Dell XPS 15 (2012) review

MacBook Pro rival boasts Ivy Bridge speed and an incredible display

Dell XPS 15
Dell XPS 15 review

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Powering the show is a third-generation Intel Core i7-3612QM quad-core CPU clocked at 2.1GHz.

If you're the kind of person that likes to take things to the max, then you can fire up each of your cores to a maximum of 3.1GHz by tapping into Intel's Turbo Boost feature.

Ivy Bridge Intel processing also includes the impressive Intel HD Graphics 4000, which should be more than capable of keeping up with all of your high-definition media needs, especially when you consider that the XPS 15 also houses an Nvidia GeForce GT 640M GPU which provides an extra 2GB of VRAM, and allows you to speed up your laptop's graphical performance up to four times' its usual pace.

Throw in 8GB of RAM and you're looking at an incredibly strong hardware setup that is more than a match for pretty much any PC task aside from high-end gaming and super high-res video editing.

And you'll have plenty of space to store all of the digital media that the Dell XPS 15 is capable of bashing through, thanks to a whopping 1TB HDD.

This hard-drive is paired with a more modern 32GB mSATA SSD, which means all sorts of fun, such as Intel Rapid Start Technology and Intel Smart Response Technology.

Port-fanatics need not worry, as there is a plethora of port-based activity going on down the Dell XPS 15's left hand side with a trio of USB 3.0 options (including one with PowerShare tech packed in, meaning it will charge your gadgets even when the laptop isn't fired up), a mini DisplayPort, HDMI and an expandable Ethernet socket.

Dell XPS 15 review

On the right edge you'll find a couple of 3.5mm jack ports (one specifically for headsets), a mini Kensington lock, a 3-in-1 card reader and a slick-looking slot-loading DVD drive.

Wireless connectivity is also thoroughly taken care of courtesy of Advanced-N 802.11 a/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, as well as Intel Wi-Di (Wireless Display), which lets you beam your laptop's display to your Wi-Di compatible TV.

The webcam boasts 1.3 megapixels and is capable of grabbing video at a fairly impressive 1,280 x 1,024 pixels, although we found the recorded video to be a little grainy and you'll need a well-lit room to really make use of all of the features packed into the pre-installed Dell Webcam Central software.

Although, let's face it, a bit of Skype calling is probably all that you'll use it for.

The Webcam Central software sits alongside a few other programs that the PC giant has seen fit to install for you on the XPS 15, although Dell is in no way as guilty at ramming a new system full of bloatware as rivals such as Acer are.

Of the selected software installed for your 'pleasure' you'll probably only really make use of the MaxxAudio-powered Dell Audio control panel for getting the sound just as you like it.