Thin & Light The Z is just over 1-inch thick and weighs only 4.5 pounds. It isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison but the thinner (0.95-inch) 15.4-inch MacBook Pro weighs more at 5.5 pounds. The Z has larger dimensions than the MacBook Pro due to the larger “16.0-inch Premium High Definition Plus WLED Display” but the fact that Dell was able get the Z to be so light is quite extraordinary. There is a soft-touch finish in black cherry but I personally like the razor sharp and cold touch of aluminum.
16-inch LCD The LCD sports a 1600 x 900 resolution and a white LED backlight. I’ve always had a problem with this 1600 x 900 resolution for HD viewing. Although the 16:9 aspect ratio is familiar as in HD, the resolution is worthless. 1600 x 900 is not 1280 x 720 as in 720p HD. Nor is it 1920 x 1080 as in 1080p Full HD. Everything HD will need to be both scaled vertically and horizontally to fit the screen. When video content gets scaled, quality deteriorates. 1600 x 900 is simply worthless for HD. Oh, but it is 16:9. Yay.
For Executives Oh really? Do we really want executives to be purchasing really expensive notebook PCs? And ones that have a 16:9 screens so they can watch HD content? In this day and age where executive pay at financial institutions is being determined by the president because they are deemed too excessive, why is Dell trying to sell a really expensive notebook PC with what seems to be an HD focus? You want these overpaid executives to watch HD shows and movies on their Zs?
Matte There is one good thing about this premium ultra super duper high definition A plus LED whatever LCD: it is matte! We’re going back to matte and it is finally time. After the break: No Wires Ma!, Two Brains, Ugly Butt.
No Wires Ma! The Z has wireless charging and wireless external display connectivity. The Z has built-in power coils in the base of the notebook and charges wirelessly via a magnetic inductive stand (a $200 option). Wow. But wait. What if you want to charge it but don’t want it on the stand? You’ll need to go wire. I usually work on my notebook and its flat on the desk. The Z also makes use of Ultra Wide Band (UWB) wireless technology: a $200 wireless dock allows you to connect all of your wireless peripherals. And the dock connects via UWB to the Z. Very cool.
Two Brains The Z has two CPUs: one for the power-hungry Windows and the other for Dell’s Latitude-On. The later gives you access to email and a browser without booting into Windows and is powered by an ARM CPU. The Intel ULV CPU powers regular Windows. I wonder how long the battery lasts…
Ugly Butt Does the bezel around the LCD need to be so thick? The bezel on the bottom is thick enough for me to wonder if someone hit the Z with an ugly stick. Twice. I would rather forgo the touch capability on the bezel for a thinner one. Add to the thick bezel the way the LCD opens and you’ve got some challenges opening this thing up in a plane. Instead of the LCD sliding down like it does on Apple’s MacBook notebook PCs, the Z sits on top of the chassis requiring a bit of height. And the big bulge in the back! I would have gotten completely rid of that horrendous butt. Instead Dell attempted to make it into the focal point of the Z’s product design. Sigh.
Puzzling The Latitude Z from Dell is quite impressive in many ways. It is the first notebook PC to feature wireless charging and wireless peripheral connectivity via UWB (both expensive options). I also think it’s the first notebook to sport two CPUs. There are other technical features but it feels as though the company slapped a lot of technology together without a singular theme to the Z: Why on earth would I want to reach out and touch the right bezel of the LCD to open up some applications? 1600 x 900? Puzzling. Wireless charging is great but on a stand that lifts it up and forces you to use an external keyboard, mouse and monitor? And to do that I need to spend an extra $200 to do it wirelessly? And finally why the ugly butt?