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)
There was a fair bit of hype surrounding the launch of Dell's XPS 15z (P12F), which centred on the concept of it being a thin-and-light competitor to Apple's MacBook Pro. Now that we've got our hands on it though, it's not as impressive as Dell made it out to be. Sure, it's a notebook that has a good configuration and speed, and it offers good value for money, but it also has tacky styling and an awful keyboard.
Undeniable similarities to the MacBook Pro
The XPS 15z is a 15.6in laptop that's slimmer than most large laptops and it weighs around 2.5kg. It's reminiscent of a MacBook Pro, and similarities between the two notebooks are numerous: the base has a sealed, curved design that tapers upward; there is a slot-loading DVD burner on the right side; all ports are on the left side, except for the network port on the rear and the audio ports on the right side. The keyboard and speakers, too, are almost identical in layout to the MacBook Pro, but the keys on the Dell are rounded and feel awful.
In fact, the backlit, chiclet keyboard is one of the most disappointing aspects of the XPS 15z; its keys feel shallow and lack adequate responsiveness, and the arrow keys, in particular, are small and feel awkward to use. Also, the eject button for the optical drive is treated as just another keyboard button nestled between the F12 and Insert keys — it would be better off in a corner position or, better yet, on its own above the keyboard somewhere.
Speakers with etched grilles flank the ends of the keyboard, as they do in the MacBook Pro, and this is one of the aspects of the laptop's design that we find tacky. We'd prefer the speakers to be laid out above the keyboard, which would also leave room for a number pad to be included. A ribbed hinge design also adds to the tackiness, as does the chrome trim around the edge of the base and touchpad. The touchpad itself is good though. It's large (100x53mm), comfortable to use and it supports gestures. We also like its soft left- and right-click buttons.
The Dell XPS 15z feels very solid overall and it doesn't creak or bend noticeably at the corners when you pick it up with one hand. However, because it has a slot-loading DVD burner in a relatively thin chassis (around 18mm), there is enough give in the chassis to make spinning discs rub against the body of the laptop when you pick it up. It's also a very loud DVD burner.
While the XPS 15z is a little lighter than a typical 15.6in laptop, this isn't something that's noticeable when you pick it up. That said, it feels well balanced and easy to handle. The hinges that hold the screen are strong and keep it perfectly in place at any angle, and the screen itself is vibrant and of high quality. It has a native resolution of 1920x1080, so it's good for watching movies, viewing photos and also for lining office documents side by side. Still, a resolution of 1920x1200 would be better. The screen is glossy, which means reflections could drive you crazy.
We're not fans of all the USB ports being on one side of the unit, as it leaves you with no option but to plug everything in on the left side, which can be particularly annoying if you're trying to use a corded mouse with your right hand — it's great for lefties though! It's not the first time we've seen this sort of design: the Sony VAIO SB laptop also has all of its USB ports on one side. We like the fact that you get two USB 3.0 ports, as well as one eSATA/USB 2.0 combo port; you also HDMI and Mini DisplayPort, as well as an SD card slot, Gigabit Ethernet, a 1.3-megapixel webcam, Bluetooth, 802.11n dual-band Wi-Fi (Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6230) and support for Intel Wi-Di (Wireless Display).
Join the PC World newsletter!
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Google Daydream VR headset
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Huawei Mate 9
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® Portable SSD
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Surface Pro 4
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Samsung's UHD Monitor covers 99.5 per cent of Adobe colour spectrum
- HP settles cases with inkjet cartridge vendors
- Study predicts PS3 will win the console war
- Samsung wave makes a splash at Mobile World Congress
- Sony returns to profit, cuts full-year loss forecast
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.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCSAP Consultant - SAP Native HANA to DesignWA
- TPAnalyst Workplace SupportVIC
- TPUI/UX ConsultantWA
- TPLinux Desktop Support SpecialistWA
- TPAgile CoachNSW
- CCProject SpecialistVIC
- CCTechnical Consultant - ITSM/HP Service ManagerNSW
- CCProject Support OfficerNSW
- TPTechnical Report EditorQLD
- FTMobile Gaming SupportQLD
- TPDrupal Developer - Immediate startQLD
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- FTMonitoring Tools Support l NimSoft , SMARTS, ehealth, TivoliNSW
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- FTSystem AdministratorNSW
- TPInformation Management SpecialistVIC
- TPWinforms DevelopersWA
- FTPresales Solutions ArchitectQLD
- TPBusiness Analyst - Technical BackgroundQLD
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)VIC
- FTBranch Practice Manager - SecurityQLD
- CCSQL Database Administrator (DBA)NSW
- FTSenior Technical Consultant - SQLACT
- TPSenior Network EngineerWA
- FTOnline Solutions AnalystNSW