Dell XPS M1730 review

Price when reviewed

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.

Dell XPS M1730 review

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.


Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions406 x 301 x 59mm (WDH)
Travelling weight6.7kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo T9300
Motherboard chipsetIntel PM965
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR2
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size17.0in
Resolution screen horizontal1,920
Resolution screen vertical1,200
Resolution1920 x 1200
Graphics chipset2 x Nvidia GeForce 8800M GTX
Graphics card RAM1.00GB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
HDMI outputs0
S-Video outputs1
DVI-I outputs1
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity360GB
Spindle speed7,200RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskSeagate ST9200420ASG
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical driveDell HLDS GSA-T21N
Battery capacity7,600mAh
Replacement battery price ex VAT£75
Replacement battery price inc VAT£86


Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportyes
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchyes
Wireless key-combination switchno
USB ports (downstream)4
FireWire ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
3.5mm audio jacks3
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readeryes
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetSigmaTel HD Audio
Speaker locationFront edge, base
Hardware volume control?yes
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use1hr 6min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 1min
Overall application benchmark score1.30
3D performance (crysis) low settings87fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium
OS familyWindows Vista
Recovery methodRecovery partition
Software suppliedCreative Live Cam, Roxio Creator DE 10.1

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