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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.

By Motoman on 5/24/2011 3:46:07 PM , Rating: 2
I have one word for a laptop that doesn't have a built-in optical drive: useless.

I have a different word for anyone who buys a laptop based on how thin it is: vapid.

RE: >.<
By Gnarr on 5/24/2011 4:07:25 PM , Rating: 2
so, the only thing you do on a laptop is burning CD's?

RE: >.<
By Motoman on 5/24/2011 5:19:41 PM , Rating: 3
so, you never have any need to install software from a CD, or watch a movie from DVD/BD, or listen to/burn music from a CD?

Don't be so intentionally dense.

RE: >.<
By robinthakur on 5/25/2011 6:38:57 AM , Rating: 2
Nope I never do any of those things any more. I don't buy DVD's or CD's and use USB storage for any big data transfers. If I absolutely desperately needed to do any of those things (installing software most likely) I would just hook up a USB optical drive. Granted, those are my usage habits and not representative of everybody's but my 10 cents.

RE: >.<
By Gnarr on 6/14/2011 4:38:13 PM , Rating: 2
It's the same for me as with robin. I always had a laptop with a optical drive that I never used. Until 4 years ago that I decided to buy one without one. Now I am using my third laptop in a row that doesn't have an optical drive. I own a usb optical drive that I sometimes use to clean install OS's but usually I just install from a USB thumb drive.

RE: >.<
By Taft12 on 5/25/2011 3:21:14 PM , Rating: 2
I have one link for a person who would say a laptop without a built-in optical drive is useless:

Oh, I have one word too: Noob

RE: >.<
By Motoman on 5/25/2011 11:38:04 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, but of course! It makes perfect sense to carry around an EXTRA device that I can plug into my USB port when I want to use a disk!

Or, I could have bought a machine identical to the one that doesn't have an optical drive, that does. That would be a lot less stupid.

That's like buying a car that doesn't come with a passenger seat...because you almost never carry a passenger. And when you do need to carry a passenger, you can strap a folding chair to the roof...


RE: >.<
By Taft12 on 5/26/2011 2:29:34 PM , Rating: 2
That's like buying a car that doesn't come with a passenger seat...because you almost never carry a passenger. And when you do need to carry a passenger, you can strap a folding chair to the roof...

Said car still wouldn't be "useless" as you described a laptop without an optical drive.

It would probably be best for all involved if you didn't post on this site anymore.

Not until they give us a 16:10 screen...
By Pneumothorax on 5/24/2011 12:04:45 PM , Rating: 2
This notebook is a non-starter for me:
1. Weaker GPU than the higher end 15" MBP
2. no 16:10 matte screen option - worst deal breaker for me
I work a lot with excel spreadsheets on my 15 MBP and the 16:10 is superior to a 16:9 anyway you slice it.

By Flunk on 5/24/2011 12:20:54 PM , Rating: 3
This isn't a MacBook Pro competitor. It's starting at $999 the 15" MacBook Pro starts at $1,799.00.

This is for people who want a "almost as good as" type of machine. As a bargain proposition it looks ok, although the higher-end configs make less and less sense.

RE: Not until they give us a 16:10 screen...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/24/2011 12:44:05 PM , Rating: 2
16:10 screens are being phased out everywhere, not just laptops. The panel industry has decided 1080p is enough for everyone.

I would be surprised if you can still find 16:10 in a few years. They are almost impossible to find today in LCD monitors.

By jiffylube1000 on 5/25/2011 10:23:55 AM , Rating: 2
16:9 is the standard for HDTV's but not for high end LCD's. While 16:10 LCD's are rare in the bargain bin $100-250 LCD market, high end screens like the Dell U2410, U3011 and HP ZR30W are still 16:10.


For laptops, it's a whole other ballgame too. 16:10 screens have 5.25% more viewing area at any given size than 16:9 screens. Even a 15.4" 16:10 screen has 2.6% more viewing area than a 15.6" 16:9 screen.

Granted, this isn't a massive difference, but the loss in vertical resolution when going from a 1280x800 or especially 1440x900 screen to 1366x768 is noticeable.

With that said, 1600x900 and 1920x1080 resolution laptops I find to be fantastic; it's just the pitiful 1366x768 resolution I can't stand.

RE: Not until they give us a 16:10 screen...
By FITCamaro on 5/24/2011 12:54:51 PM , Rating: 2
So you'd rather have 30 more pixels horizontally than 240 more pixels vertically?

By Aikouka on 5/24/2011 1:33:02 PM , Rating: 2
I'm assuming that you're referring to WSXGA+ (1680x1050), but it sounds like you've mixed up some numbers as it's smaller in every dimension than 1920x1080. However, I'm assuming that he's referring to WUXGA (1920x1200), which has an extra 120 vertical lines.

By jiffylube1000 on 5/25/2011 10:15:59 AM , Rating: 2
to Pneumothorax:

-The Dell's GT525 is right in the middle in terms of performance between the 15" "low" end and "high end" GPU's - it's about 50% faster than the 6490M in the $1800 MBP and about 50% slower than the 6750M in the $2200 MBP. For the money (about $1000), Dell's GPU is fantastic!

-No 16:10 option does suck I agree; 16x9 is weak for small notebook. However, I could also make the counterargument that the 1920x1080 screen on the 15z will give you a lot more useable space than the 1440x900 MBP 15.

Why make something unique? Just copy.
By spread on 5/24/2011 12:12:20 PM , Rating: 1
This looks like a cheap Chinese knockoff of a Macbook Pro. Is this the best you can do Dell? How about hiring some competent designers instead?

RE: Why make something unique? Just copy.
By Flunk on 5/24/2011 12:26:05 PM , Rating: 2
The MacBook Pro is already Chinese.

By Gnarr on 5/24/2011 12:29:34 PM , Rating: 2
but it isn't a knock off ;)

By Dug on 5/24/2011 2:48:54 PM , Rating: 3
The design wasn't made by Chinese engineers though.

RE: Why make something unique? Just copy.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/24/2011 12:37:47 PM , Rating: 2
Is this the best you can do Dell?

For $900? Yes this is the best ANYONE can do for that. And it looks fine, silly fanboi.

RE: Why make something unique? Just copy.
By Pirks on 5/24/2011 1:58:48 PM , Rating: 2
For $900?
Haha, keep dreaming, I wish it were $900 :)))

By snakeInTheGrass on 5/24/2011 5:58:27 PM , Rating: 2
Lol. "This machine is aimed right at the Apple MacBook Air" - It's thicker than a 15" Mac Pro and weights 5.5 lbs? No, really, the Air? (I think that was supposed to read Pro.)

Of course, as the actual Engadget review points out, while they copied the style, they didn't get the fit & finish - squishy metal case, even the upgraded screen has a terrible viewing angle, and you get 1/2 the battery life.

Yep, it's cheaper, but... Dude, you're getting a Dell.

By StevoLincolnite on 5/24/2011 12:06:12 PM , Rating: 1
(remember Dell said thinnest PC).

Mac's ARE a PC.
PC = Personal Computer, nowhere in that acronym does it signify a Windows only platform.

Heck... Mac's use Intel x86 chips, Intel chipsets, AMD/nVidia graphics in some cases, Seagate/Fujitsu hard drives, Typical OEM Hynix/Micron RAM. - That typically makes up the major components in a "PC".

Heck even MacOS has roots in the *nix based world.

When they were using PowerPC based processors, then sure they weren't what I would call a "PC" due to the different instruction set and components that were not compatible with x86 in some cases.
But as time has gone on, they have pretty much evolved into another x86 OEM PC manufacturer with a different OS.

Heck, even the casings of the systems bore me.
Then again, I rather lots of cool looking LED's, side windows, UV water cooling loops and such, THAT looks cool and impressive.

RE: .
By FITCamaro on 5/24/2011 12:56:13 PM , Rating: 2
When the average person hears "PC" they think Windows based machine. Most people don't even know PC stands for personal computer. Macs are just that. Macs.

Even on the box for software it says supports PC and Mac.

RE: .
By vectorm12 on 5/24/2011 2:00:26 PM , Rating: 2
Considering we're probably two years away from Apple sticking ARM-chips in the mac computers and loading them with a tweaked version of their iOS this discussion will thankfully be over with.

Coming back to the issue of batterylife I'm left with mixed feelings concerning my 13" macbook pro. On one hand it usually outlasts my 12" HP elitebook during webbrowsing and documentation tasks however once it hits about 50% batterylife the OS throttles everything to the point where it becomes painful to do even the most basic of tasks other than what's currently being done. My HP does spend it's charge faster but never actually slows down even further to maximize batterylife for the sake of batterylife. This is something I'll bet even the most hardcore of mac-lovers will admit. Sure they run longer but as batterycharge is reduced everything take longer and longer to complete.

RE: .
By Hexus on 5/24/2011 1:12:02 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, Apple's marketing department did that with their slew of crappy "I'm a Mac vs I'm a PC" commercials.

Nice rant though.

RE: .
By sviola on 5/24/2011 1:21:50 PM , Rating: 2
Well, Apple for years tried to (and managed to, it seems) create the image that a Mac wasn't a PC.

RE: .
By Motoman on 5/25/2011 11:40:46 PM , Rating: 2
Apple, for all intents and purposes, created the personal computer.

Then IBM made it appeal to business.

Shortly thereafter, Apple computers were irrelevant...and they are so to this day. 5% marketshare. Whee.

For the record, if anything I was predisposed to be a huge Apple fan. I took my first programming course in 5th grade on the IIe, and all through high school we had Apples in the lab. But it was pretty GD obvious by, oh, the mid 80s that Apple had completely lost the plot. And the market. And...well...everything.

By icanhascpu on 5/24/2011 2:43:31 PM , Rating: 1
Its the OS that makes the MacBooks. Lots of people want to pretend its just the looks, and for some depraved people it is (regardless of ps/mac/shiny gadget vendor). Some people are used to OSX and like X. If dell wants the depraved shiny people, they can have them, but they arnt going to get many that arnt already using a W7 machine like myself anyway.

RE: Right..
By Motoman on 5/24/2011 5:22:25 PM , Rating: 2
Nope. It kind of is the looks, but in reality it's just the fact that it's Apple.

It wouldn't matter what the hell anyone else did. Apple people will buy Apple stuff.

PS: Apparently someone at DT just bought Apple stock, because now I'm getting this: "This comment is apparently spam and we do not allow spam comments."

RE: Right..
By snakeInTheGrass on 5/24/2011 6:08:02 PM , Rating: 2
Nope, it's the fact that it's not Windows. That it's a nicer machine that doesn't look like crap is just a bonus.

(Everything from ugly apps, irritating copy/paste selection, and the just inherently annoying Windows interface is the Windows problem. That's after many years on the PC and having used everything up to and including Win 7 - which has at least managed to be less irritating, but the apps on it are still the usual annoying Windows experience.)

But whatever, I'm sure it's just because it's Apple.

RE: Right..
By Motoman on 5/24/2011 8:32:57 PM , Rating: 2
In a way, you're right in that it's "not Windows" - but not for any valid technical, practical, usability, or compatibility issue. Not for any valid reason at all - the only reason being that the Apple commercials told them that Windows was bad, and Mac was good.

...and an awful lot of people are stupid enough to believe that. And they can even be tricked into thinking that Windows laptops all look like "crap." When the reality is that many of them are essentially indistinguishable from Macs - if that's the kind of effeminate look you're going for.

Without the real bells and whistles
By vision33r on 5/24/2011 4:02:01 PM , Rating: 2
If you compare it to the real MBP, it doesn't have a large multi-touch touchpad which is a big reason why people get the MBP.

It's a pretty good copy but not there yet. People will just wait til these hit $699 after discounts.

By jiffylube1000 on 5/25/2011 10:26:42 AM , Rating: 2
Multi-touch touchpad is very nice, I agree there, but I really can't stand any touchpad for an extended period of time. An external USB or Bluetooth mouse is the best solution, by far, if you've got a place to use your mouse IMO.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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