In case you missed the news, Dell finally pulled the curtain off its long-awaited XPS 15z, the plus-size successor to the Adamo family. You can order one right now for $999.99.
Dell's new baby isn't quite as slim or lightweight as I expected, although it's still not a bad deal for the money. The starting price gets you a 2.3GHz Core i5-2410M processor, 6GB of system memory, GeForce GT 525M discrete graphics with Optimus switching technology and a gig of dedicated RAM, a 500GB 7,200-RPM hard drive, a slot-loading DVD burner, Bluetooth, USB 3.0, and a 64 WHr battery. Disappointingly, the 15.6" display only has a 1366x768 resolution. Dell offers an upgrade to 1920x1080 for only an extra $100, though, which is pretty much a no-brainer.
That brings us to the build. Again, I don't see what all the hype surrounding the 15z's Adamo roots is all about. We're talking about a one-inch-thick laptop that tips the scales at 5.54 lbs—not a razor-thin, feather-light wonder of engineering. Perhaps the hype has more to do with the machine's aluminum enclosure, which is admittedly not typical of Dell's other mobile offerings. In a way, the XPS 15z could be considered a low-cost alternative to Apple's 15" MacBook Pro. The Apple laptop is about as thick and heavy, and it, too, couples a Sandy Bridge processor with a discrete GPU. (Of course, the MacBook also costs twice as much and packs a quad-core CPU alongside Thunderbolt and FireWire connectivity.)
Some reviews of the 15z have already gone up, including this one at PC Mag that praises almost everything about the machine, save for the allegedly loud cooling fans. The site got a commendable 6.4 hours of battery life out of the 15z in MobileMark 2007, as well, better than the 15" MacBook Pro's 4.7 hours. I'm guessing the combination of a power-efficient dual-core CPU, Optimus switchable graphics, and 64 Wh battery can be thanked for that longevity.