Dell XPS M1530 laptop review

When Dell announced it would be overhauling its premium notebook brand, the XPS line, with an ultraportable in the form of the XPS M1330, the company was clearly on to a winning formula. So, it comes as no surprise this latest model is exactly the same in styling but with a larger screen.

The reason the M1330 works so well is that it’s a true powerhouse machine wrapped in a super-light and portable chassis. By adding a larger 15.4-inch Super-TFT screen you take a fair degree of portability away from the concept, but thankfully, the M1530 remains a great machine.

The reason we like it is the sheer quality of the build. The magnesium-allow body feels robust and extremely solid and because it’s brushed, it feels great to the touch too.

The 2.7kg weight is still portable enough to carry around on a regular basis and the thin body makes it easy to carry too. As with the previous model, you can choose between a black or red matt finish, on the lid, open it up and the trim is silver and black.

The silver keyboard, however, is what really makes this notebook a joy to use. Dell has been accused of producing poor keyboards in the past but all is forgiven with the M1530. The keys are well spaced and are so comfortable to the touch that even the most boring report you have to write will feel better for it. This may sound like exaggeration but this is clearly the best keyboard Dell has released on a notebook.

As with all Dell notebooks, you can choose the specification that best suits your needs but the review sample we were sent was clearly middle of the range but still managed to pack more than a powerful punch. With an Intel 2GHz Core 2 Duo T7250 and 2048MB of memory there is more than enough power to run multiple tasks at the same time.

Running Windows Vista Home Premium, we found it loaded quickly and when we used it out and about for a couple of days, we found it reliable and fast.

While the battery life isn’t as efficient as on the M1330, we still managed to get a little over 3 hours from the machine. This was rather surprising, as the 15.4-inch screen has a double-strength backlit, which makes it great for movies as well as playing games but can be a drain on battery life.

When it came to playing games, the M1530 uses the Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB of dedicated memory, which is great for playing most games without having to turn the features off.

Extra features consist of a slot-loading DVD rewriter as well as an HDMI-out port. There is even a biometric fingerprint scanner on the main body.

Verdict

If you liked the styling of the XPS M1330 but felt it a little too small for everyday use, the XPS M1530 is the machine for you.

It has the same great build quality and a specification that puts other machines of this price to shame.

However, what impressed us most, was the felt that you really feel as though you’re holding something impressive in your hands and that’s not something you’ll find us saying regularly.