DELL XPS 15 R3 - the new standard for laptops
I am very pleased with the DELL XPS 15 L521X and how it looks. It manages to offer a Mac alternative with emphasis on quality, luxury and elegant design without being a blatant copy. It also has a very nice price point and offers 512GB SSD without adding an outrageous extra sum.
However, there's always room for improvement, so let's get to it!
Taking intel's resolution roadmap into consideration, we'll get even more focus on high resolution displays on all units, and the laptop is no exception. Since XPS stands for "Xtreme Performance System" and is synonymous with premium quality, it demands the best alternative that will be common within 2013/2014 if the roadmap holds some truth and the current high resolution trend continues. The resolution for premium units is 3840x2160 pixels. Corning Gorilla Glass 2.0 with anti-glare would be optimal as it's stronger, lighter and provides brighter images.
The L521X has good cooling, but I think the main problem is that all the air is led in and pushed out on the bottom of the unit, making it a bit uncomfortable to use on your lap. With some tweaks, the cooling could be vastly improved. What I suggest is going back to the drawing board and revise the design of the hinges. The laptops with the best cooling all push the air out on the back of the unit through two big grills. Design the hinges so that two big grills or a big one can be added on the back of the unit. Add almost invisible holes on the side of the unit (maybe as part of the design?) to maximize airflow while you at the same time maintain the current design of the bottom. The new hinge design should be as anonymous and seamless as possible for a quality feel and look.
With improved cooling, you can add at least one high performance quad core alternative. The current i7 alternative is no slouch, but some users may want more.
As with the CPU, a higher performance GPU can be added with better cooling. A display with an extreme resolution of 3840x2160 pixels demands a powerful processor for use with demanding programs and games. Don't let the unit suffer just because it's not marketed as a gaming laptop. I find that most gamers would choose a more elegant laptop if they have the choice. The future is hard to predict, but have a nVIDIA GTX 660M (or the respective future alternative for middle segment GPUs) as standard and nVIDIA GTX 680M (or the respective future alternative for high-end GPUs) as a choice.
The current ports are quite satisfying, especially the USB 3.0 only with one of them being the always charging kind. The only port I miss is Thunderbolt. We're talking about the future here, and even now, many laptop brands have introduced units with Thunderbolt. It looks like it will become the future, and if not, you have only "wasted" one port. The resolution of this unit will also demand a port other than HDMI because of incompatibility, as a result, the Display Port will be more appealing. Ditch the HDMI and add the Thunderbolt port in its place instead. Offer a Display Port to HDMI converter in the package to please customers.
Add a Blu-ray XL burner (or at least a BDXL reader with normal BD burner). I've read countless posts about producers and users missing this. Blu-ray should be standard, as it will become the standard with the higher resolution movies that are just around the corner. 4K and 8K movies will be too big for the laptop's disk(s). An uncompressed 4K trailer of The Amazing Spider-man takes 500GB of your precious space. 500GB! The new format will most likely, as the current, be compressed in some way to fit on Blu-ray disks. The Blu-ray with the biggest storage space has been shown by Pioneer and TDK with an amazing 1TB. This shows that Blu-ray will most likely live on for some time.