Dell XPS M1730 review

A stunning machine, and not just for gamers

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Our Verdict

A real 'beast' of a laptop that had delivers power and performance in equal measure

For

  • Strong construction

    Superbly powerful

Against

  • Not particularly portable

When it comes to gaming laptops, Dell knows its target audience and the XPS M1730 (£1,639 inc. VAT) plays straight into this market. The 17-inch machine comes with the latest feature-set and even incorporates dual graphics cards for the best possible gaming performance.

Referred to by Dell as 'The Beast' this is easily the most powerful machine the company currently produces. Powered by the Intel 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo T7500, this chip can be overclocked and tweaked to suit the way you game. For hardcore users, this machine also supports the new Intel Extreme CPU. In use we found it easily handled our tests.

The chassis is large, but incredibly sturdy. It's made from carbon fibre with lights on the lid and the front of the case. Media buttons, also on the front, allow you to manage movies and music with ease.

Built for gaming, you'll find twin Nvidia GeForce 8700M GT graphics cards connected using an SLI bridge. This delivers stunning performance. The 17-inch Super-TFT screen is amazingly bright and allows you to play games up to a resolution of 1920 x 1200-pixels without any signs of lag or delay.

Games are also enhanced by the use of the AGEIA PhysX 100M chip, which is a secondary processor that is used by games to help calculate the number of polygons in each frame and to map them quicker. This means less demand is placed on the main CPU when gaming, so helps keep things running smoothly.

Spacious keyboard

With a chassis this size, you'll find a spacious keyboard that incorporates a numeric keypad to the right-hand side. The keys are large and feel extremely solid to the touch. The keys can also be illuminated from underneath. If that's not enough, you can also add 3G Mobile Broadband, as Dell has teamed up with Vodafone for HSDPA services.

Above the keyboard is a small secondary screen, developed by Logitech and designed specifically for gamers to allow them to receive emails and messages separate from the main screen.

With a 5kg overall weight, this machine isn't intended to be used on the move, which is fortunate, as we recorded a battery life of just 95 minutes when running at full performance. When it comes to extras, you won't find anything out of the ordinary.

There is a DVI port and DVD rewriter on the left-hand side but due to the placing of components inside the case, there is only room for a PC Card slot and two USB ports on the right-hand side.

The Dell XPS M1730 easily lived up to our expectations and its codename, as this is truly a beast of a machine.