Dell XPS 15z 15.6in Core i5 notebook
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The keyboard’s an interesting one - it’s a chiclet-style number (of course), and the keys have rounded edges and a slight concave dip in the middle. The keys are very low-set (roughly 2mm above the base) and quite widely spread. It’s a solid keyboard, though, and once your fingers have adjusted you’ll be up to speed. Both the keyboard and the trackpad benefit from LED backlighting, making typing in dark places easier.
Overall, good balance of price, performance and styling
It’s easy to make fun of the 15z for being a Mac clone, and its styling certainly won’t deflect withering criticism from Apple fans. Almost everywhere you look, from its looks and multitouch trackpad, to its Dock-style launcher on the desktop; it’s a wonder Dell hasn’t attempted to cram a variation on the name “MacBook” into the 15z’s name.
Still, the 15z is a good-looking machine, and there’s currently a blindspot in Apple’s range of high-end laptops that it exploits. Buy a 15in MacBook Pro and you’ll have spent at least £1,500 although admittedly you'll get a machine with a faster processor and a higher-resolution screen.
Certainly, the 15z’s base pricing of £899 appeals, particularly for those who prefer Windows or are OS-indifferent. It’s also easily portable at 2.5kg, despite packing in enough top-end components to make it a machine you could use without frustration day-to-day. It isn’t exactly a revolution in laptop design, but it balances aesthetics, performance and price handily enough. ®
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