6490M that's in the 15" Macbook Pro.

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