We did a thorough review of the base model Dell XPS 14z last week for the official announcement, and starting today the XPS 14z is available for ordering. At 0.9" thick, the 14z flirts with ultrabook sizes but comes equipped with a much larger 8-cell 58Wh battery and an optical drive. For those that want battery life and still need an optical drive, the added girth relative to ultrabooks is unlikely to matter much. We measured peak battery life of over seven hours, with over five hours of useable (e.g. web surfing) mobility and four hours of H.264 video playback.

For casual users, the $1000 base model should be sufficient. It comes equipped with a Core i5-2430M, 6GB RAM, a 500GB 7200RPM hard drive, and the usual assortment of ports and other features (e.g. USB 3.0, webcam, wireless networking, etc.) If you'd like a little more oomph in the graphics department, the $1200 model adds a GeForce GT 520M and increases the RAM and HDD to 8GB and 750GB, respectively. Add another $100 and you upgrade the CPU to the i7-2640M, which should boost CPU performance by 17% (in both base speed and maximum Turbo Boost). Or at the top-end you can get all of the above and swap out the HDD for a 256GB SSD for a final cost of $1600.

Where the XPS 14z fails to impress is in its LCD, a 1366x768 run-of-the-mill offering that does nothing to stand out from the crowd of basic 14" laptop displays. In fact, it has one of the lowest contrast ratios we've measured in the past two years. That's a shame, as there's otherwise plenty to like with the core 14z design, including a thin bezel on the sides that allows Dell to fit a 14" LCD into a chassis size typically used with 13.3" LCDs.

Source: Dell Marketing

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  • Hulk - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    That crappy display is a total deal breaker.
    Give me the option for a 1440x900 IPS display and I'd order right now. And I'd pay another $250 for that screen.
  • tipoo - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    The display, and the graphics card. Although I only know of two laptops that use IPS displays, we can hardly count that one as a fault, but the resolution is pretty bad on this thing. I have a 1920x1080 display on my 15' laptop and I love it.
  • niva - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    Right on, I buy laptops for my own use strictly based on display reviews. I can live with a lower end CPU and I can upgrade to SSD myself later with the drive I choose. The display is the #1 dealbreaker for me.

    Otherwise this machine actually really appeals to me.
  • XLNC - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    I'm absolutely sick of seeing otherwise fantastic laptops with a horrid 1366x768 screen. I don't blame the manufacturers, I blame the consumers. If we voted with our wallets, we could have eradicated the dreaded 768 panel. HP offers 1080 upgrade on some of their new Pavilion 15" and 17" laptops for $150 extra.
  • RandomUsername3245 - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    My 11.6 inch $400 Acer laptop is a good place for a cheap 1366x768 screen. Anything larger *demands* more pixels.

    I've got an >10 year old Gateway laptop with a 1280x1024 screen and have used several (now old) dells with 1920x1200 screens. Those were the good ol' days...
  • marrymayer - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    the computer look's so good!
  • fdfsxcvdcfdh - Monday, November 7, 2011 - link

    2011 NEW and BIG ON SALE NOW:
  • Rexy624 - Thursday, November 10, 2011 - link

    You guys need to chill, the 1600 x 900 display is coming and that's what I'm waiting for to replace my trusted M1330 that has seen much tough use the finish has worn off the left mouse button:


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