Dell's New XPS Lineup Of Ultrabooks Look Great, Perform Well
June 26, 2012

Dell’s New XPS Lineup Of Ultrabooks Look Great, Perform Well

John Neumann for

Dell has announced a couple of new additions to its ultrabook and near-ultrabook line of  high-end XPS laptop series named XPS 14 and XPS 15. These two new computers join the current XPS 13 in a more pleasing design and propelling Dell toward thinner, snazzier ultrabook-style mobile laptops.

The earlier, 13-inch XPS was made of machined aluminum with a tapered design mimicking Apple´s MacBook Air. The XPS 14, and its big brother, the also-new XPS 15, are similar, but not identical, reports CNET.

The aluminum outer chassis in the new XPS 14 and 15 is combined with a magnesium alloy wrist rest and a soft-touch silicon bottom panel. These larger XPS laptops are more slablike, rather than tapered, more like the MacBook Pro than the Air, from the matte aluminum finish to the black backlit keyboard to the large one-piece click pad.

The first impression when opening up the XPS 14 is how high-quality everything feels. The body, the keys, the screen all feel rock solid and very premium. When turned on, boot times are quick, under 22 seconds, the screen is bright and beautiful, and the battery lasted an entire day with normal use, reports Adrian Covert for Gizmodo.

The XPS 14 performed admirably. Opening 50 or so tabs in Chrome, the machine was still able to play back a Vimeo video in full screen HD. The speed and responsiveness of the Ivy Bridge chip was impressive.

The base XPS 14 will come with a 1600×900 display, an Intel Core i5 processor with HD 4000 GPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive, writes Ben Kersey for SlashGear. The options list includes the ability to bump the CPU up to a Core i7, the RAM up to 8GB, add in NVIDIA´s GT 630M GPU, and swap out the standard hard drive for a 512GB SSD at the top end.

Ports for the laptop includes two USB 3.0, HDMI, DisplayPort, Ethernet, and an SD card slot. Overall thickness is 0.81-inches, and all in all it weighs around 4.6 lbs.

Windows-based laptops over the past few years have seen issues with the finer points of its trackpad performance and the XPS 14 is no different. Not only does the trackpad have a sticky feel to it, but it´s tough to find the zones to consistently register left and right clicks without having to really think about it. It´s not debilitating but the primary point of contact for such a machine should feel more natural.

The bigger brother of the XPS lineup, the 15-inch version adds an optical drive and a few additional ports, but thickness increases to 0.91-inches and weight bumps up to 5.79 lbs. The base configuration comes with a Core i5 processor, NVIDIA GT 630M GPU, 6GB of RAM, 1920×1080 display and a 500GB hard drive with a DVD optical drive.

The maxed out XPS 15 includes a quad-core Core i7 processor, NVIDIA GT 640M graphics, 16GB of RAM, 1TB of storage plus a 128GB mSATA, and a Blu-ray drive.

Both the XPS 14 and 15 are available to order now with the 14 pricing from $1,099, while the XPS 15 will start at $1,299. If you spec out both models to their maximum, expect the price to hit a cool $1,999.