Since we started introducing Ivy Bridge-based machines, I’ve been getting pinged by several people like @Devon12, ErikSchoof and Prof.Dre and elsewhere like the awesome group of folks on this long XPS thread on NotebookReview.com have asked when our top of the line XPS laptops would be available with Ivy Bridge. I can finally answer that question—customers in the United States can order our XPS 14 and XPS 15 laptops beginning later today. They are also available for order in several countries around the world. Here in the United States, the XPS 14 starts at $1,099 and the XPS 15 starts at $1,299.
For those of you who are familiar with our award-winning XPS 13 Ultrabook, you already have a good idea of what to expect from both of these new XPS machines. We focused on using high-end materials like machined aluminum and silicone to create systems that feel sleek yet solid. I’ve been here at Dell almost 17 years, and in my opinion, these systems are the best laptops we’ve ever made. I also believe with the mix of performance, features, portability and battery life, these XPS laptops can compete with any other laptops currently available.
For the XPS 14, we focused on extended all-day battery life and extra levels of connectivity—both key features for customers who spend a lot of time on the road. We designed the XPS 15 for content creators and for customers who want an uncompromising multimedia experience.
I got to kick the tires on both of these new XPS machines. In that short period, it was easy to see these laptops pack a lot of performance and functionality into a small package. Things that stood out to me were the brilliant edge-to-edge displays, the solid build quality throughout and desktop-like performance. In terms of build quality, both machines use materials like anodized machined aluminum in places where extra support is needed, silicone at the laptop base to keep it cool and light, and Corning Gorilla Glass to reinforce the edge-to-edge displays. For the palm rests, we use magnesium alloy with soft touch paint for a smooth yet solid rubberized feel.
Both machines have bright, sharp edge-to-edge displays, support third-generation i5 and i7 Ivy Bridge processors from Intel, USB 3.0 ports, mini DisplayPort and HDMI Out ports to connect to external displays, 3-in-1 media card readers, great sound quality enhanced with Waves MAXX Audio 4, backlit chiclet keyboards, responsive multi-gesture trackpads, and integrated HD webcams perfect for Skype video chats or Google+ Hangouts. Both the XPS 14 and the XPS 15 support SSD drives and traditional 2.5" hard drives. That means you can have all the speed benefits of SSD drives with the extra storage capability that comes with traditional hard drives. The configs that include SSD drives also include Intel Responsiveness technologies that Bill blogged about (see previous link).
One other nice touch on both systems is the custom Ethernet port. Both are too thin to include a full Ethernet jack, so our design teams made a hinged metal bottom that expands to let you insert a standard Ethernet cable without requiring a separate adapter cable. This is handy when you are in a hotel that offers broadband via Ethernet instead of Wi-Fi.
See close-up shot of the Ethernet jack on the left. The Ethernet jack is between the AC power connector and the HDMI port (click on the image to see a larger version of it). Speaking of images, you can see large versions of all these and more on the XPS 14 and XPS 15 Laptop album on Dell’s Google+ page.
XPS 14: Power, portability and up to 11-hour battery life
Dell XPS 14 laptop – click on the image above to see a larger version
The XPS 14 is less than an inch thin (0.81 inches or 20.7mm) and starts at just 4.6 pounds (or 2.1kg). When we asked customers what they wanted in a 14-inch laptop, it was pretty clear that great performance high on the list. Even more important though, many customers made it clear that battery life is critical. That’s why our product team decided early on in the development cycle, to remove the optical drive so we could maximize battery life. The end result? The XPS 14 delivers up to 11 hours of battery life with an i7 processor, a 512GB SSD drive and the 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 630m discrete graphics card. On a side note, if you order a configuration with an SSD drive, the XPS 14 is an Ultrabook.
Like the XPS 13 before it, the XPS 14 features an edge-to-edge display protected with Corning Gorilla Glass reinforced with a machined aluminum back. The edge-to-edge display allows us to fit a 14-inch display in a more compact system. This brilliant 1600×900 HD display is rated at 400 nits (a measure of screen brightness capability) and looks great in any environment.
With third-generation Core i5 and i7 processor support and up to 8GB of RAM, performance on the XPS 14 is rock solid. The base model comes standard with Intel’s integrated HD 4000 graphics, but those of you who want more graphics horsepower can opt for the NVIDIA GeForce GT 630m with 1GB GDDR5 memory. The NVIDIA discrete option also supports their Optimus technology to give you extra power when you need it, less when you don’t. The standard XPS 14 models come equipped with Intel’s 6235 wireless adapter to enable 802.11 a/g/n Wi-Fi compatibility + Bluetooth 4.0.
XPS 14 with integrated Mobile Broadband – Click on the image to see a larger version
Customers who need more than just robust Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability can choose the XPS 14 featuring integrated mobile broadband technology (see above image). Those systems come equipped with Intel’s 6150 WiMax/ WiDi combo card and they also feature an attractive black leather back to help ensure there is no signal interference with the built-in antennas (see image below). Beyond that, there are options for integrated EVDO/ HSPA and HSPA+ connectivity. There’s also a pay-as-you go option called Dell NetReady mobile broadband service that we also offer on other laptops. Bottom line, customers who purchase the XPS 14 with integrated mobile broadband can connect in many places where a Wi-Fi network is not available.
Here’s a quick video overview of the new Dell XPS 14 laptop:
XPS 15: Uncompromised performance in a slick, thin design
Dell XPS 15 laptop – Click to see a larger version
The XPS 15 includes many of the XPS 14 features in a package less than an inch thick (0.91 inches or 23.2mm) and starts at 5.79 pounds (2.6kg). Its larger 15.6-inch display supports full HD resolution (1920×1080) and a brightness of 350 nits. The XPS 15 also supports up to 16GB dual-channel DDR3 1600 MHz memory. It also includes a slot load Blu-ray disc drive and supports larger standard 3.5-inch Update from Lionel: should have said 2.5-inch) hard drive options up to 1TB. In addition to support for the NVIDIA 630m that we offer in the XPS 14, customers who need even more graphics horsepower can opt for the GeForce GT 640m with 2GB GDDR5 memory. Both discrete card options support NVIDIA Optimus technology. With all its hardware prowess, the XPS 15 still gets up to eight hours of battery life. 
Update: Since many customers in have asked for a large SSD option with the XPS 15 laptop, we recently introduced a $2,299 configuration for customers in the United States that comes with a 512GB SSD, a quad core i7 processor and 16GB RAM.
I installed Adobe Lightroom version 3.6 to edit and publish several 4000 x 3000 resolution photographs I took with my trusty GF-1 camera. It made short work of the photo processing. Even with the entry-level i5 config I was using, I could tell the XPS 15 was faster than my nearly two-year old Studio XPS 7100 desktop machine I use at home. The XPS 15 also made easy work on other intensive tasks like streaming HD content via Netflix and Hulu+ . Blu-ray movies looked and sounded amazing on the full HD display. Bottom line, the XPS 15 is fast. If you work with high-resolution still images or edit HD video all day, the XPS 15 is a great option. Same for those of you who use a laptop to watch HD content.
Here’s a quick video overview of the new Dell XPS 15 laptop:
Service and Support
Both the XPS 14 and 15 laptops come with America’s Best Standard Protection Plan just like all other XPS machines do. That means in addition to the Limited Hardware Warranty, you’ll receive in-home service after remote diagnosis, Premium Phone Support with extended phone support availability, one year of Accidental Damage service and one year of theft protection.
We first introduced business-class options with the XPS 13 notebook to make it easy for IT organizations to support and manage them in an enterprise environment. Optional business-friendly features include Trusted Platform Module (TPM) for BitLocker Data Encryption, ProSupport, and Configuration Services such as static imaging and asset tagging. These enterprise features are a big reason why almost half of Dell’s XPS 13 Ultrabooks are sold to business customers.
As you can tell, I’m pretty excited about these new XPS laptops. For more information, you can check out the XPS press release or for a full list of specs, take a look at the XPS laptop spec addendum. Otherwise, please post your comments or questions here, ping me at @LionelatDell on Twitter or ask away on Dell’s Google+ page. Speaking of Google+, Wednesday at 4pm, I’ll be joining a Hangout hosted by Rev Davis (@AskRevatDell). Rev’s guest will be Donnie Oliphant, director of XPS notebook product planning. I’ll be there to join in the discussion with Rev and Donnie to talk about all things XPS notebook. It will be a great chance to ask questions to one of the key folks who helped make these products happen.
 battery life: Tested system equipped with NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M graphics, Intel Core i7-3517U and 512GB SSD. Based on testing using the Mobile Mark 2007 battery life benchmark test. For more information about this benchmark test, visit www.bapco.com. Test results should be used only to compare one product with another and are not a guarantee you will experience the same battery life. Battery life may be significantly less than the test results and varies depending on your product’s configuration, software, usage, operating conditions, power management settings and other factors. Maximum battery life will decrease with time and use.
 battery life: Tested system equipped with 6GB memory, NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M graphics, Intel Core i5-3210M, 500GB hard drive and 32GB mSATA SSD. Based on testing using the Mobile Mark 2007 battery life benchmark test. For more information about this benchmark test, visit www.bapco.com. Test results should be used only to compare one product with another and are not a guarantee you will experience the same battery life. Battery life may be significantly less than the test results and varies depending on your product’s configuration, software, usage, operating conditions, power management settings and other factors. Maximum battery life will decrease with time and use.