Working flat out is something the 15z does particularly well. At its heart is a dual-core Intel Core i5-2410M running at 2.3GHz, with 4GB of RAM providing plenty of room for running applications. Running PCMark Vantage produced an overall score of 6112, which is impressively close to quad-core systems such as the Core i7 MacBook Pro and the Toshiba Satellite P775. It’s easily fast enough to be used as an every-day computer, and its practicality is added to by the 500GB hard disk.
There's even a DisplayPort output, but the MacBook imitation doesn't go so far as to support Thunderbolt
There’s a little gaming poke as well – the Sandy Bridge processor comes with an integrated graphics chip, but this is supplanted by an Nvidia GeForce GT 525M with 1GB of dedicated memory, producing a fairly respectable result in 3DMark 06 of 8057.
PCMark Vantage Results
Longer bars are better
Battery Life Results
Battery life in Minutes
Longer bars are better
The 15z has a 15.6in screen; precisely which you get will be a matter of preference and budget; those looking to economise will go with the low-end 1366 x 768 display; those with a penchant for HD films or high-end image editing will need to spend around £100 more on the 1920 x 1080 model. A matt finish isn’t available, but the glossy look on the 1366 x 768 review unit isn’t overly distracting. More to the point, it’s bright and crisp and has very good horizontal viewing angles as long as you can control reflections.
There are a few clever touches – the trackpad is multi-touch, which means, for instance, you can scroll down pages with two fingers. Other multi-touch gestures work terribly though – using a pinching motion to zoom in and out certainly appeals, but its implementation in apps such as web browsers, leaves a lot to be desired.
At 2.5kg, it's reasonably luggable
In Chrome, for instance, pages zoom in and out in 20 per cent increments. It works reasonably well in Windows’ native photo viewer, but elsewhere it’s too hit and miss. On board is the Mac-alike Dell Stage – a substitute for Mac OS X’s Dock. Yet it might have been better if Dell’s software engineers had prioritised a better mouse driver instead.
Next page: Balancing act
Since so much of this review is taken up with comments about how much the 15z resembles the MacBook perhaps the author could suggest how Dell could have made a thin 15.6" laptop look any different? Make it circular? Have all the corners return at a sharp 90 degrees? Make it out of bakelite?
It's as idiotic as claiming the A380 is a rip-off of the 747 because it has a rounded nose and two engines under each wing or the Nissan Micra is a clone of the Vauxhall Corsa because it has a wheel at each corner and three doors.
To anyone who knows zero about cars the Micra and Corsa look identical. To anyone who knows anything about laptops the 15z and MacBook don't. Adopting a Bloody Obvious design for a given product is not cloning/copying/lazy design it's simply form following function.
Have to say I love it...
I've had the 15z with the Core i7 chip and 8Gb RAM for a couple of months now and have to say have been bowled over by the machine both from a performance perspective and indeed its look and feel. Everyone has of course given reference to the Macbook issue of course - one which I can understand but never agree with. Do we criticise all HDTV's for looking effectively identical? Can you possibly be hugely diverse in your approach to designing and constructing something which has a recognised form factor and is built for utility? At the end of the day I do't care - one for the Fanboi's to argue over incessantly no doubt.
At the end of the day it's all about how it performs for YOU the user and this machine presses all my buttons:
1. More than powerful enough to cope with every running app I require for my business life ranging from the usual Office suspects to Xen Center, VShpere Client and Virtualbox all at the same time.
2. Functional enough to ensure I don't need to revert to other devices - the card reader is a particular boon for Video and Photo importing.
3. Runs any current games of choice albeit at lower resolutions than perhaps my dedicated gaming machine can cope with. (Deus Ex: Human Revolution runs respectably at the 1366 x 768 resolution point for example)
Only two gripes with this one which people need to be aware of:
1. Lack of USB ports - The Macbook wins here
2. You can cook an egg on the keyboard when running the Radeon for any length of time.
Definitely recommended for anyone looking for a stylish yet powerful desktop replacement.
"Those big dust gathering vent grilles on either side of the keyboard went out with the unibody"
err...those would be speaker grilles not air vents.
I'm not sure about your conclusion. If you want a proper full HD screen Apple simply don't offer that option on the 15" model and its the one thing that has always held me back from buying a mac.
It will be interesting to see what the cost of the 15" macbook pro with the 2.7ghz processor is when its released later this month. Its going to a lot nearer £2,000 compared to the £1229 Dell wants for the same specification machine.
Actually I'd say that the 15z does a halfway decent job of differentiating on the detailing. It has sloping front and side edges, where the MBP is completely plum-bob vertical. It has a two tone border around the screen, primarily charcoal with an outer rim of black. The lid is slightly smaller than the base resulting in a interesting profile when closed. There's that glossy metal trim around the top edge of the base.
The difference on the edge is really clear from the image on CNET.
The only thing I think is a bit cheesy is that they seem to have gone with exactly the same silver anodized finish. They could have used a colour anodized surface, black would be nice - and thermally superior.