Dell's ultrathin, ultraportable, or ultra-whatever-you-want-call-it (just don't call it an Ultrabook) XPS 14z is now available for sale in several configurations starting at $1,000. Dell's pitching this as "the world's thinnest, fully featured laptop with a built-in DVD player" and it figures to give Apple's MacBook Pro a run for its money in both form and function (as well as price).
The XPS 14z is a little bigger than a Ultrabook and doesn't come standard with a solid state drive, hence why it doesn't qualify for the label. Nevertheless, the 14z measures 0.9 inches thin and sports some respectable hardware for the money. The $1,000 model features a 14-inch 720p display, Intel Core i5 2430M (2.4GHz) processor, 6GB of DDR3-1333 memory, 500GB SATA hard drive spinning at 7200 RPM, Intel HD Graphics 3000, 8x slot-load DVD burner, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.
There are other configurations to choose from, culminating in a $1,600 model that includes an Intel Core i7 2640M (2.8GHz) processor, 8GB of DDR3-1333 memory, 256GB SSD, and Nvidia GT 520M graphics with 1GB of video memory. All other specs remain the same.
As for the MacBook Pro, Apple recently (and quietly) rolled out a handful of updates in the form of faster processors, bigger hard drives, and beefier graphics on select models. The XPS 14z still offers better overall specs for less money, but the disparity isn't huge, which puts platform agnostic folks in a tough spot trying to pick one over the other.