Dell XPS M1730 review
Dell’s largest XPS laptop, the M1730, is no shrinking violet. The front of the chassis is dominated by a panel of aggressively slanted media buttons, while bright lights glare from a pair of speaker bays. The lid is covered with gun-metal grey patterns, and a pair of huge lights proudly bear the XPS logo.
While it’s fair to say that the Dell sits at the garish end of the spectrum, a few minutes with the M1730 made us realise just how luxurious it is: behind the strident faade is plenty of solid build quality. Neither the wristrest nor the 17in screen would give at all, despite our best efforts, and this sizeable laptop is one of the sturdiest on test.
The chassis matches its loud exterior with plenty of exciting components. The 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 is a tremendously capable processor and, paired with a generous 4GB of RAM, it achieved a 2D benchmark score of 1.30. It’s only beaten by a handful of other systems this month.
Games performance is just as impressive as the 2D results. In our medium-quality Crysis test, the Dell hit 46fps – the best result on test.
The stunning games performance comes courtesy of a pair of GeForce 8800M GTX graphics chips running in SLI configuration. It’s the only dual-card system on test this month, and it allows the Dell M1730 to handle almost every modern game at decent quality settings.
For all of this fantastic performance, though, the Dell isn’t without its problems. Battery life is poor: the M1730 lasted 1hr 6mins in our light-use test, and five minutes fewer when tasked with more demanding work. Couple this with the hefty weight and it’s clear that lengthy sessions of Crysis on the train journey home look a mite unrealistic.
As a luxury laptop to keep at home, however, few can beat the Dell. Fantastic benchmark results in 2D and 3D tests make this a gamer’s dream – but only if you can afford the hefty price.
|Warranty||1yr collect and return|
|Dimensions||406 x 301 x 59mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo T9300|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel PM965|
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||2|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,920|
|Resolution screen vertical||1,200|
|Resolution||1920 x 1200|
|Graphics chipset||2 x Nvidia GeForce 8800M GTX|
|Graphics card RAM||1.00GB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||0|
|Hard disk usable capacity||360GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA/300|
|Hard disk||Seagate ST9200420ASG|
|Optical disc technology||DVD writer|
|Optical drive||Dell HLDS GSA-T21N|
|Replacement battery price ex VAT||£75|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£86|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||yes|
|Wireless key-combination switch||no|
|USB ports (downstream)||4|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||3|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||yes|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||yes|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Audio chipset||SigmaTel HD Audio|
|Speaker location||Front edge, base|
|Hardware volume control?||yes|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||1hr 6min|
|Battery life, heavy use||1hr 1min|
|Overall application benchmark score||1.30|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||87fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows Vista Home Premium|
|OS family||Windows Vista|
|Recovery method||Recovery partition|
|Software supplied||Creative Live Cam, Roxio Creator DE 10.1|