Laptop Thoughts: News & Reviews on Laptops, Netbooks, Slates, and More.

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All posts tagged "dell"

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dell Expands Flagship XPS Line: Adds XPS 14 & XPS 15

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Dell Laptops & Netbooks" @ 10:30 AM

“Following the success of our XPS 13, our customers wanted to see more of the XPS brand,” said Sam Burd, vice president, Dell Personal Computing Product Group. “The XPS 14 and 15 laptops offer powerful performance, thoughtful design and a superb user experience, along with enterprise-friendly features so you can use them for work and for play.”

To complement their existing XPS 13 Ultrabook, Dell has added 14-inch and 15-inch XPS models.

Touting the XPS 14 as having "up to 11 hours of (8-cell, non-replaceable, 69WhH) battery life," it has an aluminum chassis and a silicone base, Intel Core i5 or i7 processor options, 4GB RAM standard (8GB max), 14-inch 400 nit HD+ edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass WLED display, a backlit chiclet spill-resistant keyboard, and optional high-performance graphics. A wide variety of options are available, including Intel's RapidStart and SmartResponse (startup, hibernate and caching improvements) technology, using a traditional hard drive plus a 32GB mSata card to achieve SSD-like performance. A 512GB SSD option is offered. There is a mobile broadband (WAN) option that adds a back leather back to improve radio performance. Interesting that Dell offers an "Ultrabook configuration" even though the XPS 14 weighs in at just under 5-pounds (2.1kg).

The 5.8-pound (2.6kg) XPS 15 has an aluminum chassis with a silicone base, a 9-cell 65WhH battery ("up to 8 hours, 11 minutes" battery life), an edge-to-edge 15.6-inch 350 nit Gorilla Glass WLED screen, a choice of Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, 6GB RAM standard (16GB max), NVIDIA Optimus graphics, a backlit chiclet spill-resistant keyboard, and an option for a slot-loading Blu-ray disc drive. Curiously, there appears to be no SSD-only option from Dell for the XPS 15, at least in their press release.

The XPS 14 pricing starts at $1099, and the XPS 15 starts at $1299, with both models available now.

Tags: dell, xps, xps 15, xps 14

Monday, January 23, 2012

Dell Admits That Slim Is In

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 04:00 PM

"The company just announced the XPS 13, which weighs in at a shade less than three pounds (2.99, to be exact) and has a wedge profile that tapers from .71 inches to .24 (18 to 6mm). With a starting price of $1,000, it sports an aluminum lid and carbon fiber chassis -- a material we wish more Ultrabook makers would incorporate. Though it has a 13-inch screen, it's the kind of panel with bezels so narrow that Dell was able to build a chassis small enough for a 12-inch system."

It is hard to believe that the start of the ultra thin laptop rage started way back in 2008. While there certainly excessively thin laptops before the Macbook Air, the Air caught the attention of the consumer market in droves. It is four, yes, four years later, and Dell has put forward their latest competitor. If you are into thin, but not an Apple fan, Engadget's quick overview may give you the information you need. While I personally like the idea of laptops light enough that I can carry, I await the day that they carry more graphics punch. What about you?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kindle Fire Creating Switchers Amongst Manufacturers?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 05:30 PM

"Amazon did more than just throw down the gauntlet when it announced its $200 Kindle Fire tablet, the e-tailer may have also scared off some of the competition altogether. Oddly enough, the Kindle Fire might actually help Microsoft increase its presence in the mobile market, as OEMs look to Windows 8-based slates in order to avoid a price war among Android tablets."

Interesting conjecture, that rather than trying to continue to compete in the cut-throat Android tablet space, some manufacturers are considering switching to (building) Windows 8 tablets to target more "business" customers. RIM tried this with the PlayBook, but with a product that was great in concept, but short on execution. Even current Android tablet makers are cutting prices to try to compete with Amazon. But $199?

Dell and HP are two manufacturers mentioned by name, with Dell maybe a real possibility, but HP seems to have totally lost credibility in the market with the TouchPad debacle. Months back, I ordered an HP Slate 500 tablet running Windows 7 when it was announced, but gave up and cancelled my order after they couldn't deliver a tablet more than two months after it was supposedly shipping. And, it was $799, not $199.

The Kindle Fire is going to be a game changer, if Amazon can meet the demand. I've got an iPhone and an iPad, but I ordered one, just because.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Inspiron Zs Get Technology Upgrade

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 02:30 PM

"The new 14z combines sizzling performance, rich features, and chic design in a sleek, take anywhere laptop, whether it’s for taking notes in class, or communicating with family across the country. No matter the application, the new Inspiron z laptop is packed with some of the latest technology, and can handle the task. Combining 2nd generation Intel® CoreTM i3 and Core i5 processor options, HD (720p) display, and excellent battery life, the Inspiron z is ideal for school papers, company reports, mobile entertainment, keeping in touch with friends and pursuing your passions."

Dell has updated its Inspiron Z series of laptops. The most obvious upgrade will be the use of the latest generation Core i3 and i5 CPUs. As typical with Dell, you get the ability to offer all manner of customization options for your new laptop, and the prices are what you would expect for a laptop, er, notebook, of this class. I still wish they would offer a higher resolution display, but the ability to add USB 3.0 is a nicer and more practical option.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dell Vostro V131: Thin and Powerful for Business

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Dell Laptops & Netbooks" @ 11:00 PM

"TORONTO, August 11, 2011 – Dell today introduced the Vostro V131, a thin, powerful, and sleek addition to the award-winning Vostro laptop line. As one of the lightest and thinnest products in the Vostro portfolio, the Vostro V131 is designed specifically for small business customers. An ultrathin, ultra-stylish chassis houses up to Intel® Core i3 and i5 processors, making the Vostro V131 a portable powerhouse engineered to maximize business productivity. A removable 6-cell battery with 2nd generation Intel Core processors, both available as an option, will deliver up to 9.5 hours of battery life[i], allowing users to work virtually anytime, anywhere."

Targeting enterprise customers, the V131 is Dell's latest ultrathin Vostro, with a choice of i3 and i5 processors, and a optional 9-cell battery providing up to 9.5-hours of use. Sounds like a good road-warrior system. And Dell has an option for a backlit keyboard, so this goes on my short list for replacing my Dell D430. Availability is listed by Dell as September in the USA, with a starting price of about $499, and, as is usual for Dell, options abound.

Tags: dell, vostro, v131

Dell Inspiron 14z Hands-on

Posted by Jake Ludington in "Dell Laptops & Netbooks" @ 07:00 PM

"Yes, you can get a sexy full-powered notebook for a double dip recession-friendly price tag. Dell has announced the Inspiron 13z and 14z, two stylish laptops featuring second-gen Intel Core processors, a chassis less than an inch thick, and a starting price of $599."

Knowing Ultrabooks are coming from most manufacturers in the 2011 holiday season makes everything else seem enormous by comparison. Yet Dell has done an admittedly good job keeping the size down on the Inspiron Z series, without compromising on features. With a 14-inch 1366x768 screen and second generation Intel Core i3, starting at $599 base price, the Inspiron 14z makes a solid back-to-school laptop or effective workaday laptop for those of us who simply need to browse the web and check some email. At the top end, the Inspiron 14z maxes out with a 2.3GHz Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 750GB hard drive, for only $200 more.

Friday, July 22, 2011

iPad, TouchPad, ThinkPad or Windows: And the Business Winner is?

Posted by John London in "Laptop Thoughts Articles & Resources" @ 01:30 PM

"This week, Good Technology released numbers indicating that the iPad was outdistancing Android-based products for the enterprise, but it didn't track the RIM Playbook or HP TouchPad, which are two products that specifically target the enterprise. In addition, the ThinkPad isn’t shipping yet and it might be the best shot Android has in getting into the enterprise."

I haven't worked in the corporate sector for a few years now, so I haven't thought much about this, but tablets invading the work force in a big way. With Apple's overwhelmingly successful iPad one would have thought it was a no brainer. It turns out that, considering most corporations use Microsoft solutions, it was closer than I thought. One reason could be because the corporate force needs productivity tools that the iPad can't yet provide. The iPad is a great media device (I just spent a few hours on one over the past week), however, it's not like it can replace the laptop for productivity.

That might change one day as businesses start requesting more productivity tools from the development community. And that's the twist coming from the article. Windows 8 on the tablet is not to far away, (business time that is) so the tablet market will really heat up sometime next year. The unknown right now is the HP Touchpad because of the large corporate sector they have pull in.

Android seems to be having problems right now and until the issues are fixed, corporations are looking to steer clear for now. Having worked in a large corporation I have my thoughts on which tablet will eventually win out. And, at this point, I reserve the right to speak. 2012 will shape up nicely for the tablet in the business sector and which tablet will win out is anyone's guess at this point. I would like to hear what your company in terms of tablets is doing, and why?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

LAPTOP's Tech Support Showdown 2011: The Worst and the Best Tech Support

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts Articles & Resources" @ 03:31 PM

"Who wouldn't jump at the chance to wait on hold only to barely understand the person on the other end? And why wouldn't you want to conduct a live chat with a tech support rep who asks you a million questions before addressing your issue? Fortunately, not all laptop tech support is bad, and knowing who's good could tip the balance during your next shopping trip."

I'll spoil the surprise for you: Apple is at the top, with Dell and Samsung fairly close behind. The latter two have improved a great deal since the last report, so it looks like someone is paying attention. Do your own experiences with the companies in this report match up with the results? From my perspective, the 22 minute average call time for Dell seems rosy - I'd venture my calls with Dell are always 45 minutes or more...and usually rt 15 minutes of that are my call being transferred from one department to another while someone tries to figure out who can assist me. About 20% of the time, said transfer disconnects my call, which means I have to start over again. I am not fond of Dell tech support, though once I get to the right person, they usually help me with a fair degree of competence.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dell XPS 15z: Getting Closer, Still Not There

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Dell Laptops & Netbooks" @ 09:00 AM

"For years, Dell's been teasing supermodel-thin laptops, each one flawed out of the gate: too pricey, too underpowered, and with underwhelming battery life. This time, Dell told us we'd get something different: a laptop without compromise. Recently, Round Rock killed off the Adamo and nixed the XPS 14, and then rumors started to spin -- a spiritual successor would be the slimmest 15.6-inch notebook we'd ever seen, be crafted from "special materials" and yet cost less than $1,000. Dell even stated that it would have an "innovative new form factor" of some sort."

Dell's ultimate cost-saving decisions (like attention to detail) make this a laptop that has some big positives, but also some big negatives. Trying for a MacBookPro-look, Dell has superficially succeeded, but the laptop's build quality (construction) appears to be somewhat flimsy, with even moderately heavy use of the keyboard causing flexing, and even causing some restriction in the internal cooling. A good backlit keyboard is somewhat negated by the heat emitted under the WASD keys. A good but glossy screen, can be upgraded to 1920x1080 (1080p) for $150. Speakers are robust enough to fill a room, but one of the comments referred to the grills as looking like "cheese graters." While not designed as a game-playing system, processor and video (choices) easily handle many of the less-intense titles. Battery life leaves something to be desired, with results of various test scenarios getting about 3.5-4.5 hours of use. Of course, Dell also adds lots of bloatware, but it's easily removable.

This is a laptop that I both love and hate. I love that it's "borrowed" some of the best features from Apple, but hate the fact that they appear have made compromises to keep the cost down, lessening the overall quality of the system. Still, for the $999 price this system will probably make it into my Top Ten list to replace my aging Dell D430 laptop.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Flip Your Designer Lid with the Dell Inspiron 17R

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Dell Laptops & Netbooks" @ 12:30 PM

"Can you really get a good big-screen multimedia laptop for under a grand? Yes, and the Dell Inspiron 17R is exhibit A. This 17-inch notebook combines a vibrant 1600 x 900 screen with a second-generation Intel Core i5-2410M CPU, an Nvidia GeForce GT525M graphics card, and a Blu-ray player--all for $899."

Dell's Inspiron 17R is a lot of computer for $899. Not exactly light, at 7.2-pounds, or 7.6-pounds with a 9-cell battery, has: a good keyboard with a full number pad and touchpad; a crisp, clear, but glossy LCD with WiDi (need an adapter from Netgear at $79) to output wirelessly to an HD TV; decent graphics; very good audio; the usual complement of ports, including two USB 3.0; Blu-Ray Player; HD webcam; good cooling for the top of the laptop, but a bit less cooling underneath; decent gaming performance; slow boot performance; very good battery life of over 4-hours with the standard 6-cell battery, and over 7-hours with the 9-cell battery upgrade; and average wireless performance. For the price, an outstanding value! And, if you don't like the looks, you can easily change the cover.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dell Offers Teaser Video for XPS 15Z

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Dell Laptops & Netbooks" @ 08:30 AM

"Dell killed off the Adamo line, but it's not giving up on making ultrathin premium notebooks. The company has created a Facebook page for a sleek new consumer laptop called the Dell XPS 15z. The machine sports a 15.6-inch screen, machine metaled speaker grilles, and a razor-thin profile. The laptop will reportedly give shoppers a choice of second-gen Core i5 or i7 processors, so you won't have to sacrifice speed for a svelte look."

Interesting teaser video, with quick partial glimpses of what's to come. No substantial details, but the chiclet-style keyboard hints look good (possibly backlit?), the edges seem to be rounded, the bottom beveled, and it appears that there are speakers flanking the keyboard. The back appears to extend further back behind the screen hinges, possibly due to a larger battery, so the form factor should be "sleek." Are we seeing the emergence of a very light multimedia laptop?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dell Tries Slim, Again

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 01:30 PM

"Dell will introduce a sleek new laptop in the coming weeks--the first in a line designed in the spirit of the company's erstwhile Adamo brand, according to sources close to Dell. The new line will debut at 15.6 inches and be the thinnest in this class of laptops, according to the sources. Dell's initial model will pack the latest Intel "Sandy Bridge" Core i5 and Core i7 processors, have a high-resolution display, and be crafted from special materials--all for less than $1,000."

When the Dell Adamo first came out, I almost liked it. It was thin and stylish. However, with integrated graphics and the price tag higher than the GDP of Canada, it was just a pipe dream. It looks like Dell is at it again, and this time, the situation is different. While I suspect that it will still feature integrated graphics, the price tag, at less than $1000, might make it an impulse purchase. Of course, even with the Canadian dollar over par with the US dollar, I am sure that I will be paying some sort of premium. You can never win!

Tags: hardware, dell, adamo

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dell Latitude E6420: A New Workhorse for the Enterprise

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Dell Laptops & Netbooks" @ 10:00 PM

"Dell's Latitude line has long been a favorite of businesses large and small because of its strong performance, good pricing, and long battery life. With the new 14-inch Latitude E6420, Dell has added a strong dose of style and durability to this tried and true formula, using a new Tri-Metal design with a durable magnesium frame that's built to stand up to abuse. Inside, the E6420 packs a punch, thanks to a second-generation Core i5 processor. Still, the $1,361 price tag for our configuration is a bit steep--even when you factor in the touchscreen. Is this Latitude worth it?"

The new space age Latitude E6420 is a strange beast. The traditional Latitude market is the enterprise, but this system "as tested" included a touchscreen, still a bit taboo in today's offices because of the potential for increased support. Fortunately this is an option. The system otherwise is a bit heavy but rock-solid, rugged, and MIL-STD 810G-tested. With a choice of processors, the machine is a screamer, while not frying the user, with average display and sound, a great spill-proof keyboard, touchpad and pointing stick, and, a 9-cell battery that gets about 9:00 hours of use on LAPTOP's battery test. Configurations start at $699, with a 1600x900 video option adding $79, and a 1366x768 touchscreen option adding $99. Pretty expensive (when maxed-out) for a 14-inch laptop, but it does come with a 3-year warranty from Dell, and not a lot of bloatware pre-loaded.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Alienware M11x R3, M14x and M18x Prepare for Landing

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Dell Laptops & Netbooks" @ 03:30 PM

"Today our Alienware team is redefining mobile gaming - again - with three new, all-powerful laptops, the enhanced Alienware M11x R3, the new M14x and the soon to be available M18x."

Proving that there is still a lively market for desktop-replacement, game-playing laptops, Dell has announced their next generation of Alienware powerhouses. The massive M18x touts itself as "most powerful 18-inch gaming laptop in the universe," and is a superb desktop replacement. An overclocked Intel Core i7 Extreme is housed within an aluminum chasis, and dual graphics drive the 18.4-inch LCD with 1920x1200 resolution. The M14x and M11x R3 offer loads of power in more mobile form, and add either Intel WiMAX or Verizon LTE technology. Game players rejoice! Dell and Alienware are alive and well!

Prepare to Welcome Your Alienware Overlords

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 02:30 PM

"After creating the world's smallest gaming laptop with the M11x and one of the most powerful with the M17x, Alienware has decided to split the difference with its new 14-inch M14x. Like its larger and smaller siblings, this notebook has many of the features Alienware is known for--powerful graphics, snazzy design, a multicolored backlit keyboard, and neat extras such as built-in Wireless HD."

Normally, if you want to experience high-end gaming, you have to cart around a laptop that weighs more than a baby. There are more mobile solutions, but they tend to make a few compromises, especially when you get into the multra-mobile sector. The 17" to 20" benemoths give you everything you could possibly want, and the next step down tends to be those in the 15"-16" range. Stepping just slightly smaller is the M14X. The slightly smaller size does afford a few benefits being a lighter and more portable, and without many compromises. I only wish it has a 1080p matte screen. Still, for gaming on the go, it is hard to do any better (or pricier) than Alienware. I will just keep lusting after them for when my investment in lottery tickets pays off.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A 10" Dell Android Tablet is Coming

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 05:00 AM

"Today I have learned through another source at Dell that the company does have a 10-inch [Android] tablet that is expected sooner, possibly as early as June."

Forbes got some info on new Dell tablets on the way. At first it was expected they would not release an Android tablet until 2012. Now it turns out a 10" Android tablet could be released in June! Now the Dell Streak 5" and 7" only have 480x800 resolution screens so that really makes them questionable as tablets. They also only run Froyo for now. If Dell turns things around with the 10" and go with at least a 1280x800 display we could have a real contender on our hands. It will at least be running Honeycomb so that's a good start. Dell sells a lot of computers so if they start getting serious about Android I think that's a good thing for Android in general! I also wonder if Dell wouldn't be the one to really start a tablet price war. Everyone could benefit from that! What are your thoughts on a Dell Android tablet?

Friday, April 8, 2011

That Sweet Sound is Coming from Your Laptop

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 02:00 PM

Every time we review a notebook, we test out its speakers by playing a few tunes and videos–and usually come away unimpressed. But laptop makers are now paying a lot more attention to both volume and fidelity, in some cases touting sound quality as a reason to buy their wares. With that in mind, we rounded up four systems that boast enhanced audio capabilities.

A few years ago, if someone told me that one should expect excellent sound through a laptop, I would have laughed at them. Then stop, take a breath, and laugh some more. Things have changed recently, part of which I think is driven by the increasing use of computers as media terminals for watching movies and music. While I still sincerely doubt that any laptop short of what would be classified as a "transportable computer" could have sound comparable to a proper stereo, they have improved. Unfortunately, to benefit from this, you still appear to have to choose one of the bigger laptops. I imagine this is probably a physical and technical limitation rather than a conscious choice by manufacturers. Still, I find that excluding bass, most laptops, even really light and tiny ones will generally provide "good enough" sound for casual listening. What about you? Are you picky about your listening environment, or do things like stock earbuds and netbook audio do just fine?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dell Updates Vostro 3000 Lineup With Sandy Bridge

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Dell Laptops & Netbooks" @ 09:30 PM

"Not another business laptop updated with Sandy Bridge processors! We know, it's getting a bit repetitive at this point, but what if we told you this group blends together some awesome features and won't cost you more than $600?"

Dell has gotten praise for their Vostro 3000 lineup, and now, at no increase in price, the 13-inch, 14-inch, 15-inch and 17.3-inch Vostros all contain Intel Sandy Bridge processors. More power (i3,i5,i7), better battery life, and all models start at $600 or less. I really like the backlit keyboard, use of aluminum, matte screen, improved keyboard, and improved sound. If Dell can keep their quality consistent (high), they may have another winner here!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Upgraded Dell XPS 15: The Perfect Notebook?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Dell Laptops & Netbooks" @ 11:00 PM

"When we last reviewed the Dell XPS 15, we praised the notebook's strong performance, best-in-class audio, and colorful screen. Now Dell has upgraded its premium 15-incher with Intel's second-generation Core Series processors and Nvidia GeForce GT 500 series graphics, which promise even better performance. We had a chance to test out a high-end $1,488 configuration of the XPS 15, complete with a 2-GHz quad-core Core i7, 8GB of RAM, a 1080p screen, and Nvidia GT540M graphics. These specs promise--and deliver--remarkable processing and media prowess, but is the whole package worth nearly $1,500?"

The upgraded XPS 15 starts at $799 for a basic configuration, but the system as tested at about $1500 scored well in almost every evaluation category. The biggest faults found were that it was a bit heavy and bulky. A 17-inch version is available for about the same price, if portability isn't needed. Dell has made an excellent notebook even better by upgrading to Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture. Maybe not perfect, but awfully close!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Big Gaming Has a Name; It's Called the Alienware M17x

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 01:00 PM

"Featuring an Intel quad-core Sandy Bridge CPU, AMD switchable graphics, and a Samsung SSD, this monster offers more than double the performance of anything that came before. On top of that, the M17x has a built-in WirelessHD transmitter, so if it's 17-inch 1080p display isn't big enough, you can beam Blu-ray movies, games, and anything else you want wirelessly across the room to a big-screen TV."

When it comes to PC Gaming brands, Ailenware is often tossed around. The company has been around for over a decade and even after being bought by Dell, it seems to retain its "boutique" status for premium gaming hardware. Their flagship laptop, the M17x is designed to attract attention and not just with specs, which do boast some of the latest tech. Of course, with a price tag hovering around $3,300, at a time when basic laptops can be had for $500 or less, there better be a lot of bells and whistles. From its unique styling to the custom LED backlighting on various parts of the laptop, you pick Alienware because you want to stand out. The challenge has been made and it will be interesting to see what the other boutique gaming companies offer to compete.

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