Dell XPS 14z review: Dell XPS 14z

The big difference between the XPS 14z and other laptops of a similar size we've seen recently is its discrete GPU, in the form of the Nvidia GeForce 520M. This 1GB card isn't going to appeal to hard-core PC gamers, who are more likely to look to Dell's Alienware brand anyway, but it's certainly good enough for playing most current PC games, as long as you dial down the settings a bit (the limited 1,366x768-pixel resolution also helps). In Street Fighter IV at native resolution, we got 46.7 frames per second, while in the very challenging Metro 2033 test, we got 7 frames per second, but that test is deliberately brutal, especially on midrange laptop graphics.

Juice box
Dell XPS 14z Avg watts/hour
Off (60%) 0.42
Sleep (10%) 0.87
Idle (25%) 6.95
Load (05%) 45.22
Raw kWh number 38
Annual energy cost $4.31

Annual power consumption cost

The Dell XPS 14z has powerful components, which may negatively affect battery life, but at the same time, it also uses Nvidia's Optimus system to keep the GPU turned off when not needed, and Intel's current-gen Core i-series CPU are very efficient on their own. In our video playback battery drain test, the XPS 14z ran for 4 hours and 33 minutes, which is a score we'd classify as merely OK. That's 1 hour longer than the XPS 15z, but Apple's MacBook Air ran for more than 2 additional hours, and Lenovo's U300s ran for an extra 40 minutes. With judicious use, the XPS 14z should get you through most of a workday, but our battery life expectations have risen greatly in 2011, and scores that used to impress us no longer do so.

Dell includes a one-year mail-in service warranty with the XPS 14z, and though the warranty upgrade options were not live on Dell's Web site at the time this review was written, based on previous XPS laptops, coverage should be expandable up to four years for an extra $290, or four years with accidental damage protection for $410. Dell's Web site offers 24-7 toll-free phone service and Web support, including documentation and software drivers that are easy to find.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations:

Dell XPS 14z
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-2640M; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 520M / 1GB (Dedicated) Intel GMA HD; 750GB Western Digital 7,200rpm

Dell XPS 15z
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-2620M; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 525M / 64MB (Shared) Intel HD 3000; 750GB Seagate 7,200rpm

Toshiba Portege R835-P56X
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated)/1,696MB (Total) Intel GMA HD; 640GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Lenovo IdeaPad U300s
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-2677M; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 64MB (Shared) Intel HD 3000; 256GB JMicron 616 SSD

Acer Aspire S3-951-6646
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-2467M; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 128MB (Shared) Intel HD 3000; 320GB Hitachi 5,400rpm + 20GB SSD

Apple MacBook Air 13.3-inch - Summer 2011
OS X 10.7 Lion; 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-2557M; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 384MB (Shared) Intel HD 3000; 128GB Apple SSD

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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Where to Buy

Dell XPS 14z

Part Number: CNET-XPS-14z Released: Oct 24, 2011

MSRP: $1,299.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Oct 24, 2011
  • Installed Size 8 GB
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