The build quality, crazy-wide touchpad, and high-resolution screen of HP's new Spectre 13 Ultrabook might make it a contender on October 16th, but two days later Dell will ship the new XPS 15. It's the company's new flagship laptop, and depending on your bankroll it can practically have it all: a 3200 x 1800 touchscreen display, a full 2.2GHz quad-core Core i7 Haswell processor, game-capable Nvidia GeForce GT 750M graphics, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of solid state storage, a 13-hour battery, and a surprisingly decent array of ports in a 4.4 pound, 18 mm thin package.
Doing away with DVD
Like its obvious competitor, Apple's MacBook Pro with Retina display, Dell's finally done away with the DVD drive, allowing engineers to shave off 5 millimeters of thickness since its 2012 predecessor while cramming in more performance at the same time. And just like Dell's XPS 13 and XPS 12 before it, the new XPS 15 trades the old aluminum band for lighter carbon fiber, magnesium alloy, a thin yet comfy keyboard, and a wedge-shaped design.
It should hopefully add up to a powerful portable machine that — while obviously aping the aforementioned MacBook Pro — offers a few things Apple hasn't yet matched, like a touchscreen display and battery-saving Haswell processors. It's rare to see a laptop manufacturer put all the latest and greatest ideas in a single package, and it certainly felt like a quality computer when we saw it in person recently.
The catch could be price. The new XPS 15 will start at $1,499 on October 18th, but that's just for the base model with a Core i5 processor, a 1080p screen, integrated Intel graphics, hybrid storage, and even a smaller battery. That's already pricy, and it's likely Dell will charge a good bit more to get the specs that set this laptop apart.
The XPS 15 isn't the only laptop that Dell's announcing today. The new $999 XPS 13 adds Haswell processors and a touchscreen to its 1080p display without increasing the thickness of the diminutive laptop even a millimeter. The backflipping XPS 11, which we previewed at Computex, now has a $999 price point and comes standard with a 2560 x 1440 touchscreen. Both will ship in November.