Feeds
80%
Dell XPS 14z 14in notebook

Dell XPS 14z 14in Core i5 notebook

Shiny, shiny

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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
Hi-torque tank engines: EXTREME car hacking with The Register
Bentley found in a hedge gets WW2 lump insertion
What's MISSING on Amazon Fire Phone... and why it WON'T set the world alight
You fought hard and you saved and earned. But all of it's going to burn...
Trousers down for six of the best affordable Androids
Stylish Googlephones for not-so-deep pockets
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.