Dell XPS 15z (P12F) laptop
Dell XPS 15z review: A thin 15.6in laptop with a great configuration, but let down by a poor keyboard
- Full HD screen
- Good build quality
- Poor keyboard
- Tacky design
- USB ports only on one side
If it had a better design and a more comfortable keyboard, the Dell XPS 15z would be close to awesome. As it stands, it's just good. We like its configuration and performance, as well as its Full HD screen and its strong build quality. The XPS 15z is suitable for power users and part-time gamers.
Price$ 1,698.00 (AUD)
Best Deals (Selling at 2 stores)
Like the MacBook Pro, the Dell XPS 15z has a sealed design, which means its battery is internal and can't easily be replaced. It's an 8-cell battery with a 64 Watt-hour rating and the laptop uses NVIDIA Optimus technology to automatically switch between discrete and integrated Intel HD graphics (it used the latter when running our battery test). It lasted 3hr 30min in our battery rundown test, in which we disable power management, enable Wi-Fi, maximise screen brightness and loop an Xvid-encoded video. This is a good time, especially for a laptop with a powerful configuration such as this one. It's about an hour longer than most typical 15.6in laptops that have 6-cell batteries and Second Generation Core CPUs, such as the Sony VAIO CB Series, for example.
We like the inclusion of a battery meter on the left side of the base. Simply press the button, even when the unit is off, and a series of white lights illuminate to let you know how much charge is left. A battery utility is also present so that you can choose settings that prolong the battery life, and it will also show how healthy your battery is (in terms of how much charge it can hold). However, there is no obvious option for changing the charge capacity in order to prolong the number of cycles that the battery will last while still offering a long life. Laptops such as the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 and Samsung Series 9, which also have sealed designs, have this feature in their battery utilities.
Specifications and performance
On the inside, the Dell XPS 15z has a powerful configuration. You get a Second Generation Intel Core i7-2620M CPU, which has a frequency of 2.7GHz, two cores and Hyper-Threading. It's one of the lower-end Core i7 CPUs, but it still offers very good performance. In our Blender 3D rendering test, it recorded a time of 37sec, while in the iTunes MP3 encoding test it recorded 44sec. It recorded 44min in our video transcoding test, in which we turn a DVD file into a 1.5GB Xvid file using AutoGordianKnot. All of these times are fast and they show that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the speed of this machine. (See our 2011 performance chart to see how it compares to other laptops we've reviewed.)
Along with the fast CPU, you also get 8GB of 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM, a 7200rpm, 750GB hard drive and an NVIDIA GeForce GT 525M graphics adapter with 2GB of dedicated RAM. It's a configuration that power users and even gamers should enjoy. Its hard drive recorded a fast speed of 51.2 megabytes per second when copying data from one location on the drive to another (although this will slow as the drive gets fuller), and its graphics card recorded 7428 in 3DMark06. While it won't be able to play many recent games at the screen's native Full HD resolution, it will be able to run most games well at 1366x768 (depending on the detail level of the game, too).
After running for a while under a full load, the Dell XPS 15z's body will get warm and you will feel this in the left palmrest as well as the base. It doesn't get hot, but its warmth is enough to possibly make for uncomfortable typing (notwithstanding the keyboard design itself). There are vent holes etched into the base and rear, as well as a cooling fan, which does a good job of extracting warm air from the chassis. It does get loud when it's working hard, which is understandable.
There is a lot to like about the Dell XPS 15z; primarily, it has a good configuration, strong build quality, a Full HD screen and a good price ($1698 at the time of writing). However, its keyboard is awful; it is perhaps the worst keyboard we've ever seen on a Dell laptop. We're also not fans of the design, which looks a little tacky — especially the ribbed hinges and chrome trim. Overall though, this laptop would suit users who are after a powerful configuration, a Full HD screen, a thin 15.6in form factor and value for money. You could always plug in an external keyboard when you're using it at home.
Become a fan of PC World Australia on Facebook
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features. Sign up to PC World’s newsletters
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop: full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
Latest News Articles
- Samsung ready to make chips faster than the ones in Galaxy S8
- Rumor suggests the Note8 will be a bigger S8+ that adds a missing feature
- Fear not, early adopters: The Galaxy S8 might not be running Android 7.0 for very long
- Samsung made an even better Galaxy S8+, but you can’t have it
- Samsung's profit soars after recovery from Note7 debacle
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTIT Service Owner - Supply Chain TechnologiesNSW
- FTSenior / Lead iOS DeveloperNSW
- FTProduct Manager (IT Clinical Systems) - Permanent - Syd, Melb or BrisbNSW
- FTIT ArchitectNSW
- TPSystems EngineerQLD
- FTSolution ArchitectNSW
- FTBusiness Process AnalystWA
- CCSolution Designer with PEGA experience- TelcoVIC
- CCSolution Designer with PEGA experience- TelcoVIC
- PTProject ManagerNSW
- FTCRM Technical Specialist (Oracle Eloqua)SA
- FTSAP ABAP Technical specialistACT
- CCSenior Change ManagerQLD
- CCCitrix SpecialistACT
- FTSenior Project Manager (Wealth)NSW
- FTSenior Data ConsultantWA
- TPIT Service ManagerNSW
- TPBusiness AnalystACT
- TPBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTWindows Dev Ops EngineerNSW
- FTRisk and Quality ManagerNSW
- FTHelpdesk AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Java DeveloperVIC
- CCTibco Integration Specialist l Port MacquarieQLD