From its inception three years ago, Dell's XPS range has been synonymous with high-end gaming. The Inspiron XPS M1710 is an updated model, now featuring nVidia's latest graphics card - the GeForce Go 7950GTX.

The 7950GTX features a 575MHz core - improved over the 500MHz core on the older 7900GTX, resulting in a considerable performance boost. This means you'll have no trouble playing the latest games in the highest resolutions.

The Dell features a 17-inch super-TFT display, striking a balance between optimal gaming and mobility. With a native resolution of 1920 x 1200 (WUXGA), images are crisp, and the XPS features a particularly bright screen.

Intel's top of the range Core 2 Duo T7600 processor provides power. With both cores running at 2.33GHz, there's plenty of performance for running applications, and we noticed very little lag even when running multiple tasks. This was borne out by an impressive score of 267 points in our MobileMark 2005 benchmark.

Weight has been kept down by using magnesium alloy throughout the chassis. At 4.1kg, it's light, although we still found it slightly too cumbersome for carrying to work each day. The use of magnesium has the added benefit of making the Dell a strong machine.

You won't find an integrated webcam. However, multimedia abilities are high, and a series of hotkeys on the front of the chassis enable you to play DVDs and CDs without booting Windows.

The keyboard is good, thanks to well-spaced and firmly sprung keys, although we expected to see a dedicated number-pad on a machine of this size. The recessed touchpad is responsive, and the accompanying buttons feature a large amount of travel, making it impossible to click them unintentionally.

Excellent everyday abilities, respectable mobility and a magnesium alloy chassis make it an appealing choice.