Recently I decided that my old laptop from 2007, with its 2 GB of Random Access Memory (RAM) and a mere Intel Pentium Dual Core CPU, was going to have an ‘exploding CPU (processor) hazard’ as I like to call it. One of my interests outside of coding is making short films, and the program I’ve been using is Sony Vegas. Now as you can imagine, my computer was getting REALLY hot. I actually burned myself once after a while. Now this wouldn’t be all that bad, except that wasn’t from video editing — it was from web browsing. I decided I needed something better, and although my original plan was to build a high powered desktop, I thought, “Why not just buy a high powered laptop?” The problem with that was that high powered laptops are expensive. My answer to the problem came in the form of the Dell XPS 14z:
Now you may not be familiar with this machine, but you may be familiar with the Dell XPS 15z, and the 14z is similar, but with a 14″ screen instead of 15″. One of my favorite things about this laptop (see in the picture) is that there is very little space around the screen. You open the lid, and basically all you see is seamless glass 720p HD brilliance. This laptop has been called by several computer websites (this quote from CNET), ” an attractive, powerful 14-inch laptop built into a 13-inch body…” This powerful laptop comes all wrapped up in a sleek aluminum and magnesium alloy casing.
I’ve started calling mine the “WinMac” because of the aluminum case and also the touch gestures. Similar to Macs, multiple fingers on the touchpad do different things, like two finger scrolling, for instance. CNET says that in a laptop this size, especially one with a MSRP of $1,299, they’d like a higher resolution in the screen. The 14z has a display just over the resolution of 720p HD (1,280×720 pixels), at 1,366×768 pixels, and CNET says they’d, “like to see a 1,600×900-pixel display or better.” Personally I found the display on the 14z great; when looking at the pixels on the screen I found them to be about the same size as on a 15″ Retina MacBook Pro.
Now before I move on to more specs, I’ll address the issue of price. The the i7 model of this computer is $1,299 (i5 model $899, $999 for i7 but only Intel Graphics) and I mentioned that I wanted to pay less than $700. So how did I get it? Let’s just say I have… connections — *ahem* relatives who are skilled at finding good deals.
Now let’s get on with some specifications:
We’ll begin with the physical specs like weight and dimensions.
- Dimensions: 13.2×9.2 inches
- Height: 0.9 inch
- Weight w/ and w/out AC adapter: 4.4/5.3 lbs
Now let’s get on with the software and hardware specifications:
- Hard Drive: 750GB at 5,400 RPM
- CPU (Processor): 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-2640M, can run at up to 3.5GHz with pre-installed Intel TurboBoost
- Chipset: Intel QM67
- Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
- Memory (RAM): 8GB, 1,333MHz DDR3
- GPU (Graphics): High end model: Intel Graphics + 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M; Low end model: Intel Graphics
Now let’s get on to the ports:
- Data: 1xUSB2.0, 1xUSB3.0, SD card reader
- Video: HDMI, Mini DisplayPort (no VGA port, that’s one of the few things I don’t like about the 14z)
- Audio: Stereo speakers, stereo microphone, headphone and microphone jacks
- Networking: Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11n, Bluetooth 3.0
- Optical Drive: DVD burner
Just a few notes:
I really love that this computer runs cold. Like, COLD. In order to get this thing hot, you have to have it on High Performance Mode using the NVIDIA GPU for an hour give or take a little time. The second thing that I like is that this has a button on the side that has five small lights next to it, and that lets you see the battery charge while the computer is in sleep. One thing that is both good and bad is that all of the ports except the SD slot (and of course the DVD drive), the microphone and headphone jacks are in the back. That’s great for the Ethernet cable, which is what I use when at home, but for the USB ports it’s a slightly annoying sometimes. I haven’t used the HDMI or Mini DisplayPort yet so I don’t know if having the ports in the back will be good or bad. Lastly, this computer has excellent backlit keys, with 2 brightness settings (plus the off setting). The light shows through the letter on the key, as well as showing around the whole key itself. All in all I’m quite pleased with this machine.
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CNET Review: http://www.cnet.com/products/dell-xps-14z/
PC Mag Article: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2395124,00.asp
PCWorld Article: http://www.pcworld.com/product/1148860/dell-xps-14z-notebook.html