Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

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Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:18 pm

Aside from the general fact that it's Dell, of course :-)

I need (well, 'want') a new laptop, and the criteria (more-or-less in order of importance/priority) are:
- 'reasonably' small-and-light - I've decided on a 14" screen as the maximum size so that it will easily fit into my motorcycle saddlebags (hey; priorities...)
- the above-mentioned 14" screen will NOT have 1366x768 resolution - 1440x900 is the minimum
- fast i7/i5 CPU (so much for all of you who think I'm an AMD fanboi)
- DisplayPort output - I have two beautiful HP 30" displays that I will NOT let go to waste
- 8 GB memory
- 500 GB HD (SSD is nice, but not willing to pay that much extra for it - as a boot drive, sure)
- HDMI output
- backlit keyboard (preferably non-chiclet)
- 'adequate' graphics - I'm not going to play games on this. Not any games. It's a work machine.

The XPS 14 pretty much meets all of those criteria except the keyboard. But I'm open to suggestions.
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:39 pm

Would an Ultrabook fit your needs? Dell's new one just arrived.
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:57 am

Dell calls the XPS 14 an Ultrabook, but I don't consider it one. Which model are you talking about?
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:10 am

Any of the 13.3" ultrabooks that don't have a 1366*768 panel, like the Samsung Series 9, Asus Zenbook UX31E, and Asus Zenbook UX31A.
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:54 am

grantmeaname wrote:Any of the 13.3" ultrabooks that don't have a 1366*768 panel, like the Samsung Series 9, Asus Zenbook UX31E, and Asus Zenbook UX31A.
That's what I chose. So far, the Asus Zenbook UX32VD has impressed me. Moving from a gaming DTR like my old G50Vt is quite a difference.
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:12 am

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Last edited by clone on Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:33 am

Not that my opinion carries much weight, but I have been heavily researching larger "ultrabooks," and the Dell XPS 14 is on my short-list of potential models to buy. I am waiting for review of this model from Gigabyte before making up my mind:

http://www.gigabyte.us/products/product ... id=4209#kf
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:41 am

I don't know how soon you need one, but I wouldn't be a Vizio fanboy if I didn't point out their PCs on the way.

They will probably fit your technical needs, but the price might be a little high...
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:01 am

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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:02 am

Well, which Dell are you talking about?

The XPS 14: http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-14-l421x/pd
The XPS 14z: http://www.dell.com/us/p/inspiron-14z-5423/pd

Oh, no, wait, I see, you don't like the screen on the 14z.

The wife has a 14z. It's really quite nice. The keyboard isn't typical laptop fare on that one but it's actually rather nice. SSD makes it rather zippy and it's pretty light. The 14 seems pretty close--you'd probably like it. If you don't, tell Dell you're going to return it and they might offer you a 10% rebate to keep it.
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:41 am

DancinJack wrote:How about a T430s?
I thought about suggesting that (the optional 1600x900 display isn't trumpeted for the model like it should be, so it's easy to overlook, just like the why-is-it-optional backlit keyboard), and the Ultrabay options (extra battery, extra HD) are nice, but the top CPU available for configuration at Lenovo.com is an i3-2370M; yet there are lots of reviews around that quote i7s (and Thunderbolt!) in the latest model, so I'm not sure what's going on. (BTW, for anyone ordering from Lenovo, RAM and HD/SSD upgrade prices are stupidly high and it's trivially easy to open one up and upgrade it yourself, so buy the minimum and then hit NewEgg for a SODIMM and upgraded storage). Unfortunately the "island" / chicklet keyboard infection has reached Lenovo now too, though by all accounts their version is better than most.
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:54 am

UberGerbil wrote:..., but the top CPU available for configuration at Lenovo.com is an i3-2370M;


Nah, the model with "enhanced graphics" has the option for an i5 or i7.

http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/cont ... FA956B4E9A
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:34 am

Well, I just received my XPS 14 yesterday! So far my only complaint is the keyboard doesn't have a Pause/break button and page up/down and home/end keys require the function button.
Other than that its great. Very solid construction. Great battery life (Reporting 8hrs 32min at 95% at the moment, though batterybar will probably need a few cycles to get it spot on i guess)
I've heard a few complaints about the screen but it's nowhere near as bad as some have said. Viewing angles are better than my M11x anyway.

If you've got any specific questions about it I'll be glad to answer if I can. Or try the notebookreview forums, they have a thread specifically for the new XPS 14 there.

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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:51 am

UberGerbil wrote:
DancinJack wrote:How about a T430s?
I thought about suggesting that (the optional 1600x900 display isn't trumpeted for the model like it should be, so it's easy to overlook, just like the why-is-it-optional backlit keyboard), and the Ultrabay options (extra battery, extra HD) are nice, but the top CPU available for configuration at Lenovo.com is an i3-2370M; yet there are lots of reviews around that quote i7s (and Thunderbolt!) in the latest model, so I'm not sure what's going on. (BTW, for anyone ordering from Lenovo, RAM and HD/SSD upgrade prices are stupidly high and it's trivially easy to open one up and upgrade it yourself, so buy the minimum and then hit NewEgg for a SODIMM and upgraded storage). Unfortunately the "island" / chicklet keyboard infection has reached Lenovo now too, though by all accounts their version is better than most.
I'd get a used/refurbished t420 and get the better keyboard. Do this now while you can still get your hands on them in "like new" condition.
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:32 pm

DeadOfKnight wrote:I'd get a used/refurbished t420 and get the better keyboard. Do this now while you can still get your hands on them in "like new" condition.


Any evidence the T420 has a better keyboard than the T430? Chiclet styling alone means nothing. Lenovo has improved the keyboard from T61 to T400 to T410 to T420, I see no reason why they shouldn't keep improving. Personally I'd be more concerned about the touchpad, the T420 is bad, I hope the T430 is better.
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:52 pm

Washer wrote:
DeadOfKnight wrote:I'd get a used/refurbished t420 and get the better keyboard. Do this now while you can still get your hands on them in "like new" condition.


Any evidence the T420 has a better keyboard than the T430? Chiclet styling alone means nothing. Lenovo has improved the keyboard from T61 to T400 to T410 to T420, I see no reason why they shouldn't keep improving. Personally I'd be more concerned about the touchpad, the T420 is bad, I hope the T430 is better.

Lenovo could make their chiclet keys better than all other chiclet keys with a decent contour, spacing, travel, switch quality, high grade plastics, and minimum flex and I still don't see how it could possibly be any better than their T420 series keyboard. ThinkPads being known for great keyboards and taking this long to jump on the chiclet keyboard train should say something to you. Maybe it's just my opinion, I don't like chiclet keys. Even Apple's chiclet keyboards are garbage IMO. The chiclet keyboards look nice in pictures and on display at best buy, but they've never been comfortable for me.
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:23 am

grantmeaname wrote:Any of the 13.3" ultrabooks that don't have a 1366*768 panel, like the Samsung Series 9, Asus Zenbook UX31E, and Asus Zenbook UX31A.


Samsung Series 9 - no DisplayPort
Asus Zenbook UX31E - no DisplayPort
Asus Zenbook UX31A - no DisplayPort

Thanks anyway :-)
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:40 am

You're too good to use a mini-DP adapter that costs $4?

:roll:
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:12 pm

And plugs into what? Those systems only have HDMI, which isn't going to drive my ZR30W.

I actually went to the Lenovo site to price a system, and kept getting frustrated by missing information and dead links. After about 30 min, I gave up.

I'll order the XPS 14 tomorrow.
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:12 pm

dpaus wrote:And plugs into what? Those systems only have HDMI, which isn't going to drive my ZR30W.

I actually went to the Lenovo site to price a system, and kept getting frustrated by missing information and dead links. After about 30 min, I gave up.

I'll order the XPS 14 tomorrow.


:( I'll do it for you, seriously.

Description
ThinkPad T430s - 1 Year Topeseller Express Depot Warranty
Intel Core i5-3320M Processor (3M Cache, up to 3.30 GHz)
Genuine Windows 7 Professional (64 bit)
14.0" HD+ (1600 x 900) LED Backlit Anti-Glare Display
Intel HD Graphics 4000 with Intel Core i5-3320M Processor
Total memory: 4 GB PC3-12800 DDR3 (1 DIMM)
Keyboard Backlit - US English
500GB Hard Disk Drive, 5400rpm
DVD Recordable
Express Card Slot
6 Cell Lithium Battery T81+
90W AC Adapter - US (2pin)
ThinkPad 1x1 b/g/n


Total $917.15

Like someone suggested earlier, I also suggest you do your own RAM upgrade. They charge far too much. You could also just leave the HDD as the base model, buy a SSD to put in this baby, and use the HDD that comes with the system in an external enclosure for portable storage!
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:06 am

dpaus wrote:And plugs into what? Those systems only have HDMI, which isn't going to drive my ZR30W.

Sorry, I misread the specs sheet. HDMI has supported 2560*1600 and higher since the 1.3 revision released in early 2006. So if you got an adapter you could drive your ZR30W. They are available for $4 on Monoprice.

Do what you want. It's not gonna hurt my feelings if you order a different ultrabook. The XPS 14 looks nice.
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:43 am

Whatever you get, make sure you post your impressions, likes/dislikes. It's been a while since I actually handled a Dell laptop so I wonder what the build quality and keyboard / screens are like on the latest models.
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:48 am

Seconded! I'm curious how they've been since I got mine in 2009.
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:27 am

DeadOfKnight wrote:Lenovo could make their chiclet keys better than all other chiclet keys with a decent contour, spacing, travel, switch quality, high grade plastics, and minimum flex and I still don't see how it could possibly be any better than their T420 series keyboard. ThinkPads being known for great keyboards and taking this long to jump on the chiclet keyboard train should say something to you. Maybe it's just my opinion, I don't like chiclet keys. Even Apple's chiclet keyboards are garbage IMO. The chiclet keyboards look nice in pictures and on display at best buy, but they've never been comfortable for me.

Agree with every word of this. Main reason I'm hanging on to my T420s is the keyboard.
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:53 pm

UberGerbil wrote:Whatever you get, make sure you post your impressions, likes/dislikes. It's been a while since I actually handled a Dell laptop so I wonder what the build quality and keyboard / screens are like on the latest models.


The Latitudes I buy for work are pretty nice. The screens are better then Lenovo screens, and keyboards are pretty decent. The keyboards are tighter and bouncier then Lenovo keyboards. They're still smooth, but they're not buttery smooth.

The build quality is good. Every once in a while I'll get one that could have been QCed a little bit more, but nothing major. A squeaky palmrest, and a pair of optical drives that were a little loose from some reason.

I don't like how they're 15.6" laptops are the size of 17" laptops from a few years ago, and they've crammed a 104-key keyboard in them. The keyboard offsets my hands to the left.
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:52 pm

The Latitudes were always better-built than the Inspirons IME, as you typically see with "business" vs "consumer" models.
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:06 pm

SWMBO has a Latitude E6410, bought off the outlet last year. It still has nice build quality too, but as you noted that doesn't necessarily mean a lot for consumer laptops.

A friend of mine has an XPS 13 that I got to play with. I thought the build quality on it was absolutely incredible.
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Fri Jul 27, 2012 7:25 pm

UberGerbil wrote:The Latitudes were always better-built than the Inspirons IME, as you typically see with "business" vs "consumer" models.


This is true, but being better built then the Inspirons doesn't mean they weren't junk in the past. Dell has really raised their game, and the former gold standard, Thinkpads, have started to show the effects of not being owned by IBM. Apple is pretty much the gold standard now.

My wife's 6 year old Inspiron is holding up really well. The hinges are loose, but everything else is in good shape.
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Re: Any reason I shouldn't buy a Dell XPS 14?

Postposted on Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:45 pm

I've become a huge fan of HP's recent offerings. Take a look at the Envy Spectre.

http://shopping.hp.com/en_US/home-office/-/products/Laptops/HP-ENVY/B2H09AV?HP-ENVY-14t-3100-SPECTRE-Notebook-PC

HP's quality on their laptops really have a slick feel to them. I went with a bohemoth 17.3" w/ an Nvidia 650GT and I've been thrilled with the performance.
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