XPS 16 Mini-Review

At the request of a colleague, I’m writing a little review on my precious baby… 🙂

Before I start boring most, I’m going to go out there and say I agree with *almost* everything this guy says, so I’ll just rehash a few things and give my opinion.

Firstly, some quick specs:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7 820QM (8MB 1.73GHz – 3.066GHz)
  • Memory: 8GB – 2DIMM 1333MHz DDR3
  • HDD: 128 GB G.Skill Falcon SSD (aftermarket – orignially with 500GB 7200RPM)
  • Graphics: 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4670
  • Display: 16.0" 1080p Full HD RGBLED LCD with 2.0 MP Webcam
  • Optical Drive: 4X Blu-ray Disc Combo Drive (DVD/CD +/- RW +BD Read)
  • OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
  • Wireless: Intel WiFi Link 5300 (802.11a/g/n)
  • Battery: 9-cell
  • Dimensions: 2.5-5cm x 38cm x 26cm with 9-cell battery (H x W x D) 

Build and Design

Pros

Just like the rest of the (Studio) XPS range, this laptop just looks sexy. It’s sleek, shiny, dressed in a little leather, and has all the shiny touch-sensitive media buttons to match. The backlit keyboard is an absolute pleasure to use with its big spaced keys. The unit has very little flex in it at all. The 16” frameless glossy RGBLED screen is so gorgeous it makes staring at code even more fun. All the ports are in the right place (security lock, VGA, Ethernet, DisplayPort, HDMI, 2x USB, 2x headphone, microphone, USB/eSATA combo, FireWire, ExpressCard and card reader). And the sound is awesome…

Cons

The shininess of the plastic means that fingerprints really stand out. The Synaptics multi-touch track pad is hard to use and can get very annoying when trying to do simple things like crop using in a picture editor. The gloss on the screen makes it pretty hard to use outside on a bright day. The slot-loader drive is not my favourite as it tends to be a bit noisy (compared to tray-loaders) and quite slow. Also, the battery doesn’t quite line up with the rest of the unit so there is a bit of a gap constantly staring me in the face as I’m typing.

Most importantly… THERE’S NO SEPARATE RAM AND HDD COVER ON THE MAIN PANEL!!! This really got on my nerves when I switched in my SSD, because it meant what is usually a 2 minute job on most laptops became substantially more due to the funny screw placements and fear of “screwing” something up.

Performance

I ran a few benchmarks in an earlier post, and found my PCMarks at 9018 and WEI at 6.7. The review on notebookreview had the PCMarks at 6303. It also had the WPrime 32M result at 31.827s, which I bested at 15.257s. I think it’s safe to say that this baby ain’t no slug… 🙂

However, there is usually one downfall to all this power that not even the XPS 16 could surpass… HEAT! This thing gets sooo hot that putting it to good use means it can’t be used as a “laptop”. Noise was not too bad, but probably because the fan isn’t actually doing much.

Also, the battery life is a bit too short for my liking. My 9-cell only gets me about 2.5hrs, which some might think is quite high given what it’s running, but I think could be improved.

Conclusion

I love  it. It’s sexy and fast. It falls down on the build quality a bit like most Dell laptops and can be used to help you get through the winters, but the bang for buck this machine offers more than makes up for it in my eyes.

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Posted on 25 January, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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