In the 2 generation intel core processor, the Dell XPS 14z is just perfect. The Dell XPS is a combination of the Apple MacBook Pro and an ultra-slim laptop. It is slightly larger in the display matter and has a better keyboard.
In addition to its magnesium alloy build and little black feet, the 14z adds design flourishes that would never fly in Cupertino. For one, it has discrete touch buttons and the kind of recessed hinge that’s become Dell’s signature over the past few years. Additionally, it sports the same chrome accents, ridged hinge and patterned speakers/vents adorning the 15z. In conversations with Dell, company reps told us the 14z is aimed at creative types who feel the need to express their personality through their notebooks. Specifically, that means people who like a few embellishments on their $1,000 laptop.
At 4.36 pounds (4.12 if you upgrade to an SSD), it is lightweight, especially considering you get the benefit of a larger display than is used in a laptop with these dimensions. (The 13-inch MacBook Pro weighs 4.5 pounds, for instance.) Dell also says this is the thinnest “fully functional” 14-inch laptop, at 0.9 inches (23mm) thick, though if we’re being honest, we wouldn’t describe it as skinny, per se. (Plus, uber specific superlatives are kind of silly.) It does offer clean lines, though, particularly with that hinge that makes the lid lie flat. It’s also worth pointing out that even though this thing packs an 8-cell battery, it’s completely flush with the system, meaning you won’t find any unsightly bulges here.
The peculiar thing about the 14z is that it’s one of the more ergonomically sound laptops we’ve tested recently, even though it doesn’t feel like the high-end notebook it’s supposed to be. On the one hand, that sunken hinge means that when you rest the laptop on your lap, the weight distribution between the chassis and display feels balanced. What’s more, it does a marvelous job of expelling heat — even after settling in for a few hours of work on the couch, our legs never felt the burn (we wish we could say the same about the MacBook Pro).
Display and sound
If you’re looking for a high-res display to go with your backlit keyboard and magnesium alloy chassis, you’ll be sorely disappointed. The 14z offers a 1366 x 768 panel, putting it in the same boat as the HP Envy 14 and the 13-inch MacBook Pro, whose 1280 x 800-pixel count is nothing to crow about either. Honestly, this is pretty standard fare for 13- and 14-inch laptops, though there are a few gems offering more pixels per inch. The ASUS Zenbook UX31 Ultrabook comes standard with a 1600 x 900 screen, as does the Sony VAIO SA, whose starting price recently dropped to $1,000, putting it on par with the 14z and Envy 14.
But the pixel count doesn’t tell the whole story. The extra screen real estate the Shuriken display provides is just glorious. Though it might seem like a trivial difference, having virtually no bezel meant we enjoyed a noticeably larger canvas than we’re used to on typical 13-inch machines. You may still feel the squeeze if you use Windows 7′s Snap feature to view two pages side by side, but we otherwise appreciated the broader workspace.