The Very Successful Dell XPS M Laptop

Dell made a serious effort in 2007 to listen to customer feedback criticizing Dell's older, thick and heavy laptops. The result was the amazingly thin and light XPS M1330, one of the sexiest looking notebooks of 2007. The new Dell XPS M1530 is an impressive 15.4" screen notebook designed similar to (just larger than) the very successful 13-inch XPS M1330. The XPS M1530 comes in a choice of two colours: Tuxedo black or Alpine white.

However, the colour scheme extends only to the front plastic bezel, with both models sporting silver borders. When we first opened the 2.62kg machine, we were surprised to see a brushed aluminum palm rest staring back at us.

Though for some it may look a little rough around the edges, we like the feel of the metal which, surprisingly, did not heat up significantly even when the system was pushed to the limits. It is also quite a bit slimmer than we expected, with dimensions closely resembling those of the MacBook Pro. The keyboard tray is brushed silver with black accents and includes touch-sensitive controls for volume and media playback and an eject button for the slot-loading DVD drive. We've never been crazy about the slightly tapered keys on Dell's laptop keyboards, which seem to leave you less typing surface area, because the individual keys are wider at the base than the top.

On the plus side, a tiny credit-card remote control sits tucked into the Express Card slot and is a standard feature on XPS laptops. In actual operation, the M1530 is largely silent, even in very performance-intensive tasks. The loudest noise is more often than not the optical drive rather than any internal case fans.

This may, however, come at the cost of users' laps: in an odd decision, Dell has a downward-facing fan that blasts hot air directly underneath the case. This is less of an issue for owners relying on the extended 9-cell battery pack (which lifts the fan away from the user), but for everyone else the heat can be enough to be genuinely uncomfortable for more than several minutes of demanding use. We'll talk about gaming performance a little later in the review. But for now, know that the 15.4-inch transflective widescreen is powered by the high-end Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT coupled with 256MB of dedicated video memory, and is capable of 1,280 x 800-pixel resolution. The speaker bar above the keyboard produces acceptable audio quality.

However, it did not have a subwoofer which would have added more bass. Suffice to say the sound is good enough if you are not picky and we suggest a good set of headphones if you want to enjoy movies and music on this XPS (which may also be the reason Dell put in dual earphone jacks for this machine). Dell XPS M1530 Features: * 15.4-inch WXGA (1280 x 800) CCFL glossy screen * 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo T7500 processor, Santa Rosa chipset * 2GB DDR2-667 SDRAM * 160GB 5400 RPM SATA HDD * Slot-loading dual-layer DVD±RW drive * NVIDIA GeForce Go 8600M GT with 256MB GDDR3 * WWAN option for Verizon * Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n (Intel 4965), Bluetooth option * Integrated 2.

0 megapixel webcam * HDMI, VGA, S-Video, Firewire/1394, three USB 2.0 ports, integrated media reader, fingerprint reader * Media Center remote located in Express Card slot * Windows Vista Home Premium * Dimensions: 14.06" x 10.

34" x 0.93" - 1.38" * Weight starts at 5.9 pounds with 6-cell battery.

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