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Dell XPS 15Z Laptop Review

Dell XPS 15Z Laptop Review


Heralded as the next best thing to Apple MacBook Pro, the Dell XPS 15Z, 15 is exactly what its makers claim it to be—the best Windows desktop replacement laptop and nearly as good as MacBook Pro. Considering the $500 difference between Apple MacBook Pro and Dell’s laptop, the latter is a no mean achievement.

With its quad-core processor, Intel 3rd Generation Core i7-3612QM, and switchable graphics (Nvidia), the Dell XPS 15Z makes easy work of highly-intensive graphic tasks. Its graphics and overall performance is second to none, not even to Apple’s pride, the MacBook Pro.

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Dell XPS 15Z SideDell XPS 15Z bears an uncanny resemblance to MacBook Pro. Dell may not say this in as many words, but one look at this laptop is enough to adjudge that it’s been inspired by the MacBook Pro.

The XPS 15Z is not the first non-Apple laptop to do that. Many before it have done this and, given the popularity of Mac notebooks, many yet-to-be-released laptops will copy the style of Mac notebooks in future. The good news, however, is that Dell has done a good job at copying the design and looks. It looks almost as good as the MacBook Pro and surprisingly, feels even better than Apple’s expensive laptop.

Dell XPS 15 has a 15.6-inch display screen. The maximum resolution is 1,920×1080, which is more than what any other Windows laptop offers in this price range. Good as it may be, the maximum resolution of the XPS 15Z cannot even hope to match the astounding 2,800×1,800 resolution offered by MacBook Pro. However, Apple’s machine is about $500 costlier than the Dell’s laptop.

The audio experience in the XPS 15Z is sheer pleasure. Its speakers, simply put, are exemplary. ‘Pump up the volume’ is what comes to the mind when you listen to music on this laptop for the first time.

Another useful feature in this laptop is 3 USB 3.0 ports, all of which are located on the left, as are other ports such as a port for HDTV and monitors and an Ethernet port. The right side has an optical drive, jacks for headset and headphones, and a card reader. The laptop comes with a 1.3 megapixel webcam, which has a seal of approval from Skype.

Several useful programs are preinstalled in the XPS 15, including Microsoft Office 2010 Starter, Windows Live Essentials, Skype, Internet Explorer, Wave 4, and Adobe Reader X.

Other key specifications in the model we reviewed include:

  • Operating System – Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)Dell XPS 15Z Keyboard
  • CPU – 2.7GHz Intel Core i7 2620M
  • Hard Drive – 750GB
  • Memory – 8GB, 1,333 MHz DDR3
  • Graphics – Nvidia GeForce 525M
  • Weight – 5.5 pounds without the AC adapter

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Dell XPS 15Z ClosedFor XPS 15Z, Dell has opted for the Intel Core i7-3612QM quad core processor. This is a third-generation processor and, unsurprisingly, it performs significantly better than second-generation processors. The capabilities of this third-generation processor were clearly evident in the tests we conducted. In our PCMark 7 test, Dell’s laptop surged ahead of its competitors, recording an impressive score of 4,003. Its competitors, HP Envy, Apple MacBook Pro 15, and Samsung Series 7 performed poorly in comparison, recording 2,218, 2,235, and 2,697 points respectively.

In the CineBench R11.5 test too, this laptop performed better than all other Windows laptops in its price line. It recorded a score of 5.64 whereas Envy and Series 9 garnered only 5.54 points and 4.55 points respectively. However, in this test, the XPS 15Z came second to the MacBook Pro 15, which got the maximum score of 6.18 points.

The XPS 15Z has excellent multimedia capabilities, as its Photoshop CS5 and Handbrake performance shows. In Photoshop CS5, it recorded the second-best time among all other Windows laptops we tested—XPS 15Z recorded a time of 3 min 43 sec, while the best time of 3 mins 39 sec was recorded by Series 7. In the Handbrake test, Dell’s laptop emerged a winner, with a timing of 1 min 23 sec.

With the kind of hardware present in the Dell XPS 15Z, it is no surprise that it excelled in the 3DMark06 test. The XPS 15Z not only performed exceedingly well in this graphics test, but also topped our real gaming tests.

The XPS 15Z uses Nvidia graphics with Optimus switching. As a result of this, the graphic processor can switch automatically between the heavy-performance Nvidia graphic card and the integrated chipset. This, in turn, allows the laptop’s battery to last longer. In the MobileMark 2007 test, its battery lasted for 448 mins (7 hrs 28 mins), which is among the best in this class of laptops.


  • Design
  • Performance
  • Price



A powerful processor
An efficient GPU
Extremely thin
1080p display
Backlight keyboard


A design that is very similar to Apple’s MacBook Pro

For users looking for a worthy replacement for their Windows desktop, Dell XPS 15Z is a great option. It is attractive, good to hold, and a pleasure to work on. All in all, this laptop is a winner.

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Where to buy?

You an purchase from Amazon right here.

About the author

Will Blears

As a teenager I watched all of my friends playing the latest games on their high spec gaming computers. Meanwhile, I didn't even have a computer or an internet connection - that is until I realised I could build my own computer. Since that day, I've been a complete computer geek, a gaming fanatic and a lover of everything digital.