"The Dell XPS 15z leaves much to be desired."2.0 starson by Audiophile_At_Birth
Pros: The XPS 15z has excellent battery life for a 15" PC based notebook. It is surprisingly fast for a duo core(i7-2640M@2.8GHz, 8GB Ram). Comparable to the MBP, it is light weight for a 'metal' chassis and had a decent feel in construction. The Screen.
Cons: The chiclet keyboard leaves a lot to be desired and placement of the trackpad in regard to the keyboard can cause some issues. Typing can be an adventure with obvious driver quirks. Chrome aesthetics are a cheap joke for a $1500 notebook. Wireless?
Summary: After having my HP dv6000 crash on me for a second time (separation of video board from the bother board), it was time to look for a new computer as repairs would not have been worth it the second time around. I'm in college and take a majority of my notes on my computer and always carry my notebook around campus. As such, I needed a lightweight computer, with a sturdy design to hold up with the constant coming and going, with decent battery life and ergonomics. Being that I also run multiple CAD and GIS databases (ArcMap ArcDatabase) simultaneously with other programs such as the internet and iTunes, I needed a relatively quick computer as well.
After looking around and on a time crunch. I settled on the XPS 15z. It looked like the perfect computer for me on paper. However, after one weeks use, its going back. The keyboard requires an unnatural motion to type precisely and quickly. Driver quirks also have my cursor inserting in random places of a word document, ect. The constant stopping and correction leaves note taking and document composition an adventure. At first, I thought it was just me. Upon father research, many others have complained about the same thing. I have gotten used to the keyboard somewhat, but with as much as I type, acclamation has come and gone. The design and ergonomics out right stink on this notebook.
Wireless connectivity can be a bit odd at times. Connecting to various access points across campus and in local coffee shops takes a little longer. The only way I noticed is because I never had this issue with my old HP, which connected almost instantly to saved access points. This one take a while longer, almost too long that you think something is wrong and 'diagnosis' is taken by windows. After 2-5 minutes you should be good to go. Unacceptable to most, just a bit frustrating for me. Also connection and mbps seem to vary depending on location and type of wifi (b,g,n). I found myself in a few instances were I knew there was a strong signal, but showed none on the XPS 15z.
Although the overall construction of the notebook is relatively rigid, its apparent that Dell left out important attention to detail. Much like other users and reviewers have stated, the chrome accents is rough and unfinished. It is definitely not something you would hope not to find on a $1500 notebook. After a week of use, I can already tell the chrome trim surrounding the base of the notebook is going to peel and break apart. Yes, the chrome is plastic wrapped in 'chrome' paint. Not only that, it will come loose over time and either break or give your computer a cheap feel. Many owners have complained of the same issue as well. For a computer that sells itself as being comprised of a aluminum alloy and magnesium composite, it has a lot more plastic on it that one might think. Sure it keeps the weight down, but again, cheapens the feel of your computer. The lid has a solid feel to it and overall computer has a nice construction, yet little things leave you wanting more.
Slot loading drive has its quirks and my discs had issues ejecting at times. Eventually they came out. It is loud and noisy. It is also prone to vibrations if you move your computer around while the disc is spinning (for what ever reason you have too).
The track-pad has some quirks, as do most if not all windows based track pads. An optional mouse user will not notice, yet those on the go might find themselves sticking to the basics of functionality as two finger scrolling and pinch zoom is little spotty.
Its not all bad with the XPS 15z. It has very optimal performance for most. I was able to run multiple GIS databases and ArcMap as well as iTunes and a web browser simultaneously without issues. Data transfer rates between my multiple external HDD and the internal programs that use them was outstanding and I'm sure 3.0 USB helps considerably. The 1080p screen upgrade was well worth it. It is plenty bright enough and great for viewing HD videos over the web and streaming movies off of Netflix. The backlit keys are a nice touch as well to the design. Overall, it was nice to not have to worry about taking my AC adapter to school with me as battery life is right up there with the best in the industry. I averaged around five to six hours of use on power saver mode and the screen brightness turned all the way down. In this setting I was able to go my longest school day 9am to 6pm without plugging in once. This is with some web browsing, lots of note taking, and running my necessary GIS systems for my classes. I was impressed as my old HP had me plugging in after only a couple hours of use.
Although the XPS 15z performs admirably for all my computer uses at school and at home, its dumb design flaws, ergonomics, quirky drivers, and a cheapen feel has me sending this computer back to the store and looking for an alternative PC based notebook with a similar package and performance combination. The HP Envy 15 should be here tomorrow. At that point, I can continue to evaluate and search for the right computer to fit my needs.
I would not recommend this Dell XPS 15z to anyone of my friends or family. Although its a decent computer for most, those looking to do a lot of typing and writing 'on the go' as well as using the computer for operational/office programs for work or school such as I do, I suggest looking else where. There are better alternatives.