We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Laptops Reviews
15,670 Reviews PC Advisor Recommended

Dell XPS 14z review

£949 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Dell

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

The Dell XPS 14z takes an unusual screen size of 14in, and shoehorns it into a laptop comparable to a typical 13in model, thanks to a lovely thin bezel.

Laptops with 14in screens are relatively unusual in our part of the world, where 15in laptops are king. In Asian and Far Eastern markets, though, the 14in laptop is massively popular. 

But if there ever was a 14in model to excite a western audience, the Dell XPS 14z is surely it.

Taking plenty of inspiration from Apple's MacBook Pro, the design of the XPS 14z is modern, stylish and robust. The anodized aluminium chassis looks smart and the rounded edges add to the sleek appearance. 

When it’s opened up you'll find a backlit keyboard that offers plenty of room for even the most inaccurate of typists, while still fitting in large speakers either side. We had a minor issue with the keyboard; the keys’ font, though modern, doesn't seem quite in keeping with the rest of the design.

Looking up from the keyboard, you'll spot what is probably the Dell's real achilles heel - its screen. The 1366 x 768 resolution is meagre in comparison to other models - the XPS 15z we tested had 1920 x 1080 resolution - but definition is reasonably sharp and clear. 

The colours look washed out, but it’s the glare from the glossy display that really irritated us. Reflective screens do not equate to comfortable use in most normal lighting conditions.

But we did appreciate how it takes up almost the whole width of the chassis, so you're not left with a wastefully wide bezel. This means that the 14in screen can be fitted in to a chassis that's only 10mm wider than the 13in MacBook Air.

Weights and measures

The diminuitive frame and weight of just under 2kg mean that the XPS 14z is easy to carry around, even if it is far from attaining 'ultraportable' status. It should stand up to a battering if you do spend a lot of time on the road, though, and we're sure it'd be able to take the odd bump in its stride. The screen hinge looks particularly robust.

Blessed with a second-generation Intel Core i7 processor, the 2.8GHz i7-2640M with Turbo Boost 2.0 technology (to push it to 3.5GHz when needed), and 8GB of RAM, the XPS 14z has more power than you can shake a stick at. 

A WorldBench 6 score of 143 is highly creditable, and though the nVidia GeForce GT 520M graphics card could only hit average frame rates of 46fps in FEAR at maximum settings - far from the best score we've seen - this is still quite respectable.

For entertainment purposes, the lo-res screen and absence of Blu-ray drive means HD video is not on the cards. Sound quality is pretty good though. It's more of an all-rounder that will offer decent performance and a good turn of speed in any task you should choose to set for it, rather than an out-and-out gaming, multimedia or work-focused laptop.

The Dell has got a very capacious battery, lasting nearly 7 hours (406 mins) in our MobileMark 2007 Productivity tests. Given the quality and power of components this battery has to support, this is impressive. 

Connectivity options are decent, with two USB ports - one of thee USB 3.0 - located at the back of the unit, as well as HDMI, Mini DisplayPort and gigabit ethernet. On the left-hand side you'll find a mic input and headphone jack as well as a multi-format card reader. 

Dell XPS 14z Expert Verdict »

2.8GHz Intel Core i7-2640M processor
14in (1366 x 768) glossy LED-backlit LCD
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
8GB DDR3-1333MHz RAM
750GB 7200rpm hard disk
nVidia GeForce GT 520M graphics with 1GB memory
DVD±RW drive
Bluetooth 3.0
gigabit ethernet
HDMI port
1 x USB 3.0 port
1 x USB 2.0 port
Mini DisplayPort
stereo speakers
headphone jack
mic input
SD/MS Pro Duo/xD Card slot
58Wh lithium-ion non-removable battery
335 x 234 x 23.8mm
  • Build Quality: We give this item 9 of 10 for build quality
  • Value for Money: We give this item 9 of 10 for value for money
  • Performance: We give this item 9 of 10 for performance
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

Dell's XPS 14z could be accused of looking rather like a MacBook Pro. If this was a deliberate ploy, it’s also a risky one, as few laptops can stand comparison with the MacBook Pro's design, build and feature set and still walk away with their reputations intact. Fortunately, the Dell XPS 14z is one that almost can. In all, there's a lot of laptop on offer here for under £1000, despite our mixed feelings about the display. A fine looking, sturdy and fast laptop with an attractive price tag, we've no hesitation in recommending it.

  • Dell XPS 15z P12F review

    Dell XPS 15z P12F

    The Dell XPS 15z P12F is a 15in laptop equally comfortable as a desktop replacement or a travelling companion.

  • Dell Inspiron 14z (mid 2012) review

    Dell Inspiron 14z (mid 2012)

    The Dell Inspiron 14z is an ultrabook in name only. It sacrifices style and hardware integrity for performance. Read our full review to find out more.

  • Dell Latitude Z review

    Dell Latitude Z

    The Dell Latitude Z is the concept car of Dell's notebook line-up, with innovative technology not found elsewhere.

  • Dell Latitude Z review

    Dell Latitude Z

    Having first gone for the high-end consumer market with its sleek Dell Adamo notebook released in March, Dell has turned its sights to the corporate sector with the sleek and expensive Dell Latitude Z - the much-vaunted 'wirelessly charging laptop'.

  • Dell XPS 15z review

    Dell XPS 15z

    One of the best laptops Dell has made in recent years, the Dell XPS 15z is easy to recommend for Windows users.

IDG UK Sites

Best camera phone of 2015: iPhone 6 Plus vs LG G4 vs Galaxy S6 vs One M9 vs Nexus 6

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 of price of Retina iMac with new model