- Nice design and quality
- Beautiful 1080p screen
- 6+ hour battery life
- Not-so-great keyboard
- Hard to upgrade
The XPS 15z makes an impressive alternative to a 15-inch MacBook Pro if you can live with a less-than-perfect keyboard.
The Dell XPS 15z has an ultra-thin metal chassis, a beautiful 1080p display and a backlit keyboard. Add to that an Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce dedicated graphics for serious multimedia performance. Is this a worthy competitor to the Apple MacBook Pro?
Build and Design
The XPS 15z resembles a MacBook Pro especially when the lid is closed; the darker-colored palm rest and hinge design are major differentiators. This notebook is mostly constructed out of high-quality metal; the bright silver outside is milled aluminum and the dark gray palm rest is magnesium alloy. Even the screen bezel is metal. The XPS 15z feels very solid to the touch and it is; the chassis hardly bends when flexed and the lid’s aluminum backing keeps it from twisting too much.
The display hinge is strong and doesn’t allow the display to wobble when let go abruptly. Additionally, the display can be opened with one hand which is convenient. I’m not a fan of the physical appearance of the hinge; it’s not in sync with the rest of the chassis in terms of color or texture. Overall the XPS 15z is one of the most solid feeling notebooks I’ve tested in some time.
Those looking to upgrade the 15z are in for a rough ride. There are no user-accessible panels on the bottom of the chassis so adding RAM or a new hard drive will likely be a complicated job; most of the chassis needs to be disassembled.
Ports and Features
The XPS 15z has an impressive variety of ports. Highlights include two USB 3.0 Super Speed ports, eSATA, mini-DisplayPort, HDMI, and despite being so thin, it also has an integrated optical drive. All picture descriptions are left to right.
Back: AC power, Ethernet
Left: HDMI out, mini-DisplayPort, eSATA/USB 2.0 combo, 2x USB 3.0 Super Speed, media card reader, battery life indicator (press button)
Right: Headphone and microphone jacks, slot-load DVD burner