Dell XPSz Laptop (It’s Thin and Fast)

Many of us in the IT field need laptops for our profession so I thought I would review my experience so far with the MacBook-like Dell XPSz.

I recently accepted a new opportunity which required me to provide my own laptop.  I had an existing line of credit with Dell (plus I’ve had good experiences with their products) so I went to explore their laptop lineup which is when I noticed the newer XPSz model.

Obligatory Platform Tangent:  While I do have an iPad, it is the only Apple product I have.  Many seem to be enthusiastic about the Apple Mac, but I don’t mind the “complexity” of Windows.  In fact I’d rather have a platform where the complexity is available for me to work with, rather than hidden from me, even though the interface might be elegant.  When working in IT there’s simply better support/compatibility for Windows today and so far I just haven’t seen a compelling reason to switch to Apple.

The XPSz appears to be modeled directly after the Apple MacBook Pro.  They both have a metallic finish, are exceptionally thin, and share similar stylings.  Now this comparison is not totally fair as the Apple MacBook has a true unibody design while the Dell XPsz tries to emulate this look without having a true unibody frame.  However, as you’ll see later this is a tradeoff I’m comfortable with.

Here’s side-by-side shots of the two systems from the side:

The MacBook from the top:

The Dell XPSz from the top:

As you can see the visual appearance is very similar.  The keyboard layout is practically identical and both have a very slim profile with the metallic chrome finish.

I selected the top-of-the line XPSz which included a 250GB Samsung SSD and the computer is blazing fast.  The time it takes from when I initiate a restart command to when I am back at a login prompt?  22 seconds.   The computer is simply blazing fast and if I need more space, I can always connect a drive to one of the USB 3.0 or eSATA ports.

One thing that took some adjustment to was the keyboard.  The keyboard is very nicely backlit but has a different feedback and texture to it (I don’t know how the MacBook compares here, but visually the keyboards appear to be identical).  After a week of using it however, I’ve gotten accustomed to the new feel and I find it quite durable as well.

As a point of interest and for my own curiousity I decided to compare several qualities between the Dell XPSz and an equivalently matched MacBook Pro

Dell XPS 15zMacBook Pro 15
ProcessorIntel i7 2.8 GhzIntel i7 2.5 Ghz
RAM8GB DDR3 1333Mhz8GB DDR3 1333Mhz
Display1920 x 10801680 x 1050
Disk250GB SSD250GB SSD
GraphicsNVIDIA® GeForce® GT 525M 2GBAMD Radeon 1GB
Weight5.54 lbs5.6 lbs
Height0.97 inches0.95 inches
List Price$1599$3,249

You can draw your own conclusions from looking at the features and price above.  I think the Dell XPS 15z is a great laptop for the money.  I am enjoying mine and I highly recommend it.

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