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 façade 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 8700M GT 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.
This Review appeared in the December, 2008 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine
Source: Copyright © PC Pro, Dennis Publishing