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Dell XPS 14 Ultrabook

The first ultrabook Asus EEE PC 701 upscale 14-inch Asus we really liked during his presentation in London in late May. The excitement of novelty is down again, the impression left by this prototype is not as good as expected. Explanations.

the promise

Makeover for the Dell Studio XPS 1647 range. Modeled on the chassis of the XPS 13 ultrabook brand, the XPS 14 is thicker but also worked. According to the data sheet, this laptop is a 14-inch ultrabook, according to various constraints defined by Intel low-power processor, contained thick, fast boot, etc.. The model that we had in test machine is almost final match - a few details - the configuration called "Gold" on the website of the brand, sold 1299 euros. We propose here an overview of the machine and our first impressions. We expect a final Dell Studio XPS 13 to deliver a more comprehensive test.


With its brushed aluminum hood and black interior, soft touch rubbery, it is difficult not to fall for the Dell XPS 14. This contrasts sharply with the ultrabook range XPS and XPS machines feature z of a year ago. Equipped with a 14-inch glossy screen is protected by a glass Gorilla Glass, the Toshiba Satellite U405 contains all the ingredients of the Dell XPS 13 ultrabook in a larger size. The machine is thicker (2.2 against 2.1 cm) and weighs (2.1 against 1.4 kg) but gains in ease of use.

The Toshiba Satellite U405-S2826 keyboard is correctly proportioned, buttons fall naturally under the fingers and backlighting (adjustable at two levels of intensity) makes typing in the dark. The touchpad has a fully clickable area - without physically delimited button - but seems a little too broad. When typing on the keyboard, the thumb of the right hand tends to touch, causing an involuntary movement of the cursor. A phase of adaptation will be necessary to control clicks "invisible" and finger movements related to scrolling, image rotation, etc.. Fortunately, a good parameterization software is there to help you.


A glossy screen with shadows

The Toshiba Satellite U405-S2830 comfort is also the 14-inch screen, a resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels. However, Dell is the choice of a glossy, sensitive to glare, but attempts to mitigate this flaw by boosting the brightness. We measured 435 cd/m2 and contrast ratio, meanwhile, is 960:1. The display quality is theoretically appointment but following the inclination of the display areas "dark" and tarnish the image appear. At that price, it does not. Hopefully the final units will be more satisfactory on this point.

Processor capricious

Within this ultrabook, Toshiba Satellite U405-S2833 has placed an Intel low-power sine qua non for a machine to pretend to be part of the family. This is a Core i7-3517U, double heart clocked at 1.9 GHz, supported by 8 GB of memory which is responsible for running the applications. Moreover, prototype requires the processor of our test unit had some hiccups when it was overstretched. Its frequency is lowered to 800 MHz alone to not move in, despite a temperature quite reasonable. ASUS Eee PC 1005 told us that this problem only affected machines preproduction and final versions would be freed.

Two graphics cards in service

The integrated graphics processor (Intel HD Graphics 4000) works in conjunction with the Nvidia GeForce GT 630M with NVIDIA Optimus technology. The graphics chip is ready when you start an application or a game more CPU power.

Although the laptop Toshiba Satellite U405-S2854 was not intended to turn into a machine player, the power of the Nvidia chip just for fun occasionally with Diablo III and other games undemanding. Conversely, if you try to play in native resolution with all details maximum, the machine will cool quickly (between 30 and 42 frames per second recorded during the tests).

This raises the question of the value of a chip "so limited" in this machine. If it is the mobility that is in focus, the GeForce has nothing to do there. It raises the consumption of the machine Toshiba Satellite U405-S2856 (13.4 watts at idle and 65 watts under load), noise (measured at 42.5 dB maximum) and temperature, which can reach almost 48 ° C in the case. If the goal is to play from time to time, as frankly go and put a GeForce GT 640M, more slick and technically better equipped than the 630M.

A comfortable home and travel

As it stands, the Toshiba Satellite U400 inches may well serve as a main machine at home and at the same time, traveling companion. A role that could not reasonably hold an ultrabook with 13.3-inch screen with 128 or 256 GB SSD. The template of the Dell XPS 14 allows it to slip into a bag - even big attention when 470 g adapter - and it takes 4 hours 30 minutes on battery.

Your Toshiba Satellite U405-S2857 data is stored on a hard disk of 500 GB whose speed is boosted by a module 32GB SSD mSATA. This association is working properly, the machine is responsive Windows 7 wakes (almost) instantly but will not start in record time (about thirty seconds.'s Side of the connector, there are two USB 3.0 ports, two video outputs digital (HDMI and miniDisplayPort), a headphone / microphone combination and a high-speed network jack. 4.0/Wi-Fi n Bluetooth module (compatible WiDi) and a memory card reader round out the equipment of the machineDell Precision M6400.

the verdict

Our first impressions of this machine are quite mixed. Because of its size, this ultrabook is straddling two worlds. That of mobility, thanks to its light weight, its relative thinness and toughness acceptable, and that of inactivity. Indeed, theToshiba Satellite U405-S2882 configuration equipped with a graphics chip, a Core i7 with hefty 8GB of memory. These components seem badly proportioned aspirations nomadic machine. In addition, Dell benefits too freedoms Intel allows manufacturers to release an ultrabook that is, in fact, a 14-inch ultraportable.

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