It's been quite a while since we've seen a new 17-inch laptop from Dell's XPS range, which is home to the company's multimedia machines.

Dell hasn't been twiddling its thumbs, however, and this laptop boasts fantastic design, power (for the money) and a huge range of multimedia features.

Intel's Core i5 2410M processor provides comprehensive performance for all, but the most avid multimedia users.

You'll easily be able to multi-task resource-intensive applications, such as music and movie editing software, while everyday applications, such as your web browser and word processing program, run with real fluidity.

A powerful Nvidia Optimus GeForce GTX 555M graphics card means that those looking to play the latest games and edit their home movies in high definition, will find plenty of power here.

Benchmarks

Battery life: 422 minutes
MobileMark 2007: 297
3DMark 2003: 24,029

Storage seems a little stingy for the price, however, and we expected more than 320GB from a machine designed to hold large film, photo and music libraries.

Dell has done a great job in terms of design, and the XPS 17 looks and feels high end. The metallic finish on the lid, brushed-aluminium palmrest and chrome accents give off a luxurious feel, while also contribute to the solid build of the laptop.

The 17-inch screen features a 1600 x 900-pixel resolution. It's bright enough for indoor use and, while not extremely vibrant, colour reproduction is good enough to make the best of your photos and movies. The sheer size of the screen itself provides for an absorbing viewing experience, making it great for the film fans out there.

The large keyboard features a bit of flex, so the action isn't quite as hard as we'd like, but the isolation-style keys are still very comfortable to use for hours on end.

Feature-packed

The range of features the XPS 17 boasts is highly impressive. A pair of dedicated JBL speakers sit imbedded in the laptop's chassis and provide some of the best audio we've ever heard from a laptop. If you use your machine for music playback, this will be a massive bonus for you.

The laptop also comes bundled with Nvidia's 3DTV Play technology. This means that, while the laptop's panel isn't 3D ready, you can stream 3D content to a compatible TV or monitor through the laptop. This makes it a great option for those looking to stream 3D games and films to share on the big screen. There's also 2-megapixel webcam included.

The XPS 17 is an impressive multimedia machine that doesn't cost the earth. Great performance and usability are joined by a highly impressive features list to make this a competitive package.

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