Feeds
80%
Dell XPS 14z 14in notebook

Dell XPS 14z 14in Core i5 notebook

Shiny, shiny

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration

Thankfully, the user experience picked up after that. The 14in screen's 1366 x 768 resolution provides a bright, sharp image and worked a treat when I was streaming some episodes of Merlin off BBC iPlayer. The large speakers on either side of the keyboard provide a decent volume too, although I did find the higher frequencies a bit harsh when playing noisy guitar stuff.

The compact design means that the keyboard looks a bit cramped – especially with those big speakers taking up so much space – but it turns out to be solidly built and comfortable to use. My only complaint here is that the trackpad isn’t all that sensitive and sometimes needs a firm prod in order to click and select items on screen.

PCMark 7 Results

Dell XPS 14z 14in notebook benchmarks

Longer bars are better

The use of a Core i5 processor means there’s plenty of raw horsepower available, and the XPS 14z feels smooth and responsive in general use. But I wasn’t wild about the decision to stick the USB ports round the back of the unit.

PCMark 7 Battery Life Test Results

Dell XPS 14z 14in notebook benchmarks

Battery life in Minutes
Longer bars are better

The two GPUs mean that you can use the integrated graphics in order to maximise battery life, or switch to the faster GeForce when you need extra performance for gaming or Photoshoppery. It’s good to have that option, especially in a machine with a mid-range price such as this.

And Dell has implemented Nvidia’s Optimus technology, which automatically decides which GPU is appropriate for the task at hand and switches smoothly between the chips.

Dell XPS 14z 14in notebook

Choose which app uses which GPU - or leave it to Nvidia

The downside is that Nvidia's software maintains a list of which apps require each GPU. But it is possible to override Optimus using the Nvidia control panel. I fired up Far Cry 2 to see how the two chips compared. The integrated graphics produced a playable speed of 29f/s, while switching to Nvidia up that to 38f/s. I wouldn’t describe it as a full-blown gaming rig, but it’ll be more than adequate for casual gamers.

Battery life is decent too. Dell quotes an unusually precise six hours and 42 minutes on its website. I got almost exactly five hours when streaming Merlin off the BBC iPlayer, so lighter work such as web browsing and running productivity apps should give you closer to six hours.

Verdict

The Dell XPS 14z has one or two rough edges, but for the most part it’s very neatly designed and provides good, strong performance at a competitive price. ®

More Notebook Reviews

Acer
Aspire
5749
Apple
MacBook
Pro 13in
Acer
Aspire S3
Lenovo
ThinkPad
X1
Dell
Vostro
V131

Build a business case: developing custom apps

80%
Dell XPS 14z 14in notebook

Dell XPS 14z 14in Core i5 notebook

A 14in laptop with an attractive design, decent performance and a reasonable price. It's only marred by the messy bundled software.
Price: From £799. As reviewed: £849 RRP

More from The Register

next story
Nice computers don’t need to go to the toilet, says Barclays
Bad computers might ask if you are Sarah Connor
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users
Sinofsky's hybrid strategy looks dafter than ever
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Microsoft stands on shore as tablet-laden boat sails away
Brit buyers still not falling for Windows' charms
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?