A nice surprise is the inclusion of a Full HD screen. We've never felt comfortable with the low resolution of 1366x768 that's pumped out on so many 15-inch laptops, and the 1920x1080 resolution of the XPS 15z feels natural and expansive.
Being a halo product, the XPS 15z has done its best to appear modern — and in doing so, has dropped the age old, now business-centric VGA port. If you want video out, you'll either need to use HDMI or Mini DisplayPort. It also has two USB 3.0 ports, a combined USB 2.0/eSATA port, a nine-in-one card reader, gigabit Ethernet and separate headphone and microphone jacks.
Internally, our review sample had a Core i7 2620M, although a cheaper model with a Core i5 is available. This is complemented with 8GB RAM, a GeForce GT 525M and a 750GB hard drive.
All this translates into some pretty mean performance, with 3DMark06 clocking 7383, and PCMark05 hitting 8626. This machine should be able to handle modern games at moderate settings, and almost any productivity task you choose to toss at it.
Battery life was decent too for the hardware involved. With all power-saving settings turned off, screen brightness and volume set to maximum and an XviD file played back, the laptop lasted two hours and 35 minutes for spluttering into hibernation.
The XPS 15z isn't an amazing new frontier, and it doesn't set any new benchmarks. But it is nice to see mainstream laptops getting thinner and dropping legacy ports. Now we just need to work on the weight.