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Dell XPS 14z review: Thin is a state of mind

Dell's high-end holiday push is the XPS 14z, an upscale MacBook Pro competitor that's plenty powerful, but not really as svelte as Dell suggests.

The latest generation of Dell XPS laptops, with the "z" designation, kicked off with the 15-inch XPS 15z. Dell claimed that laptop was the world's thinnest 15-inch laptop (Windows laptop, that is), and the new 14-inch XPS 14zmakes a similar claim, again with a few asterisks to keep in mind. With the XPS 14z, Dell says that this is the "thinnest fully featured laptop on the planet." What does that mean?

According to Dell, it's a laptop with an internal optical drive and discrete graphics. More impressively, this is a 14-inch laptop screen in a body with the smaller footprint of a 13-inch laptop. We like more screen in less body, but it also has one unfortunate side effect.

With so many extremely thin 13-inch laptops hitting the streets right now, such as the first generation of Ultrabooks from Acer, Lenovo, and Asus, the XPS 14z has roughly the same length and width measurements, but looks chunky and thick in comparison.

If you can put those side-by-side images out of your mind, the XPS 14z is still an impressive engineering feat, with a 14-inch screen, Nvidia graphics, and a slot-load optical drive in a smaller package than we've seen for that particular load-out before. Similar to the HP Envy 14, it starts at $999 (but that's for a version with only integrated Intel graphics), and our version, with an upgraded Intel Core i7 CPU, Nvidia 520M graphics, and a larger 750GB HDD, is $1,299.

Read the full review of the Dell XPS 14z.