While we can't say for sure whether the Dell Precision M4500 is the world's most powerful 15.6-inch mobile workstation or not, it;s certainly among them.

With its stunning performance, surprising battery life and feature-packed specification, it's a truly impressive workstation and a viable alternative to such other high-powered workstations as Lenovo's ThinkPad W701.

Dell precision m4500

We liked

Squeezing maximum performance from Intel's mid-range Core i5 technology, the Precision M4500 is one of the most powerful business machines we've seen. When combined with its high-powered Nvidia graphics card, any office task can be ran with speed and ease.

The stunning 15.6-inch screen continues Dell's recent run of vibrant laptop panels. Offering 100 per cent Adobe Colour Gamuts, accurate colour reproduction and staggering brightness levels, this screen can easily be viewed in all lighting conditions.

While the keyboard is not as wide as it could have been, usability is excellent nevertheless. All keys respond well and the choice of a touchpad and pointing stick is a nice touch, giving the user a choice of ways to interact with the screen.

The stereo speakers that flank the keyboard are surprisingly powerful and provide a warm and full sound ideal for use at home or in the office. It is unusual to see such good speakers on a business laptop and professional video editors are sure to appreciate them.

We disliked

Despite its large chassis and mid-level components, the base of the Precision M4500's chassis quickly gets uncomfortably hot. Although there is a large cooling fan in place, it gets far too hot for laptop use, making it better suited to use at a desk.

Even though the chassis is thick and bulky, it's disappointingly poorly equipped. Ports are limited and the lack of an HDMI port is unfortunate. A DisplayPort is in place for connecting digitally to external Dell monitors, but you can't easily connect to an HDTV.

Although the keyboard is comfortable to use, it's set too far back on the chassis, with the palm rest proving far too large. As a result, you're forced to lean forwards when typing, which can place you in an awkward and uncomfortable position when sat at a desk.

Verdict

While the Dell Precision M4500 lacks the power and features of larger graphics workstations such as the Lenovo ThinkPad W701, its impressive power, usability and mobility make it a viable alternative.

The poor cooling system and limited extras hold it back from greatness, however, as it is uncomfortable to use on your lap and lacks comprehensive features.

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