When Dell released the XPS 1330 last year it was lauded by many as the best-looking laptop of all time. The look, size and build quality were perfect for the mobile traveller who needed something a little different. In many respects, the Dell XPS M1530 (£819 inc. VAT) is simply the same machine, but with a larger screen.

However, why change a winning formula, such as the body being made from brushed aluminium and magnesium-alloy that feels great to the touch and also makes the body solid and robust.

The screen is a 15.4-inch Super-TFT panel that has a standard 1280 x 800-pixel display that proved sharp and bright. This is due to the use of the 500nit backlit technology, which is twice the brightness of most standard laptops. This really comes into its own when watching a DVD or playing a 3D game, as you can balance the colour contrast far easier.

You'll be able to use this laptop for serious gaming, as it comes with the nVidia GeForce 8600M GT card as standard. With 256MB of its own dedicated memory, it offers plenty
of performance but, sadly, won't handle DirectX 10 games.

Naturally, this larger screen adds to the weight of the machine and at 2.7kg; it's less portable than the XPS 1330. With a battery life a little over three hours, you won't be able to use it for as long. On the plus side, the keyboard has more space, with the keys feeling more evenly spread.

There is no faulting Dell on its choice of keyboard, as it proved one of the most comfortable we've used from the company. With individually mounted keys that have a good deal of pressure behind them, we found it a great keyboard to use.

Powerful specification

The size of the chassis allows not only for a powerful graphics processor, as the main specification is also impressive. As with all Dell laptops you can upgrade to a specification that suits you. Our review machine came with the Intel Core 2 Duo T7250, which is a 2GHz chip that delivered plenty of power, especially considering the addition of 2048MB of memory.

Features on the sides consist of a slot-loading DVD rewriter as well as an HDMI-out port, which would explain the addition of a VGA-out port for connecting to older analogue sources instead of using a DVI-out port. For protecting your data, you'll also find a biometric fingerprint scanner on the main body. This is linked to a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip.

The XPS M1530 may not be as small and portable as the ultra-slim M1330, but for those who need something a little larger, this a highly appealing and desirable laptop.