We’re still waiting for Dell’s entry into the ultrabook stakes, and we hear it’s not too far off (think January 2012)… but if you just can’t wait any longer to replace your current carbon-dated clunker of a laptop, the XPS 14z could be just the ticket.
The XPS 14z’s form factor just scrapes into the Australian Business Traveller ultraportable spec, which we've regally decreed as ‘2 x 2’ – a maximum 2cm in profile and 2kg in weight.
But a handful of traits set the stylish 14z apart from the ultraportable pack.
Screen size: Dell has squeezed a 14 inch screen into the typical footprint of a 13.3 inch laptop. Check out the photos: the bezel around the screen is superthin, which makes for more screen per square centimetre.
We’ve long held that 13-14 inches is the sweet spot for any travel-friendly notebook, both for usable screen size and physical footprint, but the XPS 14z is unique because it delivers on both parts of the deal.
CD/DVD drive: To achieve their waif-like waistlines many ultraportable notebooks drop the optical drive. It’s surprisingly easy to live without this, but with the 14z you don’t ever need to contemplate that compromise.
Speed-boosted graphics: Handy for programs which demand some extra oomph, the 14z relies on a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce graphics chip (a GeForce 520M backed by 1GB of memory, if you must know) rather than relying on the inbuilt graphics of the Intel second-gen Core processors.
Up to 7 hours’ battery life: Yes, battery life stats remain a moveable feast. But even if you pull just six hours from the 14z that’s enough to last most of the day, and indeed most of the way to Singapore or Hong Kong.
$1,199 price tag: now that’s the type of sticker shock we can get with. $1,199 starts you off with an Intel Core i5 processor, 6GB of RAM and a fast 7200RPM 500GB hard drive, so right out of the box this one’s more than good to go.
That’s pretty good for a fully-loaded yet lightweight laptop. And a good looking one at that thanks to the anodized aluminum finish with magnesium alloy touches and a latch-less lid design.
Being a Dell, you can naturally configure the XPS 14z two dozen ways to Sunday – including a meaty Core i7 powerplant and 256GB solid state drive (which starts at $1,899).
The XPS 14z touches down on November 15 – for more information, click to www.Dell.com.au/XPS.
About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.