Dell XPS 14z Review: One Sleek 14-inch Laptop

by Reads (116,185)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 7
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 1
    • Usability
    • 5
    • Design
    • 7
    • Performance
    • 7
    • Features
    • 6
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 5
    • Total Score:
    • 5.43
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • Sleek design
    • Good build quality
    • 7+ hours of battery life
  • Cons

    • Poor display quality
    • Keyboard feedback could be better
    • Not upgrade friendly

Quick Take

The Dell XPS 14z offers stylish looks, good battery life and decent performance, but might not be worth the current $1,000+ price tag.


This all metal notebook puts a 14-inch screen in a 13.3-inch chassis and is packed with the latest technology including a backlit keyboard. We take a closer look at this impressive alternative to the Apple MacBook Pro.

Build and Design
The design and overall quality of the XPS 14z were of paramount importance to the designers. Like the XPS 14z’s larger sibling the 15z, the looks are reminiscent of an Apple MacBook Pro. The stark silver exterior is solid aluminum and the darker-colored palm rest is magnesium alloy. The chassis bottom is largely one piece of milled aluminum which lends strength; this notebook feels solid as a rock. The palm rest does not flex even under heavy pressure.

I was able to get ripples to show on the screen by pressing in on the back of the lid despite the aluminum backing; this is a probable casualty of the lid being so thin. The hinge holding the lid to the chassis is strong and doesn’t allow the lid to wobble excessively. I wish the plastic hinge covering was one piece and not three, however; this is the only part of the notebook that doesn’t sync with the rest of the design.

The XPS 14z was not designed with user upgradeability in mind; there are no user-accessible panels on the chassis bottom. This is disappointing and a negative side effect of using a one-piece aluminum chassis piece.

Ports and Features
The XPS 14z packs an acceptable array of input/output ports including mini-DisplayPort, HDMI, USB 3.0, and a slot-load DVD burner. I would prefer to see a standard size DisplayPort rather than the mini version which requires an adapter. There are only two USB ports on the whole notebook and just one of those is USB 3.0. I do however like how most of the ports are located on the back of the notebook; too often notebook designers cluster them on the sides and impede using an external mouse (especially left-handers).


Front: nothing

Back: Kensington lock slot, AC power, mini-DisplayPort, HDMI, 1x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, Ethernet, cooling exhaust vent

Left: Cooling exhaust vent, microphone and headphone jacks, 7-in-1 media card reader

Right: Battery charge status indicator, slot-load DVD burner


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